UMS Concert Program, April 20, 1991: University Musical Society -- Butch Thompson And The Butch Thompson Trio
Rackham Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY
THE BUTCH THOMPSON TRIO
Saturday Evening, April 20, 1991, at 8:00 Rackham Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Butch Thompson, Jazz Pianist
Wayne Jones, Drums
Bill Evans, Bass
James Dapogny, Jazz Pianist Peter "Madcat" Ruth, Harmonica
Shari Kane, Guitar
The pre-concert carillon recital was performed by Tiffany Nguyen, a junior majoring in Natural Resources and a student of Margo Halsted, University Carillonneur.
Butch Thompson, James Dapogny, and Peter "Madcat" Ruth are represented by Donna Zajonc Management, Ann Arbor. This concert is supported by Arts Midwest members and friends in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.
Thirty-eighth Concert of the 112th Season Twentieth Annual Choice Series
Sit Back and Enjoy!
This evening, Butch Thompson and his colleagues will entertain concertgoers with their mastery of vintage jazz and ragtime as they play music from the period roughly from 1895 to 1930. A typical concert includes a wide variety of styles, ranging from Scott )oplin's ragtime through New Orleans jazz by "Jelly Roll" Morton, blues from southside Chicago, stride piano by Fats Waller and others, and pop tunes of the era.
In keeping with the spontaneous nature of the music, there is no set program for tonight's concert. The artists will announce and comment on the pieces as the evening progresses.
Butch Thompson, well known to general audiences from his hun?dreds of appearances on American Public Radio's A Prairie Home Companion, is internationally rec?ognized as a leading performer of vintage jazz and ragtime. His globe-trotting schedule keeps him touring almost continually, yet he still finds time to record extensively and continue researching the classic jazz he has loved all his life.
Butch Thompson's specialty is music from 1895 to 1930, which includes music by Scott Joplin, "Jelly Roll" Morton, Fats Wal?ler, Eubie Blake, and Willie "the Lion" Smith. His repertoire also includes classic pop tunes and his own original compositions.
Thompson travels regularly in Europe and Japan as well as the United States. Highlights of his recent trips include appear?ances at Queen Elizabeth Hall and the Cam?bridge Festival in England, Radio City Music Hall and Carnegie Hall in New York, and major festivals including Holland North Sea Jazz Festival, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, and Kobe Jazz Street in Japan. The 1990 season included his first-ever concert tours of West Germany and the Greek Is?lands, as well as several appearances at The Barbican Centre in London. Thompson also pursues a heavy concert schedule in the U.S., appearing with his trio, as a soloist, and in symphony "pops" concerts. In addition to performing, he teaches workshops and master classes in early jazz styles.
Between trips, Thompson has been busy working on several projects. An ac?knowledged expert on New Orleans jazzman "Jelly Roll" Morton and his music, Thomp?son contributed to jazz historian William Russell's recent book on Morton. He also
collaborated with fellow pianist James Dapogny on a two-piano album, and recorded the piano part on the movie soundtrack for John Sayles's critically acclaimed film, Eight Men Out. Thompson's "on the air" appear?ances include the Today Show, Austin City Limits, and Marion McPartland Piano Jazz, and he also continues to work with American Public Radio's Garrison Keillor on various radio and television projects.
Born in Minnesota, Butch Thompson studdied both piano and claarinet, and at age nineteen he began his professional career with the Hall Brothers New Orleans Jazz Band of Minneapolis. Charlie DeVore, the band's musical director, introduced Butch Thomp?son to New Orleans jazz, and it became a lasting infatuation. The two men traveled together to New Orleans, where Thompson began learning the music first hand from such jazz greats as clarinetist George Lewis, trum?peter and band leader "Kid" Thomas Valen?tine, trombonist Jim Robinson, pianist "Sweet Emma" Barrett, and many others.
Thompson returns to New Orleans peri?odically, at times playing at Preservation Hall, and still plays clarinet occasionally with the Hall Brothers band. Over the years, he has played with virtually every big name in tradi?tional jazz, including Eubie Blake, Willie and Percy Humphrey, Ralph Sutton, Milt Hin-ton, Bobby Hackett, and Max Morath.
Butch Thompson can be heard on more than 100 recordings, both as featured soloist and as a supporting player for other major jazz artists. His highly acclaimed series of three solo jazz piano compact discs was released in August 1989, distributed by Rounder Records. He also collaborated with fellow pianist James Dapogny for a two-piano album on the Stomp Off label.
Butch Thompson and James Dapogny are both masters of the traditional jazz piano tradition. They first got together when Thompson, as house pianist on A Prairie Home Companion, invited Dapogny to the show for a two-piano performance. Fol?lowing that success, the DapognyThompson duo took to the road to the delight of concert audiences and then to the studio to produce their first two-piano recording for Stomp Off. Touring sometimes as a duo, sometimes adding Dapogny's band or Thompson's trio, and always adding a taste of Thompson on clarinet, they bring a full spectrum of early jazz, from rollicking stride piano to plaintive blues, to lively Latin American rhythms. James P. Johnson, "Jelly Roll" Morton, and Fats Waller are a few of the composerpianists whose work is highlighted by Dapogny and Thompson.
The ThompsonDapogny duo appeared on Garrison Keillor's American Radio Com?pany of the Air on November 25, 1989, and at the Smithsonian Institution in Washing?ton, D.C. on November 26.
Growing up in Chicago sparked James Dapogny's life-time ca?reer in, and love of, traditional jazz. It was there, while still a teenager, that he first heard, met, or played with some of the older jazz pioneers, such as Little Brother Montgomery, Junie Cobb, Mike McKendrick, and Baby Dodds. Meeting these players made a power?ful musical and personal impression on him and deepened his interest in other music, particularly in music theory and composition. Dapogny graduated from the University of Illinois, majoring in music composition, and later received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the same institution. While in school, he continued to play as a jazz pianist and trombonist, principally around Chicago. Between degrees, he worked and recorded with Clancy Hayes at The Plugged Nickel in Chicago and began his teaching career at the University of Michigan. He has since become a professor of music theory and received a Faculty Recognition Award as a "superb teacher," at the same time keeping alive his performance as a jazz pianist, playing solo with his band. He has also worked with traditional jazz stars, including Bob Wilber, Cozy Cole, Vic Dickenson, Pee Wee Erwin, and Doc Cheatham.
But his favorite band is his own. He formed James Dapogny's Chicago Jazz Band in 1976, with the goal of a band that could play a range of traditional jazz from ragtime through swing. They have played throughout the United States, have a Grammy nomina?tion for their album Sippie on Atlantic, and albums on Jazzology Records called ]ames Dapogny's Chicago Jazz Band and Back Home in Illinois. In 1988, Dapogny produced For Real, which blends state-of-the-art digital technology with an old-fashioned unedited recording style, resulting in an historically accurate, exciting true-to-life sound. That same year, James Dapogny's Chicagoans a jazz trio cut a record for Stomp Off, and he and Butch Thompson finished their two-piano album on the same label.
In 1979, James Dapogny became ac?companist, bandleader, and arranger for blues singer Sippie Wallace. With his band, they performed throughout the United States, at the Montreux-Detroit International Jazz Festival, Tanglewood, Sacramento Blues Festival, and New York's Bottom Line. James and Sippie also appeared at Carnegie Hall in
"Blues Greats" with John Lee Hooker, Willie Dixon, and John Hammond, Jr.
A theorist-historian as well as per?former, Dapogny teaches, lectures, and writes about jazz. He is author of many biographi?cal-critical articles for Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians and of jelly Roll Morton: The Collected Piano Music, a landmark col-
Peter "Madcat" Ruth has established an international reputation through his exhilarating virtuosity on the harmonica. He has performed in such leading venues as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Berlin Symphony Hall, Belles Artes in Mexico City, and the Opera House in Sydney, Australia. Audiences of every age and background respond to his contagious enthusiasm, and he moves with ease from the concert stage to the crowded night spot to the elementary, high school, and college circuits.
"Madcat" began playing the harmonica during high school in Chicago. By the early 1970s, he was touring the country with groups such as New Heavenly Blue and Sky King, with whom he recorded for RCA, Atlantic, and Columbia labels. For three years, he toured and recorded with acclaimed jazz pia?nist Dave Brubeck.
In 1977, after ten years in other people's bands, "Madcat" decided to do his own music, on his own terms. For the next few years, he returned to his folk music and blues roots, playing his music at colleges and coffeehouses throughout the Midwest. In ad?dition to his own music, "Madcat" accompa-
lected edition of a jazz musician's work. Dapogny's recordings include Piano Music of Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton, (Smithsonian), 1 You Don't, I Know Who Will with Carol Leigh (Stomp Off), Chicago in the 1920s: Jazz and Hot Dance Music (University of Michigan Jazz Repertory Ensemble), and several others.
nied many other musicians and played in an impressive variety of musical styles.
In 1984, "Madcat" released his first solo album Madcat, Gone Solo and for the next few years continued to pursue a solo career. In 1987, he participated as performer and judge at the first World Harmonica Festival in England, and was invited back in 1989 for the second World Festival, held in West Germany.
Soon after his return from England in 1987, "Madcat" formed a band called Madcat's Pressure Cooker, and their first album Madcat's Pressure Cooker, Live at the Pig was released in the fall of 1988. He continues to perform as a soloist all over the country and still finds time for an occasional gig with Madcat's Pressure Cooker.
"Madcat" considers himself a bluesman at heart. His music reflects the strong blues influence of Chicago, yet his interpretation is completely his own. While working within the framework of the blues, he has expanded it boundaries, blending folk, country, rock, and jazz into a style he calls "electric folk blues." For young students, he interprets the roots of American popular music with a variety of styles, using harmonicas, guitars, kalimbas, pennywhistles, synthesizers, an Af?rican thumb piano, and even an old shampoo bottle virtually a one-man band!
After many years of working primarily as a soloist, "Madcat" has teamed up with guitarist Shari Kane, a highly respected fingerstyle blues guitarist who has been teach?ing guitar in the Ann Arbor area since 1977. "Madcat" and Shari are both masters of the blues, reflected in their repertoire that in?cludes country blues, classic blues, urban blues, a bit of folk music, and a touch of jazz.
As a teenager, bassist Bill Evans learned the jazz trombone, but in order to become a charter member of the newly forming Hall Brothers New Orleans Jazz Band, Evans taught himself New Orleans-style string bass. As a member of the Hall Brothers Band, he had the opportunity to play with Eubie Blake, Max Morath, Ralph Sut-ton, Maxine Sullivan, and many more of the most respected musicians in the field, includ?ing many veterans associated with Preserva?tion Hall. Evans resides in St. Paul, Minnesota, and maintains a busy schedule of local engagements in addition to his perfor?mances with the Butch Thompson Trio.
Drummer Wayne Jones is a mem?ber of, or has played with, vir?tually every traditional jazz band in the Chicago-Midwest area. He is one of very few first rate drummers that the revival of jazz has produced since its inception more than 40 years ago. Jones was invited by Turk Murphy to be the drummer in his band for the Turk Murphy Tribute, a sell-out event at Carnegie Hall in January 1987. Wayne Jones, critic and record collector, can be heard on over 40 albums.
James Dapogny and his Chicago Jazz Band made their first appearance for the Musical Society in March 1986 as the opening act for the Benny Goodman Benefit Concert. All other performers this evening are performing under Musical Society auspices for the first time.