“The PHQ is a true, seasoned ensemble laying down a musical vision with common purpose.”—Pat Courtemanche
Twin Cities jazz fans may not always appreciate our great fortune—to live in a community blessed with some of the finest musicians in the country, artists who have played with such legends as Charlie Rouse, Kenny Barron, Benny Golson, Benny Carter, Jay McShann, and Dewey Redman. Count drummer Phil Hey among our local giants! And count his Phil Hey Quartet among our local treasurers, long associated with the Artists Quarter and now finding other venues from which to launch their musical fireworks. Hot off their debut on the main stage of the Iowa City Jazz Festival on July 2, the PHQ comes home to headline Thursday Night Jazz at Reverie on July 7 at 9 pm, following an opening set from young guitarist Julian Manzara and his quartet at 7 pm.
Phil Hey Quartet (9 pm)
While there are many jazz quartets in town, few have the Modern Jazz Quartet configuration of vibes plus rhythm section. Described by Jazz Police Administrator Don Berryman as a “no-nonsense, uncompromising band of local jazz greats,” the PHQ puts the music of Coltrane, Shorter, Coleman and more (music that more often features horns) in the virtuoso hands of Hey, pianist Phil Aaron, bassist Tom Lewis, and vibes man Dave Hagedorn. Together as an ensemble since Artists Quarter owner Kenny Horst asked Hey to lead a band in 2000, leader Hey notes that “this is a real band. Everyone in the group is a bandleader in his own right and we have really come together as an ensemble.” In 2006, the PHQ released Subduction, landing on many area “best of” lists. Said Don Berryman, “The word ‘subduction’ deals with the movement of tectonic plates that is a slow process that can result in earthquakes and volcanic activity. Likewise, music on this CD builds tension subtly and releases that tension in great rhythmic eruptions.” The PHQ was a nearly monthly fixture on the Artists Quarter calendar since its inception and througout the AQ’s run until the club closed at the end of 2013.
A former student of Ed Blackwell and Marv Dahlgren, Phil Hey was born in New York City and raised in Philadelphia. One of the busiest drummers in his adopted home in the Twin Cities, Phil toured for 20 years with the late Dewey Redman and is often on the bandstand backing touring artists, local vocalists (Connie Evingson, Lucia Newell), and small ensembles (Chris Lomheim, Laura Caviani, Mary Louise Knutson, Dave Karr). Phil (along with bassist Gordy Johnson) has toured with British vocalist Stacey Kent, including gigs at Birdland in New York. He also manages percussion duties for the Pete Whitman X-Tet, Benny Weinbeck Trio, Dean Sorenson Sextet and Chris Bates’ Good Vibes Trio, and teaches at the U of M and St. Olaf College. Phil’s recording credits are legion, including on the Artegra label with the Chris Lomheim Trio (The Bridge), Pete Whitman Quintet (Sound of Water) and X-Tet (Where’s When). His more recent recordings include a volcanic duo with trumpeter Kelly Rossum (Conflict), a sublime trio date with Mary Louise Knutson (In the Bubble), and the 2014 debut release of the Good Vibes Trio. Phil also contributed to Von Freeman’s Live at the Dakota, rating four stars from Down Beat. In 2006, City Pages named Phil its Jazz Artist of the Year.
Vibes master Dave Hagedorn directs the award-winning jazz bands and percussion ensemble at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN. With degrees from the University of Minnesota, New England Conservatory and Eastman School of Music, and studies with George Russell, his performance schedule includes percussion duties with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and Minnesota Opera, and regular jazz gigs with the Phil Hey Quartet, Pete Whitman X-Tet and Good Vibes Trio. He’s also appeared in duo with former student/pianist Dan Cavanagh, with whom he released Horizon in 2010. In fall 2012, Hagedorn and Dave Milne launched a new ensemble dedicated to the music of Bobby Hutcherson and Harold Land, dubbed Spiral Visions—with cohorts Aaron, Lewis and Hey. At St. Olaf, Dave has led jazz bands to DownBeat student ensemble awards, and on a tour of Cuba in spring 2016. Dave’s acclaimed CD, Solid Liquid, was released on Artegra Records. Notes Don Berryman, Hagedorn “brings an integrated knowledge of complex harmony and rhythm that never fails to swing or to move anyone with ears.”
Tom Lewis (bass) is a busy sideman throughout the Twin Cities, a “straight-ahead, hard bop, and bebop bassist and he swings like anything” (Don Berryman). He played in Eddie Berger’s last band, The Jazz All-Stars, and has appeared with such touring artists as Benny Golson, Mose Allison, Jim Rotondi, Slide Hampton, Lew Tabackin, and Charles McPherson . He’s a veteran of the Phil Aaron Trio, Out to Lunch Quintet, and The Five; a member of the Bottomless Pit ensemble, Dean Sorenson Sextet, and Charmin and Shapira and Friends; and appears on numerous recordings with area musicians.
Pianist Phil Aaron is a Chicago native who studied music at the Berklee College of Music and the University of Illinois. After ten years in LA, he moved to Minneapolis in 1989, becoming fully immersed in the local jazz scene. By day, Phil works as a composer of film and television scores winning an Emmy in 2007 for his scoring work on the PBS animated series, “Auto-B-Good.” As a performing jazz artist, Phil has shared the stage with Lee Konitz, Eric Alexander, Jim Rotondi, Jim Snidero, Byron Stripling, Barbara Morrison and Jackie Allen, among others, and has provided piano accompaniment to many local jazz singers and ensembles. An active recording artist as sideman and on five CDs of his own, Phil plays regularly with his own trio, Lucia Newell and Joyce Lyons, as well as the Phil Hey Quartet. Drawing inspiration from Bill Evans, Cedar Walton, Tommy Flanagan, and Keith Jarrett, he “can swing hard or wax romantic at the keyboard” (Minneapolis Star Tribune).
Julian Manzara Quartet (7 pm)
Seeking a band that was able to realize his original compositions in a wide variety of styles, yet able to play traditional jazz as well, guitarist, composer, and bandleader Julian Manzara formed this quartet (with Levi Schwartzberg, Drew Stinson and Geo Randall) in January 2016. A recent graduate of the guitar performance program at McNally Smith College of Music and an alum of the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Julian and the quartet will present two sets of original compositions, featuring improvisation in fusion, swing, Brazilian, and blues styles.
Minneapolis native Julian Manzara left college studies at the Berklee College of Music to tour with rock band The Lone Crows. Julian later returned to studying music and graduated from McNally Smith College of Music with a B.M. in Guitar Performance. He is currently writing new music and developing a home recording studio.
Drew Stinson is a modern bass player studying at McNally Smith College of Music. His versatility and extensive understanding of his instrument allows him to work well in a creative setting but also as a sideman in any rhythm section. In addition to playing bass for the Julian Manzara Quartet, Drew is a founding member of Sound Skirmish, a quartet with Patrick Adkins, Levi Schwartzberg and Ben Ehrlich.
Geoffrey Randall is a young and upcoming drummer living in St. Paul, MN who received his degree in Percussion Performance from McNally Smith College of Music in 2014. Geo has performed in New York City, Denver, Green Bay, Nashville, and beyond. He performs in multiple groups, and recently played drums in a production of The Buddy Holly Story.
Levi Schwartzberg, another Minneapolis native, just finished his sophomore year at the University of Minnesota, where he is majoring in physics. Fluent on keyboards and vibraphone, he plays in a wide variety of local groups, including Sound Skirmish, Adam Linz’s Le Percheron, and Davu Seru’s No Territory Band, along with his own ensembles.
Thursday Night Jazz at Reverie (formerly The Nicollet) is curated by Steve Kenny. Reverie is located at 1931 Nicollet Avenue South in Minneapolis (on the corner of Franklin Av). No cover but tips ($10 suggested) are appreciated to support the musicians and the series. Full schedule at www.thursdaynightjazzatreverie.info