The Gift of Local Music

Local jazz, funk, and R&B artists are breaking plenty of new ground.

  • Reid Anderson
  • Mayda
  • Wenso Ashby
  • Maureen Santiago

Reid Anderson

Better known as the bassist for the power-jazz trio The Bad Plus, Reid Anderson is branching out with a solo composition project called The Rough Mixes, the world premiere of which will be presented this spring as part of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra’s new Liquid Music Series. Reid won’t be playing bass, though, he’ll be playing “electronics” in the new work, and—once the SPCO irons out its musicians contract—will be joined by an impressive chamber orchestra that includes violinists Steven Copes and Ruggero Allifranchini, cellist David Huckaby, and percussionist Jeff Ballard. In addition to the music, which Anderson describes as “mysterious,” Brooklyn-based architect Cristina Guadalupe will provide video visuals. The Rough Mixes was originally scheduled for December, but the SPCO lockout affected some key players, so the premiere had to be postponed. Check for updates at
—T. S.



Mayda may not look like a fiery funk-rocker, but the diminutive Korean-American dynamo is just that. Recent appearances on Good Morning America and MPR’s All Things Considered have raised her national profile, and she has three CDs under her belt, recording with super-producer Michael Bland (Prince, Soul Asylum). On her latest, Tusks in Fur, Mayda blends funk and rock with a tinge of blues to create an irresistibly danceable sound—perfect for warding off the winter blahs.
—D. H.


Wenso Ashby

Producer-composer-pianist Wenso Ashby is the Twin Cities’ premier proponent of neo-soul/smooth jazz. You can hear him regularly on KMOJ and KFAI, tickling the proverbial ivories with innovative, laid-back melodies. Ashby’s latest releases, The Moment of Truth and Signature, both feature R&B siren Zsam√© Morgan and tenor sax wiz Willie Moore as guest artists. Dec. 10. Urban Eatery, 2730 W. Lake St., Mpls., 612-920-5000
—D. H.


One to Watch: Maureen Santiago

Before moving to the Twin Cities, jazz and R&B chanteuse Maureen Santiago lived in Malaysia, where she regularly appeared on television and radio. Among Santiago’s devoted fans are no less a personage than the king of Malaysia, for whom she twice performed at court.

Here, Santiago has been gigging around town, singing mainly in funk-grooved pop/R&B bands and laying the groundwork for a new CD. (Her first album, Perasaan, is sung in her native tongue, Malay.)

The singer’s recently released three-song EP, Maureen Santiago, is a step in that direction, showcasing Santiago’s impressive range and sterling soprano, particularly on the smooth and soulful track “Save the Memories.” Keep an eye out for plenty of in-town gigs in 2013. Dec. 21–23. Jackpot Junction, 39375 Hwy. 24, Morton, 507-697-8000,
—D. H.