Nova’s Upcoming Performances: A Special Message from Mike Krikava

Greetings all you Jazz fans. It’s time for another Nova Jazz event and I hope you will be able to join us for one or both of our upcoming shows.

On Sunday March 24, 7pm, at Studio Z in Downtown St. Paul, the Nova Band will be doing a program dedicated to our great friend and noted composer and music author W.A. Mathieu. Studio Z is located at 275 East Fourth Street Suite 200 Saint Paul, MN, 55101 (651) 755-1600, right across the street from the St. Paul Farmers’ Market.

This program will feature Bill Mathieu’s works for Jazz Orchestra written from 1958 to 2012. This concert will include the first-ever public performance of a piece Mathieu wrote especially for the Nova Band. Written as a through-composed Concerto in the classical style, the “Concerto Nova” is a six-movement masterwork, that melds bebop and cool jazz into a third stream work of amazing sounds.

W.A. "Bill" Mathieu
W.A. “Bill” Mathieu

Nova is very pleased to be able to perform this outstanding music and hope you can join us. And we are particularly proud of our collaboration with Mathieu. He broke into the music scene in 1958 when, as an 18-year-old phenom, he became staff arranger and trumpeter on the Stan Kenton Orchestra. Kenton’s 1959 album, Standards in Silhouette, showcases Mathieu’s rich melodic writing and sophisticated harmonies. That album was critically acclaimed and remains one of the highlights of the Kenton Discography. Bill then spent time writing for Duke Ellington, Maynard Ferguson and others. In the mid-‘60s, Bill became the founding music director of the Second City Theatre in Chicago and its companion theatre in San Francisco. Bill remains a renowned composer, compositional teacher and music author on the West Coast. Nova collaborated with Mathieu in 2010, in playing a number of previously-unrecorded originals and arrangements for the Kenton band, culminating in a critically-acclaimed album. That collaboration ripened into Mathieu writing Concerto Nova especially for the Nova Band.

To give this music its full scope, we have scheduled a second premier for Sunday, April 28, 2012 at 4 pm at Saint James Lutheran Church, 460 Annapolis Street, West St. Paul. This event will be a concert and live recording session as Nova strives to get a studio-quality recording of the Concerto with a live audience.

I hope you can join us for one of these premier events.


Mike Krikiva

Concerto Nova!

Visitors to this website may wonder what the Nova Contemporary Jazz Orchestra is up to. Considering this space hasn’t been updated in quite a while, it’s a reasonable question. Our silence here, however, belies the fact we are in the midst of a big project.

W.A. "Bill" Mathieu
W.A. “Bill” Mathieu

What is this big project, you might ask? Well, not too long ago, Nova recorded the unrecorded arrangements (and originals) of William “Bill” Mathieu, originally written for Stan Kenton in the late 50s.

The resulting CD, Vol. 2-Double Feature,Vol. 2-Double Feature pleased and delighted many people. Importantly, the recording pleased Bill Mathieu, too, so much so that he was motivated to write an original work specifically for the Nova Contemporary Jazz Orchestra. The result is Concerto Nova, a 6 movement work. Nova is currently rehearsing this new music, and the composer Bill Mathieu will visit us soon to help out on the finer musical points. As you might suspect, Nova intends to perform and record Concerto Nova. Stay tuned.

Nova and Stan Kenton’s 100th

Stan Kenton RetrospectiveA belated but hearty thanks to all those who came out to our CD release party last month. Your support was and is certainly appreciated; we felt lots of good vibes coming from our audience at the Shorewood. Onward — here’s what’s coming up for Nova:

Nova’s September Performance Tonight and New Tantara Release Pre-order!

This is a quick message to let everyone know that the Nova Contemporary Jazz Orchestra is playing at the Shorewood Bar & Grill tonight, September 27. Come on out! As usual, we start at 7pm and will play till 10. Other important news: our recently completed recording consisting of Bill Mathieu compositions is available at Amazon for pre-order. This double disk set, which will be released by Tantara productions and is titled Double Feature Volume 2, also features Kenton’s exciting 1959 band performing at the Blue Note in Chicago and the Red Hill Inn in New Jersey.

This Fall, What’s in Store for Nova

As we hinted in our last post here, exciting things are happening with the Nova Contemporary Jazz Orchestra this fall. First, we’re pleased to announce that our 8th CD, Who Says You Can’t Dance to Bebop, will be released soon. We’ll have a big CD release party at the Shorewood Bar & Grill on Tuesday, October 25 at 7pm.

This new recording, which promises to be one of Nova’s best, features 9 works by Minnesotan composers who write in the jazz idiom, some of whom are members of our orchestra.

  • What: CD release party for Nova’s new recording, Who Says You Can’t Dance to Bebop
  • When: Tuesday, October 25, 7pm
  • Where: Shorewood Bar & Grill in Fridley
  • Admission: Free

Everyone is invited to our CD release party. Come and bring a friend! Also, see what Barry Harris says about dancing to bebop.

Nova, Jazz from J to Z and KBEM Celebrate Kenton’s 100th

Back in February, we noted here that composer Bill Mathieu came to visit Nova to rehearse 14 compositions he had originally written for the Stan Kenton Orchestra in the late 50s. While Mathieu’s arranging talents were featured on Standards In Silhouette,Standards In Silhouette at Amazon Kenton never recorded the works rehearsed and performed by Nova. We’d like to formally announce that the Nova Contemporary Jazz Orchestra has recorded every one of Bill Mathieu’s heretofore unrecorded compositions written for Stan Kenton. As a result of that project, Nova is delighted to take part in another big event:

  • What: TCJS/Big Band Scene Stan Kenton 100th birthday celebration and CD Release Party. 1st set: Minnetonka High School Jazz Band I. 2nd Set: Nova Contemporary Jazz Orchestra’s 14 newly recorded works by Bill Mathieu**Nova’s studio recording of these compositions will be released by Tantara Productions.
  • When: Thursday, December 1, 2011, 7:30pm
  • Where: 18285 Highway 7, Minnetonka, MN 55345-4131 (Arts Center)
  • Admission: Adults: $10 Students: $5 TCJS/KBEM Members: $7