The March music news roundup has a keyboard angle: Elton joined Michigan’s Greta Van Fleet during an Oscars viewing party and Hope College hosts its second jazz organ summit this weekend.
The boys in Greta Van Fleet called it “an immeasurable honor.”
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Judging by the buzz the Michigan rock band generated on Instagram and Facebook for its much-ballyhooed appearance with the legendary Elton John on stage during the piano-pounder’s high-profile AIDS Foundation Academy Awards viewing party in West Hollywood on Sunday it was also an immeasurable boost for the group’s burgeoning reputation.
Thousands tuned in via Instagram live during the band’s performance which had Elton joining the group for GVF’s “You’re the One” and Elton’s “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting.” The video taken by Lava Records’ Jason Flom was also later shared on the band’s fan page on Facebook, earning several hundred likes and shares.
Of course, band members Josh, Jake and Sam Kiszka and Danny Wagner were in pretty heady company at Elton’s party, which also drew celebrities Miley Cyrus, Heidi Klum, Lionel Richie, Ricky Martin, Spike Lee and others.
The sky certainly seems to be the limit for Frankenmuth, Mich.’s favorite young sons, who’ve gotten media attention everywhere they’ve played and who continue to sell out shows across the globe with their Led Zep-inspired rock vibe. (Read the Local Spins interview with the band here.)
The band has more than 150,000 followers on Facebook, nearly 75,000 followers on Instagram and nearly 10 million views of their most popular video (“Highway Tune”) on YouTube.
Heck, the boys head over the pond later this month to continue touring behind their latest “From the Fires” double EP, and every one of their concerts in the Netherlands, Germany, France and United Kingdom is sold out.
After playing Coachella, Shaky Knees Music Festival and other U.S. festivals this spring, GVF returns to Michigan to play three straight sold-out shows at Detroit’s The Fillmore May 22-25.
Watch the video of the Elton/GVF performance by clicking here. Browse photos from the performance on GVF’s Facebook page.
Elton John, meanwhile, plays Grand Rapids’ Van Andel Arena on Oct. 15 as part of his farewell tour.
KEYBOARD GREATS DR. LONNIE SMITH, GERARD GIBBS, TONY MONACO TO PLAY HOLLAND ‘SUMMIT’
For the second year in a row, Hope College will become a jazz organ mecca for a weekend.
“These are some of the world’s best jazz organists,” said summit organizer Brian Coyle, music professor and Hope College’s director of jazz studies. Coyle also is vice president of the International Society of Jazz Arrangers and Composers.
“Of course, Dr. Lonnie is an (National Endowment for the Arts jazz) master. It’s going to be amazing.”
That “amazing” weekend, which begins at 3 p.m. Friday with a clinic led by the Dr. Lonnie Smith Trio, will boast performances, clinics, jam sessions, master classes and hands-on demonstrations. The summit is hosted by the Hope College Jazz Studies Area in conjunction with the Hope College Great Performance Series and the Jerry and Jacquie Hurtgen Jazz Studies Endowment.s
New York jazz musician Lonnie Smith, 75, is a Hamond B3 organ icon who’s released dozens of albums and performed with the likes of George Benson, Grover Washington Jr., Dizzy Gillespie, Santana, Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight and many others. He’s also a nine-time recipient of the Jazz Journalists Association’s organ keyboardist of the year honors.
Highly regarded Ohio jazz-soul organist Tony Monaco, meanwhile, has been an artist in residence at Hope College. He’s released several albums over the years, including “East to West,” which soared to No. 4 on Jazzweek’s Top 100 chart in 2006.
Detroit’s Gerard Gibbs has performed nationally with Ronnie Laws, James Carter and Marion Meadows. He also performs with the contemporary jazz band Pieces of a Dream, as well as fronting RYZ and Gerard Gibbs & ORGANized CRIME.
Tickets are $95 for an all-inclusive pass to clinics and performances; $35 for an all-inclusive student pass. A VIP pass, which includes an invitation to the opening night artist reception, is $125. Get tickets and details online here.
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