A perfect evening of live jazz music on the grass at the Brimmer Amphitheater in Cheyenne

Amaya Arevalo and Matt Rathkey on saxophones.

Our concert in Lions Park was our first chance to play since COVID changed everything.

This has been a difficult time for musicians and for live music. With the outbreak of Covid-19 in March, events suddenly stopped, and we had to cancel performances that had been scheduled beginning in March. We have not had the opportunity to play until now, so we were thrilled that Michelle Woerner, Bob Jensen, and the board of K9s for Mobility came up with the idea to have an outdoor concert at the Brimmer Amphitheater in Lions Park. K9s 4 Mobility’s “All Jazzed Up 2020” was just a perfect evening. The acoustics in the amphitheater were amazing and filled the grassy seating area with sound. Folks were able to sit at a safe distance and enjoy the music without the risk of breathing virus. We were so grateful to be able to gather outside to make music again. It was a perfect evening of live jazz music on the grass.

We played a bunch of songs I love, and I’ve uploaded a couple that I caught on my recorder.

Amaya Arevalo on piano, Bobby Wiens on drums, Dennis Griffing on bass, Matt Rathkey on alto sax, Peter Queal on guitar and vocals, Jane Robinett on vocals.
“Redshift” by Patricia Barber featuring Jane Robinett on vocals, Peter Queal on guitar, Amaya Arevalo on piano, Matt Rathkey on alto saxophone, Dennis Griffing on bass, and Bobby Wiens on drums.
“Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” by Joe Zawinal featuring Matt Rathkey and Amaya Arevalo on saxophones, Peter Queal on guitar, Dennis Griffing on bass, and Bobby Wiens on drums.

Close to You

Finally, we closed with an original tune that Amaya Arevalo wrote and performed accompanying herself on piano called “Close to You” about being apart from the people we love during this time. As she was playing the sun was setting and the moment was magical. Here is a video she and Tyler Hall produced earlier of her performing her song.

Amaya Arevalo playing “Close to You.”

The Mission of K9s 4 Mobility

Founded in 2012, K9s 4 Mobility is a non-profit organization dedicated to enrichng the lives of others through the training, placement and support of assistance dog partnerships. They are a 501c3 non-profit and have trained and placed 33 assistance dogs since they began their work enriching the lives of their owners by enhancing their mobility, increasing their independence and confidence, and providing devoted companionship.

It’s a Great Gatsby Valentines’ Day Party!!!

So thrilled to be playing for the Cheyenne Optimist Club’s Great Gatsby Dinner and Dance!

We have an exciting night of jazz swing planned for the Cheyenne Optimist Club’s Great Gatsby Dinner-Dance celebrating Valentines’ Day, February 14, 2020 at the Plains Hotel in Cheyenne. The music starts at 6 p.m. with the cocktail hour followed by dinner at 6:45. After dinner, we’ll start up again so you can foxtrot, cha cha, waltz and swing. I even have some some country two-steps and rock and roll cued up.

Tickets are $150 per couple or $75 per person. Corporate tables are available for eight people at $750. The Plains is offering a special room rate starting at $89.

The Mission of Optimists International

The Cheyenne Optimist Club is part of Optimists International, a group of more than 2600 local chapters. Adult volunteers join Optimist Clubs to conduct positive service projects in their communities aimed at providing a helping hand to youth. With their upbeat attitude, Optimist Club members help empower young people to be the best that they can be.

Each Optimist Club determines the needs of the young people in its community and conducts programs to meet those needs. Every year, Optimists conduct 65,000 service projects and serve well over six million young people.

This year’s Valentines’ Day event will benefit the Friday Food Bag Foundation.

Get your tickets

Tickets are on sale by phone or email:

  • Linda Chasson at 307-631-1872
  • Connie Hein-Lester at 970-584-9239
  • cheyenneoptimist@gmail.com

Monday, Feb 10, is the last day to buy your tickets, so don’t delay!

New Year’s Eve at the Met Downtown!

We are thrilled to be playing at the Met Downtown in Cheyenne to ring in 2020

Looking for where to go this This New Year’s Eve? We are thrilled to be playing at one of the best places to be to ring in 2020–the new Metropolitan Downtown in Cheyenne. We have a terrific show lined up and will be playing from 8 pm until the new year rolls over at midnight.

I will be accompanied by some of the best jazz musicians in the region.

  • Amaya Arevalo on piano
  • Dennis Griffing on bass
  • Matt Rathkey on saxophone, and
  • Bobby Weins on drums

The Met is planning a special buffet for the evening.

Be sure to call to get a reservation for dinner.

Come for the buffet or come later and stay for the music.

Don’t miss All Jazzed Up!

Matt Rathkey playing saxophone
  • Friday, September 6
  • Cheyenne Botanic Gardens

All Jazzed Up! is a live music event benefiting K9s for Mobility

I am really looking forward to our upcoming event. First of all, the charity it benefits, K9s for Mobility, is so important, and the money raised will go to support their work. But in addition to this, I am especially excited about being able to play great jazz tunes with amazing musicians.

On Friday, September 6, we will be returning to play for “All Jazzed Up,” an annual benefit sponsored by K9s for Mobility, at the beautiful Cheyenne Botanic Gardens orangerie.  The evening will be an elegant cocktail party including curated wine tastings by sommelier, Barb Kloth, luscious hors d’oeuvres, live jazz music and . . . puppies!

What does K9s for Mobility do?

K9s for Mobility is a dedicated to enriching the lives of others through the training, placement and support of assistance dog partnerships.  They train various kinds of assistance dogs including guide dogs to help persons with limited vision and service dogs for people with other physical limitations.  The training is intense and takes about two years to complete. 

K9s for Mobility also trains social service dogs for professionals who address specific disabilities, and it’s important to know that social service dogs are different from therapy dogs.  Social service dogs help with motivation, discouraging inappropriate behaviors, and other complex tasks.  Check out their website, http://www.k9s4mobility.org/ to find out more about what assistance dogs are and how they can be important for many conditions. 

K9s 4 Mobility offers training and support to any assistance dog team regardless of where the dog comes from. They choose the dogs carefully making sure that the personality, size and skills needed are a good match for the person who will be partnered with the animal. Because this is so important, placements are made in the individuals’ homes and involve one-on-one attention.

Service dog opening a door

K9s for Mobility is an accredited member of Assistance Dogs International. Bob Jensen, Julie Maloukis, Judy Sifers, Michelle Woerner and Callie Yeater founded the organization in 2012.

Here is an excellent article about what many people do not understand about service dogs including who can have them and what they do. 

The music is great and the band is too

I am really looking forward to playing with this group of talented jazz musicians. After we rehearsed yesterday, I was so excited about what we had created. We’ll be playing lots of jazz from different genres–swing to bossa nova. We’ll be playing “Take Five” as well as “In Your Own Sweet Way,” another tune by Dave Brubeck, that you may not have heard. In addition Duke Ellington, Cole Porter, Fats Waller, and Irving Berlin, you will hear the bebop greats like Dizzy Gillespie, Wayne Shorter, and Freddie Hubbard. I’ll be singing some of my personal favorites like “Summertime” and “Comes Love.”

Matt Rathkey

Matt is originally from Chicago and studied mathematics as well as music at Carlton College..  He plays alto saxophone and recently graduated with a masters’ degree in jazz performance from Greeley’s prestigious UNC school of music.  He lives in Denver and works at Dazzle jazz club. 

I had the pleasure of playing with Gabe a couple months ago when we performed for the Historic Preservation Board. He’s a great alto player.

Amaya Arevalo

Amaya is completing dual degrees in at UNC.  She plays piano as well as tenor sax and composes, and also hopes to go to the graduate level in jazz performance.  Amaya is a stunning young woman as well as an astonishing jazz pianist. I am so very happy to have her on the gig.

Gabriel Mangione

Gabe is a drummer from Medical Lake, Washington and currently a junior at UNC studying jazz performance.  He is such an exciting drummer and I am thrilled to have him play with us for this performance.

Dennis Griffing

Griff my go-to bassist. He and I have been playing together for several years now.  While Griff lives in Fort Collins, he plays with the Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra and is truly dedicated to his craft. I can always count on Griff.

Buy your tickets for All Jazzed Up! now

You can purchase tickets on-line here: http://www.k9s4mobility.org/all-jazzed-up1

Special thanks to Michelle Woernmer, Dr. Tracie Caller, Heather Roe-Day, and Bob Jenkins as well as the many other volunteers of K9s for Mobility for organizing this event.

We play from 6 to 9 p.m. Hope to see you there. I will be fun.

Highlights from Denim & Diamonds 2019

I’m uploading some photos from Cheyenne Regional Medical Center’s Denim & Diamonds gala, “An Evening in Paris,” on June 21, 2019. We played music we loved. The show included tunes from Django Reinhardt, Stephane Grappelli, and the Hot Club of Paris in the 30’s and 40’s as well as classic French tunes from Edith Piaff and others. We added our own favorites with a Parisian flair. https://janerobinett.com/denim-diamonds-2019/

The Ensemble

The ensemble included Rodney Sauer on accordion, Jane Uitti on violin, Matt Fuller on guitar, Dennis Griffing on bass and Clare Church on drums.

From left to right: Matt Fuller, Clare Church, Jane Uitti, Jane Robinett, Dennis Griffing, and Rodney Sauer.


Thanks to the Cheyenne Regional Medical Center Foundation https://www.cheyenneregional.org/location/cheyenne-regional-foundation/, it’s board and, especially to Scott Fox, Executive Director, and to Landon Brown, Grants Director, for making this possible.

Also, I’d like to thank the honorary chairs, Drs. Robert Prentice and Sandra Surbrugg for their support and vision as well as their contributions to the medicine in Wyoming.

Finally, thanks, especially, to my fabulous band. You all were amazing!

Tunes in the Tetons

Jazz at the 2019 Wyoming Medical Society Meeting, Jackson Lake Lodge

This was a fun time

We had the real pleasure of playing jazz at the Friday night reception for the Wyoming Medical Society annual meeting at Jackson Lake Lodge on May 31. It was wonderful evening and such a delight to play for my friends in medicine from around the state–even some from out-of-state. I can think of no lovelier a place to be than Grand Teton National Park and nothing more fun than playing jazz for my friends accompanied by great musicians.

What made this evening special

Part of what made the evening so special was the fact that I was able to play with three musicians that I just love–Mike Richards on alto sax, Mike Patton on piano, and Marty Camino on bass.

Mike Patton on piano, Mike Richards on sax, Jane Robinett–vocals, Marty Camino on bass.

Mike Richards

Mike Richards is originally from Cheyenne, and I loved playing with him when he lived here. Mike graduated with a degree in jazz performance from Purchase College, SUNY. He is now living in Jackson, working for the Teton Music Festival, and playing with the Jazz Foundation of Jackson Hole. He’s a killer alto sax player, and it was such a treat to be able to play with him again.

Mike Patton

Mike is an amazing musician. Based in Victor, Idaho, Mike teaches piano and music theory, performs, and arranges. He worked as a pianist, arranger and music director on cruise ships for years, so he can play anything. He has played with many bands in the Jackson area. Before moving to Idaho, he toured and recorded with Project Bluebook for two years, notable recording Cheetah Speed produced by Alan Evans of Soulive (I love this band). Mike was able to use the grand piano at the Jackson Lake Lodge which made his performance even more special. Here’s a clip of his playing with Batdorf & Brother Wolf.

Marty Camino

Marty is a killer bassist. He granduated from UW and now lives in Jackson and plays with One Ton Pig, a Wyoming-based band melding the singer-songwriter tradition of artists like Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson with genre-bending jam-band styles. It’s a fingerprint aesthetic that blurs lines between folk, jazz, bluegrass, and rock. Their critically acclaimed fourth album, “Lastville,” was released in June 2015. Here’s Marty on bass with One Ton Pig.

Marty Camino’s Band, One Ton Pig

Thank you, Sheila, Maria, Kandice, and Whitney

Thanks go to the Wyoming Medical Society and especially to Sheila Bush, the executive director for having us as well as Maria Cowley, Kandice Hansen and Whitney Harmon from WMS for organizing everything. Thanks, as well, to everyone who came, enjoyed the music–and especially to those who danced.

Who knew doctors could dance so well?

Dr. Kevin Robinett getting smarter and hearing jazz all in the same weekend.

Denim & Diamonds 2019

An Evening in Paris

This coming Friday is the big day.  We will be playing for the Cheyenne Regional Medical Center Foundation’s annual big event, Denim & Diamonds, to be held at the Little America Hotel and Resort in Cheyenne.  This year, the theme is “An Evening in Paris.” 

Django, Grappelli and Gypsy Swing

I was delighted when I learned about this year’s theme because I love this genre. It made me think about two famous French jazz musicians–guitarist, Django Reinhardt, and Stephane Grappelli, jazz violinist.    These men co-founded the Quintette du Hot Club de France in  1934 and popularized a distinctive style of jazz we call gypsy swing.  This was a uniquely French phenomenon but would not have developed the way it did if they had not been listening to American jazz. American players and composers like Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington were a major inspiration and musicians, Coleman Hawkins, for example, worked in France before WWII and American standards along. These tunes became part of the gypsy jazz tradition, songs like “Sweet Georgia Brown,” “St. Louis Blues,” and “Honeysuckle Rose” that we associate with the Hot Club de France.   

Our set list for Friday includes many tunes written by or popularized by Reinhardt and Grappelli including “Daphne”, “Nuage,” “Minor Swing,” “Limehouse Blues,”and “The Sheik of Araby.”    I wanted to emulate this sound, and so I was thrilled when I was able to recruit Jane Uitti on jazz violin and Matt Fuller on guitar for this performance.  These songs showcase Jane’s virtuosity on jazz violin and Matt’s fabulous guitar work. 

I hear an accordion and it reminds me of Paris

I cannot think about French cabaret music without hearing an accordion in my mind, so I’m delighted that Rodney Sauer will also be joining us on Friday.  Last month, I had the pleasure of playing with Rodney for the CRMC Hospital Week celebration, and we had such a great time as a duo performance and had a lot of fun with many of these tunes. 

Rodney Sauer

Rodney is stunning on piano as well as accordion.  His musical interests include folk dance music, vintage ballroom dance, and silent film scoring with his nationally touring quintet, the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra.   He is also a composer, and we will be playing his original musette entitled “Will You Go to France?” that I love. 

Latin music, especially tango, is part of the music of Paris

Carlos Gardel

Another thing I love about Paris is that it has always been alive with the music of diverse cultures, especially Latin American countries.  Because of this, we’ll also be playing a number of Latin tunes as a counterpoint to the gypsy swing. Tango is an important part of the sound of Paris. When I saw people dancing the tango for the first time, it was was on the banks of the Seine about fifteen years ago.   I was mesmerized. One tune, in particular, that I love to play is “Por Una Cabeza” which you’ll recall from Schinder’s List and The Scent of a Woman.   This song was written by a French Argentinian, Carlos Gardel who was born in France, but as a child emigrated to Buenos Aires where he became known internationally as “The King of Tango” for his compositions and masterpiece recordings. 

My Favorite French Songs and Singers

Finally, I have pay tribute to some of my favorite singers including Edith Piaf and Yves Montand as well as to the great American performer and Francophile, Earth Kitt. Ms. Kitt was fluent in French and recorded many classic French tunes putting her own saucy stamp on them.  We will be playing many of my favorite French cabaret tunes including “La Vie en Rose,” Edith Piaf’s signature song released in 1945–you’ll remember Lady Gaga’s mesmerizing performance of this song in A Star is Born. I’m also doing “Sous le Ciel de Paris (Under the Paris Skies),” and “C’est si Bon.”  Below is a link to Eartha Kitt’s cheeky version that I love. 

The band for this event

  • Jane Robinett–vocals
  • Jane Uitti on violin
  • Rodney Sauer on accordion
  • Matt Fuller on guitar
  • Dennis Griffing on bass
  • Clare Church on drums

One more thing . . .

Below is a link to a music video from the French band, ZAZ, doing a hip version of the classic, Sous le Ciel de Paris. I’ve watched this at least twenty-five times. It’s great.

New Live Music Video: “Comes Love”

I’m thrilled with our new live music video:  “Comes Love.”  This is one of my favorite tunes, and I just posted it here.  Sam Stept wrote the music for this song in 1939 and Lew Brown and Charles Tobias added lyrics for the Broadway musical Yokel Boy starring Phil silvers and Buddy Ebsen.  It’s bluesy with just the right amount of campiness.

The musicians on this recording are just amazing:  Scott Martin on piano with Anisha Rush on alto sax, Gonazlo Teppa on bass, Dru Heller on drums.  Many thanks to Ben Makinen at Bmakin Music Film & Photography and also to Colin Bricker at Mighty Fine Productions for sound engineering.   Finally, I especially appreciate Scott Martin and his label, Liberian Handshake Records, for putting this together for me. 

Thanks to the Rist Canyon VFD and the Band!

Thanks to the Rist Canyon Volunteer Fire Department for hosting us and everyone who came out to hear us play! Thanks, also, to the band for a great performance. The guys (including Clare) sounded great. It was a real pleasure to play with Pete Lewis on tenor sax. (What a monster player he is!)
We opened with Peter Queal’s original composition, a montuno called “Regina,” and followed with some of our favorites including “Take Five,” “Mas Que Nada,” “The Peanut Vendor,” and “Cow Cow Boogie” and then closed with my favorite blues tune, “Got My Mojo Workin’.”

Peter Lewis (tenor sax), Clare Church (drums), Spencer Zweifel (piano), Peter Queal (guitar), Jane Robinett (vocals), Dennis Griffing (bass)

2017 Great Rist Canyon Mountain Festival, Sunday, Sept 3.

Each year on Labor Day Weekend, the Rist Canyon Volunteer Fire Department sponsors the Great Rist Canyon Mountain Festival.  We are thrilled to be part of this year’s line-up.

The organizers of this event have collected a whole bevy of interesting things for kids and adults to do and see.

There will be crafters, garden exhibits, a book tent, food vendors, a bake sale, ice cream, lures for fly-fishing and lots more!  You will get a chance to win the quilt raffle when you register.  Learn about the wolf sanctuary in the canyon.  The Larimer County Sheriff will put on a K-9 demonstration, too.  This is a great event for kids who will enjoy

  • a petting zoo
  • calf roping
  • a climb wall
  • pony rides
  • face-painting
  • and clowns, too.

This festival benefits the Rist Canyon Volunteer Fire Department which means it is for a very worthy cause AND you can get a close look at a firetruck.

AND if this isn’t enough, there will be live music from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Here’s the line-up:

  • Curious Gage
  • French Toast Swing
  • Lorna’s Swingset
  • Rocky Mountain Belly Dance Company
  • Red Truck Revival  and (last but not least)
  • JRQ:  The Jane Robinett Quintet!!

This is some fabulous entertainment.  We go on at 3 p.m. and play until the conclusion of the afternoon’s activities at 4 p.m.

The Rist Canyon volunteer Fire Department is trying to reach a goal of $80, 632 this year.

This is important given the high fire danger in the mountains west of Fort Collins.  The RCVFC is staffed by approximately 35 colunteer emergency responders and strongly supported by the community.  The response area has grown from 38 square miles when it was founded in 1975 to approximately 110 square miles today.  It also provides automatic mutual aid to about 50 additional square miles.  As an organization, the RCVFD is committed to providing responder safety, as well as emergency response to life and property threatening fires and other medical emergencies and rescue situations.  Today, with 3 stations, the RCVFD has grown to a 100% donation-based effective emergency response unit.  They respond to between 50 and 100 calls a year.   Find them on the web.

How to get there

The festival is at Mile Marker 12 in Rist Canyon, across the street from the Fire Station and only 15 minutes west of Vern’s.  From Fort Collins, take Hwy 287 west to Laporte, then 52E, Rist Canyon Road nine miles west.  The address is 11835 Rist Canyon Road, Bellvue, CO.  The number is 970-493-1501.  Here’s a map.

More information

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