© Andrea Canter
The JazzMN Orchestra continues its 2016-17 season at the Auditorium at Hopkins High School on March 5, 3:00 p.m. with a “NexGen” Concert with special guests from the LA Urban Renewal Project. The concert opens with talented Minnesota youth in the Minnesota Youth Jazz Bands and the Dakota Combo.
“This NexGen performance will be a little different from our typical JazzMN concerts,” notes JazzMN Director Doug Snapp. “As we seek to engage new jazz audiences and present music that reflects the wide spectrum of jazz-related styles, we designed this concert to feature the talented young artists in the Twin Cities, along with the creative jazz stylings of the next generation of jazz musicians across the country. The Minnesota Youth Jazz Bands and the Dakota Jazz Combo represent the finest student jazz musicians in the region. These are our ambassadors who are spreading the love and passion for jazz to their friends, classmates, and new jazz fans.”
Founded by Dave Mitchell, Minnesota Youth Jazz Bands now encompasses three full-year ensembles for high school musicians, and two spring “honor band” programs for middle school and north metro students. Students rehearse and perform regularly; Jazz I, II and III also make a recording each year. The Dakota Combo is a program of the MacPhail Center for Music supported by funding from the Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education. Now in its eleventh year, the program serves 5-8 metro region high school student musicians each year, selected by open auditions. The Combo, directed by Adam Linz, rehearses biweekly and performs at area jazz venues including the Twin Cities and Iowa City Jazz Festivals each year.
Following brief sets from MYJB and the Dakota Combo, the JazzMN Orchestra will conclude the first half of the program performing compositions by The Uptown Jazz Tentet, the John Mills Times Ten Tentet, and the Phil Norman Tentet. “This music showcases a range of genres from swingin’ standards to modern styles in a jazz setting,” say Snapp. After intermission, JazzMN returns to the stage with featured artists, saxophonist R.W. Enoch, vocalist Alex Nester, and hip-hop artist Elmer Demond from the Los Angeles-based Urban Renewal Project. Described as “encompassing original soul, hip-hop and jazz grooves with a big band sound,” these featured musicians will be the first to provide the JazzMN audience with the sound of rap with big band. “I think you will find the similarities to jazz improvisation more familiar than expected,” suggests Snapp. “These young Los Angeles artists bring experience with projects in film, TV (American Idol), and performances with music icons Santana and Tito Jackson. As is always true in JazzMN concerts, we anticipate a number of exciting ‘live jazz’ moments.”
One of the top big bands in the Midwest, the nonprofit JazzMN Orchestra was formed in 1999 to “promote, preserve and perpetuate jazz, America’s indigenous art music, through performance, historical preservation, and education.” The band is directed by founder Doug Snapp and features some of the best musicians in the Twin Cities: Saxophones – Brian Grivna, Pete Whitman, Dave Karr, Dale Mendenhall and Kathy Jensen; Trombones – Michael B. Nelson, Dave Graf, Ethan Freier and Wade Clark; Trumpets – Bob Hallgrimson, Jeff Gottwig, Adam Rossmiller and Dave Jensen; Piano – Mary Louise Knutson; Guitar – Dave Singley; Bass – Terry Burns; and Drums- Joe Pulice.
The final concert of the season takes place on April 8, featuring guest conductor/arranger Maria Schneider.
JazzMN concerts are held at the Hopkins High School Auditorium at 2400 Lindbergh Dr., Minnetonka. Tickets: $33 – $31 (adults) and $18 – $10 (students) in advance; $37 – $35 (adults) and $20 – $10 (students) at the door. 800-595-4849 or jazzmn.org/tickets