Recent Articles

Monk Trumpet Competition brings out the stars







Marquis Hill beat 13 trumpeters to win the 2014 Thelonious Monk International Trumpet Competition last Sunday, November 9, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. The 27-year-old Hill, of the south side of Chicago, Illinois, secured a $25,000 music scholarship. The competition began in 1987 and remains the most prestigious honor for a young jazz musician. Also, Bill Clinton, lifelong devotee of jazz

and the 42nd President of the United States, accepted the Institute’s Maria Fisher Founder’s Award. According to a press release, “Presented by the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz (the world’s preeminent jazz education organization), the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Trumpet Competition awarded more than $100,000 in scholarships and prizes, including a major scholarship and a guaranteed recording contract with Concord Music Group for the winner.” The accomplished group of trumpeters Quincy Jones, Jimmy Owens, Arturo Sandoval, Ambrose Akinmusire, Randy Brecker and Roy Hargrove served as this year’s judges. Continue Reading →

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Keith a singing movie star?

He’d caught a catnap on the flight from the Twin Cities. Middle of the afternoon, filming in Chicago at Rosa’s Lounge, Keith sat at the bar wondering just how much longer it’d take. He’d never quite got used to the hurry-up-and-wait of making a movie. Even the tech crew, who were all accustomed to this kind of thing, clearly were bored to their bones. He finished thumbing through the local edition of the New York Times, absently humming Bobby Womack’s “Facts of Life.” Sipped at his drink. Continue Reading →

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Dear White People: Satire takes sophisticated look at Ivy League race relations

The academics are tough enough at Winchester University, a mythical Ivy League institution. It’s too bad that Black students there also have to worry about making themselves comfortable socially. That’s precisely the predicament we find a quartet of African American undergrads facing at the point of departure of Dear White People, a sophisticated social satire marking the directorial and scriptwriting debut of Justin Simien. Earlier this year, the thought-provoking dramedy won the Jury Award for Breakthrough Talent at the Sundance Film Festival. The picture’s protagonists are as different from each other as night and day. Continue Reading →

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Freddie Bell back on morning local radio

Longtime broadcaster joins comedian and singer for his return to KMOJ
A legend returns: Freddie Bell, a favorite for years with Twin Cities listeners, is back in the Twin Cities at KMOJ-FM’s The Morning Show. AM drive time with the quintessential easygoing, ever-friendly voice is once again an engagingly personable experience. Many of us a recall a return to the air some time back under less-than-desirable circumstance. His program was pulled from the KMOJ airwaves, fans raised a royal phone-calling, letter-writing ruckus that got him right back behind the microphone and in the cars and homes of a loyal audience. How many radio professionals can you count on one finger, with room left over, who’ve had that sort of impact? Continue Reading →

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Walter Chancellor, Jr.: Music man works to keep jazz alive in Twin Cities

Saxophonist, multi-instrumentalist, educator, arranger, and music producer Walter Chancellor, Jr. has been prominent in Twin Cities jazz and R&B the past two decades. After constant touring early on, he moved to Minneapolis from Des Moines, Iowa, lessening the need to travel quite as much in order to play. Shortly after the move, he performed and recorded with Prince, appearing on two songs for the three-disc album Emancipation (released 1996). He also has worked with a long list of premiere artists, including Chaka Khan, Larry Graham and the Pointer Sisters. Since the late 1980s, Chancellor has been instructing students in audio and video postproduction for Minneapolis’ renowned Institute of Production and Recording. Continue Reading →

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The show must go on

Hey, Helen!” Keith hollered across the stage. “You ain’t gon’ b’lieve this!” She was on the stage scanning the surroundings, taking a breather. And idly responded, “Yeah, yeah, what?”

“Your boy just got arrested.”

Helen gave him an ugly look. “What’re you talking about?”

“Cop got Mensah.” He went over and picked up the half-can of beer he’d left sitting around. “What!?”

“Go outside and see for yourself.”

Which she did. Continue Reading →

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Dealing with that first date

First dates: inevitable as death and taxes. Unless, of course, you like living lonely. And don’t come with baloney about you’re perfectly content being single. You’ve made your peace with it, sure, and are comfortable keeping your company. But, don’t tell me you don’t sometimes daydream about being just as comfortable with someone wonderful keeping your company, too. Continue Reading →

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Lesli and Keith get back to their lives — with a twist

When Lesli dropped that “Just decided to keep it” bomb, Keith couldn’t believe she hadn’t at least talked with him before making up her mind. And told her so. On the one hand, yes, it’s her body. On the other, that was him in there, too. He glared out the window. “Don’t sulk.”

“Ain’t sulkin’.”

“Are so. You’re angry because I didn’t consult you before coming to a conclusion. And I don’t blame you. Sue me. I should’ve said something and, for once, kept my opinion to myself.”

“Picked a hell of a time to do that.”

“You didn’t want me to —” She leaned close, so the driver wouldn’t hear. “You didn’t want me to have an abortion, did you?”

“Hell no!” At that the driver did glance at them in his mirror. She nestled close. “Good.”

This woman, he thought, is going to drive me off a cliff. They got to the station and, even out here, someone recognized him. A pretty little strawberry blonde, probably about 16, sat with what likely were her parents and older brother. Gawking. Then walked over in something that resembled a trance. Keith and Lesli were trying to figure out when they would next see each other when Lesli noticed the girl. Standing a few feet away. Continue Reading →

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Twin Cities fashions highlighted at Sister Spokesman

Local businesses offered lineup featuring casual to retro styles
Exquisite, impressive, elegant, enlightening and inspiring: These are just a few words to describe the Sister Spokesman Third Annual Fashion Show at the Minnesota Music Cafe on September 6. This year’s emcee was Julie Gartrell of

Fierce Hair & Make Up Lounge. #TEAMFIERCE did the hair and makeup for the show. The show also featured Sandra Young and her business Affordable Elegance Boutique. She offers very affordable high-end items. Her models wore a mix of formal, informal and casual items. Dresses, jeans, boots and jackets headed up this lineup of fashion show options. Continue Reading →

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