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Great River Shakespeare Announces Red Planet, Dixieland Jazz Festival, and Charlie Parr to Perform Free Concerts at Winona State


Fri, Jun 28th, 2013
Posted in All Arts & Culture

The Great River Shakespeare Festival (GRSF) will host the band Red Planet to play for the first “Concert on the Green” of the season on Friday, June 28 at 6 pm. All performances will take place outside Winona State University’s Performing Arts Center. Admission is free for all concerts, and food will be available for purchase.

Red Planet (Dean Magraw: guitar, Chris Bates: upright bass, Jay Epstein: drums), will be featuring material from their new CD, ‘Space Dust’, including many original compositions that the band has been playing live since 2003. Red Planet plays innovative jazz sounds with a strong emphasis on creative interactivity for the 21st Century and is known for its unique interpretations of the music of John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, & Jimi Hendrix.

Jazz Police says, “One of the area’s most innovative threesomes! Dean Magraw is in the habit of wowing audiences with his fleet fingered plucking and creative compositions.”

Dean is one of the Twin Cities’ most eclectic musicians, with a 30 year career spanning genres and cultures, from blues to classical to folk and jazz, from Japanese and Indian to Celtic and middle American on A Prairie Home Companion. Chris Bates studied with renowned jazz bassist Anthony Cox and is well known for his supportive strength and creative aura that he brings to such bands as Atlantis Quartet, Enormous, How Birds Work, & Todd Clouser. Jay Epstein has played in many diverse jazz groups and developed a very personal voice on the drums after growing up in Winona playing with Dave & Fred Heyer and studying polyrhythmic concepts in Manhattan with Barry Altschul. His two CDs, both featuring Anthony Cox on bass & Bill Carrothers on piano, have garnered luminous reviews in the national press.

GRSF will host five acts to make up the Dixieland Jazz Festival for their “Concert on the Green” Saturday, June 29 from noon to 6 pm. Acts include Dixieland Jazz Camp students, Ragtime Piano Music with Jim Radloff, Barbary Coast Dixieland Jazz band, Blue Ox Jazz Babies, and Gate City Jazz Band.

Following the Jazz Camp students and Jim Radloff at 1:45 pm is the Barbary Coast Dixieland Band, together since 1967. Elected to the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame in 2001 and rated among the finest entertainers in the Midwest, the band has played everywhere from the Mississippi paddlewheel boats and the Minnesota State Fair, to Nagasaki, Japan. The band is made up of six talented musicians who play 18 instruments. This group of versatile musicians occasionally swaps instruments on stage without missing a note.

The Blue Ox Jazz Babies, playing at 3:45 pm, take their name from one of Minnesota’s true legends, Paul Bunyan and his trusty friend Babe the Blue Ox. Although not legends themselves, the Blue Ox Jazz Babies have become known around Southern Minnesota as true enthusiasts of historical (and sometimes hysterical) music known as Dixieland Jazz. The band does its best to bring Dixieland Jazz from New Orleans all the way up the Mississippi to the Midwest.

The Gate City Jazz Band will close the show Saturday evening. With eight members, they have been a strong part of the Winona, Minnesota music scene since 1978. They concentrate on traditional jazz emanating from New Orleans. With the three man front of trumpet, clarinet and trombone, and a rhythm section composed of banjo, piano drums and tuba, they strive to bring alive music made famous by Louie Armstrong, Kid Ory and Bix Beiderbecke. Female vocals round out the sound of many of the Gate City numbers.

Charlie Parr will perform in honor of the company’s 10th Anniversary celebration on Sunday, June 30 at 4 pm. Parr’s inspiration is drawn from the alternately fertile and frozen soil of Minnesota. Parr grew up in the Hormel company city of Austin, Minn. (population 25,000) where most of the world’s favorite tinned meat, Spam, is still manufactured. And he hasn’t moved far, drawing sustenance from the surprisingly large, thriving and mutually supportive music scene of Duluth: Parr’s 2011 album of traditional songs, Keep Your Hands on the Plow features locals including Charlie’s wife, Emily Parr; old-timey banjo/fiddle band Four Mile Portage; and Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker of the renowned alternative rock band Low.

Parr has made two albums of spirituals, and a few traditional songs of the hard life and the hereafter are always in his live sets. Such music isn’t necessarily rooted in the Methodist church in which he grew up: “It was more like, let’s get the service over quick so we can get downstairs and drink coffee and have pie!” But faith, though undefined, underlines all of Charlie’s music, both in the listening, the covering, the writing and performing.

Visit www.grsf.org/FREE-CONCERTS for a complete season line-up with additional information provided for each band to perform every Friday and Saturday night.

The Great River Shakespeare Festival (GRSF) is a nonprofit, professional theatre company in Winona, Minn. that creates dynamic, clearly-spoken productions of Shakespeare’s plays, which enrich people’s lives. More information about the company can be found at www.grsf.org or by calling the GRSF office at (507) 474-7900.

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