A Concert of New Music From Composer Kari Musil
The date has been set! It’s Saturday, April 14th (2:00 p.m.) at Hamline University Sundin Music Hall. This concert of Kari Musil’s compositions will bring together musicians of diverse backgrounds, ages, and musical sensibilities, and the configuration of groups Kari has written for varies from large to small. Musicians participating include — but aren’t limited to — the Nova Jazz Orchestra, saxophonist Sue Leigh, and vocalist Leslee McKee (with Kari, Sue and Leslee are members of the Roxxy Hall Band). In Kari’s compositional context, the poetry of J. Otis Powell! will be featured (for more on Mr. Powell and his poetry, see here and here). Below is the full press release for this event. You may also download the press release as a pdf.
- What: The Music of Kari Musil
- Who: Kari Musil (jazz composer), Nova Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, Leslee McKee (vocalist), J. Otis Powell! (poet), Sue Leigh (saxophonist)
- When: Saturday, April 14, 2:00 p.m.
- Where: Hamline University, Sundin Music Hall, 1531 Hewitt Ave., St. Paul, MN 55104
- Cost: adults, $10; students/seniors, $5; children, $3.
Twin Cities jazz composer, saxophonist, and music educator Kari Musil received a $10,000 Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board last May to compose a concert and CD of original jazz. The premiere will take place on Saturday, April 14 at Hamline University’s Sundin Music Hall. Ms. Musil, band director at Humboldt High School and member of the Nova Jazz Orchestra sax section, has created ten new compositions for this event. Her work with Nova over the past 20 years has fostered a unique collaborative relationship that has inspired her to compose four new charts for the band. Her compositional goal for this performance was to stretch Nova’s musical boundaries by incorporating elements of free jazz, and also by bringing in a vocalist and a poet. Some of her inspirational influences for this concert are Eric Dolphy, Hendricks, Lambert, and Ross, Black Sabbath, Sekou Sundiata, and the late Clare Fischer.
Musil, mostly a self-taught jazz composer, attended Moorhead State University during 1979-1987 and spent six years in the MSU Stage Band under the direction of Dr. Al Noice. She was also a member of IMP ORK from 1987-92, and one of the original musicians of BADFIT. She studied closely with Twin Cities jazz legend Ed Berger for several years while holding down the lead alto chair in Jazz I at the University of Minnesota. After the birth of her daughter in 1993, she moved to northern Wisconsin for a number of years to pursue a M.M. in music education at UMD, continuing to play and compose under the tutelage of George Hitt and Michael Pagan. She has been back in St. Paul composing, teaching and playing since 1998.
Upon her first exposure to jazz as a child, singers like Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong immediately touched her soul and Kari was hooked for life. It’s no surprise that she often writes melodies with lyrics and always keeps her ears open for special voices. One such extraordinary vocalist is Leslee McKee, lead singer with the Roxxy Hall Band and the Effenheimer Sisters. Although she is a fabulous rock and R&B singer, this will be her jazz premiere. Musil has collaborated several times over the years with iconic poet and jazz aficionado, J. Otis Powell!, and is thrilled to have another opportunity to do so for this occasion. Award winning multi-instrumentalist Sue Leigh, one of the grooviest horn players around, will grace the stage with her hipness and unique musical insight.
All proceeds from ticket sales for this concert will be donated to two very special groups of young musicians and dancers: The Karen Culture Organization of Minnesota, also known as K.C.O.M., and the Rondo-based drill team, FLAWLESS. Both groups are committed to nurturing and advancing the young people of their communities, and passing on the essence of their art form to the next generation.
Nova Contemporary Jazz Orchestra – CD Release Party
Tuesday, October 25 – 7:00 p.m.
Shorewood Bar & Grill (in Fridley) on Central Ave. just north of 694
Nova’s 8th CD:Who Sez You Can’t Dance To Bebop
I have 2 tunes on this:
- The title track, (aka Bailas Bebop?) – I wrote the head for this after listening to Ed Berger tell many strip club stories, about how he would “play shit that was so outta there those chicks’ tassels would be flying!” (ha,ha,ha!! – that’s Ed laughing, in case you can’t tell) The changes are based on Broadway. Along the way, though, I became kind of obsessed with writing a really cool latin-type chart, so for what it’s worth, this is what it is. To hell with “no dancin!”, but of course this is dedicated to you, Ed.
- The Reincarnation of Queen Irene – Chris Wiley (web and groovy bone guy with Nova) thought this chart had a lot to do with Mingus, and my first response was “No way!” But, after we talked about it for awhile I remembered that in my early-mid 20s I was obsessively (there’s that word again) listening to every Mingus album I could get my hands on – every day and night. I didn’t really have a goal in mind with all that – I just couldn’t stop. I guess I kind of wanted to play exactly like Charles McPherson, also. But this chart is inspired by my maternal grandmother, Irene Sykes (1902-1998) – gun-toting spinner of fantastical stories (lies, maybe), descendant of an Irish female pirate, and a closet boogie-woogie piano player, who always swore she hated “jazz”. I always wondered what she meant by that… I guess I am the reincarnation of queen Irene (sans the gun).