River Falls musician Steve Kenny has profoundly influenced the jazz scene for 30 years, yet does not want to blow his own horn. That's why it came as a surprise to him that on May 4 this exceptional trumpeter and composer was honored at St. Paul's Black Dog Café jazz night as the 2019 Twin Cities Jazz Hero by the Jazz Journalists Association (www.news.jazzjournalists.org).
Among his many accomplishments and contributions, he puts his energies toward maintaining and growing the jazz scene in River Falls, the Twin Cities and beyond. A generous performer, advocating for and supporting other musicians, Steve is the driving force behind many jazz events, including Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog Café in St. Paul (www.saturdaynightjazzattheblackdog.info), a weekly Friday Night Series in Minneapolis at Jazz Central Studio (www.jazzcentralstudios.org) and the summer jazz series at Studio Z in St Paul (www.studiozstpaul.com).
Steve's transcendent return to music in 2007 continues to inspire, these 12 years of sobriety. He is the founder and driving force behind the jazz groups The Illicit Sextet, Group 47, What Would Monk Do? and other quartets. He is on the Program Committee of the Twin Cities Jazz Festival this year.
In addition to his own recordings, Steve is largely responsible for a catalog of albums by local artists, including the Twin Cities Jazz Sampler, at Illicit Productions. He is the web administrator for www.Jazzpolice.com , and in keeping with his tech skills he recently acquired a Master's Degree in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.
Although I encourage you to hear him, you do not have to go across state lines, as Steve Kenny will be onstage with his gold trumpet this summer at River Falls Community Arts Base Music in the Park at Veteran's Park, Friday, Aug. 23 at 7 p.m.
Follow Steve on Facebook and at www.illicit-productions.com
This column would not be complete without kudos to the St. Croix Valley Symphony Orchestra, UW-RF Community Choir, and the amazing Irish Tenor, Anthony Kearns, all of whom performed a stunning concert May 5, at St. Patrick's Church in Hudson.
Events and opportunities
• Saturday, May 18, 5 p.m., Hammond Arts Alliance, gallery opening reception, Foster Hall, 865 Davis St., www.facebook.com/hammondartsalliance
• Sunday, May 19, 2 p.m., The Zephyr Theatre, 601 Main St. N., Stillwater, Minn., nine local writers of poetry, memoir and fiction: Emmert Carolyn, Klay Eckles, Lizzie Harris, Kate Lynn Hibbard, Scott Jacobs, Livia Klemetsrud, Laura Scott, Kimberly Schneider, Nicole Schumacher. Free, complimentary light appetizers. www.stillwaterzephyrtheatre.org
• Friday, May 24 - Tuesday, June 25, with a reception Tuesday, June 4, 5-7 p.m. Wisconsin Regional Arts Program, RF Public Library, 140 Union St., https://www.riverfallspubliclibrary.org/in-the-gallery.html
• Thursday, May 16, 6-8 p.m., "Rhythm" Art Reach St. Croix gallery opening reception, 224 N. Fourth St., Stillwater, Minn., www.artreachstcroix.org
• Thursday, June 6, 6:30 p.m., MN DNR sponsors a pop-up Bluegrass performance with Blue Hazard, Afton State Park, Hastings, Minn. Also, Mobile Art Gallery features St. Croix Valley artists in May, June,and July, at Minnesota State Parks. www.stcroixsplash.org
• Saturday, June 8, 1-3 p.m. CAB Art reception, Art's House, 108 E. Maple, RF (art openings every second Saturday, except January) www.riverfallscab.org
• Tuesday, June 18, 7 p.m. (and every Tuesday through Aug. 6) UWRF Summer Concert Series, Melvin Wall Amphitheatre (rain site, University Center), Species and Lena Elizabeth, pop and folk. Free. Food for sale. www.uwrf.edu/StudentInvolvement
• June 20 - 23, River Falls Community Theatre musical revue, "Forbidden Broadway," Juniors, 414 S. Main St., River Falls. www.rfcommunitytheatre.org
• Starting Friday, June 21, 7 p.m. and every Friday/Saturday through Aug. 31, CAB Music In The Park, Veterans Park, Main Street, RF.
• Thursday, June 27 - Saturday, June 29, Conducting Summit, UWRF. To register, www.uwrf.edu/mus
• Save the date: Saturday, Sept. 7, 24th Annual CAB Art on the Kinni, juried art fair.
• Kinnickinnic Clayworks potters invite you to throw, trim and glaze pottery. 109 W. Cedar St. RF, 715 821-3982, www.kinniclay.com
• River Falls Public Library www.riverfallspubliclibrary.org
• River Falls Community Theatre www.facebook.com
• Fox Den Books, 120 S. Main St. RF 715-425-6180 www.foxdenbooks.com
• The Phipps Center For The Arts, 109 Locust St. Hudson, www.thephipps.org
• Hammond Arts Alliance www.facebook.com/hammondartsalliance/