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Jazz in Les Fields Hall: John Paulson Quartet

  • The Castle 121 Broadway Avenue N Rochester, MN 55906 (map)

During our Grand Opening in February 2019, Castle Community and Threshold Arts dedicated the Castle’s third floor event hall to Les Fields - one of Rochester’s most iconic musicians who has been bringing some of the best jazz musicians in Southeast Minnesota together for more than fifty years. Beginning in April, Threshold Arts will host a monthly series, Jazz in Les Fields Hall, featuring Les Fields and the Turkey River All Stars and a visiting guest band.

Doors open: 1:00 PM
Les Fields & the Turkey River All Stars: 1:30 PM
John Paulson Quartet: 2:40 PM
All Ages – General Admission

Tickets: $5 in advance / $8 day of show
Advance tickets are available online via My Town My Music or at The Art Store on the Castle’s second floor.

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Named after the river that ran through his Cresco, Iowa hometown, Les organized the Turkey River All Stars Band in 1968. The group has had some high-profile gigs over those many years, including performing as the welcoming band for five U.S. Presidents: Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, George Bush, Sr. and George Bush, Jr., and one presidential hopeful, Ross Perot. The Rochester group was the official Minnesota band at the 1984 World's Fair in New Orleans. In 2005, the group was named to the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame. 

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John Paulson’s jazz groups are widely known throughout the S.E. Minnesota region and beyond for performing hard hitting swing tunes, along with gentle ballads and bossa novas.  For their set at The Castle listeners can expect a mix of recognizable jazz standards along with some energetic original compositions reflecting a wide range of styles.

In addition to John Paulson on sax and flute, Dr. Paulson’s quartet for the performance at The Castle May 12th includes the stellar Twin Cities guitarist Scott Gerry;  drummer Miles Johnston- well known throughout the Rochester area; and La Crosse bassist Terry Grosskopf who has performed with a variety of professional jazz groups in the region plus touring with the Guy Lombardo orchestra.

John Paulson started his musical journey in Rochester, MN when he began playing sax at age 10.  He fondly remembers attending many teen dances at the Rochester Armory which is now The Castle. His interest led to playing in area rock bands as well as continuing with school music groups. He eventually migrated west and got his B.M and M.M from the University of Utah and later completed his DMA in music education from the University of Washington.  He studied flute and clarinet with members of the Utah Symphony and the L.A. Chamber Orchestra and studied jazz improvisation with Garry Dial in New York. After 35 years of full time teaching, Dr. Paulson retired from Saint Mary’s University and taught part at Winona State for the last 5 years. As a freelance artist, he has performed with The Cab Calloway Orchestra, Mel Torme, Andy Williams, Bob Hope, The Temptations, Johnny Mathis, Pioneer Memorial Theatre and The Repertory Dance Theatre in Salt Lake City. He is widely published and has produced 5 jazz quintet CDs and 2 big band recordings of his own music.  The 2nd John Paulson Big Band CD “Five Years On” was just selected as one of the top 10 big band CD’s of 2018 by KBEM-FM jazz radio in Mpls.  Much of this music was performed by the JP Big Band at Mayo High in Rochester marking 50 years since he graduated from his alma mater.

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