By Kristen Miller
DASSEL, COKATO, MN Coming to the Dassel-Cokato Performing Arts Center (PAC) Saturday, Jan. 21 is The Butch Thompson Jazz Trio, with the DC High School’s jazz band opening the concert.
Thompson has been described by Jazz International as “the premier player in traditional jazz today.” He is known around the world for his command of early jazz and blues repertoire.
Thompson’s concert at the PAC will explore a wide range of Americana including classic ragtime by Scott Joplin, New Orleans jazz by Jelly Roll Morton, early Chicago blues and boogie boogie, stride piano by Fats Waller, and more, laced with his own commentary on the tradition.
The DC Arts Association is excited to bring Butch Thompson to the PAC, said executive director Colleen Compton.
“I have personally enjoyed listening to Butch Thompson on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion” over the years,” Compton said. Thompson is a frequent guest on the show, and had been the house pianist for 12 years.
Since the show, Thompson has toured and recorded widely, performing with orchestras such as the Minnesota Orchestra, the St. Louis Symphony, the Cairo (Egypt) Symphony, and many more. He is also a regular at festivals in both the US and Europe.
Thompson’s many recordings include a widely-acclaimed 10-volume series on Daring/Rounder and the 1997 Grammy-winning Verve release Doc Cheatham and Nicholas Payton.
“He’s not only extremely talented on both the piano and the clarinet, but Butch also has a great sense of humor,” Compton said.
Michael Smith, DC High School jazz band instructor, is looking forward to working with the talented musician.
“His name has been iconic in the world of jazz for a long time and I am excited for the opportunity to meet him and to share a stage,” Smith said.
The high school jazz band has been asked to open, playing about 10 to 15 minutes for Butch, and Smith and his musicians are grateful for the opportunity to play for a different part of the community that might not normally be at the band concerts.
The band is working on a few numbers to perform themselves, including a Maynard Ferguson version of the theme from “Sesame Street.”
The jazz students may even be able to work with the trio a little bit and hopefully, play a number together, Smith said.
This concert is funded, in part, by a grant from the Southwest Minnesota Arts & Humanities Council through appropriations from the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the state’s general fund, and its arts and cultural heritage fund that was created by vote of the people of Minnesota Nov. 4, 2008.
Tickets on sale now
The Butch Thompson Jazz Trio will be performing Saturday, Jan. 21 at 7:30 p.m. at the DC Performing Arts Center.
Reserved seating tickets are on sale now; $15 for adults and $5 for youth, by calling (320) 286-4120, or in person at the DC Community Education office.
Tickets are also available for purchase online at www.dc.k12.mn.us/pac.