Sunday, December 29, 2013

Faces of the Artists Quarter #28

Bill Carrothers (2008)

 © Andrea Canter

Twin Cities native Bill Carrothers was a mere 15 when he showed up for his first gig at the Artists Quarter, subbing for pianist Mikkel Romstad in Eddie Berger's band. The AQ was still in its first incarnation on Nicollet Av, but over the years, Carrothers has played each of the three venues while building an international reputation from what became his home base in rural Michigan.  In between European tours and recording sessions, he finds time to come back to Minnesota to visit family and play (a few times each year) at the Artists Quarter. Typically it's a trio with bassist Billy Peterson and drummer/owner Kenny Horst, once known as the After Hours Trio. But Bill has also brought to the AQ stage his "European" Trio and assembled a larger group to perform his Armistice 1918; he's also performed/recorded with Peterson and Dave King in the Dave King Trio, with Anthony Cox and Jay Epstein as Good Company, and with former high school buddy, saxophonist Pat Mallinger, with whom he has also gigged at Chicago's Green Mill.

Bill and wife Peg, Armistice 1918 (2009)
Carrothers list of honors is as long as his discography. He's one of the most inventive improvisers on the modern jazz scene, and has a quirky sense of humor that finds its way into the music. Snippets of classical scores, TV soundtracks, bebop covers and even the Oscar Mayer theme song have been known to crop up in the midst of a piano solo, with such sleight of hand that it all seems perfectly natural.

Perfectly natural - Bill Carrothers and the Artists Quarter.

Bill Carrothers (2013)