PODCAST: Great Caesar

Adam Renn Olenn
June 13, 2014
Great Caesar, including saxophonist and arranger Stephen Chen '10

Great Caesar is a Brooklyn-based collaborative that aims to create music about things that really matter: love, legacy, and the complexity of human relationships.  They started as a high school jazz trio in Madison, CT, and kept their musical friendship alive through six years of college, including Berklee College of Music for saxophonist Stephen Chen ’10.

In 2010, the band moved to New York City, in the tide of stories and humanity of the Big Apple, they crafted "Don't Ask Me Why."  Given audiences’ positive reaction to the song, they approached filmmaker Alex Colby, who created a bold video juxtaposing the civil rights movement of the 1960s with today’s fight for LGBT equality.

With big ideas for set pieces, a large cast and sweeping visuals, the video was an undertaking far beyond anything the band had previously attempted, and when an investor dropped out after the project had already begun rolling, the band turned to Kickstarter to and raised over $50,000–far past their goal of $35,000–to complete the project.  

Upworthy.com premiered the video on MLK day 2014, and it was quickly shared by supporters including Russell Simmons, Deepak Chopra, Wyclef Jean, Arsenio Hall, Superbowl champion Brendon Ayanbadejo, and countless others, and has amassed over 230,000 views on Youtube. 

Great Caesar has been gearing up for the release of a self-titled EP produced by Griffin Rodriguez (Beirut, Modest Mouse, A Hawk and a Hacksaw). The EP is set to release at the Daybreaker morning dance party (recently profiled in the NY Times, WSJ, and others) on June 17, just before the band flies to LA to perform at the TEDx Hollywood conference in search of the next big break.