At the core of Bon Bon Vivant there’s Abigail Cosio (vocals and songwriting), Jeremy Kelley (saxophone and bass) and their professional and personal relationship that started in Los Angeles in 2003. They met through friends; he came to see her play. She “saw this gorgeous man,” she says, and they “hit it off.” Abigail’s sister Glori Cosio is also part of the project, providing backing vocals, so she moved too when the couple decided to “start over” in New Orleans over a decade ago.
“We were born 13 months apart so we are really close,” Abigail says of her sister. The Cosio sisters grew up in a religious and musical family in Simi Valley. When Kelley and Cosio first started dating he couldn’t believe his luck – his now father-in-law never lets a guitar out of his hands, he’s “always plonking away,” even while talking.
In 2004 Kelley went to New Orleans and “fell in love with the city.”
“There’s a duality to New Orleans,” Kelley says. “New Orleans is about a celebration of life that is not easy, that has this dark, gritty past. It’s a place where you learn that before Disney Dixie jazz, there was bluesy jazz that was born in New Orleans.”
They moved in 2010 when the town was in the process of rebuilding after Katrina. Cosio talks about a wave of newcomers and an “almost kinetic energy,” plus a lot of compassion. There they met Jason Jurzak, the current lead guitarist of the band.
“Bon Bon Vivant is at this point up to 10 people, who rotate depending on their schedule,” Cosio says. “In 2011 a lot of life happened. Our original drummer had a baby and we needed another drummer.” Fortunately, New Orleans is a city of musicians.
Over the past seven years, Kelley has mainly played bass, but now he is bringing saxophone, the instrument he started playing in seventh grade, back to the gypsy, chaotic sound of Bon Bon Vivant (the band name is a play on two phrases related to pleasure: “bon vivant,” as in a life connoisseur, and “bon bon,” two syllables associated with chocolate confections).
To imagine the sound, conjure an eclectic, genre-bending style that combines elements of jazz, rock and up-tempo dance, plus haunting female vocals and original lyrics. If you crave such carnival tunes, dark and deep in tone with a bit of a Mardi Gras vibe, give Bon Bon Vivant a listen.
BON BON VIVANT 8:30pm Friday, Jan. 21. Sly’s Refueling Station, 700 Cannery Row, Monterey. Free. 649-8050, slymcflys.com
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