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Highlights: Jazzman Fred Haas is ‘all about the music’

  • Jazz musician Fred Haas, of Hartland, performs Friday night at The Skinny Pancake in Hanover. (Courtesy photograph)

  • Pianist Mitsuko Uchida plays sonatas by Franz Schubert at 7 p.m. next Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Dartmouth College’s Spaulding Auditorium. (Richard Avedon photograph)



Valley News Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Midway through a recent tribute concert to Stan Getz, Fred Haas filled Dartmouth College’s Rollins Chapel with the last, melancholy chord of Jimmy Van Heusen’s I Thought About You, then set down his saxophone.

And after the dozens of listeners finished applauding, Haas reflected on the economy with which Getz, one of his role models, played such jazz standards before he died in 1991.

“I try to make the most out of those notes,” Haas said. “Fewer notes, more feeling.”

Count on the 67-year-old Hartland resident to apply that philosophy to his gig Friday night at The Skinny Pancake in Hanover with retired physicians-turned-musicians Billy Rosen and Norm Yanofsky. He developed this approach in collaborations with such jazz giants as pianist Oscar Peterson, guitar wizard Pat Metheny and trumpeter Clark Terry over the last half-century.

“I love playing with people who want to learn more about the music,” Haas said during an interview on Monday.

The feeling is mutual for Rosen, whom Haas tutored at his Interplay Jazz Camp 18 summers ago. They often perform together in Florida and Mexico during the winter, and regularly team up around the Upper Valley.

“He pushes you to your maximum level of skill and inspiration,” Rosen said on Tuesday. “The true beauty of playing with Fred is that there’s no ego involved. It’s all about the music.”

The music began consuming Haas in his mid-teens, while growing up in the suburbs of Chicago. By age 16, he was already teaching as well as playing — a habit that he carried through his undergraduate years at Dartmouth, then took into the classroom and the performance lab at his alma mater’s music department. In 1996, he and his wife, singer Sabrina Brown, founded the Interplay camp, where every June aspiring musicians over a wide spectrum of ages spend a week taking lessons from professionals, playing together and performing concerts.

“Some of the older ones who maybe put music aside to pursue their careers, and are just coming back to it, they say that Interplay has changed their lives,” Haas said. “It has to do with something really powerful, reaching a level of expression with music that a lot of people don’t get to do with words.”

Music is allowing Haas to work through the challenges of age and time, ranging from a spinal operation that limited his playing and teaching through much of the first half of 2017, to a condition that over the last several years has limited his breathing and the dexterity in the fingers of one of his hands.

“As Clark Terry got older, he adjusted, and you could hear one note and you knew that it was still Clark Terry,” Haas said. “And it still made you smile. I learned from players like him, and from Oscar Peterson, who got slower after his stroke, that it’s all about playing what we’ve got in our heads, what we think we want to play.”

Saxophonist Fred Haas jams with organist/bassist Norm Yanofsky and guitarist Billy Rosen on Friday night at 7 at The Skinny Pancake in Hanover.

Best bets

Former Dartmouth College Music Department chairman Bill Cole plays the didgeridoo, an Australian aboriginal wind instrument, on Friday night at 7 at the BALE Commons in South Royalton. While admission is free, the limited seating at the venue is first-come, first-served.

■The Upper Valley-based Kibling Hill Trio of fiddler George White, flutist Rachel Clark and guitarist Rob DeMarco performs Irish music on Friday night at 7:30 at the Unitarian-Universalist Congregation of the Upper Valley in Norwich. Admission by donation.

■The Rough & Tumble folk/roots duo plays the monthly Corinth Coffeehouse on Saturday night at 7, in the Corinth Town Hall at 1387 Cookeville Road. Admission is by donation to the Topsham/Corinth Little League.

■Kelvin Grullon plays the title character in the one-man show The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao on Monday night at 7:30, at Northern Stage’s Barrette Center for the Arts in White River Junction. While tickets are free, Northern Stage recommends reserving seats for this adaptation of Junot Diaz’ award-winning novel by calling 802-296-7000 or emailing boxoffice@northernstage.org.

■Pianist Mitsuko Uchida plays three sonatas of Franz Schubert at Dartmouth College’s Spaulding Auditorium next Thursday night at 7. Admission $20 to $70.

Theater/performance art

Once, performances from Thursday afternoon and night through May 19 at Northern Stage’s Barrette Center for the Arts in White River Junction. Admission $19 to $59.

■ Poetry-fest with Vermont Poet Laureate Chard diNiord and other performers, Thursday night at 6:30 at Hartland Public Library.

■The Lampshade Poets read original and favorite poems, Thursday night at 7 at Cafe Renee in White River Junction. Doors open at 6.

Music

Cliff Eberhardt, folk singer-songwriter, Thursday night at 8 at Flying Goose Brewpub & Grille in New London. Admission $20; reservations recommended.

■Barbary Coast Jazz Ensemble, free, informal concert on Thursday night at 9 at Dartmouth College’s Top of the Hop.

■Mama’s Broke, folk/roots duo, Friday night at 7:30 at ArtisTree Community Arts Center in South Pomfret. General admission $20.

■Heron Fire, folk/roots, monthly coffeehouse on Saturday night at 7 at Unitarian-Universalist Meetinghouse in Springfield, Vt. Admission by donation.

Bar and club circuit

Chris Comeau with 25 Junction, country/roots, Thursday night at 6 at Peyton Place in Orford.

■Sensible Shoes, rock and pop, Thursday night at 7 at Windsor Station; The Crop Dusters, countrified rock, Friday night at 9:30; Pariah Beat, Americana, Saturday night at 9:30; The Milkhouse Heaters, roots music, Tuesday night at 6.

■Joe Mitchell, rock, Friday night at 6:30 at Big Fatty’s BBQ in White river Junction.

■Chris Kleeman Blues Band, Skunk Hollow Tavern in Hartland, Friday night at 8.

■Saxophonist Mike Parker and singer Randy White, rock and soul, Friday night at 8:30 at Crossroads Bar and Grill in South Royalton.

■Singer-songwriter Jim Hollis, Friday night at 9 at Salt hill Pub in Hanover; Ted Mortimer Trio, rock and pop, Saturday night at 9.

■Turner Round, rock, Friday night at 9 at Salt hill Pub in West Lebanon; singer-songwriter Derek Johnson, Saturday afternoon at 4.

■Alec Currier, rock, Friday night at 9 at Salt hill Pub in Lebanon; RoadTrash Band, Americana/roots, Saturday night at 9.

■Arthur James, blues, Friday night at 9 at Salt hill Pub in Newport; Toby Moore, rock, Saturday night at 9.

■Adam McMahon, blues and rock, Friday night at 9 at Margaritas restaurant in Lebanon.

■Singer-songwriter Matt Seiple, Saturday night at 7 at The Skinny Pancake in Hanover.

■Jim Yeager, rock/funk, Monday night at 7 at Woodstock Inn’s Richardson Tavern.

■Saxophonist Michael Parker and guitarist Norm Wolfe, jazz, Wednesday night at 6 at Quechee Inn at Marshland Farm.

■Jazz pianist Sonny Saul, Wednesday night at 6:30 at On the River Inn in Woodstock.

Jams and open mics

Alec Currier’s weekly open mic session at Salt hill Pub in Lebanon, Thursday night at 8.

■Emerson Gale’s monthly folk and roots jam session, Sunday night from 6 to 9 at Seven Stars Arts Center in Sharon. To RSVP to play, and to learn more, email Emerson Gale at egale@syr.edu or call 607-226-3956.

■Joe Stallsmith’s weekly hootenanny of Americana, folk and bluegrass, Monday night at 6 at Salt hill Pub in Hanover.

■Fiddler Jakob Breitbach’s weekly acoustic jam session of bluegrass, Americana and old-timey music, Tuesday night at 7 at Filling Station Bar and Grill in White River Junction.

■Jim Yeager hosts open mics at The Public HousePub in Quechee on Tuesday night at 6, and at Skunk Hollow Tavern on Wednesday night at 8.

■Tom Masterson’s weekly open mic, Tuesday night at 7 at Colatina Exit.

Looking ahead

Patty Larkin, folk singer-songwriter, next Thursday night at 8 at Flying Goose Brewpub & Grille in New London. Admission $25; reservations recommended.

■Low Lily, roots/Americana trio, April 26 at 7:30 p.m. at Chandler Music Hall. Admission $38.

David Corriveau can be reached at dcorriveau@vnews.com and at 603-727-3304. Send entertainment news to highlights@vnews.com.