Most gigs on the Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog series feature two bands, an opening set at 7 pm (often a group of young artists or a new ensemble) followed at 8:30 pm by a veteran group. On February 20, this format presents Yo Jimbo in the opening slot, followed by a relatively new collaboration of veteran jazzers, Solomon Parham with Steve Kenny, a cross-generational double trumpet quintet that was recently heard the the Winter Jazz Festival. Kenny curates this series which is now in its second year in St. Paul’s Lowertown.
Yo Jimbo (7 pm)
Joining leader Jimbo Robson (drums) will be Jerry Shelton on trumpet, Steve Klein on alto sax, Jerry Benson on tenor sax, Brian Van Stavern on trombone, Ron Peterson on piano, and John Brown on bass. This will be one of the largest ensembles on the tiny Black Dog Stage (and floor!).
Solomon Parham With Steve Kenny (8:30 pm)
For a relatively small band, this ensemble boasts plenty of firepower with leader Solomon Parhman on trumpet and Steve Kenny on his trademark FLUMPET™, a trumpet/flugelhorn hybrid. Their cohorts include Peter Schimke on piano, Ted Olsen on bass, and Rodney Ruckus on drums. This band drew an overflow crowd last month at the Winter Jazz Festival in downtown St. Paul.
Trumpeter and educator Solomon Parham came to the Twin Cities from Detroit where he taught in public school and performed at Baker’s Keyboard Lounge. He’s also performed with Delfeayo Marsalis’ Jazz for Kids, “”Jazz and Jasmine Meets the Jazz Band,” Wessell Anderson, Eric Gravatt’s Source Code, and at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival, Artists Quarter, Dakota, Bedlam, Jazz Central and more. Currently, Solomon teaches in the St. Paul Schools and directs jazz ensembles at Walker West Music Academy. He also leads Solomon’s Sessions every Sunday night at The Bedlam.
Steve Kenny (FLUMPET™) co-founded the popular 90s ensemble, Illicit Sextet, after graduating from UW-River Falls, and has led the “second coming” of the band over the past six years. And for about five years, Kenny appeared weekly at the Artists Quarter (Steve Kenny and the Bastids, the Steve Kenny’s Group 47) to warm up Wednesday nights. Group 47 continues to perform around the Twin Cities and released its debut Straight to Vinyl in 2014. For the past two summers, Kenny has curated a ten-week series of gigs at Studio Z featuring “All Original” music. In the past year or so he led several editions of the Steve Kenny Quartet, produced the Twin Cities Jazz Sampler (CD), and currently curates the weekly Saturday Night Jazz series at the Black Dog and another weekly (Friday night) series in Minneapolis at Reveries (aka The Nicollet).
Peter Schimke is one of the busiest keyboard virtuosos in the Twin Cities today. Peter started out in rock, and studied jazz piano with Manfredo Fest, Jim McNeely and Harold Mabern. A favorite keyboardist of many local and national artists, as well as a leader of his own trio, Schimke displays his skills as composer and sometimes vocalist with How Birds Work, performs with trumpeter Solomon Parham, and has recorded and performed in a duo with saxophone master Irv Williams. He has a long-standing association with percussionist Estaire Godinez, recorded live at the Dakota (in St. Paul) with vocal legend Mark Murphy, and recorded a live concert with Jerry Bergonzi.
Ted Olsen has quickly become a first-call bassist in the Twin Cities. He studied bass with Travis Schilling and Adam Linz, graduating from St. Paul’s Como Park High School in 2010. Ted went on to study composition at Luther College in Decorah, IA, finishing college studies at the University of Northern Colorado in spring 2015. In the Twin Cities, Ted has taught at the Twin Cities Jazz Workshop and has performed as leader and sideman at various venues including the Artists Quarter, Jazz Central, Black Dog, Vieux Carré and more. His quintet performed on the Mears Park Main Stage at the 2015 Twin Cities Jazz Festival.
Drummer Rodney Ruckus is truly a multi-instrumentalist who also plays piano and bass. A graduate of the Berklee College of Music which he attended on full scholarship, he was also selected as drummer for The Grammys in the School Foundation and received an Art Blakey Jazz Messengers Presidential Scholarship to the McNally Smith College of Music. He has traveled all over the world playing with Tia Fuller, Ralph Peterson, Herbie Hancock, Billy Childs, John Patitucci, Joe Lovano, Roy Hargrove, Wynton Marsalis, Charles Lloyd, and more. He was recently the featured artist at Jazz Central Studios.
With this exciting cast and a two-trumpet frontline, this band will surely raise a Ruckus!
Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog is a weekly night of top local jazz, held in the Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar at 308 Prince Street, Broadway and E. 4th Street in the Northern Warehouse in St. Paul’s Lowertown. No cover but tips ($10 suggested) appreciated to support the artists and series. Full schedule on the series website; more music every night at the Black Dog.