This is where we're supposed to convince you we're geniuses. Our music defies classification or genre. We give new meanings to the word "virtuoso." We're explosively bursting onto some scene. Then the coup de grace: a jargon-laded description of each song on our album. My midwestern modesty as well as respect for you, the reader, fights against this.
We are more talented than some. We have been studying, practicing, and playing for years. Our music starts from simple premises: jazz does not stop at swing; learn from pop that simple can be good; fear not the electric guitar; be open; there are only two kinds of music: good and bad. We met through the Twin Cities music scene: Dan met Dave through the Cedar Avenue big band, met Shilad through the research world, met Karl through Steeling Dan, Shilad met Graydon through Snowblind. We strive for a common goal: to make honest music, together.
The album has sixteen songs, twelve by Dan, one by Karl, and three covers of songs by Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell, and Kevin Washington. The sounds range from rollicking (Ambulatory, Chasin' the Blues, Don't) to thoughtful (By the Way, Enough, Eric's Enlightenment, Old Aged) to soulful (Folly, Three Days, Higher Ground) to experimental (Breckish, Purpleheart). Read about the people below, and above all, listen to the music.
Karl Koopmann plays guitar in and around the Twin Cities. He began his formal guitar, theory and composition training at the Minnesota (now Perpich) Center for Arts Education, where he had the ridiculously good fortune of being taught by guitarist Kevin Daley, composer Janika Vandervelde and jazz pianist/musicologist Richard Paske, and where he was introduced to jazz, modern classical and "world" music, all of which would become major influences. He continued studies at Minnesota State University Moorhead, majoring in jazz performance with Glenn Ginn. Twin Cities groups he has worked with include: Terramara, a pop/rock group performing original music; Story City, a jazz-fusion project centering around the compositions of Pat Metheny and Michael Brecker; Steeling Dan, a 13-piece tribute to Steely Dan; Starting Point, a jazz-fusion band in the Yellowjackets/GRP vein; Yawo, an afro-funk world beat band; and Tardiss, an electronic/computer-generated music duo. He also believes that peanut butter and pickles are complementary, and room-temperature coffee gets a bum rap.
Shilad Sen is on a search for music that makes you move your feet. Shilad studied with world-renowned classical saxophonist Dr. Frederick L. Hemke at Northwestern University, where he discovered that it is difficult to tap your feet to modern classical saxophone music. He also studied jazz with pianist Michael Kocour, and placed second in the 1996 North American Saxophone Alliance Collegiate Jazz Competition. Shilad has played with Danilo Perez, Ron Blake, Rufus Reid, Phil Hey, Dennis Diblasio, George Fludas, and Ron Perillo. He pursues his quest for soul-gripping grooves with Snowblind, Ingo Bethke, and a few other groups. In his spare time, Shilad teaches computer science at Macalester College.
Graydon Peterson completed his bachelor's degree in music composition at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire where he studied classical bass with James Clute, a former bassist with the Minnesota Orchestra. While Graydon was a member of the Down Beat award-winning UWEC Jazz Ensemble I, he performed with such guest jazz artists as Lewis Nash, Ingrid Jensen, Jason Marsalis, Chris Botti, and Christian McBride. Now a resident of Minneapolis, Graydon is one of the area's top-call bassists, performing nightly with a variety of vocalists and small ensembles including Christine Rosholt, Debbie Duncan, Connie Evingson, and the Mary Louise Knutson Trio. A consummate accompanist, he has become a fixture at the annual Twin Cities Hot Summer Jazz Festival.
David Stanoch is fascinated with sound and aural landscapes and has performed with an eclectic array of global talent including Richard Davis, Keb'Mo', Bernard Purdie, Bonnie Raitt, Ben Sidran, Timbuk3, and Butch Vig, among many others. He also studied with drum masters Max Roach, Alan Dawson, Jeff Hamilton, Ignacio Berroa, and Chad Wackerman. David digs a good beat and believes rhythm is healing. He also sees an advantage in the pursuit of hitting things that "don't hit back!" Born and raised in the Twin Cities, David says, paraphrasing Michael Corleone, that no matter how many places he's relocated, "They pull me back in!" A faculty member of the McNally Smith College of Music, David endorses Paiste Cymbals and Vic Firth Drumsticks. A contributing author to MODERN DRUMMER magazine, he released his first method book, MASTERING THE TABLES OF TIME, in 2008, to instant critical acclaim as one of the essential drumming books of our time. David believes fatherhood towers over his other achievements.
Dan Frankowski is a thinker, novelty-seeker, trumpet player, and composer. He was raised in the Twin Cities, where his high school band (director Dennis Malmberg) and the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies (GTCYS) were early crucibles, with peers like Michael Bland (later drummer for Prince's New Power Generation) and Michael Sutton (violinist in the Minnesota Orchestra). At Oberlin College, he studied jazz playing with Donald Byrd (the trumpeter), Kenny Davis, and Jack Wilkins, and jazz composition with Wendall Logan. At the University of Minnesota, he studied jazz with Ron McCurdy, which included master classes by Slide Hampton, Joshua Redman, Hal Galper, Terrel Stafford, and Wynton Marsalis. He played the solo chair in the pit orchestra of the nationally acclaimed touring production of "A Harlem Nutcracker" by Donald Byrd (the choreographer), music director David Berger. Dan has played with big bands including the Nova Jazz Orchestra, Twin Cities Jazz Orchestra, John Ahern Big Band, and Cedar Avenue Big Band. He plays with Steeling Dan, a 13-piece Steely Dan tribute band and the large version of Terramara, an original pop band. He has played and recorded his compositions in 3 other groups: the Minnesota Postsecondary Jazz Sextet (postbop), the Dynamic Duo (guitar and trumpet), and anton and dan (an experimental horn duo). He lent jazz great Freddie Hubbard his trumpet to play at Quest (no joke). He freelances with many groups, as well as stirring church favorites on Easter, which he calls "trumpeter's full employment day."