The Jazz Ambassadors

May 2, 2018
Malcolm Poindexter III / The Institute of Jazz Studies, Rutgers University

During the Cold War some of the most important musicians in jazz were sent overseas by the U.S. State Department as cultural ambassadors. Beginning in 1956, Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, Dave Brubeck, Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman traveled the globe promoting America as a country of freedom and tolerance while back home the nation was struggling with racism and unrest at the height of the Civil Rights Movement.

In May, South Dakota singer/songwriter Jami Lynn joined the JAS Quintet for the concert series Lady Day: The Life and Blues of Billie Holiday. Although Lynn is best known for her work in folk and Americana, the performances with the Sioux Falls-based combo gave her the opportunity to show her jazz chops. 

Alex Massa: From South Dakota To New Orleans

Jul 27, 2017

Trumpeter Alex Massa was born and raised in the Black Hills, but for nearly five years New Orleans has been his home. He's lived in the Crescent City since early 2013 and his mission has been to learn as much as he can about the music, culture, food and people.

Along with playing in his own bands, Massa has performed with Galactic, the Treme Brass Band, Trumpet Mafia, percussionist Bill Summers, the New Orleans Swamp Donkeys and many others.

Exploring The Music Of Billie Holiday

May 10, 2017

It's impossible to overstate the importance of Billie Holiday. Although her voice was small and raspy, she interpreted songs from Tin Pan Alley with a rhythmic and melodic inventiveness that transformed the tunes into highly personal expressions.

She made her first recordings at the age of 18 in 1933 and her last in 1959 shortly before her death. In between those years she changed the art of jazz and pop singing. She influenced everyone from Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra to contemporary singers Madeleine Peyroux and Norah Jones.

Dry Jack Reunites In Rapid City

Apr 27, 2017

The band Dry Jack was part of the jazz-rock fusion scene of the 1970s and early 80s. The group was formed in 1973 by keyboardist Chuck Lamb and his bassist brother Rich. Drummer Jon Margolis joined a year later and guitarist Rod Fleeman in 1977. The quartet recorded two albums for Inner City Records, Magical Elements and Whale City, before breaking up in 1982.

Mads Tolling: Playing The 60s

Feb 7, 2017

Mads Tolling is one of the top violinists in jazz. He's the 2016 winner of DownBeat Critics Poll Rising Star Award for the violin. He played with both the Turtle Island String Quartet and bassist Stanley Clarke's band before forming his own groups. His latest band, Mads Tolling and the Mads Men, has just released the album Playing the 60s. It's a collection of jazz arrangements of American popular music from the 1960s, including theme songs from television shows like Hawaii 5-0 and The Flintstones.

Brooklyn Jazz Trumpeter Plays In Brookings

Oct 5, 2016
Edenhill Photography

Pablo Masis was studying to be an orchestral musician when he heard jazz trumpeter Nicholas Payton playing in Chicago. The experience changed his life. He switched musical direction and dedicated himself to jazz. He moved to New Orleans where he studied with Terence Blanchard and received a master's degree in jazz studies. He spent some time playing in Omaha where he recorded his first album in 2008. The next year he moved to New York City.

Not everyone who goes to hear guitarist Dave Stryker knows jazz standards so he likes to play familiar pop and r&b songs that people grew up with. Two years ago Stryker released a full album of songs from the late 60s and 70s.

25th Annual JazzFest Lineup Announced

Apr 21, 2016
Sioux Falls Jazz and Blues Society

The Sioux Falls Jazz and Blues Society  has announced the main stage lineup for this summer's 25th annual JazzFest. The free music festival on July 14-16 features local and national acts on two stages at Yankton Trail Park. Guitarist Tab Benoit headlines Thursday night, followed by The Fray on Friday and pianist Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers on Saturday.

Jazz Singer Cyrille Aimee Comes To Sioux Falls

Mar 2, 2016

Over the past couple years Cyrille Aimee’s reputation as one of today’s finest jazz singers has been steadily growing. She’s just released a new album, Let’s Get Lost. It’s receiving positive reviews and finds the 31-year-old singer on the brink of major success. Aimee is currently on tour in support of the album and performs at the Orpheum Theater in Sioux Falls Friday evening at 8:00 for the Sioux Falls Jazz and Blues Society concert series.

Tony Monaco Interview - April 21, 2014

May 6, 2014

Tony Monaco interview, April 21, 2014