Steve Kenny Quartet
After several years of Monk themed performances at the Artists' Quarter under the name "What Would Monk Do", the Steve Kenny Quartet is a new flexible jazz troupe curated by Steve Kenny with hand-picked, truly terrifying cohorts, all in the name of trying to increase their mastery of Monk and Monk-influenced literature. For the April 19th Sweet317 performance of this version of the monk assembly, Steve Kenny will be joined by Brandon Wozniak, Babatunde Lea, and Jeff Bailey. Holy Crap!
This concert is produced by illicit-productions (www.illicit-productions.com)
Babatunde Lea began drumming at the age of 11, when he, without drumming experience helped a drumline get a rhythm right. That same year, his cousin took him to see Babatunde Olatunji and his "Drums Of Passion", and Olatunji's influence was so great that Michael took on his first name. At 16, he first participated in a professional recording session with Ed Townsend. In 1968, he moved to San Francisco, where he joined Bata Koto, led by Bill Summers. He joined a band called Juju, which relocated to Richmond, Virginia in the early 1970s. In 1977, he moved back to the San Francisco Bay Area. Among the artists with whom he played were Stan Getz, Joe Henderson, McCoy Tyner, Randy Weston, Van Morrison, and Oscar Brown, Jr.. In 1993, Virginia and Babatunde Lea founded the Educultural Foundation, a California 501(c)3 educational non-profit organization based in Vallejo, California.
Returning east, he met up with Leon Thomas (who used to sing at the church Lea attended as a youngster, the First Baptist Church of Englewood) and became drummer in his band. This led to working with Pharoah Sanders. Lea would ultimately pay tribute to Thomas on his 2009 album, Umbo Weti, which appeared on the Motéma Music label that he founded with Jana Herzen in 2003. His first album as leader, Levels of Consciousness was released in 1979. He recorded with a band called Phenomena, which grew out of the Loft Jazz Association. He did not release another, Level of Intent, until 1996, putting it on his own label, Diaspora Records. He mortgaged his home to get the album released, but it was not widely distributed until Motéma reissued it in 2003.
In 2010, Babatunde and Virginia moved to Pennsylvania to teach at Gettysburg College.
Says Lea of his work, "I strive to make my compositions functional, which is an African take on the arts. The purpose I try to imbue my music with is that our growth as human beings should strive toward an anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-homophobic, egalitarian, democratic universal society and I don't care how many life times it takes to get there! I consider myself an activist as well as a musician and consider myself an 'agent of change.'"
Brandon Wozniak is one of Minnesota's most exciting saxophonists. He returned to the twin cities in 2006 after six years in New York City and a six month stint in Shanghai, China. Wozniak studied music at Indiana University with David Baker and privately with Tom Walsh. Brandon performs regularly with Dave King's(Bad Plus, Happy Apple drummer) Dave King Trucking Company with saxophonist Chris Speed, the Atlantis Quartet(City Pages Best Jazz Artist 2011, Star Tribune Best Jazz Artist 2012), the great drummer Eric Kamau Gravatt(Weather Report, McCoy Tyner), Bryan Nichols Quintet, Chris Bates Red 5 plus others. Brandon has also performed with singer Nellie McKay, toured with the Tommy Dorsey Jazz Orchestra and shared the stage with organ great Dr. Lonnie Smith, guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg and drummer Francisco Mela(Joe Lovano's US Five).
Jeff Bailey has performed in a wide variety of musical settings as a musician, composer, and producer. He has performed with world-renowned jazz artists Captain McDuff, Craig Taborn, James Carter, Nachito Herrera, Eric Gravatt, Rodney Jones, Dave King, Brian Lynch, Wessel Anderson, Peruvian guitar master Andrés Prado, and James Moody. Never one to be pigeonholed into one style, Jeff has also toured and performed with Keri Noble, Joey McIntyre (NKOTB), Tommy Barbarella (Prince), Charles Lazarus (Minnesota Orchestra), Reverend Billy Steele, Jennifer Kimball, Heather Headley, and Charley Drayton. Jeff has also logged time on the road touring and giving clinics in the U.S., Germany, France, Italy, South America, and Japan. Jeff has served as musical director for Keith Antar Mason and the Hittite Empire and the Black Fathers and Sons project at the B.A.M. Next Wave Festival in New York, with photographer Albert Chong and writer Quincy Troupe. Jeff has also received accolades for producing a Minnesota Music Award-winning CD for Alicia Wiley, receiving a Best of the Twin Cities Award as a founding member of Moveable Feast, and a Minnesota Music Award nomination for best Bass Player of the Year.
The Star Tribune calls Steve Kenny "a terrific trumpeter and a hilarious emcee". He is a recipient of a Minnesota Music Award as a co-founder of the illicit sextet. He has won a West Bank School of Music Jazz Composer award, and is a multiple winner of the "Best Jazz Trumpet" award at the Eau Claire Jazz Festival. He's a founding member of The Five, with Dave Karr and What Would Monk Do?, featuring Billy Peterson and Peter Schimke. He has recorded with Pete Whitman's Departure Point, the Cedar Avenue Big Band, Group 47, and with the illicit sextet. Steve is currently active on the local club scene, Playing regularly at Jazz Central, the Black Dog, ICEHOUSE, and the Late Night series at the Dakota. He just finished a 5-year weekly residency at Artist's Quarter hosting a jam session with his 'Group 47'. The Illicit Sextet just released its second CD, "Chapter Eleven" and performed on the main stage of the 2013 Twin Cities Jazz Festival. Group 47 is releasing its debut recording, "Straight to Vinyl" in the Spring of 2014. This year, steve is a Minnesota Regional Arts Council grant recipient as the creator and curator of a 10-concert summer Jazz series called The 'All original" Jazz Series.
Sweet 317 (View)
308 Prince, Suite 317
Saint Paul, MN 55101
|Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!|