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Larry McDonough Quartet and Festivus and Other Twisted Holidays Returns to the Aster Café $10

Saturday, December 23, 2023 @ 9:00 pm - 11:00 pm

Larry McDonough Quartet and Festivus and Other Twisted Holidays Returns to the Aster Café

Do you need a break from the pandemic, politics, Zoom meetings, and maybe some family members? Are you tired of the same old holiday music?

Come to the Annual Performance of Festivus and Other Twisted Holidays!

Saturday, December 23, 2022
9:00-11:00 p.m.

Aster Café
125 SE Main Street
Minneapolis, MN 55414

Larry McDonough Quartet
Larry McDonough, piano, vocals, and arrangements
Richard Terrill, saxes and poetry
Greg Stinson, bass and arrangements
Dean White, drums

Carol Bergquist, flute and accordion

Families and students are welcome.
$10 Cover.
Call 612-379-3138 to save your spot!

Donations to The Human Fund suggested
(because musicians have to eat meatloaf).

Festivus and Other Twisted Holidays in the Media

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On December 23, the Larry McDonough Quartet (LMQ) will perform music in celebration of Seinfeld’s fictional December 23 holiday “Festivus for the Rest of Us” along with other odd takes on holiday music. Come see the show that filled Black Dog Café in the past.

Festivus was created by Seinfeld character Frank Costanza (played by Jerry Stiller) as an alternative holiday in response to the commercialization of Christmas. The tradition of Festivus begins with an aluminum pole. Frank cites its “very high strength-to-weight ratio” as appealing. During Festivus, the pole is displayed unadorned. Frank admits, “I find tinsel distracting.”

Festivus includes practices such as the “Airing of Grievances.” During the Festivus meal of meatloaf on a bed of lettuce, each person tells everyone else all the ways they have disappointed them over the past year. Frank begins by yelling, “I got a lotta problems with you people, and now you’re going to hear about it!” Throughout the meal, Festivus participants label easily explainable events as “Festivus Miracles.” After the meal, “Feats of Strength” are held where family members wrestle the head of the household to the floor. Festivus concludes when the head of the household is pinned.

For Festivus, LMQ will perform:

Airing of Grievances:
“She’s Too Good for Me” by Sting

Festivus Miracles:
“If I Only Had a Brain” by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg from The Wizard of Oz

Feats of Strength:
“We Are the Champions” by Queen combined with “Maiden Voyage” by Herbie Hancock

Sweet Revenge by Tony Williams

A music stand pole will serve as the Festivus Pole. Audience members will be invited to submit “Airing of Grievances” cards about friends and family to be read from the stage during the break after the first set. Come ready to listen and rant.

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LMQ also will perform odd holiday tunes and arrangements from the CD Angels, Kings, My Favorite Things that includes:

“My Favorite Things” – Tribal 5/4 based on the Coltrane version
“Jingle Bells” – Ballad in the style of Bill Evans with Gershwin-like harmonies
“Silent Night” – 5/4 with minor-major harmonies
“Scarborough Fair” – Jazz fusion in 7/4 with free improvisations
“Alone in the World” – from Mr. McGoo’s Christmas Carol
“Simple Gifts” – 7/4 with minor harmonies
“Little Drummer Boy” – Polytonal smooth jazz
“Ode to Joy” – In the style of a Bill Evans waltz
“We Three Kings” – Middle Eastern 5/4
“Angels We Have Heard on High” – 7/4 with Gershwin-like harmonies

Andrea Canter noted, this is “not your mother’s holiday album…. Spending the holidays with Larry McDonough is like the best of family reunions – getting reacquainted with relatives who seem so different from how we remember them, and so much more interesting.”

Angels, Kings, My Favorite Things

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On top of this, LMQ has other odd holiday arrangements including:

“It’s Love, It’s Christmas” – Based on a Bill Evans manuscript provided by his widow Nenette Evans arranged in 3/4
“I’ll Be Home for Christmas” – 7/8 dark minor
“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” – 3/4 bebop
“Christmas Time Is Here” – 3/4 dark minor

Minnesota Book Award Winner Richard Terrill adds seasonal poetry.

Larry McDonough Quartet

Larry McDonough Quartet
Larry McDonough, piano and vocals
Richard Terrill, saxes and poetry
Greg Stinson, bass
Dean White, drums

The Larry McDonough Quartet

Larry McDonough is an award-winning St. Paul jazz composer, pianist, singer, and teacher, performing around the world and recording with his group the Larry McDonough Quartet as well as solo, and in duos and trios. He has performed with legendary saxophonist and composer Benny Golson, Trombonist Fred Wesley, and trumpeter Duane Eubanks, as well as a who’s who of local jazz artists, and was inducted into the Minnesota Rock Country Hall of Fame for his work in the group Danny’s Reasons. His awards include the American Composers Forum Showcase Award for the composition “Strait of Gibraltar.”

He has released eleven CDs and DVDs as a leader. His current CDs are “Kind of Bill on the Palace Grounds, Marking 40 Years since the Death of Bill Evans,” playing on jazz radio stations and streaming services around the country, and “Intermodulating Undercurrents Live at the Kos: The Music of Bill Evans and Jim Hall.” The two-CD set “Alice in Stonehenge and other AcoustElectric Adventures” has played on radio stations and streaming services around the world and charted #18 on the Roots Music Report’s Top 50 Jazz Album Chart. “Simple Gifts” reached number 29 on the CMJ Jazz Chart and also has been played on hundreds of stations around the country and throughout the world.

Richard Terrill, sax player and retired Minnesota State University Mankato English Professor, received the Minnesota Book Award for Poetry for his poetry compilation Coming Late to Rachmaninoff (University of Tampa Press, 2003). Richard has been performing with Larry McDonough since December 2001. He also has performed with guitarist Jim McGuire and with Chaz Draper’s Uptown Jazz Quartet. As a college student, Richard was a member of the award-winning University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Jazz Ensemble and performed with later-to-be Pat Metheny keyboardist Lyle Mays in the Lyle Mays Quartet, winner of small group honors at the Midwest College Jazz Festival. He has also worked with pianist Geoff Keezer. His current books of poetry is What Falls Away Is Always and Essentially.

Bassist Greg Stinson plays in several bands around the Twin Cities. He has been the bass player in the Century College Jazz Ensemble for more than 25 years. He also plays in the CC Septet, Shorn Hortz Quintet, Paul Berger Trio, the St. Croix Jazz Ensemble, and regularly subs with the Nova Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, Classic Big Band, and Cedar Avenue Big Band. Greg spent many years playing saxophones, guitar, bass, and vocals in jazz/rock and variety bands in the area. He is an active composer/arranger with jazz charts in the books of the Century Band, Nova, CC Septet, and others. He has also written a number of choral arrangements and compositions for school and church groups. Greg was a band and choir director in public and private schools before changing to his career in telecommunications technology, now retired.

Dean White grew up in Superior, Wisconsin, and played in various working bands while attending the University of Wisconsin, Superior. After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in percussion performance, he moved to Hollywood, California, to attend Musicians Institute College of Contemporary Music. Half-way through the first year, Dean was offered a main showroom gig at the Imperial Palace in Las Vegas. He was the first drummer in the Legends In Concert Show that still performs in various incarnations across the country today. He left Las Vegas to join Tony Axtell and Toshi Hinata in Tokyo to write and play original music. Since settling back in the Twin Cities, Dean has performed with many groups, including Good, the Bad and the Funky; the Autobody Experience; Century Big Band; Nova Jazz; Big Time Jazz Orchestra; the Shorn Hortz jazz quintet; Power of 10; Jack Knife and the Sharps; Tubby Esquire; Hennessy Brothers jazz; and many others. He has also studied privately with Gordy Knudtson and his Open/Close hand technique. Dean feels blessed to be part of the rich music scene in the Twin Cities.

Flautist and accordionist Carol Bergquist has been active as a performer, soloist, and teacher in the Twin Cities for 30 years. She has performed with members of the Minnesota Orchestra and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and in local orchestras, including the Civic Orchestra of Minneapolis, Mississippi Valley Orchestra, and Allegro Sinfonia. In addition, she has performed for at The Basilica of Saint Mary for 35 years, performing Masses, special events, and NDI Production’s annual summer musicals, involving numerous Basilica members. Carol studied with Cynthia Stokes, Adam Kuenzel, and Donald Peck and has performed at master classes at the Ordway Music Theater with Carol Wincenc and DePaul University in Chicago with Donald Peck. Carol also will add her new accordion skills to show. She holds an undergraduate degree in writing and an MBA in Technology Management, teaches flute, and works as a contract proposal writer. She is married to pianist Larry McDonough.

Music 9-11 pm

CLICK HERE to save your spot!
$10 cover charge will be added to your tab.


Saturday, December 23, 2023
9:00 pm - 11:00 pm