Dean Granros' Tall Tales Quartet

Dean Granros' Tall Tales Quartet

Fri · December 29, 2017

9:00 pm


Dean Granros
Dean Granros
Born in Ft Monmouth, NJ in 1951, Dean Granros lived in Minnesota most of his life, and is one of Minnesota’s veteran jazz composers and guitarists, and a pioneer of progressive guitar improvisation. Dean now lives in Wisconsin, not far from Eau Claire.
A composer and improviser, since the mid-sixties Dean has been combining blues, classical, electro-acoustic, rock ‘n roll, country, western swing, and various world music influences, and mixing it all in a pot of new jazz broth. His musical role models have ranged from Charles Ives and Messiaen, to Ornette Coleman, Monk, Steve Lacy, Anthony Braxton . .to Jimi Hendrix, John Lee Hooker, and Mississippi Fred McDowell,.
In addition to his own ensembles and solo work, Dean has performed with, The Whole Earth Rainbow Band, Yvonne Rainer Grand Union Dance Company, the Nancy Hauser Dance Company, Dave Dudley, Lee Konitz, Richie Cole, Lapis, Wingless Transportation Trio, Les Thimic, Anthony Cox (Siamese Fighting Fish, Starry Eyed Lovelies), Gao Hung, Vinnie Golia, Eric Gravatt and Kamanari, the Guthrie Theater company, Happy Apple, F*K*G, the Brad Bellows Duo, Carie Thomas, the Joe Smith Quartet, Ira Sullivan, Billy Holloman, "How Birds Work"', and George Cartwright’s “Curlew” and "Gloryland Ponycat".
Dean Granros attended the University of Minnesota for music theory and composition 1970-1972, and studied composition with John Gessner at Macphail Center in 1973. Concurrent with those academic studies, he served a lengthy apprenticeship in jazz and blues, playing nightclubs such as the old Blue Note in North Minneapolis, the Extraordinaire, and the Downtowner. He was a co-founder of one of the Twin Cities seminal experimental jazz groups, "the Whole Earth Rainbow Band" in 1970, and in 1974 he created "Lapis", an ensemble he wrote extensively for, and which was dedicated to exploring composition with structured improvisation .
From 1985 through 1993, he joined former Weather Report drummer, Eric Kamau Gravatt, in the high energy post-bop band, Kamanari.
1995 saw the formation of the progressive and virtuosic improvising trio F*K*G, formed with saxophonist Scott Fultz, and drummer Dave King. In 2002, he joined George Cartwright’s band Curlew, touring the eastern States and playing the EdgeFest in Ann Arbor, MI, and he is featured on Curlew’s much lauded 2003 Cuneiform release “Mercury”. Also in 2003, he began playing weekly Wednesday nights at St. Paul’s Artist Quarter jazz nightclub, with the exploratory quartet called How Birds Work. Over his career, Dean Granros has performed extensively at concert venues like the Walker Art Center and First Avenue, and his music has been featured on MPR, KBEM, and KFAI public radio. In early 2004, he formed "the AntiGravity Ensemble" to explore new improvisational composition directions. Dean continues to write and perform with the The Dean Granros AQ Trio, How Birds Work, and Stew Frog, as well as performing solo guitar.
Zacc Harris
Zacc Harris
"In the 12 years since he first moved to Minnesota from southern Illinois, this remarkably fluid guitarist has positioned himself at the center of the Twin Cities jazz world...Whether playing alongside the McKnight-winning Atlantis Quartet or fronting his own Zacc Harris Group, Harris makes his mark, incorporating lessons from the greats into his own forward-looking style." - City Pages

Since moving to Minneapolis in 2005, Zacc Harris has gained a reputation as one of the area's top guitarists, being named 2017 Twin Cities Best Jazz Artist by the City Pages. He performs in a host of creative projects including Atlantis Quartet, winner of the 2015 McKnight Fellowship and named 2011 Best Jazz Artist, as well as the Zacc Harris Group, American Reverie, and Zacc Harris Trio.

Harris has toured as leader and sideman throughout the US and UK, including a 2016 run with Zacc Harris Group at London's famed Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club. Jazz Improv Magazine says, "Harris delivers a sound that is lucid, clear...providing rich-sounding accompaniment, and well-crafted solos" while Cadence Magazine calls some of Harris' work on Atlantis Quartet's most recent album "worthy of John McLaughlin." MPR News states, "Harris makes his own mark on standards with enough new hooks to keep jazz alive."

In 2012, Harris released his first album as leader, THE GARDEN, on Shifting Paradigm Records. City Pages writer Rick Mason says, "The Garden showcases Harris's compositions, which adeptly and compellingly link the past and future of jazz, and guitar work, which is consistently articulate with an enticing fluidity seemingly influenced by the likes of Wes Montgomery and Pat Metheny." The American Composers Forum chose Harris for one of its three Minnesota Emerging Composers Awards in 2016, to write and record a second album with this group in 2017.

Zacc is also a busy sideman, having performed and recorded with countless artists, including Debbie Duncan, Bruce Henry, Babatunde Lea, Eric Gravatt, Ben Wendel, Michael Janisch, and Nancy Harms. Currently, he plays with Jt Bates' Grain Trio, Lars Larson's Mancrush, Cory Healey's Beautiful Sunshine Band, and Adam Meckler Quintet.

A graduate of Southern Illinois University, Zacc has studied privately with Adam Rogers, Jonathan Kreisberg, Gilad Hekselman, Nir Felder, Miles Okazaki, and Fareed Haque. Zacc has taught privately for the past 18 years and is currently adjunct faculty in the music department at Hamline University in St. Paul, MN and Carleton College in Northfield, MN.


2017 City Pages Best Jazz Artist
2016 Minnesota Emerging Composer Award
2015 McKnight Fellowship For Performing Musicians (Atlantis Quartet)
2011 City Pages Best Jazz Artist (Atlantis Quartet)
Chris Bates
Chris Bates
Chris Bates is a bassist of formidable talent. Having worked professionally for 25 years across all spectrums of the musical landscape he continues to be a driving force in the Minnesota music scene. Raised in a musical household Chris learned early on that variety and diversity were the key to being a working musician and he set his sights on the stars by the time he was a teenager. Bolstered by a classical foundation from MN Orchestra bassist James Clute, Chris gained traction as an improvisor at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire where he played in the award winning Jazz Ensemble I and was able to work with Red Rodney, Donald Harrison, Matt Harris, Ed Soph, Jiggs Whigham and Ira Sullivan in brief but intense concert experiences.

Immediately after the college experience Chris moved back to Minneapolis and dove headfirst into lessons with the world renowned bassist Anthony Cox who encouraged him to begin writing and performing his original music in the group Motion Poets. 3 albums and many van rides later Chris was awarded with a McKnight Composer’s Fellowship for his writing in this award winning ensemble.

At the turn of the century life entered a new phase when a day job, marriage and a son arrived. For several years Chris continued to work in a limited capacity with the focus on family. After being laid off in 2006 Chris has fully reemerged as a bassist and composer and now spends most of his time practicing and composing for the various ensembles he plays in.

In 2012 Chris released his debut album ‘New Hope’ with his quintet Red 5. An all original affair ‘New Hope’ is full of crack shot playing and smart writing that showcases a clean and minimal sound. It was the only jazz album to make the Star Tribune’s Critic’s Tally of top albums in 2012. 2014 saw the release of a new album by ‘The Good Vibes Trio’ and showcases Chris’ love of more standard jazz repertoire with gems from Charles Mingus, Freddie Hubbard and John Coltrane mixed with some original tunes from each band member.

Compositionally Chris recently completed and premiered a full big band version of his quirky ‘Friar Monk’ and also wrote a chamber piece ‘Relay Transmission’ for the new music ensemble Zeitgeist that was debuted in the summer of 2014. Highlights from 2015 include a collaborative soundtrack to ‘Morning Follows Night’ a live radio drama in the noir style composed by Chris Bates, Steven Hobert and Soloman Parham for KBEM FM in April and Atlantis Quartet winning one of four McKnight Performer’s Fellowships for 2015-16.

In the spring of 2016 Chris and his band Red5 conducted clinics and performed with the Eden Prairie High School Jazz Ensembles where he was able to debut 3 new big band pieces. Beginning in the fall 2016 Chris will be an official ‘visiting artist’ at the University of MN Morris along with Bryan Nichols and JT Bates. This position was created to help foster recruitment and interest in the long standing jazz program thru a collaboration with Jazz Studies director Jonathan Campbell.

Recording wise 2016 and will be filled with the recording and potential release of albums from Atlantis Quartet, the collective piano trio Bates | Nichols | Bates, Red Planet with Bill Carrothers and an offering from Chris’ new trio ‘Inventions and Dimensions’. In addition to those keep your ears peeled for fresh sounds from Framework, Enormous and a new expanded iteration of Red 5.
Jay Epstein
Jay Epstein
Jazz drummer, Jay Epstein, has an extensive career as a performing, recording, and touring artist. After college, he studied polyrhythmic concepts in Manhattan with Barry Altschul, the drummer in Chick Corea's Circle. He has lived in Hollywood, Oklahoma City, Atlanta, Miami, Minneapolis, and played in house bands for 5 years on several cruise ship lines. He's been on 7 European tours with pianists Bill Carrothers & Giacomo Aula. Some of the notable artists he has performed with include Barney Kessel, Roseanna Vitro, Manfredo Fest, Sheila Jordan, Terry Gibbs, Greg Abate, Claudio Roditi, Gary Foster, Kim Richmond, Vinny Golia, JoAnne Brackeen, Ernie Watts, Wayne Johnson, Karrin Allyson, Kenny Werner, Howard Levy, Toots Thielemans, Avashai Cohen, and Sarah Vaughan. His CDs, 'Long Ago' & 'Easy Company', featuring bassist Anthony Cox and pianist Bill Carrothers, have garnered luminous reviews in the international press. Current bands include Red Planet, Klezmerica, Framework, Firebell, BroncowVision, Impulso, & Off The Map.
Venue Information:
The Dunsmore Room at Crooners
6161 Hwy 65 NE
Minneapolis, MN, 55432