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Highlights of the Minnesota Orchestra 2014-15 season





The Minnesota Orchestra has announced plans for the 2014-15 season of three series: Live at Orchestra Hall, Holiday and Family Concerts.  

Here are some season highlights:

Live at Orchestra Hall, offers a varied series of popular music, jazz, Broadway classics, movie scores, comedy and other genres, led by Sarah Hicks, Principal Conductor of Live at Orchestra Hall. The Live at Orchestra Hall and Holiday series will include Grammy-winning trumpeters Chris Botti, Wynton Marsalis, Artistic Director of Jazz Irvin Mayfield, Pops Conductor Laureate Doc Severinsen, and Orchestra musician Charles Lazarus. Featured vocalists include Ann Hampton Callaway (April 2015) in a first time program saluting singer-actress Barbra Streisand. Jazz will be well-represented in concerts by two world-renowned bands—the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Music Director and trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and guest vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant, (December) and Preservation Hall Jazz Band with special guest and soloist Irvin Mayfield (March 2015) on trumpet. Continue Reading →

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Bill Cosby May 31 performances at Orchestra Hall to be rescheduled



Not unlike, some of the jazz artists that Bill Cosby admires, who have mastered their own personal sound and genius approach to improvisation, he, too has mastered those same skills associated with the art of making people laugh with him, and at the same time made that art form look deceptively simple. His prowess as an all-around entertainer is undeniable, so when he comes to town, it’s usually considered a must-see occasion. The 76-year-old veteran comedian, actor, author, and avid jazz supporter was scheduled to bring his signature style of stand-up comedy to Orchestra Hall for two solo shows on Saturday, May 31, but according to a May 14 press release from Orchestra Hall, the shows were cancelled by the performer due to lower than anticipated ticket sales. The intention is to reschedule in the future. Since his 1963 appearance on The Tonight Show, he has entertained audiences with his roles in I Spy, The Electric Company, and the iconic Cosby Show. Continue Reading →

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This weekend, it’s jazz-related concerts galore!

Brooklyn-based ensemble Red Baraat makes its debut at Orchestra Hall on Friday, April 25 at 8 pm. Critics have described their performance as “a shot of pure adrenalin.” Established in 2008, Red Baraat is an eight-piece band from Brooklyn, New York. The brainchild of Sunny Jain, the group has been celebrated worldwide for its live performances of original sound — a blending of North Indian bhangra rhythms, New Orleans brass band, jazz, go-go, brass funk, and hip hop. Sunny Jain is known as a rising star in the jazz world. Continue Reading →

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This Week’s Entertainment Spotlights


Bobby McFerrin

Sat., Apr. 19, 8 pm

Orchestra Hall, 1111 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis

Go to www.minnesotaorchestra.org or

call 612-371-5656










Ramsey Lewis and John Pizzarelli: Straighten Up and Fly Right

Fri., Apr. 18, 8 pm

Orchestra Hall, 1111 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis

Go to www.minnesotaorchestra.org or call 612-371-5656










Twin City Community Gospel With

Sandy Hodges and Friends Gospel Band

Sun., Apr. 20, 10 am

Famous Dave’s BBQ & Blues Uptown, 3001 Hennepin Ave. S., Minneapolis

Go to www.famousdaves.com or call 612-822-9900










ScHoolboy Q With Isaiah Rashad,

Vince Staples

Sun., Apr. Continue Reading →

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Lewis, Pizzarelli and McFerrin take over Orchestra Hall

When you’re in the business of moving people–and I mean by way of live musical artistry, it’s never an easy task. If the goal is to have an unforgettable experience with an audience that occurs in the now and that takes people places that they’ve never been before, then Orchestra Hall has arranged something extra special for music lovers this weekend. Pianist Ramsey Lewis along with guitarist John Pizzarelli take the stage on Friday, April 18 at 8 pm to perform a special Nat King Cole tribute, and vocalist Bobby McFerrin performs with his band that includes his daughter, vocalist Madison McFerrin, on Saturday, April 19 at 8 pm. Both Grammy Award-winning artists, Lewis and McFerrin enjoy ever-evolving careers and music making that continues to attract diverse audiences around the globe. They have also, in their own distinct ways, altered the musical landscape with their unmatched virtuosity and masterful creativity for decades. Continue Reading →

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Minnesota Orchestra unveils 2014 “Live at Orchestra Hall” and Sommerfest concerts

Having just witnessed a richly entertaining musical show during the 2014 NBA All Star Game held in New Orleans featuring New Orleans own Rebirth Brass Band, Trombone Shorty, and Dr. John, among others, I couldn’t help but think about our own musical entertainment on the horizon. Recently, I received a lovely 10-page booklet from the Minnesota Orchestra, which reminded me of the press release I had also received highlighting this new season’s music to be held at its newly renovated venue, which looks beautiful. For discerning season ticket holders and regular attendees, from the looks of things, prepare for a déjà vu moment. Indeed, the Minnesota Orchestra is back in business and unveiled their 2014 “Live at Orchestra Hall” concerts billed as a “broad spectrum series of popular music, jazz, world music, Broadway classics, movie scores,

comedy, and other genres — bringing under one umbrella several separate concert series previously offered by the orchestra.”

Live at Orchestra Hall includes shows with returning vocalist Bobby McFerrin and his band (April), a Nat King Tribute starring guitarist John Pizzarelli and Grammy Award-winning pianist Ramsey Lewis (April), who performed along with his band at the Dakota last year. Music supporters can also expect the return of two Grammy-Award winning trumpeters Chris Botti (March) and Pops Conductor Laureate Doc Severinsen (April). Continue Reading →

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Honoring the legacy of two legendary late jazz greats — Clifford Brown re-mastered three-CD box set makes a great holiday buy



Remembering two jazz legends, Von Freeman and Dave Brubeck, who have passed this year, reminds me of why I love this music. I had planned to round out the year by remembering saxophonist Von Freeman who passed in August. Writer Howard Reich from the Chicago Tribune recently wrote a lovely piece on Freeman. Check it out. But with the news of pianist Dave Brubeck’s passing on December 5,  I now think of both men and I am reminded of their similarities, the legendary and unique lives they lived. Continue Reading →

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MSR talks with New Orleans trumpeter Irvin Mayfield


By Robin James

Jazz Columnist 


Irvin Mayfield (IM) recently spoke with MSR. Among the topics: the music of New Orleans, jazz vocalists that interest him now, his leadership as artistic director of Jazz at Orchestra Hall, and his upcoming CD A Love Letter to New Orleans, in conjunction with the April 6 concert by the same name, at Orchestra Hall. MSR: You’ve written A Love Letter to New Orleans (Basin Street) by way of a new book and new album, which leads me to ask, why is the music of New Orleans sexy? IM: First, it comes from the people. Music is the only art form in the same space as emotion. I think when you have a certain tradition for instance, the drums in New Orleans. Continue Reading →

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