The sixth season of Jazz at Studio Z, curated by Zacc Harris, continues this Saturday, November 19 with bass master Chris Bates’ Good Vibes Trio featuring Dave Hagedorn on vibraphone and Phil Hey on drums. The concert begins at 7 pm, following a 6 pm Podcast with live audience.
The Good Vibes Trio: The Musicians
Chris Bates and his brother, drummer JT, grew up with jazz, sons of trumpeter/bandleader Don Bates. He began bass lessons in 4th grade and progressed to jazz studies at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire before returning to the Twin Cities to study with Anthony Cox. A member of the 1990s ensemble, the Motion Poets, Chris was a 1999 McKnight Composer Fellow, and often lends his compositions to the many ensembles that he juggles throughout his busy performance schedule. Over his career, he has played with Mose Allison, Lee Konitz, Joe Lovano, Steven Bernstein, Howard Levy, Michael Attias, Ira Sullivan, Bill Carrothers, Eric Alexander, Ari Hoenig and Tim Sparks, among others. In addition to his local ensemble work (Atlantis Quartet, Red Planet, How Birds Work, Klezmerica, Enormous Quartet, Framework, Leisure Valley, Zacc Harris Group, Dean Granros’ Tall Tales, Pete Whitman X-Tet, Clearwater Hot Club) and leading Red 5 and the Good Vibes Trio, he has played solo concerts using both acoustic and electronic instruments, and appears on over 30 recordings. In spring 2013, Chris launched a monthly improvisation series at Jazz Central Studios in Minneapolis, “Magica Improvisado.” Chris also teaches private bass lessons and is an instructor this summer with Jazz Around Minneapolis (Minneapolis Public Schools).
Assistant Professor of Music at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, Dave Hagedorn teaches percussion, jazz studies and world music. His education includes a BS in Music Education from the University of Minnesota, an MM in Percussion Performance from the New England Conservatory in Boston, and a DMA from the Eastman School of Music. Among his performance and recording credits are two albums of duos with pianist Dan Cavanagh; tours with the George Russell Living Time Orchestra; recording with Debbie Duncan; and performances with David Berkman, Anthony Braxton, Gil Evans, Happy Apple, the Out to Lunch Quintet, Thad Jones, Clark Terry, Steve Turre, Kenny Wheeler, Anthony Cox, and Roy Hargrove. Locally he is a member of the X-Tet, Phil Hey Quartet, and the duo SCHAG with drummer Dave Schmalenberger, in addition to the Good Vibes Trio. He released Solid Liquid on the Artegra label in 2003. About two years ago, Dave joined saxophonist David Milne to form the quintet Spiral Visions, celebrating the music of Bobby Hutcherson and Harold Lande. In March 2016, Dave led his St Olaf Jazz Band on a tour of Cuba.
A former student of Ed Blackwell and Marv Dahlgren, native Philadelphian Phil Hey is one of the most esteemed drummers in town. In addition to twenty years of touring with the late Dewey Redman, he has performed many gigs at the Artists Quarter, Dakota and other venues backing touring artists, local vocalists, and small ensembles. For several years, Phil (along with bassist Gordy Johnson) toured with British vocalist Stacey Kent, including gigs at Birdland in New York. He also manages percussion duties for the Pete Whitman X-Tet, Dean Sorenson Sextet, Dave Karr Quartet, and Benny Weinbeck Trio as well as Good Vibes and his own quartet, and teaches at the University of Minnesota, St. Olaf College, and MacPhail Center for Music. His most recent recordings include a volcanic duo with trumpeter Kelly Rossum, Conflict, and sideman duties for Mary Louise Knutson on In the Bubble. He also contributed to Von Freeman’s Live at the Dakota, rating four stars from Down Beat. City Pages named Phil’s Subduction as its Jazz Recording of the Year for 2006.
Good Vibes Trio: The Music
Chris Bates launched the Good Vibes Trio in 2011 as an outlet to make fun and energetic music with drummer Phil Hey and vibraphonist Dave Hagedorn. Bates noted that “the trio draws inspiration from the blues and swing in a way that is familiar, yet may seem new to those used to my collaborations with Atlantis Quartet or my own band Red 5.” The music is accessible yet modern, familiar yet surprising, sublime yet challenging–characteristics of all three musicians no matter what the context. “This trio is a new band made up of experienced players who have come together to have fun and connect directly with their audience,” says Bates. Their self-titled recording from 2014 is a critically acclaimed document of the interplay and prowess of this trio. Drawing upon a song list that heavily favored the music of Charles Mingus and Ornette Coleman provided the trio with a much needed aesthetic that played to the strengths and interests of each musician. Adding hidden gems to the library from Dave Brubeck, Freddie Hubbard, David Berkman, Karl Berger and Kenny Kirkland, as well as original tunes from each artist provided a diverse and well-rounded repertoire of unique arrangements. “The interplay, energy and joy of swing can be felt in these songs and paints a beautiful portrait of musical precision and passion,” notes Bates. “Partnering with Dave Hagedorn and Phil Hey has allowed me grow as a musician but also allows me to present these veteran players in new ways. Hagedorn’s virtuosic flights are supported nimbly and urged to new heights by the rhythm section. Hey is inventive and daring in his use of brushes and is even featured as a composer on the original ‘Marse’. You get to hear me leading the charge, soloing ferociously and holding down the bottom with aplomb.”
Listening to the elegance of the Good Vibes Trio –live or on the album– one thinks of an updated Bill Evans trio, but the vibes versus piano gives the music a more translucent quality, where there is less of a defined beginning and end to the tones, such that the ensemble sound is like a multi-voiced chord. You can hear the joy of improvisation as the musicians channel Good Vibes into their music.
Podcast at 6 pm
In place of the usual pre-concert master class, JASZ is trying a different format this weekend, recording the first episode in a new Podcast with a live audience. Curator Zacc Harris will have a conversation with Bates, Hagedorn and Hey about jazz, their approach, ideas on practicing and more, as well as a Q & A from the audience. Anyone attending the Podcast will be able to attend the concert at the advance ticket price ($10).
Remaining Jazz at Studio Z concerts for 2016:
- December 3 – Javi Santiago Trio plays Ahmad Jamal
- December 17 – Babatunde Lea Quintet
Studio Z is located on the second floor of the Northwestern Building in Lowertown St. Paul, at 275 E 4th Street, on the corner of 4th and Wall. There is street parking (meters til 10 pm) as well as lots (Farmers Market, Union Depot) and the Lowertown Ramp at 4th and Sibley. Advance tickets at http://www.studiozstpaul.com/jasz-111916.html ($10) or $15 at the door. Kids 12 and under free. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage fund. www.jazzatstudioz.org