Atlanta-native and GRAMMY nominated pianist Kevin Bales and Chicago-based vocalist Keri Johnsrud are excited to announce shows at The Velvet Note, located at 4075 Old Milton Parkway Alpharetta, GA and The Loft, located at 1032 Broadway Columbus, GA to celebrate their latest release Beyond the Neighborhood: The Music of Fred Rogers. With the help of an esteemed rhythm section which will feature Billy Thornton on bass and Marlon Patton on drums, Johnsrud and Bales will present their uniquely reimagined and rearranged interpretations of Fred Rogers’ array of compositions; Compositions that have been heard by numerous generations on the beloved children’s television program Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.  On Saturday, June 23rd, The Velvet Note will welcome this talented ensemble, plus special guest guitarist Rick Lollar, for two sets at 8:00pm and 9:30pm. Tickets are $29 and are available here. On Sunday, June 24th, in association with Columbus Jazz Society, Johnsrud and Bales will take to the stage at The Loft at 7:00pm. Tickets are $10 and are available here.

On Beyond the Neighborhood: The Music of Fred Rogers, released on March 20th Fred Rogers’ Birthday! – Johnsrud and Bales have succeeded in taking the songs, which up until now were specifically tailored for a child’s ear, and presenting them as reinvented gems that are wise and wistful, simple but not simplistic, and even, in some cases, a bit sultry. In this collection, Mister Rogers’ songs not only relate to adults; they seem to have been written for adults in the first place. This project began over two years ago when Johnsrud and Bales discovered that they had a deep mutual love and admiration for Fred Rogers, while having a conversation about children’s programs they used to watch growing up. What a lot of people don’t know is that Fred Rogers composed all of the music heard on his programs (The Children’s Corner, The MisteRogers Show, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood). In fact, Kevin’s first introduction to jazz was listening to the music performed live by pianist and musical director Johnny Costa and his trio on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. With that said, Keri and Kevin wanted to compile a list of songs that may be familiar to some and unfamiliar to others to showcase the depth of Fred’s songwriting talent. The pair also wanted to arrange these tunes in a way that could appeal to all generations, so that families could listen to this music together. The beauty of these compositions lies in the simple messages found in each of his songs (those of self-worth, acceptance, and kindness) and can apply to all, whether young or old.

Join Johnsrud and Bales to celebrate both their latest release and of course, the music and legacy of Mr. Rogers.

MORE ABOUT KERI JOHNSRUD

A highly appealing jazz singer with a quietly expressive voice and a deep understanding of the lyrics that she interprets, Keri Johnsrud has been an important part of the Chicago jazz scene for the past 15 years. With headlining appearances at Chicago’s top venues including the historic Green Mill Cocktail Lounge and Jazz Showcase, Keri has built a strong reputation and following among peers and fans, alike. While having a solid regional presence, she continues to perform across the country (including regular appearances in Atlanta and New York City) and has enjoyed singing in Iowa before a hometown audience of fans and friends. In addition to finding success with her own group, Johnsrud also lends her voice to the critically acclaimed jazz ensemble Shawn Maxwell’s Alliance. Singing since she was seven years old and born and raised in Iowa alongside professional vocalists, Keri’s plans for the future are as direct and as logical as her music; “I plan to keep singing, writing, teaching and performing as much as possible and want to take the music wherever it needs to go.”

MORE ABOUT KEVIN BALES

Kevin’s initial career move was to the University of North Florida and a budding if little-known jazz program. There he met and performed with, and went on to record and tour with, a number of monumental artists who had settled into that burgeoning North Florida jazz scene. Giants like Wynton Marsalis, Louie Bellson, Eddie Daniels, James Moody, Ben Tucker, Ira Sullivan, Sam Rivers, and Nat Adderley. He counts among his mentors bassist Ben Tucker, multi-instrumentalist Ira Sullivan, guitar legends Nathen Page and Jack Petersen, and the fiercely individual saxophonist Bunky Green. His meeting with Bunky Green led to five years of tours. His encounter with guitarist Nathen Page blossomed into 15 years of spot tours and four albums. And his work with trumpeter extraordinaire Marcus Printup has become a lifetime association that has included recordings on Blue Note/Capital records. Ten years touring and recording with vocal iconoclast Rene Marie culminated in the a Grammy Nominated album. While still a senior at North Florida he was drafted into a full teaching load, and continued to be an integral part of the school’s jazz program for upwards of a decade. Today, Kevin manages his own jazz program, overseeing an ambitious schedule of ambitious jazz students. Kevin has amassed a long list of awards and a reputation as one of the finest jazz pianists performing anywhere. In 1994, less than a decade into jazz, he won the American Pianist Association’s Jazz Piano Competition. In addition to nearly every important jazz venue in the South, he has performed in some of the most acclaimed clubs and festivals in America and around the world: the JVC Jazz Festival in New York, The Bakery in Los Angeles, The Kennedy Center and Lincoln Center jazz series, the Toronto and Edinburgh jazz festivals, and the Moscow Center for the Performing Arts.

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