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4 States of Jazz

March 23, 2019 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm EDT

Karen Frisk, vocalist
Joining me are jazz masters from 4 States in the Northeast…
CT’s own: The Legendary Donn Trenner, piano
RI – Internationally known Dave Zinno on bass
NY’s – Ron Vincent on drums
MA – Boston Pops’  Mike Monaghan on Sax.

Karen Frisk is a versatile vocalist who has performed in several areas of the country with local and world-renowned jazz artists.

Karen expresses a very diverse sound.  Her vocal styles cover breathy ballads to heart-wrenching blues, sexy Latin rhythms to up-tempo swing and more.

She has been influenced by some of her favorite artists… Sarah Vaughan, Carmen McRae, Ella Fitzgerald, Shirley Horn, Rosemary Clooney, Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Natalie Cole, Gladys Knight, and several more.

Having developed a sound all her own, Karen is considered one of the most respected premier jazz vocalists in Southern New England.  She makes a musical event fun for the audience and the band – whether it’s a high energy venue, or a more intimate environment.

She’ll bend the notes, play with the timing and keep swingin’!  What a percussive rhythm machine!

She has shared the stage with many premier jazz artists including: Dave McKenna, Dick Johnson, Gray Sargent, Bernard “Pretty” Purdie, Brian Torff, Donn Trenner, John DiMartino, Mike Renzi, and others.

The pianist Donn Trenner came up in the ranks of early bebop pianists and appears on nearly 100 jazz albums from 1950 onward. His instrumental talents include dabbling in unique keyboard instruments such as the celeste, as well as use of the cello, and he eventually became almost even better-known for his activities as a conductor and musical arranger for a variety of vocalists and television show hosts. His most famous gig along the latter lines was leading the band on the Steve Allen Show, which was the original prototype for the incredibly popular Tonight Show. In his early career, Trenner‘s home base of Connecticut put him within easy riffing reach of New York City and its busy jazz scene. As a combo pianist, he worked with players such as Charlie Parker, Stan Getz, Oscar Pettiford, Dave Pell, Howard McGhee, Charles Mingus, and Ben Webster, some of this playing taking place after he relocated to the west coast.

His eventual finesse conducting large groups was no doubt polished while playing piano in jazz big bands led by Charlie Barnet, Tommy Dorsey, and Les Brown. The Brown band became a ticket into another type of show business entirely, one that would prove to have a much larger audience than the experimental bebop sound. Brown went to work for comedian Bob Hope, taking the talented Trenner with him and resulting in engagements as a combination music director, pianist, and arranger for Lena Horne, Nancy Wilson, Jack Jones, Dick Haymes, Ann-Margret, and the Allen television assignment. Outside of network studios, work with vocalists Wilson and Ann-Margret often led to sojourns in Las Vegas.

One of Trenner‘s greatest assets to performers is apparently his perfectionism; he is often willing to sacrifice great amounts of his own time to make sure a project, or more specifically, one four-bar phrase within that project, is up to snuff. As for jazz, Trenner is not one of those players who let his abilities in this genre go to flab once involved in the glitzy world of Las Vegas shows and network television. His later releases that emphasize straight-ahead jazz or jazz soloing within a song format, such as the 1996 Paul Broadnax date entitled Here’s to Joe, have shown little, if any, degeneration in swing or creative ability. All in all, it could be suggested that Trenner represents an admirable blend of jazz and pop in his work that few performers are able to sustain; brief, and quite enjoyable evidence of this is his piano introduction on the original Nelson Riddle arrangement of “Route 66.”

A freelance woodwind player in Boston for more than thirty-five years, Michael Monaghan also works as a jazz musician, studio singer, and back-up vocalist. He is a graduate of the Boston Conservatory and did graduate work at the University of Massachusetts and the Eastman School of Music. Mr. Monaghan’s freelance work includes performances with the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops Orchestras; with orchestras for Boston Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, and Bolshoi Ballet; and in pit orchestras for touring shows including “Cats”, “Phantom of the Opera”, “Porgy and Bess”, “Sweeney Todd” and others, at the Wang, Colonial, and Shubert theaters in Boston. In addition, Mr. Monaghan has performed with popular entertainers including Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, John Mellancamp, Cyndi Lauper, and many others.

Mr. Monaghan has been a member of the Herb Pomeroy Jazz Orchestra; his jazz experience also includes performances at Carnegie Hall with Mel Torme and Gerry Mulligan, participating in Rosemary Clooney’s “Demi-Centennial” special on A&E, and playing with the Woody Herman Band, the American Jazz Philharmonic Orchestra, and with many jazz artists, among them Anita O’Day, Buddy Rich, and Chick Corea. His Boston Pops experience includes working with Arthur Fiedler, John Williams, and Keith Lockhart at Symphony Hall and on the long running PBS television series “Evening at Pops”.

He has recorded with John Williams and has played on all of Keith Lockhart’s Boston Pops recordings. He is a featured saxophone soloist on the recent Pops CD, “The Latin Album”. In addition, his sax playing has been heard on many network TV programs including “Friends”, “Rescue Me”, “General Hospital”, “The Young and the Restless”, “Walker, Texas Ranger” and others. He is also the featured saxophone soloist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra on the soundtrack of Clint Eastwood’s highly acclaimed film, “Mystic River”.


Dave Zinno has been performing professionally since 1980 and is a faculty member at the University of Rhode Island as well as at Brown University. After his studies at Berklee College of Music and the University of Rhode Island, he moved to Seattle, Washington, where he worked with Grammy winning vocalist Dianne Schuur for one year.Zinno’s most recent recordings include “Planet Safety” on soul note records (featuring Leo Genovese);”New Stablemates”(arabesque) with Jared Sims, Eric “Benny” Bloom and Steve Langone; “Remembering Billie” and “The Music of Jule Styne”(Blue Duchess) with Scott Hamilton and two new projects with Adam Nussbaum, Jay Azzolina and Dino Govoni (Whaling City). Zinno also plays in trios behind singer/entertainers Ann Hampton Calloway and Ben Vereen and recently played on a daytime Emmy nominated soundtrack.


For more details: Karen Frisk




March 23, 2019
8:00 pm - 10:00 pm EDT