© Andrea Canter
On a stage otherwise occupied by two bands of young lions, Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog curator Steve Kenny wears his bandleader hat on November 4, leading his current quartet through music in preparation for their first recording session. Kicking off the evening will be the Julian Manzara Quartet.
Julian Manzara Quartet (7 pm)
Guitarist and composer Julian Manzara leads a quartet of young “veterans”–Levi Schwartzberg on keys, Drew Stinson on bass and Tarek Abdelqader on drums. Julian formed the quartet as an outlet for his original, wide-ranging compositions about two years ago, and has brought the ensemble to Jazz Central, Black Dog, Reverie, the Twin Cities Jazz Festival and more. A Minneapolis native, Julian studied at the Berklee College of Music before heading out on tour with the rock band The Lone Crows. He returned to the Twin Cities to finish his degree (in Guitar Performance) at McNally Smith College of Music, and currently performs, composes, and is developing a home recording studio. His quartet performed on the Makers’ Mark (5th Street) Stage at the 2017 Twin Cities Jazz Festival.
Levi Schwartzberg, another Minneapolis native, is in his senior year at the University of Minnesota where he is majoring in physics and playing keyboards and vibraphone in U of M jazz ensembles. In addition to his college bands, Levi plays in a wide variety of local groups, including Sound Skirmish, Adam Linz’s Le Percheron, Central Standard Time, the Steve Kenny Quartet, and Davu Seru’s No Territory Band, along with his own ensembles.
Drew Stinson studies bass McNally Smith College of Music. In addition to playing bass for the Julian Manzara Quartet, Drew is a founding member of Sound Skirmish, a quartet with Patrick Adkins, Levi Schwartzberg and Ben Ehrlich.
Tarek Abdelqader played drums in U of M jazz ensembles directed by Phil Hey and Dean Sorenson before graduating in December 2016 with a degree in Journalism. He performs around the Twin Cities in one-off projects and as a regular member of Julian Manzara Quartet, Levi Schwartzberg Quartet, Zucchini Fish, and Purple Funk Metropolis.
Steve Kenny Quartet (8:30 pm)
This edition of the Steve Kenny Quartet boasts some of the most sought-after young jazzers in the metro, as well as the talented leader himself.
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 and Group 47. He’s best 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, finishing a fourth season in September. 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, later rebranded and rescheduled as Thursday Night Jazz at Reverie, running until the venue closed at the end of July 2017. He now heads a new weekly series on Friday nights at Jazz Central, the Illicit Jazz Workshop. In his spare time, Steve juggles a fulltime tech job, graduate studies in Computer Science, gigs with a number of bands, and also manages the Jazz Police website. And that instrument he plays? It’s a FLUMPET™– a hybrid trumpet/flugelhorn.
Levi Schwartzberg, now in his senior year at the University of Minnesota, is already a veteran of four-mallet vibes performance; he is also an accomplished pianist, performing on both instruments in the U of M Jazz Combo. A graduate of Southwest High School who participated for two years with the Dakota Combo, Levi has led his own ensembles at Jazz Central, Black Dog and Khyber Pass Cafe as well as performing with Adam Linz’s Le Percheron, Steve Kenny, Will Kjeer, Charlie Lincoln, Davu Seru, and more. He plays earlier this evening on piano with the Julian Manzara Quartet.
Ted Olsen studied bass with Travis Schilling and Adam Linz. He graduated from St. Paul’s Como Park High School in 2010 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. He’s performed frequently with Steve Kenny, Javi Santiago, Aaron Hedenstrom, Miguel Hurtado, and more. Ted released his first recording as leader in September.
Miguel Hurtado (drums) played throughout the Twin Cities as a teenager in several youth bands, as well as with South High jazz ensembles. After graduating from the Manhattan School of Music in spring 2010, he returned to the Twin Cities where he quickly became a busy member of the local jazz scene. He has led his own ensembles at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival and performed at the Artists Quarter and Dakota; more recently he has been heard at Jazz Central, the Icehouse, Black Dog, and more. In addition to leading his own bands, he has performed with Jake Baldwin, John Raymond, Jeremy Walker, Javi Santiago, Joe Strachan, Ted Olsen, Will Kjeer, Steve Kenny, and Courageous Endeavors. He’s also expanding his musical resumé, playing with some local pop and R&B singers, particularly Alicia Steele and vocalist/rapper Toussaint Morrison.
The Black Dog is located at 308 Prince Street, in the Northern Warehouse in St. Paul’s Lowertown Arts District. Full schedule at www.blackdogstpaul.com. The Saturday Night Jazz series is curated by Steve Kenny, presenting two bands each Saturday night. In lieu of a cover charge, donations of $10 per set are requested to help support the musicians and the series. Saturday night schedule posted at www.saturdaynightjazzattheblackdog.info