Record Store Day and More. Music: 4.17. 4.23

April 17, 2013
Mr Spock knows the power of vinyl

Mr Spock knows the power of vinyl

Can we finally be welcoming Spring? One sure sign is Record Store Day this Saturday. It’s a day to visit your independent record store where you’ll find special releases, and at some, performances by area artists. Flip through racks of vinyl and CDs. Check with stores like Eclipse in Saint Paul, and Hymie’s, Treehouse, the Electric Fetus, and Roadrunner Records in Minneapolis to see what they have in store for the day. And once you’ve obtained some recorded product, make sure you support the musicians by going out and hearing them perform. We’ve got some notable jazz artists visiting our fair cities, and many resident artists worthy of your attention. Have a good week.


Wednesday, April 17 Zacc Harris Trio @ Cafe Maude, Minneapolis. 7pm – 10pm  (Free) Harris on guitar brings New York bassist Ryan Berg and drummer Lars Larson to the South Minneapolis neighborhood bistro. Good food, terrific cocktails, and outstanding music. If you make reservations, which is always recommended, ask for a table near the band.

Thursday, April 18

DownloadedFileTalking Strings @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) This is a new configuration of players that is worth getting excited about. Pavel Jany is the guitarist behind Ticket to Brasil. He’s versatile in a number of genres, including jazz, Latin, and classical settings. Gary Schulte on violin is likewise a master of his instrument. He’s played with David Byrne, Ballet of the Dolls, Klezmerica, and in gypsy jazz and occasional blues settings. Andrew Forman provides the foundation on bass. Another versatile musician, he’s played with Max Corcorn Project, Ticket To Brasil, Paisley Parker, and any number of jazz, Latin, and soul aggregations.

Francisco Mela @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm – 10pm (Free) Cuban born percussionist Mela will be conducting a free workshop, including performances with Tanner Taylor, piano; Chris Bates, bass; and Brandon Wozniak, sax;  An interesting evening for music fans as well as musicians, sponsored by the Twin Cities Jazz Society.

Friday, April 19

Brad Bellows/Donald Washington Quartet @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (tip jar) Bellows plays valve trombone. Washington plays reeds. Together with Chis Bates on bass; and Pete Hennig on drums, this groups creates free jazz, as in music that isn’t written or planned beforehand. You need lots of experience and good communication to make such musicianship work, and this group has it in spades.

Friday, Saturday, April 19, 20

David Hazeltine @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($15) Pianist Hazeltine is known as a “musician’s musician.” The man can play. He’s an inventive, 21st Century player who’s well grounded in the classics. This is a show that jazz fans will not want to miss. For an example of his playing, check out this video of him playing a Monk tune.

Sunday April 21 DownloadedFile-1

Red Planet @ Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 4pm ($15) The Twin Cities Jazz Society is presenting this trio in The Spirit of Trane. it may seem strange to have a guitar trio take on the music of John Coltrane, but  Dean Magraw  guitar; Chris Bates, bass; and Jay Epstein on drums successfully treat Coltrane’s material with imagination and verve.

JoAnn Funk w/The Roseville Strings @ Concordia Academy, 2400 North Dale, Roseville. 3:30pm (Free) The Roseville String ensemble will be performing a few classical numbers (Tartini, Handel) and then feature JoAnn as a guest soloist on “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,” a classic by Duke Ellington. Pre-concert discussion at 3pm.

Tuesday, April 23

Dave Karr Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Dave Karr brings his quartet to the AQ on a different night than usual. The music won’t be affected, of course. Karr and his bandmates (Chris Lomheim, pno; Billy Peterson, bs; and Kenny Horst, drums) will still deliver standards, bebop, and more.

Molly Ringwald @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35), 9pm ($25) Yes, that Molly Ringwald, of Pretty in Pink and The Breakfast Club, and Sixteen Candles. When she was a little girl, she wanted to sing like Bessie Smith. Her dad was a jazz musician, and her film career more or less got in the way of a singing career. She’s just released an album with songs from The American Songbook, as well as a few surprises. Listen to this cut from her album.

More listings for Twin Cities jazz can be found at KBEM and at Jazz Police. Jazz Police also features jazz commentary as well, as do Bebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Thursday, April 18 Droppers @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($5) The Droppers are a quartet of musicians who’ve played with Greazy Meal, Beat the Clock, The BoDeans, and Prince, among others. Chris Beaty, guitar; Tommy Barbarella, keys; Jim Anton, bass; and Noah Levy on drums create a pop/soul sound featuring originals and covers from the likes of Booker T and others.

Friday, April 19 Reverend Raven & the Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($12) Milwaukee’s hard-touring, hard-working Reverend has become a regular fixture around here, visiting a few times a year, during which time he’s gained numerous fans for his blues, delivered like a shot of whiskey – straight up – with the same results hitting you in the gut and the head. Check out him and the band.

Gene LaFond and the Wild Unknown @ Manitou Station, White Bear Lake. 9pm (No cover) LaFond is one of those legendary singers that you never heard of. He first heard Bob Dylan when Dylan was playing coffeehouses here in the Twin Cities. Eventually, Gene started writing and singing his own uplifting songs, thanks to his friendship and musical partnership with the late Larry Kegan, befriending Dylan and opening for him. They were flown to San Francisco by Neil Young to open for him at a benefit with 20,000 in the audience. The Wild Unknown, LaFond’s first CD, was produced by Willie Murphy. Kegan has also opened for folks like Ramlin’ Jack Elliot and Kinky Friedman. This is a rare chance to hear LaFond and his band. Here they are with Scarlet Rivera on violin, doing a Dylan tune.

Grolar Bears & Friends @ Cause, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Grolar Bears is a large (>12 pieces) funk band that recorded a neo-blaxploitation soundtrack which ended up on a few best-of lists in the Twin Cities. Opening are Golden Bubbles, who admire Disco music, and the lo-fi Soul sounds of Black Diet. Funkateering Deejay Brian Engel will spin vinyl between sets.

Saturday, April 20

Cornbread Harris 86th Birthday Party @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 3pm The blues piano man is still tickling the ivories. Stop by to help him and a number of musicians celebrate his birthday.

Dee & the Band

Dee & the Band

Dee Miller Band @ Shaw’s, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) The Duchess of the Blues knows when to let loose, and when to simmer. She’s got a tight band, featuring Jimi “Prime Time” Smith. Butt-rockin’ blues, but not rock-blues.

Hot Pants @ The Nomad, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) This monthly celebration of the 45rpm record just keeps bringing out the dancers – both young and old.

Monday, April 22

Reina Del Cid & Martin Devaney @ the Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 9pm (Tip Jar) Young songwriter Del Cid leads an excellent little band playing her excellent songs. Martin Devaney is a singer/songwriter who has been producing great music for well over a decade now. The “mayor of saint paul” has shared a stage with dozens of national acts, and continues to create well-crafted songs.

Neighborhood Trio @ Barbette, Minneapolis. 10pm. Steve Roehm, vibes; Andrew Foreman, bass; and Dan Schwartz, guitar & vocals, provide laid back, atmospheric tunes.

For a more comprehensive listing of blues (and some roots) events, see the Minnesota Blues Society calendar. For a comprehensive listing of Cajun and Zydeco events, see the Krewe de Walleye calendar.

Ice Drumming

January 9, 2013

Before I post my normal weekly preview, I want to post this video,which shows a group of Siberian percussionists creating music using the ice of Lake Baikal, the deepest and oldest lake in the world.  Needless to say, don’t try this if you don’t know the thickness of the ice. Music is everywhere, if you know how to listen.


Veterans, Emerging Artists and more: 9.27 – 10.2

September 27, 2012

We’ll get to our regularly scheduled program after this message:  The KFAI Pledge drive is only one week this year. That’s right, you only have one week to pledge your support to KFAI, and only one day when I’ll be broadcasting my show in particular (Rhythm and Grooves).

Go to: and follow the instructions for pledging. Alternatively, you can call 612-375-9030 during Rhythm and Grooves from 10:30 – Noon on Saturday. Whatever you choose, I thank you for your support. BTW, Jana Nyberg will be dropping by Saturday to talk about her Tuesday gig at The Artists Quarter.

On to the week. It’s another good one for people who enjoy live music. You can choose to see young artists, veteranss, or new combinations of artists in jazz. Or, you can check out blues and roots musicians in a variety of settings. Of course, there are always more artists and more opportunities than I can describe. Just be thankful we have such a rich offering of talented musicians.


Wednesday, September 26

Courageous Endeavors @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) A new group in town, though some of the players are familiar, if young. Miguel Hurtado, who holds down the drum seat, first made his mark in town as a teenager at the turn of the century. He’s back from studies at the Manhattan School of Music and is proving to be a great addition to our jazz community. Brian Courage is on bass. He recently moved to town and is quickly establishing himself. Pianist Joe Strachan was a member of the Dakota Combo some years ago. Saxophonist Nelson Devereaux rounds out the group. Watch out for these guys.

Wednesday, Thursday, September 26, 27

Chick Corea & Gary Burton @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($80-$70) and 9pm ($60-$50) The price may seem a bit high, but you get the chance to the crystalline interplay of Corea on piano and Burton on vibes in the intimacy of the Dakota. Their first LP of duets came out forty years ago, while their latest, “Hot House,” which features a pop, Broadway, jazz and Brazilian tunes was recently released.

Thursday, September 27

Pete Whitman’s X-Tet @ the Artists’s Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8) Here’s a chance to catch ten of the Twin Cities finest jazz musicians for less than a buck a musician. Just remember that in this case, price doesn’t correlate with quality. The X-Tet, with charts by Whitman and others, swings like crazy.

Robert Bell & Naomi Uyama @ Barbette, Minneapolis. 10pm (Free) Bell is a guitar player whose interest lies in early jazz (both American and European), as well as gypsy jazz. Noami Uyama is a jazz vocalist who has danced her way around the world and studied in New York. Have some moules, frites, and wine and enjoy their music.

Friday, September 28

Dan Musselman Quartet with Hermon Mehari @ Dakota Late Night, Minneapolis. 11pm ($5) Musselman is a pianist who plays regularly with Cory Wong and has recorded a great duet album with singer Rachel Holder. He studied with Craig Taborn and Kenny Werner in New York, and has developed a strong style of his own. Mehari is a young trumpeter who has studied with Terrell Stafford, Bobby Watson, and Jaleel Shaw, among others. I saw him last week playing with Yohanes Tona and realized he’s a talented musician worth following.

Friday, Saturday, September 28, 29

Nichols, Lewis, Wozniak, Fratzke, & Bates @ The Artsits’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Here’s another combination of artists that have worked with each other in various other configurations. Bryan Nichols on piano; Michael Lewis and Brandon Wozniak on saxophones; Eric Fratzke on bass; and JT Bates on drums and percussion. All are versatile performers thoroughly capable of inspiring each other to improvisatory heights.

Saturday, September 29

Maude Hixson @ Parma 8200, 5600 West 83rd St, Bloomington. 7:30pm – 10:30pm. This is a new venue for jazz, and I have to admit I’ve not been there. But it’s a D’Amico restaurant and bar, and the few artists that have appeared already are high quality performers. Tonight, Hixson will be joined by Vincent Rose on guitar and Keith Boyles on bass. Hixson has a voice that is sometimes cool, yet also gives off some warmth. She can imput meaning to lyrics with the slightest change in her voice.

Connie Evingson Trio @ the Lexington, Saint Paul. 6:30 – 10:30pm. If you don’t want to travel to Bloomington, you can head to Saint Paul to hear the always elegant Connie Evingson. Her recent CD, “Sweet Happy Life” reached the top ten on the jazz charts and just got a very postive review in JazzTimes.

Tuesday, October 2

Todd Clouser & Bryan Nichols @ Cafe Maude, Minneapolis. 7:30 – 10:30pm. Clouser’s electric guitar is sometimes closer to rock than jazz, but he’s a more than capable jazz player. Nichols’ sensitive, sometimes airy piano will provide interesting counterpoint.

More listings for Twin Cities jazz can be found at Jazz Police. It also features jazz commentary as well, as do Bebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, September 26

Cornbread Harris @ Cafe Maude, Minneapolis. 7:30 – 10:30pm. (No Cover) Have a little boogie woogie and R&B with your dinner as Cornbread tickles the ivories and sings in that raspy voice of his.

Radio Joe & the JazzBos @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5?) Swing dancers will be out to hear Joe & his band play standards and a few originals.

Thursday, September 27

Bethany Larson & the Bees Knees @ James J. Hill Library, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($15, gen. $10 members Friends of the Library) Not to be confused with the Real-Phonic Hour, this concert is part of the Book It series sponsored by the library.  across from Rice Park.It starts off at 7:15 with an hour of music trivia. Then Bethany and the band will take the stage to deliver original folk-rockish song. Get a free beer with a library card & ID.

Friday, September 28

Friday Hipshaker Dance Party @ The KittyKat Club, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) After ten years of weeknight spinning, Brian and Greg are moving to Friday night at the KittyKat. Still plenty of good 45s to be played for your dancing pleasure.

Patty Peterson & Friends @ Bunkers, Minneapolis. 9:30 ($10) Tonight, Patty’s friends include Ricky Peterson on organ and Steve Cole on sax. It’s bound to be a cookin’ evening with Patty concentrating more on the R&B side of her repertoire.

Joe & Vicki Price @ The Driftwood Char Bar, Minneapolis. 9pm (tip jar) These Iowan bluesmasters are on a mini-tour of the Twin Cities this week. Here’s your chance to hear stripped down, delta style blues. Here’s a video to give you a idea of their sound.

Saturday, September 29

Peter Ostroushko, Dean Magraw & Dan Chouinard @ The Church of St. Joan of Arc, 4537 Third Ave So., Minneapolis. 8pm ($25.00)  Here’s a chance to hear three outstanding musicians, in a benefit organized by Ostroushko for his sister-in-law, who had a brain tumor removed. Benefit or not, it isn’t often that you get to hear one of the country’s outstanding violinists and mandolinist, along with a great guitarist (Magraw) and keyboardist (Choinard)

Rauchfest @ Harriet Brewing, Minneapolis. 1pm – 1am ($10 advance/$15 gate) Beer, music, art, and food. What else do ya want? Well, let’s look at who is performing: Ten bands including the Zack Lozier Trio, Electric Children, Mary Cutrufello, Nick the Feelin’ and The Big Wu. There’ll be four food trucks, eight different beers on tap, and a dozen or so artists and artisans, including a local beer artist, whatever that might be.

Badinovs @ The Hat Trick Lounge, Saint Paul. 9pm. ($7) To borrow a phrase, it’s Pure Pop for Now People, from this band that has arisen from the ashes of Smart Alex and Swing Set, two much loved, if under-recorded Twin Cities bands. The Badinovs haven’t played in about two years, but they’ve got a new song, Midway Joe, that’s been getting lots of play on MySpace. The paen to Joe Mauer is catchy, with a sing along chorus that should be reverberating throughout Target Field. It’s part of a new CD, Fess Up, that will be available, even though this isn’t an official CD release party.

Sunday, September 30

Brunch with Rena Haus @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 10am – 1pm (No Cover) You’ll have new appreciation for the eggs in your breakfast when you hear Rena sing of her adventures with a chicken on her farm. She’ll sing about other subjects as well, like car mechanics and the economy. It’s blues with a feeling, that’s true.

Big Walter Smith Fundraiser @ Famous Dave’s, Uptown Minneapolis. 3pm – 8pm. (Donation) Big Walter Smith was 82 when he passed in July. He was a mentor and friend to many young musician’s in town. This benefit is to help pay for medical and funeral expenses. Hosted by Jacquie Maddox (Lady J) of KFAI’s Rollin and Tumblin show, the day will feature the Soul Mates, The Groove Merchants w/Jimi Primetime Smith, Sweet Papa Dave & the Private Reserve (from Duluth) and Insider Straight

For a more comprehensive listing of blues (and some roots) events, see the Minnesota Blues Society calendar.  For a comprehensive listing of Cajun and Zydeco events, see the Krewe de Walleye calendar.

Crankshaft the Comic Strip and Symphony Sid

April 1, 2012

Today’s Sunday comic of Crankshaft, the curmudgeon with the soft heart, features a flashback scene of a young, hip musician entering the Royal Roost in NY in the early 50s, with Symphony Sid Torin providing the “voiceover” for a live broadcast. You can hear the recording of that broadcast on Charlie Parker: Bird at the Roost, on Savoy Jazz records.

Here’s a couple of YouTube recordings that give you an example of Symphony Sid’s announcing and Bird’s playing. The first is a commercial by Sid, in which he describes the Royal Roost much like today’s strip, before he launches into a spiel for some sort of face cream that sounds like it may have been for black women – it’s called Snow White!

The second is Parker doing Little Willie Leaps, with Sid doing the intro.

Bill Cosby Gets Schooled by Sonny Stitt

March 6, 2012

You may have seen this, but Cosby tells such a good story, and it gives some insight into jazz and jam sessions. Plus, check out Jack Benny’s reaction.

Remembering Christine Rosholt

January 2, 2012
Christine doing what she loved.  Andrea Canter photo.


The first time I saw Christine Rosholt, she wasn’t on stage. I didn’t even know who she was, yet I knew she was special. It was a drizzly afternoon at the Hot Summer Jazz Festival, some years ago. My wife and I were sitting in the lower portion of the Orchestra Hall Plaza when a couple went strolling by. She was wearing a white dress with red polka dots, and carried a red umbrella – a bright flower, if you will, radiating light where there had been none. Nothing about that impression changed when later I met her, and found out she was a singer of the Great American Songbook.

I had her on my show when her second album, Lipstick, came out. It was recorded live at The Dakota, and revealed Christine’s playful nature to any who hadn’t seen her perform. She loved interacting with the audience and with her fellow musicians.

Between sets Christine would work a room, greeting fans and friends with genuine enthusiasm. Whether performing at small clubs, libraries, theaters, or fundraisers, Christine was especially good at remembering the names of everyone she met. Her enthusiasm and friendliness wasn’t limited to her performances, as I discovered when running into her at other shows.

I saw Christine performing twice in the last two months. The December 1 CD release for PAZZ, her latest, was great fun, as she shared the stage with many of the musicians that helped her on the album. As a pop/jazz album (hence the name) it’s a change of pace, but highly successful. Her joy in recording the songs is palpable on record, as it was that night at The Dakota.

I also saw her on November 1, when she was singing with Beasley’s Big Band at O’Gara’s in Saint Paul. Despite the relatively small room and an out of tune piano, Christine was having a ball. At one point during an uptempo version of “Somebody Loves Me,” the piano player quoted “A Train.” Christine turned, and without dropping a beat, quipped, “You wanna go uptown?”

That moment was pure Christine – warm, witty, radiating light, and in her element. She will be missed.

Sean Jones

February 21, 2011
Sean Jones at the 2010 Twin Cities Jazz FestivalTrumpeter Sean Jones has a muscular, yet often lyrical approach to contemporary jazz. He has been called a Young Lion, a Firebrand, a Rising Star (Downbeat, 2006, 2007), and Best New Artist (Jazz Times Readers Poll, 2007). Barely thirty, he has released five albums on Detroit’s Mack Avenue Records, played on the Grammy Award-winning Turned to Blue by Nancy Wilson, and has served as a session man with Joe Lovano, Jimmy Heath, Frank Foster, and Jon Faddis, as well as for label-mates Tia Fuller and Gerald Wilson. 

At his Twin Cities Jazz Festival performance on June 17, Jones and his quartet came out blazing, causing at least one fan to wonder at the band’s incendiary performance, declaring his awe with, “This is the warm-up?” [Note: Jones preceded Joe Lovano on the Mears Park stage.] Jones debuted original music from an upcoming album, sharing it as a gift to the audience. I talked with Jones by phone about a week before his performance, as he took a break from a recording session.  This interviewed was first published on Bebopified.

LE: Good morning, Mr. Jones, how are you today?
Sean Jones: I’m doing well, how are you?

LE: Just fine. You said you are in the studio. Are you doing some new recording?
SJ: I’m actually in the studio with Gerald Wilson. We’re working on his next record. Next week I’m in the studio with my band.

LE: I notice you’ve been on a couple of Wilson’s records on Mack Avenue Records. He’s one of the masters.
SJ: He certainly is. He’s one of the staples of the Big Band rep, and I’m honored to work with him.

LE: What is your first memory of music?
SJ: Wow. (Pauses.) Actually, the first memory of music that I have is being in church, I think I was about five years old and saw the choir director directing the choir and I thought it was pretty cool that when he made a gesture with his hands there was sound. I thought the sound was coming out of his hands. I know that sounds strange, but I actually thought the sound was coming from his hands. So after church, when everyone  was finding their way out the door, I went up to the choir stand and put my hands out thinking there was going to be sound, and there was no sound. I went to my momma and asked, “How come there’s no sound when I do it?” She said “Well, you know, that’s the music. They‘re playing the music, they’re playing the instruments.” So I’ve always been intrigued by music, man, since I was five years old.

LE: Was the choir director the first musician you admired?
SJ: I didn’t necessarily admire him, I think it was music as a whole. The first musician I ever really admired was a guy named Eddie Howard, an organist at our church. He would do stuff with his hands and feet that I thought, wow, that’s pretty amazing. I had to be in elementary school then.

LE: What was the impetus for your decision to become a jazz musician?
SJ: I would have to say, sixth grade, where I had a great teacher named Jessica Turner. She brought two Miles Davis records in. She brought Miles Davis’ Amandla, and Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue, and I kind of fell in love with jazz. Then I knew that I would at least be listening to that kind of music for the rest of my life. I didn’t know until high school that I would make a career out of it.

LE: When you made that decision, what was behind that, your decision to become a jazz musician?
SJ: Two things. Someone asked me what’s the first thing you want to do when you wake up in the morning. I said, “I want to play my trumpet.” They said, “Well, that should be your career.” Then I wrote a letter to my mother telling her what I would be doing ten years from my sixteenth birthday. Those two things really led me in this direction.

LE: When you made that decision, you went to school and studied classical trumpet.
SJ: Right.

LE: What made you decide to study classical trumpet, as opposed to going to a jazz school?
SJ: Well, I figured it’s very important to understand the instrument. I wanted to study the pedagogical component of playing music, which is: knowing your instrument inside and out. Studying jazz, or any genre for that matter, is pretty much about learning the musicianship required to play a certain type of music, swing, chords, all of that. That’s musicianship. Pedagogy is how to play the instrument, or the vehicle that you choose to make music. I think a lot of jazz musicians, sort of in hindsight, begin to study the pedagogy of their instrument, because they find out their musicianship far exceeds what they’re able to do with their vehicle of choice, their instrument. For me, I wanted to make sure that both were balanced, all the way through.

LE: Now you teach at Duquesne University.
SJ: That’s correct.

LE: What are the two or three main points that you tell your students when they take one of your classes?
SJ: First and foremost, you have to be able to play your instrument. It’s extremely important to know your instrument in and out. To be able to play anything that you possibly can on your instrument. Know a variety of styles, and also get in touch with your humanity. Those three things, to me, make you a great musician. Know your instrument. Know the music, and know how to be a great human being. It’s extremely important.

LE: That will all come out in your playing.
SJ: That’s right.

LE: For the last few years you’ve been the lead trumpet for the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. You’ve also put out five albums. You’re obviously doing sideman work with Gerald Wilson, Tia Fuller, and others. What have you learned from working with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra?
SJ: Work ethic. Sitting next to Wynton Marsalis, I really learned how to work and what the meaning of work is. I’ve never seen a human being work as hard as him. He really makes you want to do more when you see how much he’s working on music, raising money, going to talk with kids, and all those different things. People can say all they want about Wynton’s musicianship, and his opinions, that’s fine. But you can’t knock his work ethic. That man works extremely hard. I definitely learned that.

LE: Is there anything that you’ve learned on your own that has been important to you and your development as a musician?
SJ: People want to feel you. People want to hear your story. People want humanity when they come to hear you perform. They don’t want to hear a bunch of notes. They don’t want to hear how good you think you are, or how good you are. They want a very human experience and then they’ll go home. Because they’re trying to escape their daily routines, and their daily issues. That’s what I’m trying to do each time I get on stage and each time I put an album out.

LE: Now you’re embarking on a tour. You’ll be here in the Twin Cities for the Twin Cities Jazz Festival. You’ve played in the past with your own group. Is this a new aspect to your career?
SJ: I wouldn’t say it’s new. I’m trying to work with this ensemble a lot more. It’s become a priority. It’s always been a priority, but it’s definitely a priority now. I’ve stepped down from the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra to deal with my own band and my own projects full time. It’s a big step, but I’m ready for it. Also, I’ll be playing with different people. All summer I’ll be on tour with Marcus Miller, so I’m looking forward to steps in new directions.

LE: Who’s going to be with your band when you play here in the Twin Cities?
SJ: It will be Orrin Evans on piano, Luques Curtis on bass, Obed Calvaire on drums, and Brian Hogans on saxophone.

LE: Your most recent album, The Search Within, came out last year on Mack Avenue records. It’s a very personal album.
SJ: It’s definitely very personal, about my journey into my thirties, looking back, and plowing ahead into the future. The next album is pretty personal, too. It’s about love, and exploring the different aspects of love. It’s not all about love with flowers and candy and all of that. It’s the varying aspects of love.

LE: Which brings me to my final question. What’s been the most satisfying aspect of your career so far?
SJ: Just being on stage and seeing people happy about what they heard. Being able to move audiences. I’ve been a lot of places playing with a lot of people. Nothing beats the energy and the synergy of the audience when they’re feeling you, when you’re feeling them. I crave that, and I’m looking to many more years of that.

LE: Thank you so very much for your time. I look forward to seeing and hearing you at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival in Saint Paul next weekend.
SJ: We’re going to have a ball. Thank you.

Photo of Sean Jones at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival by John Whiting.

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