Formed in 1987 by saxophonist Roy Nathanson and trombonist Curtis Fowlkes
(both former members of no-wave combo the Lounge Lizards),
the Jazz Passengers debuted with
Broken Night/ Red Light (1987), that shows their evolution from a duo
to a full-fledged band with vibraphonist Bill Ware, bassist Brad Jones, etc.
Their Dadaesque wit, hyper-fusion of ethnic, rock and funk music, free improvisation and elegant post-modernist quotations blossomed on
Deranged & Decomposed (1989) and especially
Implement Yourself (1988), containing Indian Club Bombardment,
and featuring guitarist Marc Ribot and violinist Jim Nolet.
Live at the Knitting Factory (january 1991), adding
Yuka Honda on sampler and Marcus Rojas on tuba, contained Tikkun.
A bit too anarchic even by Frank Zappa's standards, Plain Old Joe (1993)
signaled the end of the epic era.
In Love (1994) enrolled a stew of vocalists (from
Deborah Harry of Blondie to singer-songwriters Freedy Johnston and Jeff Buckley).
Individually Twisted (1996), that included two duets by Harry with Elvis Costello, and Live In Spain (july 1997), that included Lady Butter, were billed as collaborations between the Jazz Passengers and Debbie Harry.
The latter was the first album without Fowlkes.
Reunited (2010) was their first album in twelve years.
The live Nearness And You (june 2015) documents the acoustic septet of the Jazz Passengers' Roy Nathanson (alto, soprano & baritone saxes, vocals), Arturo O'Farrill, Anthony Coleman and Myra Melford (all on piano), Marc Ribot (acoustic guitar), and Curtis Fowlkes and Lucy Hollier (trombones).