Born and raised in Minnesota, Chris grew up equally immersed in the city’s thriving creative jazz and alternative folk scenes. His early years freelancing on the Twin Cities circuit led him to become the only bassist to sub in Happy Apple, a Minneapolis-based but internationally significant trio consisting of the drummer David King (also of The Bad Plus), the saxophonist Michael Lewis, and the bassist Erik Fratzke. During this period, he also found himself performing and recording with the leading lights of the alt-folk genre. While he was in college, Chris received a call to audition for Mason Jennings‘ band, and the bassist subsequently began working with Andrew Bird, Bill Mike, and Ben Kweller, among others.
Before long, Chris began to expose the common ground created by his involvement in the creative jazz and alternative folk scenes in his own group. In 2009, Sunnyside Records released his debut album, The Morning World, which features David and Michael of Happy Apple, as well as the saxophonist Chris Thomson and pianists Peter Schimke and Bryan Nichols. In a 3.5/4 star review of the album, Jeff Simon of Buffalo News comments, “I hope the world is ready for yet another blazing, genre-busting young jazz band from Minnesota to go with The Bad Plus and Happy Apple, because it just got one. This is hugely inventive and swinging stuff.”
Chris brought his groups to The Jazz Gallery twice last year, and we welcome him back this Friday, July 27th with a new quartet featuring the reedist Ben Wendel, the pianist Kris Davis, and the drummer Mark Guiliana.