Newspaper article

Twin Cities Jazz Composers’ Workshop Debuts; ‘Glensheen’ Back at the History Theatre

Newspaper article

Twin Cities Jazz Composers’ Workshop Debuts; ‘Glensheen’ Back at the History Theatre

Article excerpt

On Sunday evening, 17 Twin Cities jazz musicians will gather at Studio Z in Lowertown to play new works by six Twin Cities jazz composers.

The inaugural showcase concert of the Twin Cities Jazz Composers’ Workshop could be the start of something big.

TCJCW was founded in summer 2017 by JC Sanford, Asuka Kakitani, Adam Meckler and Aaron Hedenstrom. Husband and wife Sanford and Kakitani are New York City transplants who live in Northfield. (Sanford grew up here, so he probably had to explain “That’s different” and “up North” to Kakitani.)

In New York, both were members of the BMI Jazz Composers’ Workshop, a regular meeting of emerging and developing jazz composers with a focus on creating music for large groups. It seemed like a good idea to start something similar here. TCJCW members meet monthly, give public readings of works in progress and teach masterclasses at schools. The plan is to present a concert like this one each year.

A composer, conductor and trombonist, Sanford led his own jazz orchestra in New York, is a member of the Jon Hollenbeck Large Ensemble and conducts other jazz orchestras. Kakitani, a composer, arranger and conductor, is the founder of her own eponymous 18-piece big band.

Meckler is a trumpet player, composer and educator who leads the Adam Meckler Orchestra (AMO), an 18-piece big band that plays his original compositions. Saxophonist and composer Hedenstrom has performed across the United States and has written many works for big band.

TCJCW has two more members whose music will be performed on Sunday. Dave Stamps is a composer, arranger, trombonist and educator (at Gustavus Adolphus) whose works have been performed by the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra (yes, there is one) and the Romanian National Jazz Radio Big Band, among others. Kari Musil is a saxophonist and composer who has been writing for jazz orchestra since 1981. She leads the Freedom of Jazz Orchestra, whose members include musicians playing big-band jazz for the first time.

Sunday in sum: six world premieres by six composers. Each has a lot of experience in big-band/large-ensemble/jazz orchestra music and, with the founding of TCJCW, a community of peers. All performances will be led by the conductors, except for Meckler’s; he can’t be there. The TCJCW Orchestra is a box full of musical colors for the composers to paint with: the sounds of woodwinds, trumpets and trombones, piano, guitar, bass and drums. Studio Z is a listening room so you’ll hear every note. Stay after for a Q&A with the composers.

The concert will be co-presented by the All Originals Jazz Series curated by Steve Kenny. 7:30 p.m. FMI and tickets ($15).

The picks

Now at the History Theatre: "Glensheen." Jeffrey Hatcher and Chan Poling’s hit murder musical is back for its fourth run at the History Theatre. Directed by Ron Peluso, with the same cast as before – Jennifer Maren as evil Marjorie, Dane Stauffer as dopey Roger, Wendy Lehr as criminal attorney Beshmesher – it’s a lot funnier than it should be, given it’s based on the real-life murders in the Duluth mansion. …

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