Long a mainstay in the Twin Cities jazz community, pianist Chris Lomheim is known for his affinity for Bill Evans, his sublime skills as a singer’s accompanist, and for his creative, lush compositions. He’s also known as a solo performer and trio leader, making his quintet gig at Jazz Central on July 20 (8:30 pm) a rare outing, only his second in the past year with this configuration. Joining Lomheim will be saxophonist Pete Whitman, trumpeter Adam Rossmiller, bassist Jay Young and drummer Peter Hennig.
Chris Lomheim’s first keyboard was the family organ, and as a child he studied both organ and piano in Minneapolis. He focused on R&B in the 1980s, playing with such bands as Big John Dickerson and Down Right Tight. Gaining a reputation as a composer as well as performer, he was featured at the West Bank School of Music Composer’s Forum in 1991. A member of the acclaimed Illicit Sextet in the 1990s (and reunited in 2009), Lomheim has played and/or recorded with a long list of Twin Cities’ musicians, including Gordy Johnson, Jay Epstein, Kelly Rossum, Dave Karr, and Reid Kennedy, and vocalists Debbie Duncan, Christine Rosholt, Patty Peterson, Lucia Newell, and Vicky Mountain. Jeremy Walker (Brilliant Corners, Jazz Is Now) called Lomheim “the most sensitive and romantic player you will hear around the Twin Cities’ scene. He has prodigious piano technique and an individual ear for harmony.” Chris has released three recordings as trio leader — And You’ve Been Waiting, The Bridge, and his latest (2014) Timelines. Still performing for Lobby Tea at the Saint Paul Hotel as he has since 1991, Chris and (usually) his trio have performed recently at the Black Dog, Vieux Carré, Studio Z and Crooner’s Lounge; he also performs solo on alternating Tuesdays for the early sets at Vieux Carré and will debut as leader in the Dunsmore Room with his trio on August 23.
Veteran sax/flute performer, composer, and arranger Pete Whitman launched his career in Kansas City before moving on to jazz studies at North Texas State University. He toured internationally with the Glenn Miller Orchestra before moving to the Twin Cities in 1988. Pete’s credits on tenor, alto, soprano and flute include performing with Randy Brecker, Jack McDuff, the Woody Herman Orchestra,, Michael Feinstein, Debbie Boone, Rosemary Clooney, Barbara Dennerlein, Lavay Smith & Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers, Dave Stryker, Curtis Fuller and Andres Prado. In addition to leading his X-Tet and smaller ensembles in the Twin Cities, Pete works regularly with the Jazz MN Orchestra, Laura Caviani Quartet, and Mississippi. A dedicated educator, Whitman heads the Woodwind and Brass Department at St. Paul’s McNally Smith College of Music.
Denver-ite Adam Rossmiller studied trumpet with rising star Ron Miles, and performs and teaches in both classical and jazz idioms. Former Interim Director of jazz bands at St. Cloud State University and assistant for university jazz ensembles, Adam is a DMA candidate at the University of Minnesota. He has performed with John Faddis, Jerry Bergonzi, Bill Holman, Byron Stripling, Dennis Diblasio, Wayne Bergeron, Rob McConnell, Bill Holman, the Air Force Notables, Glenn Miller Orchestra, Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, Summit Hill Brass Quintet, Bach Society of MN, Snowblind and more. Adam currently performs with the JazzMN Orchestra, Jack Brass Band, and Pete Whitman X-tet.
Bassist Jay Young has been widely acknowledged as a virtuosic sideman for such stars as Debbie Duncan, Bruce Henry, Moore by Four and more. In the past few years he has also headed The Lyric Factory, paying tribute to Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock, and Earth, Wind and Fire. A freelance performer and educator involved in a vast array of projects, Jay has performed at the Guthrie Theater, Ordway Center, Illusion, and Penumbra Theatre, and has been a featured performer at Lincoln Center, Juilliard, Boston Symphony Hall, The Blue Note, and festivals in Umbria (Italy), Espoo (Finland), and Tejo (Portugal). He has shared the stage with Ray Brown, James Moody, Dizzy Gillespie, T.S. Monk, Grover Washington Jr., Dave Brubeck, Ron Carter, Buster Williams, Bobby Lyle, Eddie Daniels, the Minnesota Orchestra, Omaha Symphony, Phil Upchurch, Jennifer Holiday, Harry Connick Jr., Jay Leno, Paul Bollenbeck, Reverend Al Green, Bobby McFerrin, Jefferson Starship, Carole King, Ray Charles, Kevin Mahogany, Joe Lovano, Ernie Watts, Tim Ries, Marvin “Smitty” Smith, and many others. A founding member of Moore by Four who is often on stage with such area stars as Debbie Duncan and Bruce Henry, Young also devotes significant time to teaching as a faculty bass instructor at McNally Smith College of Music
Drummer Pete Hennig came to the Twin Cities to study at McNally Smith. After graduating he spent an additional three years studying with Dave King (Bad Plus, Happy Apple). His performance credits include the Atlantis Quartet, Zacc Harris Group, Debbie Duncan, Katie Gearty, Sam Kuusisto, Tickle Fight, Patrick Harrison, Johnny Clueless, Park Evans, Monk in Motian, the Fantastic Merlins, and his own bluegrass band (Bluegrass Bandits).
Notes Chris, “I’m really excited about this new quintet. I have been writing a lot of new material…. We’re doing pretty much all original compositions of mine as well as Pete Whitman’s.”
Jazz Central Studios is located at 407 Central Av SE, Minneapolis; http://jazzcentralstudios.org; no set cover but a donation of $10 is suggested to support the musicians and the nonprofit venue. Hear a free solo performance by Chris Lomheim in the Target Atrium of Minnesota Orchestra Hall on Saturday, July 23, at 10 pm. See his full schedule as well as CD ordering information at http://chrislomheim.com