TC Jazz Fest Pre-Festival Thursday: 3 bands, one cover!



This Thursday, June 23rd come to KJ's Hideaway in downtown St. Paul to kick off the Twin Cities' Jazz Fest featuring three great bands for one cover! The fun starts at 6:30 pm with the Jon Weber Trio, continues at 8:00 pm with the Kenny Horst Quartet, followed by the Steve Kenny Quartet at 9:30 pm. Get your tickets here (or at the door, if they're not sold out).

At 6:30pm, it's the Jon Weber Trio with Jon Weber on piano, Gordon Johnson on bass and Phil Hey on drums. Jazz pianist Jon Weber has recorded and toured all over the world, winning numerous honors for performance and composition - scoring extensively for television since 1987. Gary Burton, Roy Hargrove, Niels-Henning ├śrsted Pedersen and Avishai Cohen have all recorded Jon’s music, and his critically-acclaimed release, SIMPLE COMPLEX, rose to number one.

Next up at 8:00pm, it's the Kenny Horst Quartet with Aaron Hedenstrom on saxophones, Will Kjeer on piano, Billy Peterson on bass and, of course, Kenny Horst on drums. Drummer and one time club owner Kenny Horst has toured with Mose Allison, Al Hirt, Bobby Lyle and so many others. In the early 80's he started booking acts for the Artists' Quarter jazz club in its original Minneapolis location. Five years after that first AQ closed, Kenny re-opened the club as his own in downtown St. Paul, first at Fifth and Jackson, then later in the Hamm Building, where KJ's Hideaway is now. The AQ showcased many giants of jazz,  including Roy Haynes, Tom Harrel, Harry ‘Sweets’ Edison, Mose Allison, Lee Konitz, David Hazeltine, Eric Alexander, Jim Rotondi, Greg Skaff, and many more.

And last, but not least, starting at 9:30pm it's the Steve Kenny Quintet with Steve Kenny on trumpet, Dave Brattain on saxophones, Jordan Anderson on piano, Ted Olsen on bass, and Abinnet Berhanu on drums. Steve Kenny is active in the Minnesota Jazz community as a Performer, Composer, and Curator. Steve is a founding member of 'the illicit sextet', "Group 47", "What Would Monk Do?" and his own "Quartets", and he curates and produces a weekly Saturday Jazz series at kj's hideaway.  His latest recording, "Quartets", includes original compositions played by 4 separate ensembles of Twin Cities Jazz musicians, including a Live version of Steve Kenny's Ghost Suite. in 2019 the national Jazz Journalists Association named Steve as a "Minnesota Jazz Hero" for his work in the Jazz community and lifelong devotion to the Idiom.

These great bands are happening on Thursday at KJ's Hideaway in downtown St. Paul, in the lower level of the Hamm Building at 408 St. Peter Street. Visit their website for more information.

Kenny Horst this Friday at KJ's Hideaway


Kenny Horst’s name is synonymous with jazz drumming, as well as the Artists’ Quarter jazz club, in the Twin Cities music scene. His credentials as a drummer, composer, record producer and club owner are beyond reproach. But whether he’s just finished playing a set with Mose Allison or just produced a CD for his own drumming hero Roy Haynes, Horst quietly deflects any personal attention that might come his way. If you want to get the Kenny Horst story from the man himself, just catch him on stage punctuating a bebop flourish with his signature accents or stoking a smoldering torch song with his simpatico brush work. Kenny’s “let the music do the talking” style makes one wonder if he’d blow his own horn even if he played the sax. Fortunately, he’s simply one of the finest jazz drummers to ever call Minnesota home.

This Friday night Kenny will be playing at KJ's Hideaway (what was once the Artists' Quarter space) in the Hamm Building in downtown St. Paul. It'll be a special tribute to Roy Haynes, including a focus on Roy's album "Whereas," which was recorded right in that very room, on that very stage. Kenny (on drums) will be joined with Will Kjeer on piano, Pete Whitman on saxophone and Chris Bates on bass.

Get your tickets here (and learn even more about Kenny) here!

The live jazz is out there!


Hey, just a quick note this week. And no, this email isn't sponsored by KJ's Hideaway (or anyone else), but sometimes it just works out that all the next few things we're interested in are all happening in the same place. Steve Kenny's Saturday Night Jazz series continues at KJ's Hideaway this week and next (then skipping April 16th for a previously booked gig), so be sure to follow along on the series' Facebook page (or just go buy your tickets to see Steve Kenny play this Saturday). Also, Kenny Horst returns to KJ's Hideaway on Friday, April 9th, a show you won't want to miss! More on that soon, but if that's all you need to know, you can get your tickets here

Here's hoping you all have a great April and hope you're able to get out and enjoy some live music. Take care and thank you for supporting jazz!

Local musicians, live albums and upcoming shows


Hello! For this installment of the AQ newsletter, in addition to mentioning upcoming gigs of interest, we’ll talk a little about the past. Specifically about the body of work that exists from recordings recorded live at the Artists Quarter. Some by well known visiting luminaries and others by local great musicians from here in the Twin Cities.

Billy Peterson was the producer of the "After Hours” series on Go Jazz; he and sound engineer Steve Weiss had the idea of keeping musicians around after they performed at the Artist's Quarter to record after hours sessions. The first in the series, by pianist Billy Carothers, was recorded in 1997. Following were sessions by renowned jazz musicians David Hazeltine, the late Ira Sulivan, Bob Malach, Bob Rockwell, and the late, great Lee Konitz. All of these features Billy Peterson on bass and Kenny Horst on drums. They are all available for download at https://gojazzafterhours.bandcamp.com/music

In the 21st century more great live recordings were made at the Artists' Quarter. The most well known of these is Whereas by Roy Haynes and his Fountain of Youth Band. We will discuss this more in future newsletters as Kenny Horst is leading a tribute to Roy Haynes on April 8th at KJ’s Hideaway that will feature his quartet playing selections from that album. Other live recordings include Billy Holloman’s This is Organ Night (and there is nothing more AQ than organ night). The Phil Hey Quartet’s Subduction, Atlantis Quartet’s Lines in the Sand, How Birds Work, Andres Prado, Bill Shiell, Bobby Peterson, Dean Granros, and the Out To Lunch Quintet.

Some of these titles may be hard to find, but all are with the effort. It is important to support local jazz musicians and jazz venues so this American artform can continue. Go to shows and buy music directly from the musicians when possible. 

Upcoming gigs of note:
February 26, 7:30pm: Framework with an opening set by the Henry Berberi group at KJ's Hideaway
March 5, 7:30pm: Dean Granros ’58 Belvedere with opening set by the Blue Ox Trio at KJ's Hideaway
March 11, 8:00pm: Good Vibes featuring Dave Hagedorn with Phil Hey and Chris Bates at Jazz Central Studios
March 12, 7:30pm: Fat Kid Wednesdays with opening set by the Steve Kenny Trio at KJ's Hideaway
March 12, 8:00pm: Tanner Taylor Trio at Jazz Central Studios
March 19, 9:30pm: Will Kjeer Quintet at KJ's Hideaway
March 26, 9:30pm: Red Planet with Bill Carrothers at KJ's Hideaway

We've been mentioning KJ's Hideaway an awful lot here lately (and with good cause -- we love what they're doing and thank them for it!) but we'd be remiss if we didn't specifically mention Jazz Central Studios, a non-profit performance space located in Minneapolis. It's another wonderful place to find live jazz in the Twin Cities. Check out their website here or sign up for their email newsletter here

-- Don Berryman

Kenny Horst returns to KJ's Hideaway!


Hey, friends! In case you missed mention of it last week -- Kenny Horst and his quartet are back, returning to KJ's Hideaway, leading a quartet for a great night of music on Thursday, February 10th.

Kenny Horst has toured with Mose Allison, Al Hirt, Bobby Lyle, and so many others. In the early 1980s he started booking acts for the Artists' Quarter, a tiny little jazz club in South Minneapolis. After that location closed, Kenny re-opened it in St. Paul in 1995, first at 5th and Jackson, then later in the Hamm Building, where he kept the beat as the house drummer, playing with multiple giants of jazz and just about every great local jazz musician more that once. 

Joining Kenny will be Will Kjeer (piano), Chris Bates (bass) and Pete Whitman (sax).

An alumni of Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead and of the Steans Music Institute, pianist Will Kjeer is an amazing musician and composer and has shared the stage with many world-class performers including Dave King, Jerry Bergonzi, and Adam Nussbaum.

Bassist Chris Bates has performed on over 30 albums, led the quintet Red 5, is a member of the Atlantis Quartet, has appeared on the albums Cognitive Dissonance and Taller Tales in this past year, and he has been known both to play with pianist Bill Carrothers and make bad puns.

A saxophonist, flutist, clarinetist, composer, arranger and educator, Pete Whitman performs in a wide range of musical styles and contexts that include Jazz, Classical, Pop, dance bands and more. He has played with Jack McDuff, Curtis Fuller, the Woody Herman Orchestra, the JazzMN Orchestra, Andres Prado and is the leader of the Pete Whitman's X-tet.

Buy your tickets here.

Photo Credit: Don Berryman

Saturday Night Jazz returns! Now at KJ's Hideaway

Hello to all the chilled (literally or otherwise) jazz fans out there surviving this cold winter. It can be a tough time to get out to see live jazz, but there's something cool happening here that might just make you warm and tingly enough to want to venture on over to downtown St. Paul.

Steve Kenny's long running Saturday Night jazz showcase has found a new home, and it's a venue you might be familiar with! Starting on Saturday, February 5th, you'll be able to find the Saturday Night Jazz series at KJ's Hideaway. (KJ's Hideaway, you might recall, was once the Hamm Building location of the Artists' Quarter.) Thanks to Kris and Jeremy Siers (the K&J of KJ's Hideaway) for working with Steve Kenny to make this happen. For more information about upcoming shows, be sure to follow the Saturday Night jazz series on Facebook. (And be sure to follow KJ's Hideaway on Facebook, as they are known to book jazz on other days, as well!)


The inaugural Saturday Night Jazz at KJ's Hideaway event will take place on Saturday, February 5th. The fun starts at 7:30 with a set from the Steve Kenny Quartet. Trumpeter Steve Kenny is active in the Minnesota Jazz community as a Performer, Composer, and Curator. Steve is a founding member of ‘the illicit sextet’, “Group 47”, “What Would Monk Do?” and his own “Quartets”, Steve is also known as a jazz curator, and has produced weekly Jazz series at Jazz Central Studios, The Black Dog Cafe, Studio Z, and is just starting his association with KJ’s Hideaway for a Saturday Night Jazz serties. His latest recording, “Quartets”, includes original compositions played by four separate ensembles of Twin Cities Jazz musicians, including a Live version of Steve Kenny’s Ghost Suite.

The second set starts at 9:00 pm and features the Phil Hey Quartet. The band (affectionately referred to as “PHQ” by fans) is led by founder Phil Hey, an American-born jazz drummer. The Phil Hey Quartet features Phil Hey on drums, Tom Lewis on bass, Dave Hagedorn on vibraphone, and Phil Aaron on piano. The group released Subduction: Live At The Artist’s Quarter in 2005 which was subsequently named Best Jazz CD of the Year by the Twin Cities alternative weekly newspaper City Pages. City Pages also named him 2006 Jazz Musician of the Year.

Tickets are $15 and you can find more information or purchase them here.

It is SO COOL to see this come together. Is it the Artists' Quarter? No, but it's a great space with great musicians, many of whom you would have heard right in that very room when it was the Artists' Quarter. We wish Steve much success with the Saturday night bookings and wish Kris and Jeremy continued success with KJ's Hideaway.

Coming soon! Kenny Horst returns to KJ's Hideaway, leading a quartet for a great night of music on Thursday, February 10th. Once upon a time, drummer Kenny Horst toured with Mose Allison, Al Hirt, Bobby Lyle, and others. In the early 1980s he started booking acts for the Artists' Quarter, a tiny little jazz club in South Minneapolis. After that location closed, Kenny re-opened it in St. Paul in 1995, first at 5th and Jackson, then later in the Hamm Building, where he kept the beat as the house drummer, playing with multiple giants of jazz and just about every great local jazz musician more that once. 

Joining Kenny will be Will Kjeer (piano), Chris Bates (bass) and Pete Whitman (sax). Find more information and tickets here.

Thanks for supporting jazz and stay warm out there! -- Al Iverson

Saturday Night Jazz at The Black Dog -- January 15th -- series finale

Now's your last chance to hear live jazz at the Black Dog

For 327 consecutive Saturdays, trumpeter Steve Kenny has curated a weekly jazz night at the Black Dog Cafe in Lowertown St Paul. Sadly, the Black Dog is closing; leaving Steve and company with one final night to commemorate this memorable live music series that has featured many AQ favorites and has been a meeting ground for former patrons.

The very last Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog for what will be the 328th and final edition of this jazz series. This show is scheduled for Saturday, January 15th, 2022 with an opening Set at 7:00pm by the ensemble “Fuzzy Math”, and then an 8:30pm headliner performance by “Steve Kenny and Friends” Featuring JT Bates, Steve Kenny, Chris Bates, and promises to also have a number of stellar special guests and Jazz dignitaries. Reserved seating is recommended -- sign up at  www.saturdaynightjazzattheblackdog.info

We hope to see you there! -- Don Berryman