Jeff Haas Trio, Traverse City MI
The popular Jeff Haas Trio featuring saxophonist Laurie Sears has found a new home for the fall, winter and spring at View nightclub of West Bay Beach, Holiday Inn Resort in Traverse City, Michigan.
Jeff Haas is a longtime resident and mainstay of the Traverse City music, cultural and education scene. His hometown-based trio plus horns will perform weekly at West Bay Beach Resort, while his Detroit-based trio plus horns performs on the road and in schools as part of the award-winning Building Bridges with Music program.
For 23 years, Haas, Jack Dryden and Randy Marsh have delighted crowds with a residency at Chantal Chateau Winery, and during special events at Dennos Museum, the City Opera House, Interlochen and other Northern Michigan venues. The ‘Jazz at Sunset’ series has a loyal following, reaching between 150 to 300 listeners every Thursday during the summer.
Now, the Jeff Haas Trio will make a new home at West Bay Beach Resort. And you won’t want to miss them.
“I grew up believing that music could heal the world. That’s what my dad told me every day,” Haas says. “Ours was a very modest home, but culturally we were over-the-top rich. There was always live music – albeit limited to the likes of Bach, Beethoven and Brahms.”
A professional musician and host of the popular Detroit radio show Adventures in Good Music, Jeff’s father allowed only classical music in the home. Jeff began taking lessons with his dad at age five. He soon became a serious student of music, practicing up to four hours a day by the time he turned 10.
Then, he became a teenager and asked about The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix. When Dad said rock and roll “ruined the needle on the stereo,” Jeff went rogue. “I stumbled on a 1963 Motown Revue at the Michigan State Fair and then discovered a clandestine copy of Monk and Coltrane Live at the Five Spot under my sister’s mattress,” he reflects. “I never looked back.”
Today, a zillion hours on stage and many CDs later, Jeff gets up every morning, gets his own teenage daughter off to school, then spends the day doing what he loves – composing, teaching, practicing and performing.
(The guy is prolific. He’s in the process of composing an hour-long suite for a 31-piece string orchestra and just finished writing five new pieces for a brass quintet.)
Music education also tugs at his heartstrings. In 1994, Jeff founded Building Bridges with Music, a nonprofit organization that brings live music into underserved public schools throughout Michigan. It’s about more than music – the quintet is made up of world-class musicians representing difference races, religions and backgrounds. During STOP the Bullying! workshops, each performer shares compelling and personal accounts of how prejudice, disrespect and bullying have affected their lives. Haas and his group are changing lives through music – to the tune of 50,000 students in more than 600 schools in urban and rural school districts.
Jeff and his group have been together for nearly 25 years. They take great pride in engaging and entertaining their audiences with a mix of cool arrangements of jazz standards – think “Summertime”, “Embraceable You”, “My Funny Valentine” and “Autumn Leaves” – as well as more contemporary funky tunes by jazz masters like Herbie Hancock and Bob James.
Haas loves jazz because “it represents our country’s history and values in so many ways … we have structures and rules we have to follow, but there’s plenty of opportunity for personal expression.”
The Jeff Haas Trio is jazzed (yes, jazzed) to perform at West Bay Beach Resort, having always admired and respected the property’s commitment to community. Expect guest artists and outstanding young talent to grace the stage of ‘Jazz at View’.
“No matter what the tune, our bottom line is sharing the joy of making music and connecting with our audience,” Haas says. “Music is the universal language. It transcends any and all of our differences and brings people together.”
In case you had any doubt, he still believes music can heal the world.
Hear the Jeff Haas Trio featuring Laurie Sears during ‘Jazz at View’ every Thursday from 7 to 9:30 p.m.