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Cedar Avenue Big Band: Press

In 2010, some of the Twin Cities' best big bands found a new home in friendly Fridley, as Tuesday nights started to swing hard at the Shorewood Bar & Grill. The club is stylish and spacious, the sound system is good, the Greek food is tasty, and there's no cover -- how can you go wrong? Several excellent ensembles rotate on Tuesdays, including Steve Devich's happily back-in-circulation Cedar Avenue Big Band, and the two-year-old Acme Jazz Company, led by Doug Rasmussen. Next Tuesday's featured act, Nova Jazz Orchestra, has seven CDs. It's made a specialty of playing worthy homegrown charts by top Minnesota writers, some of whom are also band members, including trumpeter John Ahern and saxophonist Kari Musil. (7 p.m. Tue., 6161 Hwy. 65 NE., Fridley. 763-398-0088.) (T.S.)
Tom Surowicz - Minneapolis Star Tribune (Dec 24, 2010)
Steve:

I hope you had a safe trip back to Minneapolis. Just have a minute, but wanted to
thank you and the Cedar Avenue Big Band again for making the trek to Pierre SD and producing such a wonderful
sound. There were raves all around. Audra and Jesse couldn't have
been happier.
Jamieson (Jul 19, 2008)
October 3, 2007
Just wanted to tell you that you sounded terrific this past weekend- playing at my daughters wedding reception. We heard many comments about how great you guys were. You made the reception a very fun and memorable event. Thanks so much!!
Mary Fitzpatrick - Mother of Bride (Oct 3, 2007)
author: James Lane
This band is tighter than a thong on an elephant.Propelled by tasty drummming,muscular bass,talented soloists and smart arrangements this is big band jazz for all music lovers.Buy it.Dig it.
James Lane - CD Baby (Nov 26, 2005)
Some sad news to report For more than 20 years the mighty Cedar Avenue Big Band has
been performing weekly (then monthly) at O'Gara's Bar and Grill in St. Paul. But they
have now severed relations because, according to O'Gara's, the attendance was too low.
Let's send the CABB off in style. Join us on October 13th for their final performance at
O'Gara's, 163 N. Snelling in St. Paul. The first set begins at 9:00 pm. In the meantime the
CABB, one of the finest big bands in Minnesota, will be looking for a new home. If you
have any ideas contact CABB Director Steve Devich at sjdevich@msn.com /
www.cedaravenuebigband.com.
Jerry Swanberg - TCJS (Oct 21, 2008)
Steve,
Everybody had a great time! The band was in great form – sounded as good as I can remember. We had a LOT of comments on it, not only from the guests, but from the staff at the Minneapolis Club as well. We put in a plug for the CABB, so maybe some more gigs will come out of this.
Thanks for rolling with me on the details and making everything work out smoothly.
Mike
_________________________
Michael H. Haynes

Operations Manager

Vaisala, Minnesota Operations

6300 34th Avenue South

Minneapolis, MN 55450
Wedding reception Oct. 14, 2006 (Oct 18, 2006)
Date: Sunday, July 03, 2005
The Cedar Avenue Big Band is one of the best Jazz Big Bands in the Upper
Midwest, loaded with some of the Twin Cities finest professional musicians
such as Bob Hallgrimson - lead trumpet, Jeff Rinear - trb, Pete Whitman - sax
Phil Hey - drums . They flawlessly play the music of the great Jazz Big Bands (Kenton, Herman, Basie, Rich) plus the Big Band music of today (Nestico, Kubis, McConnell, etc.). I have hired them for a number of Twin Cities Jazz Society events, such as "Jazz from J to Z" concerts and our 20th Anniversary Jazz Party, and they've always given an outstanding performance.
I've also hired them twice for the KBEM / Jazz 88 "Winter Jazz Fest", and twice for the "Big Band Scene - Live at the Artists' Quarter" radio series. The Cedar Avenue Big Band also has a terrific Dance book. I used them for my First Wedding Anniversary dance. Steve Devich, the leader of the band, is a superb composer, arranger and Bass trombonist, who performed in Las Vegas and Toronto for many years, and has played for many Big Bands in the metropolitan area. I heartily recommend the Cedar Avenue Big Band for a Jazz Concert , jazz party, summer concert in the park, high school, or college, and for a swinging dance at a ballroom, jazz club, corporate event, weddings, anniversaries, and reunions.

Jerry Swanberg
President - Twin Cities Jazz Society
Writer of "Big Band Scene" - Jazz Notes
Host of "Big Band Scene" - KBEM / Jazz 88 - Minneapolis
gswanbe@aol.com / 651-633-7178
_______________________
Jerry Swanberg
Oct. 15/05
Hello Steve,
I have pleasantly stumbled across your new CD "Land of 10,000 Licks" and I offer a big congratulations to you and the whole band! I would love to purchase one from you, if possible, because I would like you and your band to autograph it for me! It's not often I get to hear my arrangements recorded by such a great band as yours, so it would be an honor to obtain the autographed CD.

Sincerely,
George Stone
Division Chair, Performing Arts
Cuesta College
P.O. Box 8106
San Luis Obispo, CA 93403
gstone@cuesta.edu
_______________________
"I think the "land of 10,000 Licks" cd is excellant and have enjoyed listening to it many times. Congratulations to the whole band from me."
Rob McConnel and the Boss Brass Toronto Canada 04/11/04
______________________
Review Courtesy AllAboutJazz.com
Land of 10,000 Licks
The Cedar Avenue Big Band | CABB
Track Listing: Angry; Blue Disclosure; Tadd’s Delight; It Might as Well Be Spring; Dr. No-Know; That’s All; Quick Fix; Merlyn; I Told You So; Lament; Spanker; Double Bogey Blues; Just One of Those Things (68:27).
Personnel: Bob Hallgrimson, Jeff Jensen (5-10, 12, 13), Phil Holm (1-4, 11), Kyle Newmaster (5,8, 9, 12), John Ahern, Greg Lewis, trumpet; Pete Whitman, Clay Pufahl (6, 7, 10, 13), alto sax, flute; Bill Gervasio (1-4, 11), Nick Vedeen (5, 8, 9, 12), alto sax; Merle Knudson, tenor sax, clarinet; Dave Brattain, tenor sax, flute; John Zimmerman, baritone sax, clarinet; Jeff Rinear, Mike Haynes, Phil Florine, trombone; Steve Devich, bass trombone; Mark Asche, piano; Bruce Heine, bass; Phil Hey, drums; Bruce Henry, vocal (“Double Bogey Blues”).

CD Review Search
What a difference a decade makes. Ten years ago (where has the time flown?) the Cedar Avenue Big Band recorded its first album, Lazy Orange. whose monthly gigs at O’Gara’s nightclub in St. Paul, MN, evinced far more earnestness and energy than proficiency. Now comes Land of 10,000 Licks,and wow! What a mind-blowing surprise! To reiterate our opening remark, what a difference a decade makes. Any resemblance between this band and the one that recorded Lazy Orange is all but invisible.
Obviously, the “new” CABB hasn’t spent the last ten years treading water. While some of the sidemen may go back as far as Lazy Orange,, this clearly isn’t the same band as the one that introduced itself on record back in ‘93. Bass trombonist Steve Devich now runs the show, and he must be doing something right, as the band is about as talented as any regional ensemble you’d care to name.

One of the goals on this studio date was to showcase composers and arrangers from the Twin Cities, and aside from two charts by George Stone (“Just One of Those Things,“ “It Might as Well Be Spring”) everything on the album was composed and/or arranged by current or former members of the CABB. The new works, all of which are handsomely drawn, include Devich’s “Double Bogey Blues,” trumpeter John Ahern’s “Merlyn” and “Spanker,” trombonist Jeff Rinear’s “Blue Disclosure,” alto Pete Whitman’s “Dr. No-Know” and alumnus Dean Sorenson’s “Quick Fix.”

Licks opens in an amiable groove with Devich’s bright arrangement of the old Dixieland tune “Angry” (solos by bassist Bruce Heine and tenor Merle Knudson). “Blue Disclosure” provides an ethereal setting for baritone John Zimmerman, trumpeter Greg Lewis, trombonist Mike Haynes and Whitman, while Sorenson’s brisk treatment of Tadd Dameron’s boppish “Tadd’s Delight” spotlights the CABB’s stalwart rhythm section—Heine, pianist Mark Asche and drummer Phil Hey. Knudson has center stage to himself on “It Might as Well Be Spring,” Ahern on “That’s All,” Rinear on J.J. Johnson’s “Lament,” Whitman on “One of Those Things,” trumpeter Kyle Newmaster on George Cables’ buoyant “I Told You So” There’s one vocal, by Twin Cities luminary Bruce Henry on the tongue-in-cheek “Double Bogey Blues.”

For those who are or may be in the Twin Cities area, the Cedar Avenue Big Band still plays the second Monday night at O’Gara’s Bar & Grill in St. Paul; for those who aren’t or won’t be, Land of 10,000 Licks is the next best thing to seeing and hearing this superlative group of musicians in person.

~ Jack Bowers
All material copyright © 1996-2003 All About Jazz and contributing writers. All rights reserved.
Jack Bowers - All About Jazz.com (Jul 12, 2005)

July 27th.  For much of the afternoon it rained and rained, sheets of rain like we saw on Saturday, July 23rd, and we suspected the concert that Wednesday evening, July 27th, in Victoria would be cancelled but, like the midsummer magic we have been experiencing all season, and even over these many years, the sun came out, the clouds moved over, and the show went on.  Thank you, Steve Devich and your Cedar Avenue Big Band from Minnetonka, for making music on the shores of Stieger Lake in downtown Victoria and for helping to brighten the day for us with your big band sounds.  The band has a history of more than 25 years of musical showmanship and talent and has played in Las Vegas, Minneapolis, St. Paul, and other large venues.

Sue Orsen - The Victoria Gazette (Jul 27, 2016)