© Andrea Canter
Now some 130+ Saturdays into its run, Steve Kenny’s Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog hosts a double bill on March 11, with the Post Atomic Trio opening at 7, followed by the fluid cast of Central Standard Time at 8:30 pm.
Post Atomic Trio (7 pm)
Post-Atomic Trio blends experimental jazz, neo-soul, electronica and ambient textures to create an energetic vibe. They draw from these different styles while incorporating unique rhythms and voicings in an improvisational context.
John Croarkin plays flutes, piccolo, saxophones and Harmonica, and is a former winner of the National Flute Association’s Jazz Flute Master Class and Big Band Competitions. He studied saxophone with Roscoe Mitchell and improvisation with Richard Davis, and currently studies Brazilian jazz with Jovino Santos Neto. Locally he’s worked with the Nova Contemporary Jazz Orchestra and Blue Eyes Band and leads the Backyard Rocket project. He joins David Hamilton (piano) and Derrin Pinto (drums) to form a “Post Atomic Trio.”
Central Standard Time (8:30 pm)
Under the leadership of Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog curator Steve Kenny, CST launched about two years ago and has involved a rotating, cross-generation cast of area artists. This weekend, that cast includes Kenny on Flumpet, Dave Brattain on saxophone, Javi Santiago on piano, Ted Olsen on bass, and Eric Kamau Gravatt on drums.
Steve Kenny studied at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Among many projects, he has performed with What Would Monk Do, the Cedar Avenue Big Band, and Larry McDonough’s quintet (tribute to Chet Baker) as well as leading several editions of his own quartet. He’s also known as co-founder of the Illicit Sextet, an ensemble popular in the 1990s before taking a long hiatus, and back in action for the past six years. Steve has received a Minnesota Music Award, West Bank School of Music Jazz Composer award, and multiple honors as Best Jazz Trumpet at the Eau Claire Jazz Festival. With support from a state arts board grant, he curated the ten-week “All Originals” jazz series at Studio Z for two summer seasons, continuing with a shortened schedule in summer 2016. In fall 2014 he launched the weekly Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog series, and in spring 2015, brought a similar series (Friday Night Jazz) to The Nicollet, recently rebranded and rescheduled as Thursday Night Jazz at Reverie. And that instrument he plays? It’s a FLUMPET™– a hybrid trumpet/flugelhorn.
Saxophonist Dave Brattain is a 20+-year veteran of the Cedar Avenue Big Band and Vanguard Variety Ensemble, has toured the U.S. with Troupe America (1940s Radio Hour), and has been featured with pianist Ben Sidran. Locally, he’s played with the Paul Renz Quintet, Jon Pemberton Quintet and JazzMN Big Band, as well as leading and co-leading his own ensembles, most recently heard at the Black Dog and Jazz Central. Currently Brattain is on the faculty of Wayzata High School.
Minneapolis native Javi Santiago comes by his musical bent honestly, the son of drummer Mac and vocalist Laurie Santiago, and grandson of Latin percussion master, the late Luis Santiago. Javi began studying piano at age 7, turning to jazz piano and trumpet at age 10, and playing with the bands in middle school and high school as well as the Minnesota Youth Jazz Band and the first edition of the Dakota Combo under the direction of Kelly Rossum. A former student of pianist Tanner Taylor, Javi was selected as a Fellow of the Brubeck Institute at the University of the Pacific after completing high school, where he attended for the maximum two years. From Brubeck, Javi moved on to complete his college studies at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York, graduating in 2011. After returning to the Twin Cities, Javi has become a significant voice on the local jazz scene as sideman and bandleader. He recently played a solo gig at Jazz Central Studios and toured with Rodney Ruckus.
Ted Olsen studied bass with Travis Schilling and Adam Linz. He graduated from St. Paul’s Como Park High School and 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, Icehouse, Vieux Carré, and Twin Cities Jazz Festival. His quartet recently performed at the Twin Cities Winter Jazz Festival.
An alum of the bands of McCoy Tyner, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard and Blue Mitchell as well as Weather Report, Eric Kamau Gravatt essentially has had two careers in jazz with a couple decades of separation. Invited to join Miles Davis, Gravatt turned down the Prince of Darkness to follow Wayne Shorter into Weather Report, with whom he toured and recorded in the early 70s. He moved on to the fusion band Natural Life (with Bobby Peterson and Bob Rockwell), a move that brought him to the Twin Cities some 30 years ago. Demands of family and a desire for financial stability took Gravatt out of fulltime music and into fulltime work as a guard at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Lino Lakes. Only after retiring from Lino Lakes did Gravatt return to his calling, touring again with McCoy Tyner, performing with his band, Source Code, and engaging in some more experimental improvisations with metro area musicians including Adam Linz, Brandon Wozniak, Joel Shapira’s Bottomless Pit, and Dean Magraw, with whom he released Fire on the Nile.
Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog takes place at 308 Prince Street in the Northern Warehouse in St. Paul’s Lowertown. No cover but a donation ($10 suggested) to help support the band and the series is much appreciated. Series schedule at www.saturdaynightjazzattheblackdog.info; venue schedule at www.blackdogstpaul.com