Coulon began when vocalist extraordinaire Imani Uzuri asked her dear friends, Rozz Nash (former lead singer of Groove Collective and Slavic Soul Party) and Neil Coulon (former drummer of the Boston-based band “27”), to perform at her Blue Note show in January ’08. The soon-to-be-married couple didn’t have any songs, and had played together only once-at a friend’s wedding. Overwhelmed with plans for their own wedding in Brazil, Neil and Rozz started preparing for the planned gig just a week beforehand, co-writing a song called “By My Side,” an ode to the couple’s commitment to each another. At the show, Imani introduced the duo to the world as Coulon . . . and that’s how the magic began.
Rozz met drummer Mark Manczuk back in 1999, when he shared a tabla teacher with her then-boyfriend. Mark is a first generation Polish-American, whose father is a drummer. Mark began playing parties and functions with high school bands when he was just 10, and built his own drum set in high school (He still uses it!). He formed the local sensation Canine and worked as a freelance session and live musician before moving to New York in 2008. Since then Mark has been teaching drums and percussion; he teaches music to students with autism at P370K and wrote and released an instructional DVD, "Learn Rock Drums," which is sold in 12 countries.
Rozz and Mark ran into each other again at a rock festival called WIMBASH, created by Living Colour’s bassist Doug Wimbish, who had produced an EP for Rozz’s band Red Lotus. Mark was performing with a soul rock band, and Rozz and Neil marveled at his skill and ease on stage. A year later Mark came to jam with the couple one night, and they realized that the sound of the tabla enriched their music. They asked Mark to join Coulon, aware that his use of tabla, udu, and doumbek really set the band’s sound apart.
Over the summer of 2008, Neil and Rozz continued to compose more songs, many of which were written on the beaches of Greece and Cyprus. There was an ease about how quickly the songs came and developed, much like the love they were experiencing. By the time fall came, the couple had completed an album’s worth of material, which they previewed at a Joe’s Pub show, alongside friends Greta Gertler, Morley, Haale, and Carol C. (SiSé). It was an amazing night--and the buzz about Coulon lit a fire under them!
One of Rozz’s boot camp clients (Yes, she’s a fitness and dance instructor, too!) happened to be a music producer and engineer who had a spot in Williamsburg called Studio G. Joel Hamilton--who has worked with Elvis Costello, Tom Waits, The Black Keys, The Giraffes, etc.--took on the project, and in five days, helped them create magic. Rozz’s friends, bassist Hans Glawishnig (Ray Barreto, Chick Corea) and trumpet and flugelhorn player Jordan McLean (Antibalas, Ornette Coleman), along with Joel’s cellist pal Marika Hughes (Bjork, Yo-Yo Ma), rounded out the band’s sound. Since then Coulon has been playing Manhattan’s Rockwood Music Hall regularly. The growth of Coulon's audience and its music have been a true testament to the quality of the ensemble. Salon, the group's debut album, is the gift the band is excited to share with the world.