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 Thursday, 24 April 2014
Ginger Commodore Quartet Celebrates Bobby’s 60th at the Dakota, March 8th Print E-mail
Written by Andrea Canter, Contributing Editor   
Tuesday, 05 March 2013

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Ginger Commodore Quartet © Andrea Canter
 

It’s March and that means time to celebrate birthdays with Ginger and Bobby Commodore at the Dakota! But Bobby gets most of the limelight this year as he celebrates that big one, 60! The party will be Friday, March 8th, featuring the Ginger Commodore Quartet (with Bobby, Lee Blaske, Mark Weisberg) and special guests Kathy Jensen and Deevo Dee). And just to ensure it is a family celebration, Late Night at the Dakota will feature Commodore offspring, Brandon and Ashley Commodore, performing with very funky BoomBox.

Ginger and Bobby

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Bobby Commodore©Andrea Canter
Displaying an elastic voice that seems to fit the blues as well as the ballad or pop cover, Ginger Commodore began her career as a long-time member of the Grammy Award-winning Sounds of Blackness. She’s an original member of Women Who Cook and Moore by Four, and has performed with Yanni, The Minnesota Opera Company, the Twin City Gospel Ensemble, the J.D. Steele Singers, and with local theater productions, including Penumbra Theater, Mixed Blood Theater, Hey City Theater, Childrens Theater and Chanhassan Dinner Theater; she has toured internationally with the Chiffons and performed with Doc Severinsen at Orchestra Hall. As part of the Witness Music Series under the direction of Phillip Brunelle, she brings her music into the schools, where she has performed with keyboard virtuoso Patrice Rushen. When not otherwise busy on stage, Ginger performs with her own quartet and with Bobby’s BWC. Noted Britt Robson of City Pages, “Ginger possesses some of the sweetest and most clarion pipes in town.” With her band, Ginger released Live! Hot Summer Jazz in 2007, a set that includes Ginger’s most requested songs.

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Ginger Commodore©Andrea Canter
 

Bobby Commodore is familiar to anyone who frequents the Dakota, not just for his work behind the drumkit but also for his work behind the scenes managing and tweaking the sound for local and national artists. In addition to 20 years with Sound of Blackness (where he met Ginger), Bobby was drummer and business manager for Moore By Four for 12 years from its inception in 1986, has played for church choirs and theater productions, and is an in-demand timekeeper for many area vocalists, including Debbie Duncan, Bruce Henry, Dennis Spears, Connie Evingson, Yolande Bruce and Cynthia (Funky Town) Johnson. He formed BWC to explore classic and should-be classic jazz repertoire, with Mark Weisberg on bass and Lee Blaske on piano, and often featuring guitar and/or sax. And if Ginger is singing, you can be sure Bobby is keeping the time, as well as serving as her Musical Director.

The Band

Pianist Lee Blaske is known as a composer and arranger as well as keyboard performer. He’s handled orchestrations for Sounds of Blackness, Janet Jackson, Gladys Knight, The Steeles, Amy Grant, Johnny Gill and many Flyte Time artists, as well as a number of radio and television commercial projects. He’s also performed with such artists as Chuck Berry, Del Shannon and Bobby Vinton, and has worked with the pit orchestras of traveling Broadway productions. Lee has served as long-time accompanist for Ginger Commodore and for Bobby Commodore’s Trio and BWC. Mark Weisberg balances his music with his “day job” as a clinical psychologist. He served as bassist/guitarist/musical director for Canadian television and worked as a bassist and vocalist in Detroit before moving back to the Twin Cities. In addition to his work with the BWC and Ginger Commodore, he has played with Rio Nido, Moore by Four, Jeanne Arland Peterson, the Wolverines, Connie Evingson, Dennis Spears, Patty Peterson, Bruce Henry and more. Kathy Jensen is a popular performer on alto, tenor, and bari sax—a horn that stands nearly as tall as Kathy. Among her many projects, she has toured with Prince, and plays with brass ensemble Hornheads, the JazzMN Orchestra, and her own Kathy J Band. Kathy has a degree in music education and is a dedicated instructor. A graduate of Illinois State University, Deevo Dee is CEO of LeftD Entertainment, plays with Sounds of Blackness and RFactor, and was previously a member of the Dan Kusz band.   

 

Boombox

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Brandon Commodore©Andrea Canter
Late Night at the Dakota brings some high-energy grooves to keep you awake. Boombox is one of the area’s top R&B/funk/hip-hop ensembles and a regular attraction at Bunkers. The band includes Brandon Commodore (Mint Condition) on drums, Ashley “Ash Smash” Commodore (Sounds of Blackness) on vocals, Jesse Larson on guitar and vocal , Beeph on vocals,  David Billingsley on keys, Yohannes Tona (Dr. Mambo’s Combo, Nachito Herrera) on bass, David Glen on guitar and vocals, and Breasha Turner on vocals.

 

Getting a little cabin fever with our late winter white-out? Help Bobby Commodore ease into the 60s; wish Ginger a happy birthday too, and hang out to hear the next generation! All this music on Friday night, March 8th at the Dakota!

 

The Dakota is located at 1010 Nicollet Mall, downtown Minneapolis. Reservations recommended at 612-332-1010; information online at www.dakotacooks.com. The Ginger Commodore Quartet begins at 8 pm, $10 cover. Late Night at the Dakota begins around 11 pm, separate $5 cover.


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