West Michigan Jazz Society presents

 January 2018 at the Knickerbocker in
New Holland Brewing, 417 Bridge Street NW, Grand Rapids

The purpose of the Progressions Jazz Series is to educate and entertain the discriminating music listener on the many different genres of jazz. The loft in the Knickerbocker will become a Chicago style listening room for an incredible 90 minute set beginning at 7:00 PM on the 4th Tuesday of the month beginning January 23rd, 2018.

Cost for members is $5, non-members $10

Single Series Member Ticket:  $20; non-member: $40

Couple Series Member Ticket:  $40; non-member: $80

Members and personal Patrons, please consider a personal donation to help us keep jazz alive and well!


$1000 Benefactor

$500 Patron

$100 Friend

A gift of any amount will be recognized in our Progressions Jazz Series Program.  West Michigan Jazz Society is a 501c3 non-profit organization and your contributions may be deductible as provided by the IRS code. 

Donations can be made by using the Paypal Donate button below with your Paypal account or credit card
or by mailing a check to:
West Michigan Jazz Society, PO Box 150307, Grand Rapids, MI 49515

When using the Donate button, be sure to  indicate the personal Progressions Series member level (see above) near the top of the Paypal screen where you enter your personal information.

Progressions Series Sponsors

The first band for the Progressions Series will be the Steve Hilger Jazz Quintet on January 23 at 7:00 PM.

Steve's firm, Hilger Hammond Attorneys at Law will sponsor this event.

Steve Hilger Jazz Quintet

Steve Hilger has been a singer songwriter since the early 70’s and has played in and written for a variety of bands in genres including blues, jazz, rock and acoustic folk music. He fronts The Steve Hilger Band, a progressive Blues band, which won numerous  Jammie nominations, Steve writes and arranges all the original music for The Steve Hilger Band as well as the jazz quintet. In his earlier days, Steve played trumpet in a High School just outside of New York where he participated in jazz clinics with such musicians as Count Basie, Thad Jones, Doc Severnson, and others.

Steve Talaga (Pianist, composer and arranger) has been composing and performing professionally for more than 30 years.  He is co-leader of “Mind’s Eye,” a jazz quartet with four compact discs to its credit, “Angst for the Spoiler,” “Seasons,” “Lucky Nine,” and “Children of the Glacier.”  Talaga has performed with “Mind’s Eye” at many venues and jazz festivals, including the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland and the Montreux-Detroit Jazz Festival in Michigan.

John Gist’s talent always shines through no matter what style of music he plays including Jazz, Funk, Blues, R&B and Gospel. Being a Soprano, Alto and Tenor Saxophonist, John can make you want to get up and shake your “groove thing” when he’s blowin’ out some funky rhythms one minute. 

Tom Lockwood is a bass/woodwind performer based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He teaches at 3 colleges in the area as well. He has appeared in Mind’s Eye, Evidence, Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra, New Orleans Nouveau, Kalamazoo Big Band, Steve Talaga, Edye Evans Hyde, Steve Sandner, Clifford Music Group, Terry Lower, The Steve Hilger Band and more. 

Randy Marsh has been drumming for almost 40 years and shows no sign of slowing down. Indeed, he is at the peak of his playing with organissimo, bringing fire and intensity as well as his trademark sense of humor. Like his hero Art Blakey, Randy’s drumming is truly one of kind.

Beer City Saxes
On February 27 at 7:00 PM, the Progressions Series will feature
the Beer City Saxes: Woody Herman and the “Four Brothers” style

The Beer City Saxes draws its members from the Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra. Venues they have performed at include Harmony Hall, The Bob, and at Waldron Public House in Grand Rapids. They have also performed at the Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts, the Lansing Jazz Festival, and for the Thornapple Jazz Festival in Hastings. Due to the Beer City Saxes’ popularity with musicians, saxophonists often rotate throughout a performance, featuring anywhere from 4 to 7 saxophones with jazz rhythm section. This performance will feature James Hayward, Greg Marsden, and Tom Stansell on tenor Saxophones, and Gary McCourry on baritone saxophone. The rhythm section will include pianist Steve Talaga, drummer Eddie Eicher and bassist Dave Collee.

For this performance, The Beer City Saxes will specialize in the “Four Brothers” style, a term derived from the 1947 hit that featured the Woody Herman saxophone section in an instrumentation of 3 tenor saxes and a baritone sax. Woody maintained this saxophone instrumentation throughout the rest of the periods of his band, and the tune “Four Brothers” became a timeless staple of the group’s performances. In addition to compositions and arrangements by members of the Woody Herman Band, the Beer City Saxes will also perform Four Brothers style standards and originals from Harry Allen’s All Star New York based saxophone group, “The Candy Men”.

Don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy this unique group made up of some of West Michigan’s finest jazz musicians.

On March 27, Peaches and the Progression Series will present Flamenxico!


Flamenxico is a concept that Camilo Nu has been formulating for years with the idea of ​​linking flamenco and Mexican music. With the Spanish singer Laura Mateo, it is possible to complete this formula so sought after by the guitarist and producer. The repertoire we have chosen is based on popular Mexican songs in flamenco genres played with a blunt and modern sound. "Our performances sound like flamenco but with the Mexican touch!"

Camilo Nu's guitar is what we would call the new generation of flamenco toque that is impregnated with jazz and contemporary harmony. Laura's singing also corresponds to a very modern way of singing flamenco, but with an echo that reminds us of the great singers of the past.

This project has already been presented in Spain in the flamenco circuits, getting good reviews!

Monday Night Jazz at the Knickerbocker
Monday Night Jazz - Coming in February and March

We are excited to present WMJS's Monday Night Gumbo Series in the Knickerbocker at the New Holland Brewing, 412 Bridge Street NW, Grand Rapids.  You can order dinner and drinks from the restaurant menu and the kitchen staff will be cooking up a special for the evening as well. These concerts will continue through April 2018. 

Watch for our annual Musician of the Year banquet in May and the JAZZ IN THE PARK SERIES begins in June.

​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!

Walt Gutowski


January 15th, Monday Night Jazz Gumbo presents Walt Gutowski and the Bridge Street Band.

This group is a collective of some of the finest musicians in West Michigan, the synergy is quite remarkable.  The group strives for audience involvement by playing crowd-pleasers from straight ahead to smooth jazz, R&B and maybe even a little Motown. Band members include Walt Gutowski (guitar/vocals), Steve Talaga (keys), John Gist (sax), Charlie Hoats (bass) and Mark Weymouth (drums.) Walt will have several female vocalists joining him on stage.


On stage and (maybe) strolling through the room, February 19’s Monday Night Jazz will be a special Mardi Gras celebration with Carl Cafagna and the Creole Kitchen. Playing the traditional sounds of New Orleans’s Jazz it promises to be a night that may transport us to the warmer southern climates of Louisiana. Joining Carl will be Matt Collar, Terry Kimura, Jay Mitzer, Shannon Wade and Van Hunsburger.


March 19th the Fred Knapp Trio featuring Dave Proulx on piano & vocals will provide our evening’s entertainment. The other members are the rock steady band leader Fred Knapp on drums, and the solid bass man, Dave Rosin. This trio is reminiscent of the great trios of the past like the Oscar Peterson Trio, Bill Evans Trio, and Ahmad Jamal Trio; along with the fresh sounds of trios of today like the Brad Mehldau trio, and the Benny Green Trio. 



April 16th we will welcome the JMM Jazz band who will occupy take our stage for the first time. Out front will be two vocalists for our listening pleasure, Diana VandeWater and band creator/leader/vocalist Diego. JMM Jazz brings a new level of entertainment to classic Jazz Standards. They take the Great American Songbook and turn it into a nightclub experience reminiscent of the nights when Sinatra and The Rat Pack would take over Vegas! 


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

Click on any of the posters below for a larger view!