Chris Hochkeppel, singer and principal songwriter in local jazz-rock-funk band Burris, doesn’t mind that the group may never release mega-hits.
“We want to play music that we enjoy, that’s fun for us every time we play,” Hochkeppel said. “We don’t want to sacrifice the quality of the music for the enjoyment of the fans.”
Selfish, maybe, but Hochkeppel also wants to bring Burris listeners along for the musical adventure.
“We don’t want to underestimate people,” he said. “We know they appreciate something good.”
Hochkeppel and the other six members of Burris all have higher than average instrumental proficiency. They’re students or former students of LSU’s School of Music.
“We studied music so much,” Hochkeppel said. “We’re in touch with the music of the past, including classical music and classic jazz. That helped shaped us.”
Like other young musicians, too, Hochkeppel and his bandmates were influenced by their parents’ musical tastes. They include classic prog rockers Frank Zappa and Pink Floyd and jazz-flavored horn bands Chicago and Blood, Sweat & Tears.
“I’m the youngest person in the band,” Hochkeppel said. “My influences are probably the most modern, but everybody is into Zappa and Pink Floyd. And with seven guys in the band, there have so many different influences.”
Following up Burris’ EP, “Listening,” the group is releasing its full-length album debut, “Meant To Be,” Friday at Spanish Moon. Many special guests are expected at the show, and everyone who buys a ticket gets a copy of the album.
“Meant To Be” features 10 original songs and, on the physical CD, a bonus track. Burris recorded it at Evangeline Recording Studio in Lafayette.
The prize Burris received when it won a battle of the bands in Lafayette — studio time worth $2,000 — largely paid for the production of “Meant To Be.” The band knocked out most of the recordings during a weekend at the studio. A month of editing as well as some overdubbing followed.
Burris strives to give its recordings immediacy.
“We wanted to do the album as live as possible,” Hochkeppel said. “We set up all the band members in the studio, everything right then and there. We did three or four takes per song and said, ‘All right, that’s the best one. Let’s take that.’ The album really has the live sound we like so much.”
“Meant To Be” arrives shortly after Burris’ first national tour, 10 shows in 12 days in July, as far north as Philadelphia.
“Definitely eye-opening,” Hochkeppel said. “It was exhausting but, when we got back, we missed it.”
With a new album to promote, Burris has a winter tour in the works. Stops will include New Orleans, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Alexandria, Houston, Dallas and Austin. The band’s members have friends and family in all of those places.
“The road calls,” Hochkeppel said.