Recent Articles

The Color Purple: Minnesota talent powers inspirational musical

The Color Purple runs through February 15 at 
St. Paul’s Park Square Theatre.

I may be the only middle-aged Black man in Minnesota who has not seen the epic motion picture The Color Purple in its entirety. I may, in fact, be the only one in the Midwest.
However, after attending the opening night of the musical adapted from the book by Alice Walker, I feel like I was there in the place and time period, Georgia 1909-1949, that the play covered. It even took me back to the time and place portrayed in the scene titled “African Homeland.” Continue Reading →

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My favorite things in 2014: reminiscing on the year in jazz

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Happy New Year everyone, and best wishes for 2015!
Through the years, I’ve always admired the special loyalty and relentless commitment that artists apply to their craft. With this idea in mind, I sat myself down and wrote this column about what I found to be some of the most fascinating songs/albums/artists/concerts of 2014. Continue Reading →

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The Color Purple musical features Twin Cities stars

(l-r) Regina Marie Williams and Aimee K. Bryant as Shug and Celie in Park Square Theatre’s staging of The Color Purple

Aimee K. Bryant, T. Mychael Rambo, Regina Marie Williams, Gary Hines a few of the local greats in new production at Park Square Theatre

Easily one of the best known and most beloved titles in American lit, Alice Walker’s famed, historic novel The Color Purple dominated the best-seller list, was made into a hit movie and bowed as a Broadway musical in 2005 with a book by Pulitzer Prize winning White playwright Marsha Norman (’Night Mother, The Secret Garden). It’ll receive nothing short of top-shelf in a new production of the musical at St. Paul’s renowned Park Square Theatre with ace actor Aimee K. Bryant starring as Celie, the cruelly abused child bride whose arduous ordeal on her way to fully realized womanhood is, a word, heartrending. Ironically, Bryant, whose broad range has marked a strong career (Guthrie Theater, Children’s Theatre Company, Penumbra Theatre), didn’t even think she’d be cast — except maybe in the ensemble: “I thought I’d be in the Trio, one of the background members.” Had it not been for determination, she wouldn’t be in the show at all. “I couldn’t get any appointment to audition. Continue Reading →

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Detroit Jazz Festival showcases Motor City and American music history

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Jazz is an important part of America’s musical history. Or, as saxophonist Joshua Redman aptly notes, it is “America’s classical music.”

“Jazz music is America’s original art form,” states Jason Tinsley, a board member for the Detroit Jazz Festival (DJF), held annually on Labor Day weekend. The four-day jazz fest, which takes over the city’s downtown riverfront area and annually features such big names on stage as Ramsey Lewis and Wayne Shorter among others, fits nicely in “the time-honored tradition of passing the jazz vocabulary from one generation to the next.”

Fans also get up close to hear and speak to artists in the “Jazz Talk Tent” as well as attend post-event late night jam sessions — all free to the public. “A lot of hard working individuals have put their money up to make sure we do this

festival free,” adds Tinsley, a DTE Energy executive — his company is among the festival’s key corporate sponsors. “The jazz fest is a unique brand that sometimes comes under the radar compared to pop music. Continue Reading →

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