Twin Cities Jazz Festival

Double Header at Reverie July 13: Adam Astrup Group, Steve Kenny’s Group 47

This articlecourtesy of
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Group 47 © Andrea Canter

© Andrea Canter

Thursday Night Jazz at Reverie is making the most of its three remaining nights before the venue closes at the end of July. (Reverie is seeking a new location–stay tuned.) On July 13, it’s a rare double-header for the 2-year-old series, starting at 9 pm with the youthful energy of the Adam Astrup Group, followed at approximately 10:30 pm by the modern creators of Steve Kenny’s Group 47.

Adam Astrup Quartet at the Iowa City Jazz Festival © Andrea Canter

Adam Astrup Group (9 pm)

At the Iowa City Jazz Festival over the recent holiday weekend, 18-year-old guitarist Adam Astrup made a rare double appearance–on the Youth Stage and on the College Stage. Finishing his third year with the Dakota Combo, Adam played two sets on the Youth Stage July 1. And leading his first “college” band the next day, he played two sets on the College Stage with the Adam Astrup Quartet. Now he’s added a fifth musician to the Adam Astrup Group at Reverie.

Adam Astrup © Andrea Canter

Adam Astrup graduated this spring from Ricori High School in Cold Spring, MN. The 75-minute commute did not prevent him from performing with the Dakota Combo for three years, taking guitar lessons with Zacc Harris, performing in a guitar duo with Will Schmid, and otherwise playing with a number of the area’s finest young lions. He will begin jazz studies at the University of Northern Colorado this fall. His cohorts at Reverie include Andrew Tomten on tenor sax. Andrew attends the U of M, leads Purple Funk Metropolis, plays in the Sam Rosenstone Quartet, and other ensembles. Patrick Adkins (piano) is a graduate of Edina High School and studies at the Lawrence Conservatory. He’s led Sound Skirmish since his high school days, when he participated in the Dakota Combo and Minnesota Youth Jazz Band. Another alum of the Dakota Combo as well as Washburn High School, bassist Alma Engebretson studies classical cello and jazz bass at the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music. Drummer Simon Petrick spent his final two years of high school studying jazz at the U of M with Phil Hey, and participated in the Dakota Combo during his senior year. He will head to the University of North Texas in the fall.


Steve Kenny’s Group 47 (10:30 pm, approx)

Group 47 © Andrea Canter

Launched as the Wednesday Night band at the Artists Quarter during that club’s final year of operation, Steve Kenny’s Group 47 has continued to perform at other venues. Although college studies (Will Kjeer) have limited scheduling over the past two years, Group 47 has maintained its collaborative artistry with its original cast of Kenny on trumpet, Thomas Strommen on tenor sax, Kjeer on piano, Adam Tucker on bass, and Alex Burgess on drums.  In addition to gigs at all major jazz venues in the region as well as the Twin Cities Jazz Festival, Group 47 helped inaugurate the Rochester City Jazz Festival last summer. In summer 2014, the band released its first recording, Straight to Vinyl (on LP and digital download).

Steve Kenny © Andrea Canter

Steve Kenny studied at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Among many projects, he has performed with What Would Monk Do, the Cedar Avenue Big Band, and Larry McDonough’s quintet (tribute to Chet Baker) as well as leading several editions of his own quartet. He’s best known as co-founder of the Illicit Sextet, an ensemble popular in the 1990s before taking a long hiatus, and back in action for the past 8 years. Steve has received a Minnesota Music Award, West Bank School of Music Jazz Composer award, and multiple honors as Best Jazz Trumpet at the Eau Claire Jazz Festival. With support from a state arts board grant, he has curated the “All Originals” jazz series at Studio Z for the past three summer seasons, continuing in summer 2017. In fall 2014 he launched the weekly Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog series, and in spring 2015, brought a similar series (Friday Night Jazz) to The Nicollet, rebranded and rescheduled as Thursday Night Jazz at Reverie. And that instrument he plays? It’s a FLUMPET™– a hybrid trumpet.

Thomas Strommen © Andrea Canter

Thomas Strommen (tenor saxophone) studied with David Milne at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Over the years Thomas studied with Greg Keel, Bryan Nichols, Adam Linz, and Phil Hey. During his senior year of high school, Thomas was selected as a member of the Dakota Combo. In addition to Group 47, Thomas co-leads a quartet, Dark Blue, and performs with the Alex Burgess Quartet.

Will Kjeer © Andrea Canter

Pianist Will Kjeer was already working around town as a freelance musician well before high school graduation in spring 2014. He was also a two-year member of the Dakota Combo and Minnesota Youth Jazz Band.  In addition to Group 47, Will performs with Hoaxer, leads his own Trio, and –when available–is often on the bandstand with the top echelon of  young lions as well as veteran jazzers. After receiving acceptances to several music conservatories, Will opted to attend the post-high school music program at Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan, which he completed in spring 2015. After a year at Cal Arts, he moved on to the jazz program at McGill University in Montreal.

Adam Tucker © Andrea Canter

Bassist Adam Tucker has been playing, recording and producing music for many years on the Twin Cities scene. He’s less known for his substantial jazz chops than as a member of groups like The Sextons, and is the driving creative and technical force behind Signature Tone recording studios, well regarded in the heavy metal community. However, many think of Adam as “the secret weapon” in jazz circles, given his work with the Adam Meckler Orchestra, No Time for Squares, the Jana Nyberg Group, and his long association with Steve Kenny and the Bastids.

Alex Burgess © Andrea Canter

Alex Burgess has studied drums and percussion with Craig Hara and Patti Cudd, and improvisation with David Milne at UW-River Falls. In addition to Group 47 and leading his group Common Space, Alex performs with the Paul Woell Trio, the Bad Habits Brass, and the Tommy Bentz Band. Alex also teaches drums/percussion at Brickhouse Music in River Falls.


Thursday Night Jazz at Reverie is curated by Steve Kenny. Jazz every Thursday through July at 1931 Nicollet Avenue just south of downtown Minneapolis; No cover but tips ($10 suggested) appreciated to support the musicians and the series. Watch for news of Reverie relocation and a new jazz series!