Rosined and ready to play, McNally Smith College of Music Faculty member and grand fiddler/violinist, Randy Sabien, will join his band of two guest fiddlers — plus five of his fellow faculty member-players — for the school season’s first concert in the Faculty Performance Series October 13. The Tuesday night event, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., takes place in the McNally Smith Auditorium (19 E. Exchange St. in Saint Paul) and is free to students, faculty and the public.
Sabien will take the triple fiddle lineup of western swing pioneer Bob Wills and plug it into be-bop, blues, and rock with a super-charged eight-piece band, featuring McNally Smith Faculty members: Dave Stanoch – (drums/percussion); Pete Johnson (drums); Gary Raynor (bass); Chris Olson (guitar); and Gary Gratz (keyboard). Violin/fiddlers Wendy Tangen-Foster and Rebecca Patek will join the group.
Expect a hot night of playing. Randy’s scintillating five-piece rhythm section will transport listeners to that place where Bob Wills meets Art Blakey meets the Allman Brothers. Randy’s violin style, rooted in the swing violinists Stephane Grappelli and Stuff Smith and deftly blended with the guitar influence of Jerry Garcia, will anchor the band’s jazz standards, Sabien originals, 60’s rock covers and showcase some very funky fiddling.
Before joining McNally Smith, Sabien founded and chaired the jazz string department at Berklee College of Music, where he also performed with, and produced albums for, folk musician Jim Post (of the 1960s group Friend & Lover). He is one of those rare string musicians to be hailed as both a violinist and a fiddler, and has been a frequent guest on “A Prairie Home Companion” and “Austin City Limits.” He’s also toured the world playing in different styles and with many of music’s great stars. When he’s not playing music, he is a highly-regarded educator and author of instructional texts.
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