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Monday Night Jazz at the Knickerbocker

WMJS's Monday Night Jazz series begins September 18th, 2017 and will continue on Monday of each month through April, with the exception of December when the annual holiday party will take place. (date TBA).

We are excited to present this year's concert series in the Knickerbocker at the New Holland Brewing, 412 Bridge Street NW, Grand Rapids.  You will be able to order dinner and drinks from the restaurant menu. The kitchen will be cooking up a special for the evening as well. 

​The concert times are 6:30-8:30pm and admission is only $5 for members & $10 for non members. (Join today!)

Check the map at the right for parking information. Two lots will be available for free parking for our members. One lot is located behind the Knickerbocker and the other across the street at Swift Printing. Show the attendant your 2017/18 parking pass.

Street parking will also be available after 5.

Click on the parking map for a larger view!

SEPTEMBER 18th will open the series
with Susan Morris and Blue Monk

Bassist/Vocalist Susan Morris will be accompanied by guitarist extraordinaire, Carlos Melendez, exciting trumpeter Robbie Smith, and the talented Steve Talaga on keys.

Susan Morris formed Bluemonk in 2008. This impressive group is composed of college instructors who play many forms of jazz including Latin, funk, swing, bebop and world fusion. Susan, by day, is a professor at Ferris State University. Her subjects include Philosophy, Film and Eastern Religion, and Race and Gender Theory. (It is rumored she changes the subject to music whenever she can!) Susan grew up playing bass in rock bands in New Jersey and Illinois.

Carlos Melendez is originally from Puerto Rico and has been a member of Bluemonk since its inception.  He teaches guitar and improvisation at Alma College and appears regularly with Randy Marsh at the popular Speak EZ Jazz Jams. In the past he has played with Jose Feliciano and toured with Herbie Mann.

Sax man and trumpeter Robbie Smith is an Associate Professor of Music- Jazz studies at Central Michigan University.  He is in constant demand as a side man and has taught many students including those who attend Interlochen Arts.

Pianist Steve Talaga hardly needs introducing to WMJS! He was our Jazz Musician of the Year 2008. He has received countless awards over the years and is regularly commissioned for his composition skills. He performs with various groups including the ever popular Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra. Steve is an adjunct professor of music at Hope College.

September Monday Night Jazz

OCTOBER 16th will feature
Chicago-based duo husband and wife Petra van Nuis and Andy Brown
along with Michigan natives Paul Keller and Pete Siers.

Germany's Jazzpodium Magazine hails Petra and Andy's eighteen year musical collaboration as "a magical musical dialogue, which can only partially be described as blind understanding."

Vocalist Petra van Nuis is a protégé of Chicago’s “First Lady of Jazz,” pianist/singer Judy Roberts, Petra has studied jazz in the old-fashioned way, at the feet of the masters. Regionally, Petra's performance highlights include the Chicago Jazz Festival, the Chautauqua Jazz Party, the Roswell Jazz Festival, and the Cedar Basin Jazz Festival. Internationally, Petra's highlights include the Yardbird Suite (Edmonton, Canada), the Gorinchem Jazz Festival (the Netherlands' oldest jazz festival), and the Jazzhaus Heidelberg (Heidelberg, Germany). Petra has recorded four CDs and her 2009 release “Far Away Places” was re-issued in Japan on the Japanese label Muzak.

Mentored by the late guitar legends Cal Collins and Kenny Poole, Andy Brown has been playing professionally for over twenty years. A top-call sideman, Andy has backed internationally known players Harry Allen, Howard Alden, Ken Peplowsi, John-Erik Kellso, Warren Vache, Anat Cohen, Kurt Elling and many others! His accompanying skills have made him a favorite with vocalists, most notably Barbra Streisand with whom he played in a jazz quartet on the Oprah Winfrey show. With his own trio, Andy has played for US Presidents including Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. His Delmark CD with NYC guitarist Howard Alden received a 4 star rating in Downbeat Magazine and his latest Delmark release “Soloist,” is receiving many accolades as well.

Paul Keller is one of the busiest bassists in the Detroit area, earning the nickname “The House Bass Player For The State Of Michigan.” Since 1989, Paul has led the 15-piece Paul Keller Orchestra, which plays original, obscure and classic big band material from all periods of jazz history. They perform every Monday night at the Zal Gaz Grotto in Ann Arbor. Paul also plays in the popular Keller/Kocher Quartet and in The Paul Keller Ensemble, a three-horn sextet that features creative arrangements by Keller and his band mates. Paul has been recognized internationally for his association with pianist/singer Diana Krall and guitarist Russell Malone.

Pete Siers can be heard performing in groups throughout the region, including the Latin group Los Gatos and his own trio and quartet. Siers is an original member of the award winning Paul Keller Orchestra. He also performs and has recorded with Bess Bonnier, Mr. B, guitarist Ray Kamalay and his Red Hot Peppers, The Easy Street Jazz Band, The Motor City Classic Jazz Band with Marcus Belgrave, The Ron Brooks Trio, The Tad Weed Freedom Ensemble, and James Dapogny & his Chicago Jazz Band.


October Monday Night Jazz

NOVEMBER 20th will bring Patty Gayle & Co.

The first time Patty performed for us, it was a sell out; she really packs the house! Patty Gayle is a lifelong Grand Rapids resident as well as a graduate of Interlochen Performing Arts Academy and a Graduate and theater major at the University of Miami. Patty has traveled overseas performing with the USO, has performed in numerous local musical theater productions, and is a two time Grand Award nominee from the Grand Rapids Theatre Guild.

Some fine Grand Rapids musicians will be backing her vocal talent. Robert "Bobby T" Thompson will be on drums. Bobby is a local favorite who has performed around west Michigan for decades with a variety of bands in many diverse venues.

Bob Van Stee will be on piano. Bob is a well-respected pianist who has accompanied many a vocalist and is a founding member of the group, Checkers Morton. Bob lives in Lowell and can be heard playing solo at the Flat River Grill on Wednesdays.

Mike Lutley on sax/flute will add the color to the music. Mike is a much sought after player who is a member of the Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra, the Tom Hagen group and countless other bands in Grand Rapids. He was WMJS's Musician of the Year in 2015.

A relative newcomer to the jazz scene is Lew Russ, on guitar. Lew lives in Hasting and has played the music scene for a long time in Western Michigan mostly near the shore line. Come give him a Grand Rapids welcome to Jazz!

Patty performs her own unique style of Jazz, Blues, and American Standards with a touch of soulful light rock and country that will make your evening a night to remember.

November Monday Night Jazz

Click here for a scholarship app!

Part of WMJS's mission statement is to provide music scholarships for deserving students in pursuit of jazz education.The 2017 Music scholarships are ready to receive requests! PLEASE help us get the word out and direct worthy candidates here!
Other Jazz Happenings

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