Wolverines Classic Jazz Orchestra


WCJO_Best Of_Vol 01
WCJO_Best Of_Vol 02
WCJO_Best Of_Vol 03

01. Wolverines Classic Jazz Orchestra
LP Album 01




01. Congaine

Congaine_WCJO_LP 01_MP3

02. I'm Gonna Take My Bimbo Back To The Bamboo Isle

Bimbo_WCJO_LP 01_MP3

03. Bugle Call Rag

Bugle Call_WCJO_LP 01_MP3

04. Mississippi Mud

Miss Mud_WCJO_LP 01_MP3

05. Off To Buffalo

Off Buffalo_WCJO_LP 01_MP3

06. Misery Blues

Misery Blues_WCJO_LP 01_MP3

07. New Down Home Blues

New Down Hom_WCJO_LP 01_MP3

08. I Ain't Got Nobody

Nobody_WCJO_LP 01_MP3

09. Bozo

Bozo_WCO_LP 01_MP3

10. Undecided

10_Undecided_LP 01_MP3

11. Copland Piano Concerto (excerpts)

Copland_WCJO_LP 01_MP3

12. Oh Sister, Ain't That Hot!

Oh Sister_WCJO_LP 01_MP3


02. Wolverines Classic Jazz Orchestra
KQRS-FM; St. Paul, MN


02. Wolverines Classic Jazz Orchestra
KQRS-FM; St. Paul, MN


The Original

Wolverines Classic Jazz Orchestra

KQRS-FM St. Paul, MN


This was our first ever radio broadcast. We’d been establishing good reputation around town—got some good press from Will Jones of the Mpls. Star-Tribune re: our regular Sunday night gig at the Longhorn Saloon, downtown Minneapolis (we did 35 Sundays in a row).

We were a cohesive unit rehearsing every Saturday at the Pillsbury House (an old mansion converted to artist environments where several of us were caretakers of the building in exchange for free rent.

And we had some especially talented players: Mark Bryn, Piano; Joe Demko, Steve Benson, Guitars; Johnny Olson, Violin; Becky Reimer, Vocals. This added special dimension to the project.

Back then, we had plenty of time for research (there were 4 of us at one time, transcribing original recordings from reel-to-reel tape recorders) and study (all players had tapes of the original recordings and studied the original styles). And I’d bumped into a couple of fanatical record collectors who hipped me to all sorts of great period music I’d never heard before—I would bring my cassette recorder, then transfer to reel-to-reel.

The Repertoire:

My premise was always: "unusual, out of the ordinary, yet very creative." We did some numbers that were quite daring: e.g., the "Whiteman Stomp". That’s really a concert piece, but we got away with it in most places. Even more daring was the "Copland Piano Concerto-Excerpts". We performed it at this KQRS gig, but also at a notorious West Band bar called the Cabooze:

14 of us crammed onto the elevated triangular stage in one corner (we had to lift an upright piano up there, plus all of the stands and instruments). We played ‘normal’ (for us, anyway) repertoire throughout, but towards the end of the evening, everyone was pretty much looped and charged-up, so I asked Mark the Piano Man:

"Can you do ‘Copland?’ "

"Here? Now?"

"Yeah, let’s do it for an Encore!"

This piece had 2 tempo changes, so 3 tempi = everyone was dancing up a storm to our stuff, but every tune was in one straight tempo; great for dancers. What would these charged-up dancing fools down below us react to tempo changes? OMG, they loved it! There would be a short pause in the dancing, then they’d pick up on the new tempos and hoot and holler! When we hit the ending, there was a huge Roar!

To my mind, this was a triumph: we pitched a Classical curve ball to the ‘masses’ and they ate it up. It’s sort of like Louis Moreau Gottschalk carting his Grand Piano by horse and carriage to cornfields and playing Classical stuff for ‘plain folk’.

01. San - Bill Challis


02. Whiteman Stomp

Whiteman Stomp_WCJO_KQRS_MP3

03. Bugle Call Rag

Bugle Call Rag_WCJO_KQRS_MP3

05. I Ain't Got Nobody


06. Off To Buffalo

Off To Buffalo_WCJO_KQRS_MP3

07. Hungry Blues

Hungry Blues_WCJO_KQRS_MP3

08. Swing 41

Swing 41_WCJO_KQRS_MP3

09. Undecided


10. Copland "Piano Concerto" (excerpts)

Copland_Piano Concerto_KQRS_MP3