Phil Hey Quartet To Play The Artists’ Quarter In St. Paul: Will be playing many hits from recently their album “Subduction”
St. Paul, MN
Twin Cities jazz fans may not always appreciate our great fortune—to live in a community blessed with some of the finest musicians in the country, artists who play with such legends as Charlie Rouse, Kenny Barron, Benny Golson, Benny Carter, Jay McShann, and Dewey Redman. Such is the resume of drummer Phil Hey, who brings his quartet into the Artists Quarter for a rare weekend gig January 16th-17th. And you can be sure that if Artists Quarter owner/drummer Kenny Horst keeps a drummer-led ensemble on his regular rotation, it has to be magic!
the Phil Hey Quartet has been an Artists’ Quarter favorite for the past 8 years. No surprise really. Over the years they have attracted a loyal following of hardcore jazz fans and students who show up on the monthly Thursday night when they perform.
The Phil Hey Quartet was originally assembled around the year 2000 when Artists’ Quarter owner (and fellow drummer) Kenny Horst suggested to Hey that the four jazz veterans perform a “one off” gig. Needing to print the AQ’s monthly calendar, Horst listed the band as the Phil Hey Quartet. Finding that they shared a chemistry and love for the hard bop material, PHQ dug in with monthly AQ gigs and regular rehearsals to hone their unique sound.
Performing a songbook usually driven by a horn player, the PHQ features piano (Aaron) and vibes (Hagedorn) on the lead lines with the equally expressive rhythm section of Tom Lewis (bass) and Phil Hey (drums). Whether by virtue of the band’s “assigned” name or otherwise, Hey took on the role of leader.
While there are many jazz quartets in town, few have the Modern Jazz Quartet configuration of vibes plus rhythm section. The PHQ puts the music of Coltrane, Shorter and more (music typically featuring horns) in the virtuoso hands of Hey, Phil Aaron, Tom Lewis, and Dave Hagedorn. Together as an ensemble since 2000, leader Hey notes that “this is a real band. Everyone in the group is a bandleader in his own right and we have really come together as an ensemble.”
In Fall 2005, the PHQ released arguably the best local CD of the year, Subduction: Live at the Artists’ Quarter. Said Don Berryman of jazzpolice.com, “The word ‘subduction’ deals with the movement of tectonic plates that is a slow process that can result in earthquakes and volcanic activity. Likewise, music on this CD builds tension subtly and releases that tension in great rhythmic eruptions.”
The first sounds you hear on this CD is Dave Hagedorn’s haunting vibraphone solo that introduces Bobby Hutcherson’s Highway One, the last is Phil Hey’s turbulent and triumphant drum solo for the final chorus of John Coltrane’s Fifth House and the cheers of the crowd. What lies between is a demonstration of musical mastery that each musician has honed and the collaborative chemistry that has kept this band vital over the past 5 years.
If you long for the ensemble eloquence of the Modern Jazz Quartet infused with new millennium grooves, be sure to come down to the Artists Quarter this weekend and warm up with the PHQ. The show will begin at 9:00 pm, and entry is $10.
Artists’ Quarter Jazz Club
408 St. Peter Street
St. Paul, Minnesota 55102