Jazz radio station Jazz88 KBEM 88.5 FM will host its original radio drama series Jazz Noir in front of a live audience from the beautiful Dakota in downtown Minneapolis on Sunday, April 27, with dinner seatings at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. The late performance will be broadcast live on Jazz 88.5 FM.
For those who long for “the grand old days” of radio, Jazz88 KBEM has once again answered the call. Jazz Noir is an original radio drama series complete with live voice actors and musicians in front of a studio audience, just like in the days of radio’s infancy. The next episode is “The Black Hand Side That Feeds You,” a radio drama in which playwright Christina Ham explores the rich North Minneapolis jazz scene of the 1960s and collaborates with composer John Penny for the musical score. Ed Jones, veteran actor and Jazz88’s morning show host will direct the production. The Playwrights’ Center and American Composers Forum partnered to assist with the call and jury process for the writer and composer for this Jazz Noir production.
The cast for this original drama has been chosen: Peter Moore, James Williams (Ivy Award Winner, Star Tribune 2008 Artist of the Year and Penumbra Founding member), Jane Froiland, Rhonda Gibson, Elizabeth Efteland, Clarence Wethern and Dann Peterson.
In addition, George Roberts at Homewood Studios in North Minneapolis will curate and presenting a gallery show featuring Northside artists reflecting on themes from that period that will be on view concurrent with the production.
Originated and produced by Kevin Barnes, Jazz Noir debuted in 2013 with Charles & Avon, an original radio drama set in Saint Paul’s Rondo neighborhood in 1929, written by Alex Lewin with an original jazz score by composer George Maurer. Charles & Avon was staged and broadcast from the Artists’ Quarter Jazz Club (AQ) in downtown Saint Paul in April 2013. In addition to two sold out houses at the AQ, thousands of Jazz88 listeners locally, nationally and internationally experienced the broadcast at 88.5 FM or at the web stream at www.jazz88fm.com.
Date: April 27, 2014
Time: 4:00 PM & 7:00 PM*
Price: $43 & $56**
Venue: Dakota | 1010 Nicollet Mall | Minneapolis, MN | 55403
Tickets: 612-332-5299 or www.dakotacooks.com
Online: http://www.dakotacooks.com/event/jazz-noir-original-radio-drama-live broadcast/
*Prompt arrival requested due to live recorded nature of the shows
**Set menus included in ticket price for both shows
About The Black Hand Side That Feeds You
The Black Hand Side that Feeds You takes place during the pulsating period of the 1960s in the Near North Side neighborhood of Minneapolis bookended by the calamitous period of Martin Luther King Jr.’s last visit to the Twin Cities in April of 1967 and the riots that occurred a few months later in July of that same year. The Black Hand Side that Feeds You looks at the intersection between jazz and the Civil Rights movement in Minneapolis highlighting key players in the jazz world. As its backdrop, a movement that was bubbling around the country finally set foot on North Minneapolis soil and a quest for a better way of life for African-American citizens in the area could not be denied.
The jazz scene in 1960s in North Minneapolis was rich but not well-documented. This commission is an opportunity to explore that scene through story and music against the vibrant political climate of the Civil Rights Movement that pulsed through the city. Both Ham and Penny’s work will explore the idea of the bleakness and pessimism that is usually associated with the phrase “noir” and juxtapose it with the excitement that was exploding in the North Minneapolis community during this political climate and the fusion of jazz styles that arose. This program is an opportunity to speak to the residents of the area and to shine a light on a community that was nothing more than a footnote in jazz music history.
“It’s a thrill to be able to explore this little known aspect of jazz history in North Minneapolis,” says Ham. “I think that North Minneapolis’ jazz scene gets overshadowed by some of the larger cities, but the fact is that quite a few of the musicians that came from here went on to work with some of the greats. I’ve said before that I see my job as a playwright as that of an artistic anthropologist…to dig and find the unknown.” Christina Ham is an award-winning playwright who is currently a Core Writer at the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis. In addition to this commission, she is currently working on her fifth commission for SteppingStone Theatre in Saint Paul. More at www.christinaham.com
Composer and guitarist John Penny has developed a unique and exciting approach to both disciplines. Along with writing music and lyrics for his brand of world jazz, John has scored music for films and has performed with some of the best musicians in jazz. More at www.johnpennymusic.com.
About Jazz88 KBEM 88.5 FM
Since 1970, KBEM has served the Twin Cities as the unique “voice” for education and jazz, broadcasting at 88.5 FM. KBEM is licensed to the Minneapolis Public Schools Board of Education. From its inception as an innovative distance learning resource project conceived in the mid 1960’s, to a curriculum based school program located at North Community High School, KBEM has evolved to be recognized as the Twin Cities public radio voice for jazz and education, reaching nearly 100,000 devoted listeners weekly. As the Twin Cities’ mainstream jazz station and exclusive source for traffic reports broadcast from the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MN/Dot), KBEM reaches well beyond students and parents from North High School and the Minneapolis Public Schools.