Robin James

Recent Articles

Get ready for a carnival of musical delights.

 

 

Heading into this weekend and the next, an assortment of upcoming jazz related shows are set to take place at the Dakota. Get ready for a carnival of musical delights. Actually, it was trumpeter Russell Gunn who was to help kick things off at the Dakota last night, along with his quartet and vocalist Dionne Farris, but the gig was postponed. Farris and Gunn have a new live album, Dionne Get Your Gunn, which Farris released on her independent label, Free and Clear Records.  

One of my all-time Gunn favorites featuring him on electric trumpet and flugelhorn is his Live in Atlanta: Ethnomusicology, Vol. Continue Reading →

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Memorable musical moments from 2013

 

 
People have a huge thirst for connection. How well a song or an experience stays with you can be as easy as answering the question, does this art have resonance, or not? If I were to put together a musically inspired compilation of this year’s wide sampling of recorded music that I’ve heard and the live music that I’ve experienced this year, it would include an amazing group of talented artists who continue to challenge themselves as they give us something creative and personal. As I surf the memories of my mind from this year I can’t help but start at the beginning. To kick off 2013 in spectacular fashion was Minneapolis native and Blue Note Records artist Jose James who performed music
from his album No Beginning No End. Continue Reading →

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Marcus Roberts Trio performing at the Dakota

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Wednesday, November 6, for two sets only, the Marcus Roberts Trio returns to the Dakota stage to bring its well-known one-of-a-kind virtuosity to local audiences. And for a group that was founded in 1995, they’ve come a long way in 18 years. If you’ve been lucky enough to witness this trio in action over the last few years, consider yourself well aware of what these sets might be like this time around. If you’re planning to see Roberts for the first time, prepare to thoroughly enjoy yourself. This concert will no doubt be one of the best presented by the Dakota this year. Continue Reading →

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Philanthropy for many is simply ‘doing the right thing’ for Blacks

MSR speaks with Minnesota Council on Foundations’ president Trista Harris
 
By Robin James

Contributing Writer

 

Who is Trista Harris? She’s an author, blogger, and self-described philanthropic futurist on a mission to lead and empower the next generation of foundation leaders, social entrepreneurs, and do-gooders who will shape the future. Her website www.tristaharris.org says so. How to Become a Nonprofit Rockstar: 50 Ways to Accelerate Your Career (Lulu.com, 2011) is the worthwhile book that she co-authored along with Rosetta Thurman. And if you haven’t heard by now, Harris was named the new president of Minnesota Council on Foundations (MCF) and took over the reins July 29 from Bill King who retired. Continue Reading →

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U of M appoints new v.p. for equity, diversity — Dr. Albert says she’s ‘ready to partner’ on social concerns

 

 

By Robin James

Contributing Writer

 

The University of Minnesota has ambitious diversity goals, and Dr. Katrice A. Albert, in her newly appointed position as vice president for equity and diversity, is prepared to lead forward in pursuit of those goals. Since 2005, Albert had served as chief diversity officer at Louisiana State University (LSU). She was responsible there for developing and implementing strategic initiatives and policies aimed at cultivating a campus environment that embraced individual difference, sustained inclusion, and enhanced institutional access and equity. In her new role at the U of M, she will also be a member of the senior leadership group. While leading the university’s access, equity, and diverse multicultural resources and programs at the U of M, Albert will also collaborate with diverse Minnesota communities and uphold educational and employment equity. Continue Reading →

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Twin Cities Jazz Festival 2013 — Cyrus Chestnut trio highlights full day of great music

 

 

 

With the scent of fresh cut French fries and the sounds of salsa music in the air, I found a seat near the main stage at Mears Park to take in the music of Cyrus Chestnut’s trio at the 2013 Twin Cities Jazz Festival on Saturday, June 29. Chestnut and his crew were just warming up on stage, so my timing was good. Mears Park was packed with a rainbow assortment of people, many of whom sat intently in their fold-up lawn chairs. Some festival-goers, myself included, found a giant-size rock to sit on, which was draped with someone’s colorful blanket. Greeting the crowd, Cyrus said cheerfully, “It’s good to be here! Continue Reading →

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Legendary guitarist performing at the Dakota pursuing degree in music therapy

 

 

Jazz guitarist Stanley Jordan is world renowned for his unique two-handed guitar technique (also known as the touch technique, or two-handed tapping) and will return to the Twin Cities to play a special solo guitar set at the Dakota on July 18. The 50-something Chicago native lives in Sedona, Arizona and lately has been playing with a number of jam bands, by way of guest spots with musicians such as Dave Matthews and Phil Lesh. In the midst of all his musical activities, Jordan is actively involved in the area of music therapy. He’s extremely passionate about his work with kids and people in pain and participates in clinics across the country. Jordan is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in music therapy from Arizona State University. Continue Reading →

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This year’s Twin Cities Jazz Festival offers plenty of affordable, quality entertainment

This weekend June 27-29 the 15th Annual Twin Cities Jazz Festival returns to St. Paul’s Mears Park. And the best thing is it’s free! Festival goers can expect to experience a wide spectrum of music presented on four outdoor stages and in many local Downtown St. Paul venues. Continue Reading →

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Supergroup BWB pays tribute to the King of Pop on new release

 

 

 

With the fourth anniversary of the passing of Michael Jackson upon us, it’s a good time to pause, reflect and celebrate his life and his music. Celebrating Jackson’s music is something a number of contemporary artists, jazz musicians included, have done more constantly in recent years. I’m thinking of Joey DeFrancesco, Vijay Iyer, Esperanza Spalding, and the list goes on. Not only is it a popular thing to do, it’s a fine way to pay tribute to one of the most important entertainers of all time. Speaking of fitting tributes to the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, BWB’s Human Nature — featuring trumpeter Rick Braun, tenor saxophonist Kirk Whalum, and guitarist Norman Brown — was released by Heads Up/Concord Music Group on June 18. Continue Reading →

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