The Twin Cities Jazz Festival – special to the Bates Update

The Bates Update -TC JAZZ FESTIVAL time. Summer has somewhat arrived here at the end of June and tha

The Bates Update – Special Edition

This Bates Update is arriving just in the nick of time to promote some special gigs I have coming up

Bates Update – May the Thanks be with YOU!

Bates Update – May the Thanks be with YOU! Greetings! A hearty and warm thank you to ALL who a


The Twin Cities Jazz Festival – special to the Bates Update

June 25, 2014 in Blog, Performances

The Bates Update -TC JAZZ FESTIVAL time.

Summer has somewhat arrived here at the end of June and that means the TC Jazz Fest is coming up quick. This festival is 100% free and open to the public. This year’s fest will feature over 300 local and national musicians performing all over St. Paul, apparently it is the biggest ever! I’m always happy to be involved and look forward to it every year. I love to hear live music and this years listening highlights for me include the  stupendous Branford Marsalis Quartet, the New Orleans groove of the Joe Krown trio and the phenomenal Dianne Reeves! I’m playing a whole bunch and I’m going to be Tweeting and Instagramming all weekend so feel free to follow me there; but really I hope to see you at some of the Festival! Every year gets better and this year is really going to be a ton of fun! Here’s my insane schedule, because, crazy.


Thursday June 26th  

5pm:  Studio Z

Zeitgeist performs my new piece ‘Relay Transmission’ along with 3 other premiers of works by Zacc Harris, Davu Seru and Steve Kenny. I’m excited to hear all of these compositions and you can catch it on Thursday and Friday at 5pm at Studio Z. I’ll be playing with them on Thursday. 

7:30pm:  Mears Park Main Stage

Atlantis Quartet (Brandon Wozniak, Zacc Harris and Pete Hennig) will headline the Thursday night opening of the festival with a set of our original tunes at 7:30pm. Get down there early so you can catch Foreign Motion  at 6. Cory Wong, Kevin Gastonguay, Yohannes Tona and Petar Janjic are a really ripping it up with their grooving new band! All in all this is a stellar local kickoff to the fest! 

Friday June 27th

4pm:  Mears Park Main Stage

Red Planet has the honor of opening up the weekend festivities with our spirited and joyous musical explorations. Dean Magraw, Jay Epstein and I have been playing together since 2004 or so and we relish every moment together. We can only hope our audience does too. If you’ve never seen Dean play you should really consider coming out for this one. Dean is one of kind, as is Jay for that matter. Viva musica!!!

6pm: Hat Trick Lounge

Kristin Sponcia Quartet w/ Chris Olson, Dave Stanoch and CB. 

I’m excited to be working with Kristin as she is a great pianist and singer who is highly underrated. Dave, Chris and I have all played together in many contexts and I’m looking forward to this set of Kristin’s arrangements and originals. 

8pm: Black Dog Cafe

Donald Washington / Brad Bellows Quartet

This is one of the most fun, spontaneous and organic ensembles I’ve ever been involved with. We just seem to take an idea out of thin air and make some really fantastic music instantaneously. Catch our first 30 minutes and then head over to the main stage to hear some Branford!

Saturday June 28th

1pm:  6th Street Stage

Axis Mundi is a world music inspired jazz adventure led by guitarist Glen Helgeson. This band also features Dave Stanoch and Daryl Boudreaux. We’ll be playing sambas, bossas, tangos, Frisell’s and some really grooving African pop influenced tunes. 

4pm:   Mears Parks Main Stage

Adam Meckler Orchestra – 17 pieces. All original compositions by Adam. This band has been steadily building it’s repertoire and audience over the last couple of years and we are all super pumped to be playing on the main stage for so many new faces. There will be copies of the new album available at the festival. 

6:30pm: Amsterdam Bar and Hall

Good Vibes Trio! Dave Hagedorn. Phil Hey and I are going to be bringing the most excellent VIBES to the jazz fest this year! Come by and hear us playing tunes from our new album. 

After the Good Vibes set I’ll be camping out here at Amsterdam for the remainder of the day. Jazz Central has booked a plethora of stellar talent for these stages. I highly recommend putting this spot on your radar in case of inclement weather. There are plenty of great bands playing Friday and Saturday.


Dave Karr and Pete Enblom. I’m part of the Jazz Central All Stars Rhythm section holding it down for the lovely and talented Dave Karr on tenor sax and Pete Enblom on trombone. This will be a swinging good time.


Pete Whitman invites Framework plus special guest Andres Prado

Framework (Chris Olson, Jay Epstein and CB) have been collaborating with Pete Whitman recently and we are having a super great time playing music together. Add a dose of the amazing Andres Prado and you have the fixings for a real nice late night treat after the Main Stage scene lets out.

Sunday-Friday June 29th- July 4th I’ll be teaching Jazz Improv up at the Shell Lake Arts Center. It’s my 4th year there and I’m really looking forward to the hang, some great music and golf. 

I hope everyone is having a great summer! See you soon! 


The Bates Update – Special Edition

June 6, 2014 in Uncategorized

This Bates Update is arriving just in the nick of time to promote some special gigs I have coming up over the next couple of weeks. Before we get to the gig list I wanted let you know that I’m one of four jazz artists commissioned by the Zeitgeist New Music Ensemble to compose a new work for them that will premiere at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival. If interested I would ask you to consider donating to Zeitgeist here to help them fund this project. The deadline for funding of this project is May 31st. Your donation will allow the composers to be paid and will help fund future performances of these new works by Steve Kenny, Davu Seru, Zacc Harris and yours truly.

 We’re jumpin’ in to summer here so I want to let you know about these upcoming shows.

RED PLANET (Dean Magraw, Jay Epstein and CB) has been out in deep orbit and we are excited to return to action at this cool two day music festival on Saturday May 31st. The Two Nights Music Festival is being hosted by Reid Kruger who owns Waterbury Music and  Sound and was the recording engineer for the Red Planet CD! Dean, Jay and I are excited to be playing with the Orange Mighty TrioJonathan Zorn Trio (not THE JOHN ZORN, sorry. But equally as interesting) and RISINGSIDE. Click thru and check these bands out.

We hope you can join us. Tickets are just $10 at the door.

Red Planet @ Two Nights Music Festival

Saturday May 31st  

8:30 pm   $10  

Old Arizona 2821 Nicollet Ave S, Mpls, MN 55408

Dean Magraw and Reid Kruger mixing some Red Planet at Reid’s old studio. Circa 2008.

Dean and Reid mixing the Red Planet album circa 2007.

Dean and Reid mixing the Red Planet album circa 2007.

Fall of the House of Usher is large ensemble conceived and led by guitarist Chris Cunningham. We’ve been honing our sound over the last few months and we are excited to be playing the late show at the Dakota on Saturday June 7th. The band plays a melange of elegantly medicated slip sync world grooves that is sure to make you want to boogie. Chris Cunningham on gtr, CB on bass, Greg Schutte on drums, Nathan Hanson, Jon Davis, Adrian Larkin and Elliot Wachs on saxophones. We’ll have some special guests as well. We play FoTHoU!

Fall of the House of Usher @ Dakota Late Night

Saturday June 7th  

11:30pm   $5

Dakota 1010 Nicollet Mall, Mpls, Mn 55403

FoTHoU at Icehouse August 2013


I am super duper uber excited to announce that my quintet Red 5 will be playing on Wednesday June 11th at Jazz Central! Due to the close of the AQ this band has been idle and all our busy schedules makes it tough to connect! I’m writing some new tunes and we’ll of course be playing all the music from the New Hope album.

It would be an honor if you could join Brandon Wozniak, Chris Thomson, Zack Lozier, Jt Bates and me for a fantastic night of music! We’ll be back at Jazz Central where it all started. Come and complete the circle!

Chris Bates’ Red 5 @ Jazz Central

Wednesday June 11th

8:30pm   $10 (donation)

Jazz Central 407 Central Ave NE, Mpls, MN 55414

Red 5 sketched by Michael Brewer Carina 2012

composited drawing by Michael Brewer Carina.

composited drawing by Michael Brewer Carina.

One of the most exciting things about the Twin Cities Jazz Fest this year is that the Green Line will be open and people will be able to take MASS TRANSIT to the Festival! The opening of the Green Line is a long awaited piece of urban infrastructure that will finally connect the Twin Towns. There is a big grand opening celebration in Lowertown St Paul for the Green Line on Saturday June 14th and I’ll be playing with the Zacc Harris Group. We are playing outside as part of the End of the Line Party.  Zacc Harris on gtr, Bryan Nichols on keys, CB on bass and TBD on drums. There will be all sorts of family style events happening in Lowertown that day. Stop on by!

Zacc Harris Quartet @ End of the Line Party

Saturday June 14th 


 The Black Dog Cafe 407 Prince St, St Paul, MN 55101

The Twin Cities Jazz Festival is June 26th-28th. Look for me on the Main Stage performing sets with Atlantis Quartet, Red Planet and Adam Meckler Orchestra in addition to a few others. Hope to see you at a show!

All the best! -cb

Bates Update – May the Thanks be with YOU!

May 5, 2014 in Blog, Lessons, Performances

Bates Update – May the Thanks be with YOU!

Greetings! A hearty and warm thank you to ALL who attended the Good Vibes trio CD release events. It was an immensely joyous occasion and an enormous honor to play for such an in tune and out-of-this-world attentive audience. Dave, Phil and I all agree it was some of our best playing as a trio and we feel a lot of it stemmed from the support we got from all of you! Once again, we see proof that the collective organism of experience known as live music connects us and binds us all. Luminous beings we are, not this crude matter.

Apologies, I’ve been binge watching Cosmos and Star Wars lately.

Good Vibes @ Icehouse  photo by Doug Opel

Good Vibes @ Icehouse
photo by Doug Opel

In the interim since the trio release I’ve been lucky to play with some world class players in Darren Barrett and Kevin Harris at the U of M Morris Jazz Festival. Check these guys out if you can. Darren won the Monk competition on trumpet several years ago and Kevin is a wonderfully creative pianist who deserves much wider recognition. I’ve been in the studio with a great group of people from MacPhail working on an Early Childhood Music CD and recording with the Duluth based duo Pushing Chain, getting their country / folk inspired songs down for their new album. I’ll keep you posted on the release info for those projects. Perhaps the most mind blowing experience amongst all of this was getting the chance to meet and hear percussionist Efrain Toro in clinic. Thanks to Mac Santiago at Jazz Central and Dave Stanoch for joining forces to bring Efrain to town. Check out for Efrain’s story. Suffice it to say he confirmed some of my own longstanding thoughts about music but also opened me up to a totally new universe of expression. I’m very inspired to explore Efrain’s concepts more deeply and to see what results manifest themselves into my playing and composing.

I’m excited to announce that I am one of four local improvisor’s selected to write a piece for Zeitgeist as part of their Jazz Commission’s Project! The other composer’s are Steve Kenny, Zacc Harris and Davu Seru. They are currently taking donations to help fund the project and all the details can be found in the link above. Zeitgeist is one of the guiding lights of new classical chamber music and I’m getting fired up to write a piece for them.

I recently redesigned my website’s store and launched a Bandcamp site ( where you can purchase my music in hardcopy or download. Currently there are 4 albums available – Red Planet Space Dust, Framework Framework, Chris Bates’ Red 5 New Hope and the new Good Vibes trio album. I will be adding links to my Red 5 t-shirts and hopefully other items as we merch on.
Please check it out if you can.

Here are the upcoming May Shows:

Tuesday May 6th
Bill Simenson Big Band @ Jazz Central
8:30pm  $10 donation   All Ages
Bill is writing some really challenging music that pushes my skills and really needs to be heard. Come out and support this exciting band!

Monday May 12th – Special EARLY show!
8-9:15 pm @ Icehouse (pre Jazz Implosion)
Mankwe N’Dosi, DeVon Gray, Greg Schutte, Jt Bates, Casey O’Brien and Chris Bates invite Julien Desprez.
This special show has just popped up and we are going to throw down a slab of improvised spoken word and worldly melodicism with French guitarist Julien Desprez.

Tuesday May 13th
Chris Olson, Cory Healy & CB @ Black Dog
Originals and deconstructed rock from this new band.
7:30pm   donations/tips   All Ages

Wednesday May 14th
Framework @ Jazz Central
8:30pm   $10 donation   All Ages Welcome
Framework has been making music together for 18 years, or something like that. We seem to have developed a deep catalog and unique vibe with each other, spanning rock to baroque. Chris Olson on guitar and Jay Epstein on drums.

Framework @ the AQ

Framework @ the AQ.  Photo by Andrea Canter.

Friday May 16th
Jazz Central All Stars in Austin, MN
Jazz Central has won a MN State Arts Board touring grant and will be bringing their music and education initiatives to towns all over Minnesota. I’m excited to be involved in the first one down in Austin. Send your friends!
Doug Haining, Dave Graf, Zack Lozier, Tanner Taylor, Mac Santiago, CB

Saturday May 17th
Joel Shapira with CB & Eric Kamau Gravatt @ Loring Pasta Bar
6:00-9:00pm   FREE   FREE   FREE
I’m excited to be playing with Joel again and ecstatic to be paired with one of the unsung superheroes of drumming Eric Gravatt! As your social planner I ask you to please consider this for you dinner plans on Saturday ;)

Monday May 19th
Atlantis Quartet & Fantastic Merlins w/ Jean Brice Godet @ Icehouse
9:30pm   $10   21+
How are we going to deal with this much creative energy and force majeure in one night?!?!? Fantastic Merlins make unclassifiable improvisations with beautiful patience and melodic virtue. Here they invite Clarinetist Jean Brice Godet. Magic will happen!
Atlantis Quartet “A vibrant and contrasting approach that envelops listeners in waves of sound… Their creative improvised music defies labels” – MPR
Zacc Harris, Brandon Wozniak, CB, Pete Hennig, Nathan Hanson and Brian Roessler

Tuesday May 20th
Andrew Walesch American Songbook Series @ Pioneer Place in St Cloud
Third and final installment of Andrew’s series this year. Duke Ellington all night.

Friday May 23rd
Good Vibes trio plays The Bridge Series @ Jazz Central
7:30pm   $10   All Ages
Come on down and enjoy the Good Vibes trio in concert with Phil Hey on drums and Dave Hagedorn on vibes. We’ll be playing music from our new release and trying out some new stuff too! “A riveting band …presenting sounds that are by turns hard-swinging, dreamy, arresting, spontaneous, soulful, lovely, deep, even witty.” – Tom Surowicz MPLS Star Tribune

Saturday May 24th
Zacc Harris, Jay Epstein & CB @ Merlin’s Rest
8:30pm   FREE   21+
Swing out and catch us at Merlin’s! Loose and fun at the neighborhood pub!

Mark your calendars now for the next Red 5 show on June 11th at Jazz Central.
…and the Red Planet will rise on the cusp June!

All the best and let’s be careful out there!

The Bates Update – Spring Sprang Sprung

April 8, 2014 in Blog, Performances

Here we are on the cusp of another glorious MN spring. The snow melt is almost over and the crocuses and magnolias are getting set to bloom in my yard. Nature is doing it’s thing and we can only sit back and let it happen. So let’s embrace the spirit of change and celebrate the seasonal transformation with some NEW MUSIC!

On Monday, April 14th I’ll be releasing a new album and playing a CD release party with the Good Vibes trio down at Icehouse! My cohorts in this trio are Dave Hagedorn on vibes and Phil Hey on drums. The trio draws inspiration from the blues and swing in a way that is familiar, yet may seem new to those used to my collaborations with Atlantis Quartet or my own band Red 5. The new album contains 7 songs penned by jazz greats Charles Mingus, John Coltrane, Freddie Hubbard, Kenny Kirkland, Karl Berger and David Berkman. The interplay, energy and joy of swing can be felt in these songs and paints a beautiful portrait of musical precision and passion. Partnering with Dave Hagedorn and Phil Hey has allowed me grow as a musician but also allows me to present these veteran players in new ways. Hagedorn’s virtuosic flights are supported nimbly and urged to new heights by the rhythm section. Hey is inventive and daring in his use of brushes and is even featured as a composer on the original ‘Marse’. You get to hear me leading the charge, soloing ferociously and holding down the bottom with aplomb. This trio is a new band made up of experienced players who have come together to have fun and connect directly with their audience. Collectively the trio burns with a group mindset that showcases the maturity, musicality and virtuosity of each member. The overall message here is positive. Make sure to check out the show details below and bring on the Good Vibes!

Good Vibes trio recording at the Terrarium Dec 2012.

Good Vibes trio recording at the Terrarium Dec 2012.

Good VIbes trio live in concert at Creation Audio April 6th, 2014.

Good Vibes trio live in concert at Creation Audio April 6th, 2014.

April Shows:

Wednesday April 9th
Fall of the House of Usher at Jazz Central.
8:30 pm  $5-10 donation.
FoTHoU is a world music slip-sync voodoo jazz band featuring: Chris Cunningham on gtr, Greg Schutte on drums, Elliot Wachs, Adrian Larkin, Jon Davis and Nelson Devereaux on saxophones. Special guests: Greg Reese voice, Park Evans gtr, Ivan Cunningham sax and Ruby Cunningham spoken word. V-Lo will have soups and dessert for you!

Friday and Saturday April 11th and 12th
Phil Aaron / Chris Bates duo at Icehouse
6:30-9:30 pm  FREE. Phil is one of my favorite pianists in town and we always have a super incredible time playing duo.

Monday April 14th
Good Vibes trio CD RELEASE Jazz Party Implosion at Icehouse!
9:30pm  21+  $10 cover gets you in and nets you the new album!!! Deals on wheels people! Come on now and check it out. Good Vibes will play two sets at 9:30 and 11pm. 

Tuesday April 22nd
Andrew Walesch American Songbook Series at Pioneer Place in St Cloud.
7:30pm Tickets available!
Andrew is a great young jazz singer with a gift for interpreting standards. Tonight’s show is all Jimmy Van Heusen tunes.

Friday April 25th
Atlantis Quartet plays The Bridge Series at Jazz Central
7:30pm $10 cover
Atlantis Quartet is one of the most treasured musical adventures I’ve had in my life. These guys just continually inspire me and challenge me to take the music farther than I ever imagined. Pete Hennig on drums. Zacc Harris on guitar. Brandon Wozniak on sax. Come out, pick up our new CD ‘Expansion’ and enjoy some of V-Lo’s tacos!!!

In addition to these shows this month I’m doing some recording with Pushing Chain. These guys are a stellar duo of Adam Moe on violin and vocals and Boyd Blomberg on guitar and vocals. JT and I are backing them up on some upcoming gigs in May so look out for some seriously great songs from these two new friends!

If you are unable to attend the CD release show you can get your copy of the Good Vibes album starting April 15th on iTunes and Amazon; locally at the Electric Fetus or directly through my website. It will also be streaming at Spotify, Bandcamp and most other major digital outlets.

Thanks for all your ongoing support and an extra special shout out to all the fans who attended the Good Vibes concert we held at Creation Audio last Sunday! Thanks to Steve Wiese for the facility and concept, Miles Hanson for recording, Gwen and Birch for the food and all of you for attending! It was truly a unique and special gig for myself, Phil and Dave. The energy and community surrounding us that day was awesome!

Thanks so much. Live music makes it happen!


The Bates Update March 2014

February 25, 2014 in Blog, Performances

Apologies are in order as I have inadvertently taken a little hiatus from promotion this past month. I think maybe that was a good thing for me. For those who were worried or bummed, sorry about that. I haven’t been idle, just quietly making progress and getting through this rugged winter. The kids had snow days! It was brutally cold! I have a sweet snow fort in my front yard! We all lived through it! Celebrate with some sounds and libations and perhaps some fantastic food at one of the fine, fine establishments I’ll be playing at this month.

I had a great time celebrating and helping Zacc Harris’ new collective record label Shifting Paradigm get launched at an SRO concert at Studio Z a couple of weeks ago. It was a true pleasure to hear so many of my friends play their music over the course of one night.  The crowd at the Studio Z show had so many Artist Quarter faces and it made me realize just how often I was at that club over the last two months of it’s life and how much all of those faces feel like family members. With the AQ closing only two months ago I could feel a connection with the audience that I know was forged at that place. It gives me hope to know that it’s the people who will serve to define the next chapter more than the space in the post Artists Quarter era. Incidentally, all of this seems like only yesterday and at the same time a distant memory because of this deep freeze polar vortex enigma we’ve been slogging through. We should hold a medal ceremony for all the truest, hardiest midwesterners who did NOT get out of town to thaw out this year. I will gladly play music for that party!

There are two big events are on the horizon – one close, one far away.

First off I am pleased to announce the 3rd annual collaboration between the Bach Society of MN and Framework. Over the last three years Framework (Chris Olson, Chris Bates, Jay Epstein) has been involved in a concert series that explores the connections between Baroque and Jazz through collaboration and  improvisation.  This year is very exciting as Chris Olson has created some pieces for the entire group that integrate us into an ensemble. Additionally our special guest is Pete Whitman playing flute and soprano sax. I can’t think of another ensemble that has this instrumentation of harpsichord (Paul Boehnke), viola de gamba (Julie Elhard), baroque violin (Jin Kim), sax, guitar, bass and drums. It is a truly unique sound to my ears and hopefully to yours. Please join us this weekend if you can. Here are the concert details.

Friday February 28th @ Bjorling Recital Hall on the Gustavus Adolphus Campus 7:30pm

Saturday March 1st @ 7:30pm  ($5 students, $15 seniors, $20 reg admission)

History Theatre  30 10th Street E. St Paul, MN 55101 online tickets available here: BACHTIX

The other big announcement is that I’ll be releasing a new album in early April with the Good Vibes trio. I can’t tell you how excited I am for this album to hit your earholes! I think that many of you who are familiar with jazz here in the Twin Cities will be excited to hear that I’m collaborating with Dave Hagedorn and Phil Hey  to tear up some material from Charles Mingus, John Coltrane and Freddie Hubbard along with a few originals. We are very excited about the potential of this trio. It is certainly the most straight ahead jazz album I’ve recorded.

The Good Vibes CD release party is set for Monday, April 14th at the Icehouse.  Music at 9:30 and 11. Mark your calendars now and I’ll be sending out more info regarding a special deal as we get closer. The cover pictured below was created ‘live’ in concert as the trio played and Tim Nyberg painted.  Tim is a fantastically dry witted, visual and graphic artist and we are happy to feature his work on this project. Here’s Timmy! 


Exciting performances this month include, specifically but not exclusively:

TONIGHT 2/25- Adam Meckler Orchestra debut at Amsterdam $10 21+ 9:00pm

Saturday 3/1 – Framework & Bach Society trio w/ Pete Whitman @ History Theatre 7:30pm

Tuesday 3/4 – Bill Simenson Big Band at Jazz Central 8:30pm All Ages $5-10 donation

Saturday 3/8 – Zacc Harris / Chris Bates duo at Icehouse FREE 6:30-9:30

Sunday 3/9 – Pushing Chain @ Aster Cafe 8pm (Bump Blomberg, Adam Moe and JT & CB) Guitar, violin, vocals!

Wednesday 3/12 – Axis Mundi @ Hell’s Kitchen 6pm FREE Glen Helgeson, Gary Schulte, CB & Jay Epstein

Wednesday 3/19 – Barbette w Joey Phillips Trio 10pm FREE

Thursday 3/20 – Atlantis Quartet @ MIA 6pm FREE  3rd Thursday @ MIA Matisse Madness!

Saturday 3/22 – Todd Clouser / Chris Bates duo @ Harriet Brewing 4pm FREE

Monday 3/24 – Fall of the House of Usher @ Icehouse 9:30pm $8 21+ This eclectic band will groove your socks off and is led by Chris Cunningham feat: CB, Greg Schutte, Nelson Devereaux, Adrian Larkin, Elliot Wachs & Jon Davis.

Tuesday 3/25 – Andrew Walesch American Songbook Series @ Pioneer Place in St Cloud.

Monday 3/31 – Leisure Valley @ Icehouse 9:30pm $8 21+ Bruce Thornton, Patrick Harison, Joey Phillips, CB & our special guest, making his first visit to the Valley, Dave Hagedorn!

If you haven’t already, check out the Shifting Paradigm website. There are download specials running through the end of February featuring albums from Fat Kid Wednesdays, Atlantis Quartet, Brian Nichols, Graydon Peterson & Zacc Harris. I expect the Red 5 album will be up there shortly.

TTFN and please stay safe the rest of this winter and I hope to see you at a show. More soon regarding the Good Vibes trio release!




The Bates Update January 2014

January 14, 2014 in Blog, Performances

I’ll keep this one short and sweet. I’m not super busy gigging but parenting and planning for the rest of the year. Writing music, booking, teaching, practicing, exploring collaborative options and prepping for the release of the Good Vibes trio record slated for early spring release on Technecore. The Good Vibe trio is a spectacular ensemble with cagey veterans Phil Hey and Dave Hagedorn. I would say it is the most straight ahead jazz project I’ve ever been involved with. Our repertoire is mostly made up of classics from the giants of jazz – Mingus, Ornette, Coltrane, Monk, Brubeck, Hubbard with a few originals sprinkled throughout. We played last week at Jazz Central and Tim Nyberg painted to our music with the hopes that an album cover would emerge from his brush strokes. It’s looking good so far and I’m very excited for you all to hear this group. I’ll be sure to keep you posted on our next gigs and the pending CD release!

Speaking of gigs!

Wednesday Jan 15th Axis Mundi @ Hells Kitchen  6-9pm  Free  w/ Glen HelgesonJay Epstein and Gary Schulte

Wednesday Jan 15th JVP trio @ Barbette  10pm-12am  Free  w/ Scott Fultz and Joey Van Phillips

Thursday Jan 16th Real-phonic Radio Hour @ James J Hill Library   8pm  $20  w/ Erik Koskinen Band, Semi-Twang, BBGun and Leo Welch. I’m happy to be playing with Erik and the house band on a few songs tonight and looking forward to more playing with these stupendous musicians in 2014!

Sunday Jan 19th Randy SabienDean Magraw and CB @ Hope Christian Church in Shoreview  6pm  $7  Doors @ 5:15    We’ll be playing a bunch of jazz and groovy tunes for this very intimate concert. Looking forward to this show!

Saturday Jan 25th Zacc Harris, Jay Epstein and CB @ Merlin’s Rest  8:30pm  Free  Come and hang with us at this S MPLS watering hole!

Have a great January and 2014 everyone! I look forward to seeing you at a show. Thanks for your support.


Dean Granros trio (European Echoes / Back Roads)

The Bates Update Dec 2013

December 5, 2013 in Blog, Lessons, Performances

Hey all you true believers! It’s WINTER. Damn. Ok – don’t let it get you down. There are a bunch of musical gifts coming your way to help get you through the season. More on that below but first let’s talk about inspiration.


One of the things all young musicians do regardless of musical genre is to identify our heroes on our respective instruments. As a way to gain confidence and develop elements of our playing we identify ourselves with a ‘guy’ or ‘guys’ that inspire us. Jaco Pastorius, Dave Holland, Geddy Lee and Ron Carter. These are my guys (and still are). I’ve listened to countless hours of their music, learned many of their songs and continually draw from this well. I have a short list of other influences (Miles, Coltrane, Mingus, Monk, Gary Peacock, Anthony Cox, Aston Barrett, Tony Levin) who remain significant and continually provide inspiration. Immersion into the music is the only way to gain that true depth.


I remember a Joe Lovano story he recounted in an interview about being on the road with Woody Herman and only having one album with him. He would listen to it over and over again. He learned every song, every solo, every bass line, every chord substitution. It drove the other guys on the band bus insane. Joe claimed that because he did that in depth, immersive work it attuned his musical ear to many subtle connections he would have never heard otherwise. That process also gave him such a depth of knowledge of those sounds that he can identify those elements in all the other music he has played. True mastery of the music. Joe’s story is a lesson in setting boundaries and limiting your content to the point where you have to go deeper because there is no other input. How many of us can claim that? I know I have a handful of albums that I’ve listened to countless times. I can sing most of the parts and even hear the key of the next song as the previous track fades out. But I can’t physically play all the information on those albums. (Ed. Note – I will be immersing myself soon and taking this lesson to heart. Watch out Miles Smiles and Invitation).


Ok I just set my inspired goal for this winter. Let me know who your ‘guys’ are and we can continue this dialogue when I see you at a show.




This month I am playing at the Park Square Theatre for a new show by Joseph Vass. ‘Words By – Ira Gershwin and the Great American Songbook’.

We open Dec 6th and the show runs through Dec 29th.

Featuring Ari Hoptman as Ira Gershwin, Jennifer Grimm and T. Mychael Rambo on vocals w/ Joe Vass piano, Chris Olson guitar, Jay Epstein drums, CB bass.

This is a great show with fantastic insights into the musical lives of the Gershwin’s, Jerome Kern, Harold Arlen, Vernon Duke, Kurt Weill and many others.

All details for showtimes are in the Park Square link above.


TONIGHT!!! Thursday Dec 5th (after Words By)  9:30pm  $5  @ Artists Quarter

Dean Granros trio with Kenny Horst and CB. This will be the last time I get to play at the AQ with Dean and Kenny after so many years of making music together. Dean is truly one of kind and if you have not heard him you really need to do yourself a favor and indulge in some Dean tonight.


Monday Dec 9th (doubleheader)

7pm  @ Black Dog   Free

Chris Cunningham’s Masters Recital w/ Fall of the House of Usher. FoThou is a world music inspired, saxophone driven, rhythmic colossus. Elegantly medicated outsider guitar. Chris Cunningham gtr, CB bass, Greg Schutte drums, Chris Thomson, Jon Davis, Elliot Wachs and Adrian Larkin – saxophones.

9:30pm @ Icehouse   $8   21+

Zacc Harris Group. Zacc on guitar, Bryan Nichols on keys, Jt and CB keep the rhythm.

The four of us recorded Zacc’s debut CD ‘The Garden’ together but the gigs for this band seem to be few and far between. Another great show at the Icehouse. Firebell follows us feat: Park Evans, Graydon Peterson and Jay Epstein.

How Birds Work

Tuesday Dec 17th   7pm   $5

Atlantis Quartet @ Dakota

Come and join Atlantis for a full night of our originals. It’s Foodie night so you can get dinner and drink specials and get your cover waived if you spend more than $20.

This will be the last Atlantis show of 2014. We would love to see you.


Monday Dec 30th   9:30pm   $8   21+

Chris Bates’ Red 5 @ Icehouse

Red 5 gets in one last hit before the year ends. Jt and CB plus Zack Lozier, Chris Thomson and Brandon Wozniak. Playing all the hits plus a new tune.

Anthony Cox and Mother of Masks perform as well. This will be an awesome double bill of righteous musical adventuring.


Tuesday Dec 31st   9pm   $65 ($50 early bird deadline Dec 15th) 

New Years Eve w/ Carole Martin   @   Artists Quarter

This is it! The final knock down, drag out, juggernaut. The AQ’s swan song. I’ll be there playing bass and celebrating the amazing legacy of this club and Kenny Horst. It’s bound to get crazy and I hope to see many of you there. I can’t think of anywhere I’d rather be. Worth every penny!!!!


Thursday Jan 2nd, 2014   8pm   FREE

Jt Bates, Chris Bates and Bill Bergmann @ Harriet Brewing

Come out and enjoy this trio that has a long history together but has been rarely spotted over the last decade. Very excited to be reviving this connection with Bill. He is a super underrated guitarist and possibly the 4th Bates Bro.


I hope the holiday season treats you well and that you all have safe and happy holidays and a glorious new year. I’m looking forward to making more music for you in 2014 and I hope to see you out and about! Peace and love – CB

Winter is coming, Scorpio Rising

November 9, 2013 in Blog, Lessons, Performances

Ever since my brother JT urged me to many years ago, I’ve taken time to try and listen to music for pleasure instead of analyzing it to death. I don’t always have time to do this because my schedule dictates that I listen to music I need to learn and perform more often than just “putting on some tunes”. As a musician I have to try to remember that I’m in a bubble of my own design when I’m playing and writing. It’s a sealed environment where I find out a lot of things about music and myself through hard work and practice. That sealed environment can get very cerebral and before too long I can end up with an overwritten piece of music in 3 keys with 2 time signatures and several sections. I’ve done it all to often and while the results may be stimulating to play and rewarding for the musicians to learn and negotiate, the audience can get lost and the music has then lost it’s way in my opinion. I think that the cerebral nature of a lot of modern jazz operates in stark contrast to the roots of the music and could be one of the key factors in this bubble effect. There are many facets to how and why this music has changed over the last 100 years but it cannot be denied that the intellectual bubble of most modern jazz is one of the biggest hurdles we have to get over as the presenters of music.


So many modern jazz composers spend their time within this bubble, developing ideas and building their language up to a point where often the only people who actually connect with their music are the players in their band and other musicians. That leaves the non-musician audience out of the loop on a certain level. Now that’s not to say that the average listener can’t enjoy this music; it just means that we as the composers and performers have to find a way to connect with our audience in new ways. Take some time to explain a little about the piece. Make references to what influenced the music. Talk about your inspiration. Let the audience feel your energy and excitement about your discovery of ‘7 over 4’ and you may find they connect with it more directly. The collective musical groove of American culture is no longer exclusively informed by classical, swing, be-bop or even blues but by rock, country, r&b, hip hop and all points in between. That’s not a criticism that’s a fact.


I work hard to write and perform within a framework that is inclusive of all the music I love and because I live in this time and not in the past my music comes from many places. To combat the bubble effect I try to pick something from my music library (CD’s, Vinyl and digital) to listen to for fun. I use this to cleanse the palate and keep my mind connected to enjoyment and flow in music. Last week it was Sting’s ‘Nothing Like the Sun’ album. I have been listening to this album for over 20 years and the whole thing still feels great. The music is mostly a combination of reggae, latin and r&b styles and the lyrics tell great stories. The playing is remarkable in it’s clarity and execution. Then again it is a rock record from 1987, likely recorded and constructed through overdubbing and editing. The core players are Manu Katche on drums, Sting on bass, Kenny Kirkland on keyboards and Branford Marsalis on sax along with many other guests. I think because I know the music so well I can turn off my analytical brain and just focus on the enjoyment side of it. The whole thing got me thinking about that Branford Marsalis quote from the Sting documentary ‘Bring on the Night’ (which documents his first solo album and tour after the Police broke up) “Jazz musicians are social critics”. I’ve always thought that was an interesting way of describing how improvised music takes on the character of the people and the times surrounding it.


Just as classical music evolved from it’s origins in the church through to it’s enshrinement in the modern concert hall, jazz has seen a shift from being the popular music of it’s heyday to being over taken in popular culture by rock and hip hop. Jazz has proved to be very resilient and has successfully absorbed many aspects of modern music. Look at Robert Glasper’s hip hop influences, The Bad Plus and their balance of rock and classical, Vijay Iyer and his Indian polyglots. These artists have strived to combine and assimilate inspiration into new forms and to engage with audiences in new ways. So many of the kids I teach have to be taught how to ‘swing’ but can effortlessly play in a rock style and that is because they don’t listen to swing. They aren’t exposed to it. Their parents grew up on Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin and Radiohead and Bjork. So do we fight against these changes or do we embrace it and work from within to influence the audience? For me the answer is still pretty simple. Embrace the change. Promote yourself and your fellow musicians. Pay attention to the flow and execute your music with excitement and joy. No one can deny it when they see a smile on your face because FUN WINS. See you this month for some awesome shows.

I’m playing 3 different nights for the Zeitgeist New Music Cabaret @ Studio Z.

$10 each night / $25 for a Festival Pass gets you 3-4 diverse sets of music.

Nov 7th - Red Planet @ Studio Z – Dean Magraw, Jay Epstein, CB   9:30pm

Red Planet makes music of highly organic vibrations. This is quite possibly our last show of 2013 so come on down and take a trip with us!

Nov 8th – Zacc Harris Quartet @ Studio Z – w/ Brian Ziemniak, JT & CB  9:30pm

Zacc Harris Quartet plays kinetic original compositions. We’ll be joined by Brian Ziemniak on piano who is a highly underrated jazz player here in town.

Nov 10th - Adam Meckler Orchestra @ Studio Z -  7:00pm

Adam is a great composer of modern Big Band music and this band is really connecting as a unit right now.

Nov 13th – Chris Bates and Fred Bretschger bass duo @ Jazz Central   8:30-10:30pm  $5-10 donations. Fred is a fantastic bassist formerly of the SPCO. This will be a special acoustic show of jazz and other music. Also, I turn 43 at midnight.

Nov 25th – Atlantis Quartet @ Dakota opening for Roberta Gambarini.  7-8pm  $35

Nov 25th – John Raymond Quartet @ Icehouse. W/ Bryan Nichols, JT & CB.  9:30  $8

John is a phenomenal trumpeter based in NYC. Great originals and standards.

Nov 29th – Atlantis Quartet @ Icehouse  11pm  21+  $8

A Minneapolis CD release party for the new ‘Expansion’ album. AQ is one of the tightest and most cutting edge groups I’m in. Come on now.


Live music makes it happen! See you out and about – CB

The Bates Update – Full Circle

October 1, 2013 in Blog, Lessons, Performances

This month’s Bates update is a little more loose than some of my others. I usually edit down these newsletters quite heavily in order to bring you the most concise and direct show info. But I liked the way this more conversational approach sounded so I’m leaving it. Let me know if you like it or would prefer the more professional version by sending me feedback at This whole update is posted over there with room for comments.

Last Sunday night I stood talking with Craig Taborn at the Dakota. He was in town playing with Dave Holland, Kevin Eubanks and Eric Harland in Dave’s new band Prism. Craig and I used to play in a Jay Epstein led project back in the mid 90’s called ‘Chemistry Lab’ and we have remained friends ever since. I consider him one of the true young masters of jazz and improvised music and it is always so great to catch up with him since he is living the dream and traveling the world playing music with some of the most innovative musicians performing today. Please check out Craig if you can. He has a brilliant trio album out on ECM called Chants.

Well, as Craig and I were talking in walks Anthony Cox who as many of you know was one of my teachers, now friends, and a huge influence on me. Craig and Anthony hadn’t seen each other in forever and it was a really nice moment seeing these two reconnect. There are few things I enjoy more in life than connecting, or reconnecting, with people from my past. I love reunions!

We all enjoyed a spectacular set of music from Dave’s new band Prism. Prism has an incredible creative energy that harkens back to the late 60’s and early 70’s jazz and rock combination we commonly call ‘fusion’ now. Not the over the top, chops for days, run on sentence style of fusion but the other kind. Music with a dialogue. Chances being taken. Experimentation being rewarded. The music unfolding unpredictably with ebullient results. Dave Holland was there at the start of this music and now he’s bringing it full circle with Prism.

Incidentally, Dave Holland is also a huge influence on my playing and some of his teaching methods and exercises were passed on to me by Anthony, who briefly studied with Dave in the early 80’s when he moved to NYC. While I’ve never studied with Dave I feel like I got a lot of the same information from Anthony and through that I was able to connect and dissect music more deeply which has led to my music reflecting those values. A lineage, if you will, from master to student.

So we finally come to my favorite part of the evening. I mentioned I love reunions right?

Dave Holland, Anthony Cox and little old me standing around talking about music. The post gig energy of inspiration and satisfaction in the air. Raw and palatable like a great meal lingering on your taste buds. It was magical to be in the presence of these two huge influences on my playing, and to know that they were reconnecting in a way they hadn’t in some time was truly a moment to savor. I have such a strong connection to my own music from the influence of Dave and Anthony that I felt like I was dreaming. I am so happy that I got to be in the same space as these two masters at the same time. I will always remember that evening.

I want to make some memories with you, humble reader, and so I kindly ask you to read on and see what is in store for this month in THE BATES UPDATE.


Friday and Saturday 10/4 & 10/5   9pm   $12   All Ages welcome

ATLANTIS QUARTET ‘EXPANSION’ CD release party! @ Artists Quarter

Atlantis Quartet has been one of my main projects for the last 5 years. We have so much fun playing together and it just keeps getting better. I am really proud of our new album Expansion. It has a great mixture of tunes on it and reflects our ever growing interests in fusing modern jazz with modern popular music in all forms. We are looking forward to a big push in 2014 with this new album. Come on out and get a copy of the new CD and a limited edition T-Shirt. We hope you can join us. V-Lo’s Taco’s on Friday!

Wednesday 10/8   9pm   $5-10 donation   All Ages


For the October edition of Magica Improvisado I’ll be playing a solo bass concert.

One set only. A mixture of Double Bass and Electric Bass with electronics. It has been several years since I played solo, but I’ve been practicing for this so don’t fret(less).


Saturday 10/12   7pm   $10   All Ages


In addition to our CD release Atlantis will be playing a concert at Studio Z. We’ll do a workshop on odd meters in jazz starting at 6pm. Then a concert at 7pm. Another chance to hear this great band in an intimate setting and pick up our new CD.


Monday 10/14   9:30pm   $8   21+


9:30pm: Red 5 will be back in action on 10/14. Feat: Jt Bates, Chris Thomson, Zack Lozier and Nelson Devereaux.

11:00pm: Fall of the House of Usher is a world music inspired horn band feat: Chris Cunningham, Chris Thomson, Elliot Wachs, Adrian Larkin, Jon Davis and Greg Schutte.

Come on out for this special double bill of horniness? HAHA. This will be a really fun night. Original and inspired music. Plus a limited edition Red 5 T-shirt will be on sale!

Tuesday 10/22   9:00pm   $5   All Ages

FRAMEWORK @ Artists Quarter

Chris Olson, Jay Epstein and I have been making music for over 15 years. We always have a great time playing. We’ll be playing many originals and some Bach to prepare for our annual collaboration with the Bach Society. V-Lo’s Taco’s too!!!

Tuesday 10/29   9:00pm $10   All Ages

ADAM MECKLER ORCHESTRA @ Artists Quarter – Come hear the AMO. Super Bad!

All the best to all of you in October! Hope to see you at a show!

September Already?

September 5, 2013 in Blog, Performances

Backstage at Liviou Festival. Poullan Sur Mer, France. August 2013

September already? Where did the summer go?

I’ve been Running Around with Todd Clouser, Mixing with Axis Mundi, dancing with a Suave Walrus and the Bill Simenson Big Band, staring at the Skyline with Adam Meckler and his Orchestra, going beyond the Mind’s Eye with Jason Squinobal (U of M Morris)and Kevin Washington, listening to Rush’s Clockwork Angles with my kids in the car, playing duets with Phil Aaron and Chris Olson, mixing and mastering the new Atlantis Quartet cd and the Good Vibes trio album, having a garage sale and a whole bunch of other stuff too! It’s been a whirlwind but I really wouldn’t want it any other way. I get to restless and irritable if I can’t play music regularly. I love playing music for people and this month has some pretty heavy people involved. I’m stoking new fires and reigniting some old ones this month and I certainly hope you can find the time to join me for some music making. Here are the highlights!


Wednesday Sept 11th   8:30pm   $5-10 donation   All Ages welcome

Magica Improvisado at Jazz Central


I’ve been leading the charge every 2nd Wednesday of the month down at Jazz Central. I like the adventure of playing with different combinations of musicians. Each person inspires and challenges me to take the music farther than I imagined. I have purposely chosen to collaborate with people outside of the regular bands I play in so that the music can go someplace new every time. I love the steady bands I play in but I also think it’s important for the artistic process to find new paths to tread so when I come back and walk through my old neighborhood I feel like I’m seeing it with fresh eyes. Magica Improvisado aims to harness that initial spontaneous groove that musicians find and ride it to new heights! Come and explore with us in this informal setting.


Chris Bates – bass

Casey O’Brien – bass

Cory Healy – drums

Nelson Devereaux – saxophone


Medeski, Bates and Clouser in Cabo. March 2013

Friday Sept 13th   7pm   $15-25   All Ages Welcome

IMP ORK at the Ritz Theatre

Special Screening of Black February a film about Butch Morris by Vipal Monga


I had the honor of working with Butch Morris in the late 1990’s at a residency at the Walker Art Center. It was an eye opening experience learning Butch’s ‘Conduction’ techniques and collaborating with his group Japan Skyscraper. Performing alongside Japan Skyscraper was the Twin Cities own large ensemble IMP ORK. IMP ORK was founded in 1986 by saxophonist John Devine and cellist Michelle Kinney. Tonight marks the reunion of IMP ORK after a decade on hiatus. Once again we will be Conducted by John Devine and tonight’s ensemble will feature a host of collaborators from throughout the history of IMP ORK. This night is sure to be filled with energy and excitement as IMP ORK takes you on a spontaneous and fractured journey into the unknown in a tribute to the spirit and musical vision of Butch Morris.

Click through for info about Imp Ork

Ticket info here:


Saturday Sept 14th   12-7pm   FREE ($5 parking fee)

Franconia Sculpture Garden Jazz Festival


Come and enjoy an exciting day of music at one of the most unique public spaces in Minnesota – Franconia Sculpture Garden. Grab a blanket, bring a picnic, or pick-up a bite to eat from the food vendors and enjoy a relaxing musical afternoon. Participate in an artist-led tour during the band break. I’ll be playing three different sets with Sophia Shorai, Lucia Newell and Atlantis Quartet at this outdoor festival. This could be one of the last great days of the summer so come out and enjoy a ton of fantastic music at Franconia.


12:15 – Trio Pika (Bryan Nichols, Adam Linz, Phil Hey)

1:45 – Sophia Shorai
3:00  – Atlantis Quartet

4:15 – Lucia Newell

5:30 – Debbie Duncan

Red Planet conjures Coltrane

Friday and Saturday Sept 27th and 28th   $12   All Ages welcome

Red Planet at the Artists Quarter


Red Planet is one of the greatest musical adventures of my life. Dean Magraw and Jay Epstein constantly inspire and energize me when I play with them. Our musical telepathy has taken us all over the musical map and this weekend promises to be no different. Expect to hear many originals and classics from Monk, Coltrane, Duke, Holland and Hendrix.

Our CD ‘Space Dust’ is available here:

Dean Magraw – gtr

Jay Epstein – drums and cymbals

CB – basso continuo


Additional highlights

Sept 6th – Jason Squinobal faculty recital @ U of M Morris

feat. Kevin Washington and Chris Bates

Sept 7th – Phil Aaron / Chris Bates duo at Icehouse 6:30-9:30pm

Sept 8th – Jazz on the Prairie Big Band at the MN Landscape Arboretum 1pm

Sept 15th – Sister Shaw @ NE Palace

Oct 4 & 5 – Atlantis Quartet ‘Expansion’ CD Release Party at the Artists Quarter


All the best! Support live music! Hug your kids! Love – cb