TCJS ‘Jazz from J to Z’ Concert: Pooch’s Playhouse: Exploring Jazz Music Today

What happens when five veteran jazzmen come together for mutual inspiration and free conversation? Welcome to Pooch’s Playhouse at the Artists’ Quarter on March 21 (7 p.m.), a Twin Cities Jazz Society “Jazz from J to Z” concert. Pooch’s Playhouse features bassist Bruce “Pooch” Heine, guitarist Joel Shapira, saxophonist Dave Brattain, pianist Mark Asche and percussionist Dave Schmalenberger. Shapira describes the music as “diversely influenced, adventurous and open-ended, but we are first and foremost a pure jazz group, that is the intention of this band... and we are proud of that fact.” The band will play tunes by Shapira, Asche, Heine, and Brattain. Some other composers will include Hank Mobley, Kenny Werner, Bill Frisell, Branford Marsalis, Joe Henderson, Clifford Brown and more.

Bruce “Pooch” Heine teaches bass and trombone at St. Cloud State University. With over 20 years of professional performance experience, he’s played with Mose Allison, Jim Rotondi and Barrett Deems. Locally, he regularly appears with Triplicate, Cedar Avenue Big Band, the George Avaloz Trio and the R&B band, Jimeo.

Dave Brattain is a 20-year veteran of the Cedar Avenue Big Band and Vanguard Variety Ensemble, has toured the U.S. with Troupe America (1940s Radio Hour), and has been featured with pianist Ben Sidran. Locally, he’s played with the Paul Renz Quintet and JazzMN Big Band, as well as his own quartet. Currently Brattain is on the faculty of Wayzata High School.

Joel Shapira lived and performed in New York City for over six years, where he also studied at the Mannes School of Music. He has a long-standing partnership with singer Charmin Michelle (Charmin & Shapira) and has been a member of Triplicate for 12 years and the Vic Volare Orchestra for ten years.

Mark Asche is active in the Twin Cities’ jazz, blues and gospel scenes. He’s performed with Kenny Loggins, John Lee Hooker, Viola Wills, Bob Berg and Paul Wertico, and locally with Dave Karr, Gordy Johnson, Phil Hey, Gordy Knudtson, Bobby Peterson and the JazzMN Big Band. He’s also appeared on many recordings by The Senders, Mojo Buford, Dave Graf and The Hornheads. Dr.

Dave Schmalenberger holds a DMA in Percussion Performance and World Music from West Virginia University. His resume includes performing with John Scofield, Tim Ries, Larry Grenadier and Steve Turre, and locally with the JazzMN Big Band, Vocalessence and shows at the Ordway and Children’s Theater. Currently Schmalenberger is Assistant Head of the Drum Department at McNally Smith College in St. Paul.

According to Shapira, the repertoire for Pooch’s Playhouse “features about onethird originals, two-thirds jazz tunes and standards, done in a ‘modern jazz quintet’ style....lots of sax/guitar/ piano interaction with linear ideas and melody. Also members are actively composing new tunes especially written for PP players and instrumentation... [two previous shows at the AQ] were well attended and two of the most enjoyable gigs of my career.”

Join the fun at Pooch’s Playhouse, Sunday, March 21, 7 p.m., at the Artists’ Quarter in downtown St. Paul (408 St. Peter Street, lower level of the Hamm Building). Tickets are $10 ($8 TCJS members, seniors and students). Andrea Canter writes for Jazz Police, JazzINK, and blogs at <>.