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Adam Linz launches Jazz Thursdays series, new CD at MacPhail

MinnPost spoke with Adam Linz in June, soon after he was named to head the jazz program at MacPhail Center for Music. This Thursday he goes public in a big way, with the release of his second solo CD and a performance at MacPhail’s exquisite Antonello Hall. So it seemed like a good time to talk with him again.

MinnPost: How is the new job going?

Adam Linz: Really good. I’m finding my way, sitting in, being bombarded by all kinds of things.

MP: The biggest surprise so far?

AL: We’ve had a lot of interest from people who want to fund our jazz program and Jazz Thursdays series [of which Linz’s performance will be a part]. We’re keeping our fingers crossed.

MP: Your biggest challenge so far?

AL: I trained with Kelly [Rossum, Linz’s predecessor] all summer and was at MacPhail all summer, so that made it pretty easy just to slide in. We have some challenges coming up. We’re writing an NEA grant now, and trying to expand our Jazz Thursdays program into a much higher profile for the state and the nation.

MP: Tell us about your new CD.

AL: It’s called “A Kiss for Luck.” It’s what my mother used to give me before she sent me to day care when I was a little kid. I remember that vividly. She passed away when I was 4. … It’s all solo bass. Two originals, two covers: an Ornette Coleman and a song by Jim Black, the percussionist. The whole disc runs 22 minutes. I didn’t want to bombard people with a full-length solo bass record.

It’s limited to 200 copies. Thirty are in wooden books with artwork. The others are in a special package that folds together — no glue. Very green. I’m starting a new label with this release, Larusso Records. Named for Daniel Larusso, the Karate Kid, because my DJ name is DJ Pat Morita. The next release, I can tell you already, will be a duo record with me and [pianist] Bryan Nichols. It should be out by February or March.

I’ve learned from [saxophonist] Tim Berne and others that we jazz musicians should have our own labels, our own music. For some reason, in jazz, you’re taught that somebody else has to put out your music. That’s a dead philosophy now.

MP: What will this Thursday’s concert include?

AL: I’m going to open it solo and play for about half an hour — some of the tracks from the new record. The second half was supposed to be Fat Kid Wednesdays [Linz and his childhood friends Michael Lewis on bass, J.T. Bates on drums], but Lewis was unable to work it out with his touring schedule. So it will be me and J.T. and [saxophonist] Chris Thomson as a trio. It’ll be a different thing but no big deal.

MP: Next month you’re bringing in Chicago saxophonist Greg Ward for the Jazz Thursdays series. After that?

AL: There’s nothing booked beyond November. We’re still waiting to see where the money’s at. I’m trying to bring in more guest artists, some bigger names.

Antonello Hall is the perfect venue, and there are tons of people that me and J.T. and Mike and all of us have played with and loved who have never played here. It’s nobody’s fault, just the way things are nowadays. It’s incredibly hard to tour.

I’d like to bring in guest artists so they feel a connection to this city, this scene. I just spent a week in Texas in cities four times as big as Minneapolis/St. Paul and they have half as much going on.

Jazz Thursdays: “A Kiss for Luck — Adam Linz.” Thursday, Oct. 1, 8 p.m., Antonello Hall, MacPhail Center for Music  ($10 adults/$5 students). Co-presented with Sound Unseen. Mark your calendar for Nov. 5, when Greg Ward performs in the Jazz Thursdays series.

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