Saturday Night Jazz at kj's hideaway

Really Big Shoe, Really Cool Music at Reverie, March 18

Twin Cities


Clay Pufahl and Joe Mayo lead Real Big Shoe,© Andrea Canter
Clay Pufahl and Joe Mayo lead Really Big Shoe,© Andrea Canter

Friday Night Jazz at Reverie this week (March 18) features the really big sounds of a two-sax quartet, Really Big Shoe. Launched just six weeks ago at Jazz Central, Really Big Shoe is co-led by saxophonists Joe Mayo and Clay Pufahl, with bassist Matt Peterson and drummer Joey VanPhillips rounding out the ensemble. Their repertoire is “original jazz and neat arrangements of potentially familiar tunes.”

Joe Mayo, © Andrea Canter
Joe Mayo, © Andrea Canter

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 and the ensemble President Flow, 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 weekend with guest vocalist Tierney Sutton. His teaching resume includes several years as woodwind and jazz instructor at Totino-Grace High School in Fridley.

Matt Peterson, © Andrea Canter
Matt Peterson, © Andrea Canter

Originally a trombonist, Matt Peterson switched to bass while studying music at the University of Minnesota Duluth. In 2004, he relocated to the Twin Cities and quickly became a first-call bassist He regularly plays with the Zacc Harris Trio, the Jana Nyberg Group, the Twin Cities Hot Club, Mill City Hot Club, and Robert Bell’s Hot Swing Combo. Peterson is also a music educator, teaching elementary K-5 students in the Edina Public Schools.

Minneapolis native Joey Van Phillips is a 2001 graduate of St. John’s University, a former student of JT Bates and Bruce Thornton, and veteran of international touring, Broadway musicals, and improvisational projects on the Twin Cities jazz scene. His highest profile gigs here have been with rapper/poet Dessa and the rap collective Doomtree. A composer as well as accomplished percussionist, his works were recently premiered by the St. Olaf College Percussion Ensemble directed by Dave Hagedorn. Joey has taught locally for the past decade, offering private lessons, clinics, and master classes in drum set and mallets.

Friday Night Jazz at Reverie (formerly The Nicollet), curated by Steve Kenny, continues through March and returns as Thursday Night Jazz at Reverie in May, with a few gigs at other venues in April.

Friday Night Jazz at Reverie takes place at 1931 Nicollet Avenue South (formerly The Nicollet), at 9 pm. No cover but tips ($10 suggested) are appreciated to support the musicians and the weekly jazz series. Schedule at