Mad Skillet was born of a late night show in New Orleans, LA during Jazz Fest 2015. It came out kicking and screaming, laughing and wailing, laying down a deep New Orleans groove steeped in jazz, blues, psychedelic rock, and R&B. Band members are leader, keyboardist John Medeski (Medeski Martin & Wood, The Word), Grammy nominated guitarist/bandleader Will Bernard (Medicine Hat, Party Hats), New Orleans native sousaphone player Kirk Joseph (Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Backyard Groove), and drummer Terence Higgins (Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Ani DiFranco), also a New Orleans native. Medeski and Bernard’s yearly quest to play together during Jazz Fest found a special chemistry with the addition of Joseph and Higgins. The eclectic, far-reaching backgrounds of Medeski and Bernard alongside this legendary NOLA rhythm section generated what Medeski calls, “a vast musical universe with limitless potential”.
That potential is coming together to benefit Pass the Beat, an organization whose purpose to develop music education programs for disadvantaged children who reside in places around the world — such as orphanages and refugee/IDP camps — where resources for the arts are exceedingly limited, if they exist at all. The absence of music education in a child’s life can be significant. Scientific research over the last decade is proving that music education is a powerful tool in helping children attain their full potential. From our most joyous and brightest moments to our loneliest and darkest hours, music provides a medium through which we can better understand and internalize the myriad experiences of our lives. But the power of music even transcends its ability to speak and to heal: through education, music can help us reach our intellectual, social, and creative potential. And nowhere is music education a more powerful tool than in the tiny, growing hands of the world’s most precious resource – our children.