Last Friday, we played for “Up, Up, and Away!” the Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Gala at Little America.
I turned on my recorder and let it run to capture some live music samples from our gig. It was a great night and there were some great moments. I love this combination of players and instruments. For last week’s gig, we had Shawn Mickelson on trumpet and flugelhorn, Peter Queal on guitar and vocals, Chris Allen on vibraphone, Dennis Griffing on bass, and Ward Durrett on drums backing me up on vocals.
We started off with an hour of music for the cocktail hour then played a couple of sets after dinner. Here are several tunes that I uploaded from the after-dinner music.
We also captured some video accompanied by audio feeds off of the board which I’ll post when I get them back. Hopefully, that will give you a better sound quality and you will be able to see us playing as well, but I hope this gives you an idea of what this show was like.
I have just discovered Peter Queal’s latest album of music, HUMILITY , featuring thirteen songs, mostly original compositions, in the jazz and world music traditions.
Regarding this project, Peter writes:
This music is about events in my life that I’ve experienced through travel, relationships and situations that have led me to a realization that the best of life is experienced through an ever stronger awareness of the meaning of humility. I believe humility can lead us to the keenest realization of the truths that make up reality. Herein are the results of skills learned over the span of 50+ years of musical awareness and creativity. There is a lot of vocal and instrumental improvisation on this record, some of it transcribed from recordings by greats such as Wes Montgomery and Bruce Forman and much by myself. I invite you to share in the fruits of my quest for musical and artistic knowledge in the sonic and poetic mediums. I have a strong desire to epitomize humility by learning and sharing. Enjoy!
Why I love Peter’s album
I love this album for lots of reasons, but mostly, because it has a very worldly feel with lush vocals, tight harmonies and beautiful guitar work. Peter has spent his life getting to know his instrument and plays masterfully with a mixture of power and finesse. He has added percussion tracks including bells, shakers and congas. His vocals are honest and immediate completely in-keeping with the lyrics. Peter sings like he means it. The harmonies of “Somony” are rich and luscious while his jazz improvisation on “Blues With a Feeling” is spot-on.
Some cuts tend to the world music tradition, and “Ominous Weather” features Paul Taylor on didjeridoo while others are more straight-ahead blues and jazz. I especially love his version of the Rogers and Hart classic, “Falling in Love with Love,” and “Blues with a Feeling” which he wrote with his friend and fellow musician, Curt Landes. It’s so totally hip, a jazzy/bluesy tune that really grooves.
Humility was a finalist among listener picks for best Wyoming/Regional album of 2015.
Where you can hear Peter play live
I am truly honored to have the opportunity to play with Peter in my group, JRQ. In addition, Peter plays solo along the front range and Wyoming. He is a frequent guest at Jay’s Bistro in Fort Collins, Colorado the home Mark Sloniker’s fabulous jazz group. Peter also plays with the John Mills orchestra based out of Greeley.
We are thrilled that JRQ will be providing entertainment for this year’s Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet on March 17 at Little America here in Cheyenne.
This year’s gala is being presented by Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Wyoming to recognized 150 years of community excellence and celebrate 110 years of supporting the business in our city. The event will recognize exceptional businesses and professionals in Cheyenne including the Chamber’s Person of the Year award.
We will be playing for the cocktail reception which begins at 5:30 and then after dinner and the awards presentations, we will start up again and continue through the evening playing our favorite jazz, Latin, swing and vintage pop tunes.
We’ve added drums and vibes!
I am especially excited to be playing with this expanded group of fabulous musicians. Joining Shawn Mickelson on trumpet, Peter Queal on guitar and vocals, and Dennis Griffing on bass will be Chris Allen on vibraphone and Ward Durrett on drums. The sound that is happening is really tight and very jazzy.
It is unusual these days to encounter a vibraphonist, especially one of Chris Allen’s caliber.
Chris is a graduate of Berklee College of Music in Boston and studied under jazz legend, Gary Burton, among others. (Here is an interesting story on Gary Burton’s life in jazz.) Chris is also an assistant professor of biology at the Colorado State University in Fort Collins and avid rock climber.
Ward is an astonishing drummer. He has been a professional musician throughout his life working in every aspect of the percussion and audio industry. He manages Drums West at Boomer Music Company in Fort Collins.
Shawn Mickelson, Dennis Griffing and Peter Queal
Of course, it is always a delight to be joined by Shawn, “Griff” and Peter who have been part of my group since last year. Shawn is a manager at The Music Depot in Cheyenne. Griff plays with the Cheyenne Symphony and teaches in Fort Collins. Peter now lives in Greeley and has just finished a new album, Humility.
The jazziest joint for live music in Cheyenne, Wyoming this New Year’s Eve will be The Suite Bistro.
Located in the former Frontier Hotel in the heart of historic downtown Cheyenne just a few blocks north of the Depot Plaza, the Suite features a classic drinks and fine dining in an Art Deco setting. Guests enjoy live music every Saturday night, and this week, The Jane Robinett Quartet will be playing from 8 until midnight. To reserve a table, call 307-634-1901.
After weeks of rainy afternoons, we finally had the perfect day for an outdoor event at the Wyoming Historic Governors Mansion’s Prohibition Party benefitting the restoration of this wonderful piece of Wyoming History. The foundation staff did an amazing job of planning this fabulous evening.
We especially enjoyed playing many of our favorite tunes from the 20’s and 30’s
There are so many wonderful tunes from this period–“Them There Eyes,” “Darktown Strutters Ball,” “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” “St James Infirmary,” “Summertime,” and many others.
Dancers from En Avant Dance Studio entertained us with The Charleston
We’ll be back at The Suite Bistro in Cheyenne this Saturday, September 3, for “A Little Cool–a Lotta Hot” jazz.
New Latin Jazz Tunes and Old Favorites
We’ve planned an exciting show featuring some new Latin Jazz tunes. I’ve always loved Alvado Carrillo’s 1959 classic, “Sabor a Mi.” I’ve heard that many consider it to be the most beautiful Mexican love song. We will also be playing “Sao Miguel,” a bolero written by acclaimed guitarist, Robin Nolan, and Brandi Shearer. There will be some Antonio Carlos Jobim–“Corcovado”–as well as “Sway,” “Perfidia,” and my personal favorite, “Quizas, Quizas, Quizas.”
Stickin’ With You, Baby–Some Blues
I love Catherine Russell who has done so much to revive some of American’s best blues tunes. We’re playing a cover of “Stickin’ With You, Baby” by Henry Glover and Rudy Toomes. Ms. Russell does a killer rendition on her 2011 album, Bring it Back, which I love. She is the first person to cover this song since Little Willie John recorded it in 1970.
On the Sunny Side of the Street–Great tunes from the Prohibition Era.
Since we played the Historic Governors’ Mansion Prohibition Party last weekend, I stuck on some wonderful songs from the 20’s. “On the Sunny Side of the Street,” “How Deep is the Ocean,” “St. James Infirmary” are a few, and you’ll love Shawn Mickelson’s brilliant trumpet solos on these.
This is a classic jazz tune by Billy Strayhorn which I love to sing. John Coltrane invited Johnny Hartman to record it with him. Here’s a link to that classic recording: John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman–Lush Life
Call 307-634-1901 for a Table
Seating is limited at The Suite, so call today for a table. Come early and enjoy their fabulous dinner menu, then and stay for a signature cocktail and enjoy the show. We go on at 7:30.
We had a lovely evening playing for the Cheyenne Rotary Club annual picnic at Little America. It stopped raining at 4:30, we took off all the plastic and played our hearts out until it started raining again at 8:00, but had a wonderful time with a bunch of wonderful folks. The band sounded fabulous with Dennis Griffing on bass, Shawn Mickelson on trumpet, Mike Reid on keys and Peter Queal on guitar. I sang and played a little percussion. I especially appreciate Mary Guthrie for organizing this and to the amazing staff at Little America. Here are a few photos of our night.
Join me and the fabulous four on the second Saturday of Frontier Days at The Suite, and celebrate Frontier Days in style! We’ll be playing a toe-tapping line-up of songs including the best Western swing, boogie-woogie, blues and top that all off with some jazz. I’m especially excited that Peter Queal will be joining our rhythm section for this gig. Peter is a fine jazz guitar player from Laramie, and I can’t wait to see what he’s got up his sleeves. The same holds true for Shawn Mickelson! Originally from Cody, Wyoming, Shawn has played the jazz scene all over the country, and I’m thrilled that he lives in my neighborhood, now. What a fabulous trumpet player he is, and it’s such a treat to be able to play with him. Of course, we couldn’t do this without Mike Reid on keys and Dennis Griffing on bass.
This show will be a kick, so come on down, Pardner!
This was such a fun evening for us, and we had a great audience at the Suite Bistro in Cheyenne last Saturday night! We were so sad that some could not get a seat, but grateful to the Suite Bistro for hosting us and to those who came, stayed, and had a great time.
Ken Johnson, a spectacular tenor who sings with me in the Cheyenne Chamber Singers, made his jazz debut, singing a little Ellington with me.
It was a joy to have Ted Larocca and Isaac Swim for sitting in on trumpet and bass. Issac still lives in Cheyenne, but Ted now lives in New Orleans and was here for visit. He and Isaac have not played together for some time but were able to do a few tunes on our break and Ted stayed on for our second set. We played some of our favorites from the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s–“Puttin’ on the Ritz,” “Darktown Strutters’ Ball,” Bei Mir Bist du Schoen,” and my favorite, “Cow Cow Boogie”–a tune made famous by Ella Mae Morris in 1942. “Summertime” with Ted was just magical.
It has been wonderful getting to know and working with Mike Reid, our new keyboard player, and Dennis Griffing, our bass player. It is exciting and challenging to me to be able to play with such fine musicians. Dennis also plays with the Cheyenne Symphony and composes.
I had got the following feedback from some folks who stopped in for their anniversary.