The weekly series Thursday Night Jazz at Reverie continues its stellar fall schedule with the Minnesota Hard Bop Collective on September 8th. Led by drummer Jesse Simon, this ensemble has fluid membership but always includes some of the area’s top talents, often some of the up-and-coming and newer members of the Twin Cities jazz community. Joining Simon on the bandstand at Reverie will be Omar AbdulKarim (trumpet), Clay Pufahl and Joe Mayo (saxes), Javi Santiago (piano), and Ted Olsen (bass). The Minnesota Hard Bop Collective has recently performed in several city parks on the Twin Cities Mobile Jazz Project’s summer series, at Jazz Central, and at the Bakken Museum.
Originally from Boulder, Colorado, Jesse Simon began playing drums at age 9. By 13, he was gigging in the Denver-Boulder area, cutting his first album at 14 and working with area pros by 16. In 1995 he enrolled in the Manhattan School of Music, ultimately sharing the stage with such luminaries as as the late Milt Hinton and Phil Woods, as well as Stefon Harris, Jane Monheit and Barry Harris. After completing his degree at MSM, Jesse worked as a professional musician in Denver, Houston and now the Twin Cities. Arriving in Minnesota in 2002, family and other obligations stalled his jazz career, but about two years ago, Jesse took the plunge at Jazz Central and has gone on to lead his own ensembles emphasizing hard bop repertoire. Jesse draws on “Don Sickler’s extensive transcription library of all the classic Blue Note and other recordings from that time period. So I decided to bring it all together here in the Twin Cities with all our exceptional talent.”
Young trumpet master Omar AbdulKarim is a graduate of Minneapolis Washburn High School and the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York City. After living in Brooklyn, Omar returned recently to the Twin Cities where he has been performing with many of the area’s top artists, including appearing recently with Eric Kamau Gravatt’s Source Code.
Saxophonist Joe Mayo has performed all over the world for Carnival Cruise Lines and on tour with the hot British indie rock group, Friendly Fires. He can evoke the pure understated sound of Paul Desmond in one song — and then be channeling Junior Walker or Clarence Clemmons in the next tune! Locally he leads his own quartet, the ensemble President Flow, co-leads Really Big Shoe with Clay Pufahl, and performs with the Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra, the new Midwest Saxophone Quartet, and jazz/R&B band Wild Honey. A native of Connecticut, Joe earned degrees at the University of Massachusetts and SUNY Purchase, and studied with saxophonists Adam Kolker, Ralph Lalama, Eric Alexander and Seamus Blake, and with trumpeter Scott Wendholt. Joe has appeared as the Featured Artist at Jazz Central Studios.
A 1998 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, saxophonist/educator Clay Pufahl has performed with the Wolverines Classic Jazz Orchestra, Cedar Avenue Big Band, Skyway Big Band, Five by Design, B4 (swing band), the Minnesota Orchestra, the Four Tops, Lou Rawls, Franki Valli, and Minneapolis-based groups the Senders and Soul Tight Committee, as well as performing in productions at the Chanhassen Dinner Theater, Minneapolis Children’s Theater, The Guthrie, and Ordway Theater. Clay has also been affiliated with the JazzMN Orchestra for many years, performing with the band last season with guest vocalist Tierney Sutton. With Joe Mayo, he launched the ensemble Really Big Shoe. His teaching resumé includes several years as woodwind and jazz instructor at Totino-Grace High School in Fridley.
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. 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. Since returning to the Twin Cities, Javi has become a significant voice on the local jazz scene, performing at Jazz Central, The Nicollet (now Reverie), Black Dog, Icehouse, Crooners, Vieux Carré, and other venues as well as at the Twin Citie
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 and more, often in the company of Javi Santiago and Miguel Hurtado, among others.
Thursday Night Jazz at Reverie is curated by Steve Kenny. Shows weekly at 9 pm, see schedule at www.thursdaynightjazzatreverie.info. Reverie is located at 1931 Nicollet Ave (at Franklin) in South Minneapolis. No cover but tips ($10 suggested) help support the musicians and the jazz series.