I was surprised that the Artists' Quarter was so empty for the first of Fat Kid Wednesdays' Singles CD-release shows. There were maybe thirty people there. The band is touring Europe very soon in support of the new record, yet somehow Twin Cities jazz lovers can't support this local jazz trio in their own backyard. It doesn’t make sense. (Kudos to Twin Cites Jazz Society and the AQ for their parts.)
I've seen lots of poorly attended shows where the artists are obviously disappointed and it reflects in their sound and presence. Not the case with this band. Bassist Adam Linz, drummer JT Bates, and saxophonist Mike Lewis were all joking around with one another throughout the show. Lewis was having so much fun, in fact, he actually laughed into his sax more than once.
In fact, every time Lewis plays, it’s clear that he’s having fun. His passion for music is apparent and his talent is top-notch. He’s as versatile as they come. And he’s entertaining. The great thing about FKW is the band members’ collective knowledge of the music that’s come before them, and their ability to manipulate that music to keep it fresh. The energy with which these guys play keeps their audiences enraptured—even if it’s just a handful of twenty- and thirtysomethings in a basement jazz club in St. Paul on a Wild game night.
The album, FKW's second recording on French label Hope Street, was recorded at Minneapolis's Fur Seal. The new CD has interpretations of obscure jazz songs by the greats, including Ornette Coleman, Jerome Kern, and Oscar Hammerstein, mixed in with FKW originals. You can only buy it at shows, so don't miss them at their upcoming performance The Cedar November 16, or Mondays at the Turf Club's Clown Lodge.