P.O. BOX 830; NEDERLAND, COLORADO 80466
"THE ROTATION IS WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT!"
Nederland Acid Jazz is a weekly improvisational jam session
with an ever-changing rotation of the finest young jazz and
funk musicians from Colorado’s Front Range and beyond!
A NEDERLAND TRADITION!
- Since July of 1996 -
NAJ # 001 Reunion Photo by D. Dubois @ 8/9/04
Nederland Acid Jazz has featured members of the following bands...
Click for a complete list of every NAJ session!
Nederland Acid Jazz is a live, improvisational jazz performance in which the roster of musicians changes from week to week. The players usually do not know with whom they will be performing until they show up, and often they have never performed with one and other ever before. At times they have not even met until just before the gig… hence the acid in this acid jazz! You never know what you're going to get, but this always-evolving cast of extremely high-caliber musicians forces a fresh spark and creates a brand-new sound every Monday night.
The sessions began in July of 1996 at a club I was booking called ‘Top Of The Square.’ While I myself do not play any instrument, I do orchestrate the event each week by coordinating the players. I’m the guy who invites each individual musician up for an evening of fun and creativity.
The original idea was to create an entirely new groove each week, so I began by putting together some great players I knew from the area’s finest bands. Incredibly talented studio musicians were also worked into the rotation. I would attempt to combine people with different technical styles and musical backgrounds, such as a be-bop guitarist mixed with a reggae drummer and a funky bass player... plus a three-piece horn section... or a Latin keyboardist… or whatever!
Word quickly began to spread of the energy happening and the club began to pack-up with people coming to hear these experimental new groups. This brought calls and inquiries from a wealth of incredible talent, and things pretty much just snowballed from there. Unbelievably, the off-night of Monday became the most popular evening to go out in Nederland.
Nederland Acid Jazz has earned it’s keep as a tradition in the town’s music scene. The free-form jams continue to bring in the largest crowds even today. On any given Monday you will find any combination of drums, basses, guitars, pianos, trumpets, trombones, saxes, flutes, violins, banjos, mandolins, pedal steels, vibraphones, heck... even koras! Evenings are filled with original tunes written by the players, classic jazz standards, and outer-spacey jams, amongst other things.
NAJ has received praise from local and national media, and many great bands have been formed as a result of it. Over the years it has made it’s way thru a variety of venues, but the quality of the experience remains outstanding regardless to where it happens! Everyone involved, audiences and musicians alike, has an exciting time when the music is playing.
Denver Post - Monday, April 17th 2000
Candace Horgan - Denver, CO
Acid jazz plays well in Nederland
Among musicians, the spontaneous jam offers an opportunity to grow and challenge themselves, playing material for the moment.
Some bands, such as the Grateful Dead, built a career pursuing the perfect jam.
Yet before rock 'n' roll, there was jazz, and jazz has a long history of experimental jamming, dating back to such legends as John Coltrane and Les Paul. And in the quiet mountain town of Nederland, "Michigan" Mike Torpie has built up a tradition of a weekly jazz jam, the Acid Jazz shows.
Torpie put together the first Nederland Acid Jazz show in July 1996.
"There was an acid jazz thing in Boulder at the time, but it was more stereotypical acid jazz, with turntables and scratchers and stuff. I booked shows around Nederland and knew some of the players. I liked the acid jazz music, but didn't like the DJs. I thought it would be nice to get something going in Nederland but with music only. I coined the name Nederland Acid Jazz, and a lot of the people originally balked at the name since they didn't think it was acid jazz, but now it seems to be an accepted definition."
That first show, featuring Dave Watts on drums, Ross Martin on guitar, Edwin Hurwitz on bass, Ian Duncan on sax and Aaron Holstein on guitar, proved successful with music fans in the area. A year later, the show moved to its current home at the Wolf Tongue.
For a while in 1997, Torpie put together shows in the Boulder area. In January of this year, he added another weekly Acid Jazz show in Boulder at the Mellow Mushroom. The Nederland shows are on Monday and the Boulder shows on Tuesday. The concerts always are free. Torpie has considered expanding to Denver as well.
"I've thought about a venue in Denver, and would like to do something, but I figured until I get things running smoothly in Boulder I won't pursue it." The lineups for Acid Jazz change every week.
Torpie has a roster of more than 200 musicians willing to participate. Past shows have included Vince Herman and Tye North from Leftover Salmon, Michael Kang, Michael Travis and Kyle Hollingsworth from String Cheese Incident, Tony Furtado, Christian Teele and many others. Occasionally a vocalist, such as Sonya Vallet, will sit in, but for the most part the shows are instrumental.
Some giants of jazz have also played, including a legendary show with renowned jazz guitarist Stanley Jordan.
"I was doing booking for a club in Nederland that was fairly big. I tried to get Bela Fleck and couldn't, but I was able to get Stanley. He had a great time, then came back in June '97. The first time he was out he really enjoyed Nederland and he postponed his flight and hung out in Boulder and saw a friend play. When he came out again, he had some extra time, and he said he'd be happy to play a party."
Torpie has recorded many of the shows, and plans to start releasing them as CDs soon.
"I actually have a rough cut of the CD done. I just have to smooth it out a little. The first two or three discs will be compilations from the best lineups, then we will release full shows." While the shows do focus on jazz, given the talents of the players, other music does creep in now and then.
"The shows are jazz standards and improvisations. There's one tune on the upcoming CD that goes into 'Low Rider,' then 'Cumberland Blues,' then into a Thelonious Monk tune. One time, they started on a jazz tune and then broke into 'Dark Star.' It was like Nederland Acid Jazz is Dead." The Acid Jazz shows are fun for the players and the audience, giving musicians a chance to stretch out and the crowd a chance to hear completely spontaneous music, says Torpie.
"It's a chance for them to step out of the realm they are in and do something different. They can do new things, experiment, and it's a fun crowd that's there to listen. They really enjoy these shows."
Westword - Thursday, June 29th 2000
Denver, CO - BEST OF DENVER 2000 ISSUE
Voted: "Best place to get high and jam":
Since he began hosting his weekly Acid Jams in the northerly mountain town of Nederland in 1996, promoter "Michigan Mike" Torpie has seen some mighty fine players wander up on stage and play improvisational music for eager, dancing crowds: Stanley Jordan did it once, and Tony Furtado's done it often, as have members of the String Cheese Incident and Leftover Salmon. In February Torpie celebrated the 200th installment of the series, a victory he marked by briefly extending its reach into Boulder's Mellow Mushroom on Tuesday nights. Jazzheads who can't get enough jam in their diet can access archives of past events and stream live broadcasts through Torpie's Web site, http://www.michiganmike.com/. With Torpie around, there's plenty of fire on the mountain.
Westword - Thursday, March 2nd 2000
Laura Bond - Denver, CO
Let's Jam! The Front Range offers its share of impov work.
"The great Seattle explosion of the early '90s did much to reinforce the belief that geography can be an important factor in furthering a music scene. In the Emerald City, it seemed that the concentrated mix of rainy days, heroin and disgruntled people (many of them on heroin) was conducive to an angst- and anger-filled sound, a sonic anecdote to the frustration of the environment. So many hours forced indoors apparently gave birth to grunge -- a genre with varying degrees of worth that many Seattleites have tried like wet dogs to shake off ever since.
The same principle might account for the plethora of jammy, roving, instrumental-groove acts populating the Front Range. Maybe the origin of the meandering musical tendency has roots in a particularly bad winter, when every mandolin strummer or electric guitarist in the state was forced inside for weeks at a time. Today, whatever the atmospheric conditions, many local musicians are content to spend long nights poking at the embers of creative inspiration.
Leftover Salmon is one of the genre's best-known local practitioners. A typical Salmon concert runs well over three hours, while fans, weaned on unapologetically listless Phil Leshian space jams, simply ride the sonic wave -- whether it breaks on the beach or carries them out to sea without a life preserver. And though Boulder is the unofficial state capitol of Jamland, "Michigan Mike" Torpie has aligned Nederland, the slightly more northerly town, with the style. Last month Torpie celebrated the 200th installment of his weekly Nederland Acid Jazz series with a set that paired celebrated local players, including guitarist Ross Martin, drummer Dave Watts and sax blower Ian Duncan, for a wholly improvisational instrumental vibefest.
Since their inception at the Wolf Tongue Brewery in July 1996, the Nederland Acid Jams have operated as anything-goes affairs in which players from different bands -- who often have never met or played with each other -- perform unrehearsed music for roughly two hours. And though the term "acid jazz" is usually associated with DJ/trip-hop culture, Torpie's variety has more to do with slightly psychedelic, spontaneous extensions of organic, traditional jazz. There aren't any turntables at his events, but there are large bands with lots of instruments, as many as nine players flailing away on everything from harmonica to congas. And though Nederland is more of a sleepy mountain town than a nightlife mecca -- known for its traditional bluegrass and the quiet offerings of the Acoustic Coffeehouse -- Torpie contends the town comes alive like Brigadoon for the Monday-night jams, which consistently pack the Wolf Tongue.
"A lot of it's my fault," Torpie says of Nederland's relatively newfound affinity for the hard-to-define jazz experiments. "I've worked really hard for five years or so, and I have to say that there is definitely a scene here that maybe people wouldn't expect. There is a lot of diversity in this town, but the Acid Jams are a big, big part of what's going on here."
Torpie is qualified to provide an assessment of the musical goings-on in Nederland: His company, Michigan Mike Presents, is responsible for booking and promoting shows for the brewery, and he organizes the annual Nederland Music and Arts Festival, which is tentatively slated for August 5 and 6. So while he's involved with bringing a variety of sounds to the town -- African bands, rockabilly and blues acts, among others -- the Acid Jams are the project he's clearly most excited about. His Web site (www.michiganmike.presents) includes a detailed archive listing of each and every player who's participated over the years and on what nights. (The list, incidentally, includes players from the String Cheese Incident, HairyApesBMX, Leftover Salmon and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, as well as Tony Furtado and even Stanley Jordan, who sat in for "an incredible evening that no one wanted to end" in June 1997 during an night off in his touring schedule.) Audio archives of many of the jams can also be streamed or downloaded into the computer of anyone who's interested. They're clean, careful recordings that capture the ebb and flow of jamhood. You can't hear the audience members dancing, but it's a good bet that had there been a video capture, all sorts of twirls and tantricism would be present.
"Oh, yeah," Torpie says. "Usually by the second set, everyone's getting down. And I think it's because everyone just has such a good time at these things. They're great social as well as musical events. I think it's exciting to a lot of people, because we're getting these incredible players from all sorts of bands, and they're just coming up with stuff off the top of their heads, which is incredible to watch."
Yet the Acid Jams are a little too successful to simply be considered a labor of love. Torpie's a musichead, yes, but he's also a businessman. And he recently recognized an opportunity to expand the scope of the Acid Jams when he began hosting Tuesday-night events at the Mellow Mushroom in Boulder. The response so far, he says, has been promising. Perhaps if Torpie continues his musical imperialism, it won't be long before Colorado is forever stamped as the center of the Jam Band universe. The punks and purists should consider organizing their own rebel armies."
Dark Star Orchestra: Road Rash Papers - March 2000
Coming Home from Colorado; Get Back On The Bus! (excerpt)
It snowed for over a day SOLID... stopping only once on Monday afternoon, and for about a half-hour if that... by Monday evening Canyon Road from Ned to Boulder was looking like an invitation to Donner Party 2000 so instead of jumpin' with the sold-out crowd at the Fox Nej, Colleen, and I went to Acid Jazz night at the Wolf's Tongue Brewery in the heart of Nederland's "business district"... Gary, as I suspected earlier in the day, had had enough and stayed home to quietly slip into a coma... an idea which we all had but some of us were just too stupid to listen to...
People... I love Nederland.
Ever seen that TV show 'Northern Exposure'? That's about what life is like in Nederland, Colorado... there's a few bars, one gas station, a grocery store-and-a-half... and not much else... there are two cops for this little blot on the mountain maps and most of the time they're dealing with such serious legal infractions as not having one's dog on a leash or the local drunk needing a ride home...
... "Laid Back" is not the term, y'know?
Anyway... the last time I was out at the Wolf's Tongue for Acid Jazz Night it was two of the guys from String Cheese Incident and two from Tony Furtado's band, and they tore it UP... the bar was packed that night with a rockin' crowd and MAN was the music hot... we were having a great time but had to leave a bit early as I had a flight out of Denver at some ungodly hour, so it was nice to be able to sit this time for an entire evening not having to worry about a timetable...
On this particular night it was only three musicians (keys, guitar, and sax) because all the other regulars were snowed into Denver... but really, it was perfect for the mood of the night... kicked-back mellow jazz while the snow came down in steady, tiny, beautiful flakes... covering everything with a soft white blanket... inside, folks huddled around candlelit tables and drank in quiet conversation...
... quiet all except for this one guy in a fake beard, mustache, and wig who kept bellowing "MAY I???" at the top of his lungs, approximately every forty-five seconds or so for about a half-hour, tapering off to the occasional outburst followed by drunken giggling all around his table... but even his cohorts began to find it tedious to put up with him and started telling him to shut up... Life seems to have this nice self-governor up there and stuff just seems to naturally take care of itself... I can't really put into words how balanced that part of Colorado feels... I attribute it to something in the rock...
The Onion -
Jeff Stratton - Denver, CO
"When (the sessions) began upstairs at the tiny Top of The Square in Nederland every Monday night, it was clear that Torpie had orchestrated something important."
"Since Torpie began the sessions, Monday nights and the music scene in Nederland have improved enormously.
Boulder Weekly -
Dave Flomburg - Boulder, CO
"Michigan Mike's been busy building a dynasty here, creating an institution built on open improvisational jams flavored with a lot of top local musicians called Nederland Acid Jazz. Although getting in to play may be difficult, Mike's a pretty easygoing guy, so if you're a halfway decent player and a nice person, I'm sure he can work something out for you."
"Michigan Mike may be the only promoter around who's booking suffered not even the slightest speed bump this month (Jan. 2000), as he keeps his train moving with Nederland Acid Jazz at the Wolf Tongue Brewery every Monday night and now Tuesdays at Mellow Mushroom."
"Yes, Michigan Mike Torpie is bringing Nederland Acid Jazz to Boulder. It's landing on Tuesday nights at the Mellow Mushroom. And, you never know who's going to show up. Seeing as how Stanley Jordan has a gig coming up at the Fox, if he's still in town come Tuesday, he might drop by, as he has done in the past. Even if he doesn't, there's enough local talent to keep things fun, with members of String Cheese Incident or Leftover Salmon routinely making appearances as well as other Boulder names."
The Daily Camera -
Greg Glasgow - Boulder, CO
"Nederland Promoter extraordinaire Michigan Mike is now bringing Nederland Acid Jazz down the hill to Boulder."
The Mountain-Ear -
Jeffrey V. Smith - Nederland, CO
"The hottest night of live music in Nederland is every Monday night."
"What started out as Nederland’s hottest night of music has single-handedly kept the town’s music scene fresh and exciting over the past year and a half." (Dec. 97)
"The caliber of music is unparalleled in the area on any night."
"Some of the most talented musicians from the best of Colorado's music scene gather in various concoctions each week to jam… and jam they do!"
Nederland Acid Jazz "will definitely not disappoint anyone who enjoys the raw energy of jamming jazz musicians."
“When looking back at the past year of music in the mountains, despite all the big names and many nights of music at several locations, nights at Nederland Acid Jazz stick out the most.”
The String Cheese Incident Setlist Archive - November 1999
SIDE PROJECTS: On Monday, November 29 Mike Travis and Kyle Hollingsworth entered the Nederland Acid Jazz mix at the Wolf Tongue Brewery in Nederland, Colorado. Also playing was Jamie Janover (percussion), Bill Kopper (guitar), John 'Blackdog' Ridnell (guitar) and Dirk Dickson (bass). This communion is part of a Monday night tradition in the little town of Nederland. It is an impromptu band/jam session with a rotation of jazz and funk musicians playing true mainstream jazz. You can check out the web cast of the show at www.michiganmike.com, along with the past 180+ weeks of shows. Check out some of the other nights when members of String Cheese have been part of the groove, especially the early ones from '96 with Kyle before he became part of the Cheese.
The String Cheese Incident Setlist Archive - January 2000
SIDE PROJECTS: On the 17th, the Nederland Acid Jazz show held at The Wolf Tongue Brewery in Nederland, Colorado also included the input of Kyle and Kang. Along with them was Ross Martin on guitar, Erik Thorin on bass, Christian Teele on drums and Jamie Janover on percussion. According to FOC who were there, the jazz-jamming was great and it served as a fun departure from the guys' standard material.
Jambands.com - Tuesday, January 18, 2000
"Nederland Acid Jazz in Colorado"
"Anyone in Colorado tonight may want to check out Nederland Acid Jazz at the Mellow Mushroom in Boulder. The line up features Mike Travis and Kyle Hollingsworth of String Cheese Incident, Ross Martin of the Tony Furtado Band, Erik Throrin, Jamie Janover, Mitchell Long and John Ridnell. Nederland Acid Jazz is a weekly jam session with a rotation of local musicians started by "Michigan Mike" Torpie in 1996. "It's become a real scene, especially for the musicians," says Torpie. "The idea was to create an entirely new sound each week." Last night's line up included Martin, Hollingsworth, Thorin, and Janover, as well as Michael Kang of SCI and Christian Teele on drums. For webcast information or other details, visit www.michiganmike.com"
Denver Post - Friday, August 4th 2000
Candace Horgan - Denver, CO
Jammin' at NedFest: Ross Martin, Tony Furtado to meld chops
Ross Martin keeps quite busy in the Denver music scene - and this weekend, he'll join several of his musical cohorts at the two-day Nederland Music & Arts Festival.
The 30-year-old Martin is a regular at the Acid Jazz sessions staged by local promoter "Michigan" Mike Torpie in Nederland and Boulder, and also plays quite frequently for Tony Furtado, though he is no longer a full-time member of Furtado's band.
Martin can also be heard on the debut CD from the Motet, a project of his friend Dave Watts. Indeed, one thing that separates Martin from a lot of other musicians is his ability to play in so many diverse musical settings.
"I approach the playing a little differently in each setting, but I think I draw from all the things I listen to when I play," Martin says. "With Tony, for instance, he and that band are open to all those elements, so I can draw from country, as well as the jazz and all the different music I listen to, and it works."
At the second annual "NedFest," Martin will be playing with Furtado, and probably will sit in with the Motet.
Martin will also be playing in the closing set Saturday night with legendary jazz guitarist Stanley Jordan and others under the label Nederland Acid Jazz #239.
"I imagine we will just get up and jam," he says. "I didn't do the jam with him last year, but the first time Michigan Mike brought him in, which was this impromptu thing with some local players in Nederland, I played with him. That was really fun."
Martin hails from Dallas. He picked up the guitar when he was 12, though he was exposed to the instrument earlier, as his parents played. During college, he received his most intensive musical instruction.
"There is a music program at University of North Texas, near where I went to high school, and there were a lot of good players there. They had a real good program in jazz, and were one of the first universities to offer a jazz degree. I have a bachelor's in jazz studies from them. After that, I have played in as many different situations as I could find."
A brief stint playing on a cruise ship led Martin to Boulder. While on the ship, Martin met several other musicians who were planning to move to Colorado. In 1996, he made the move to Boulder.
Martin quickly established himself as a regular at Michigan Mike's Nederland Acid Jazz sessions. Michigan Mike also promotes the Nederland Music and Arts Festival.
At one of those sessions, Martin played with Furtado. He began sitting in with Furtado at some of his weekly shows, and that led to the invitation to join Furtado's band.
"I was in the band for a couple years, but wanted to stay home a little more. I still play with him quite a bit."
Martin is excited about a Sept. 7 date at the Boulder Theater, where Martin will play with Watts, Leftover Salmon's Tye North and the String Cheese Incident's Michael Kang and Kyle Hollingsworth.
Soundboard Magazine - September 2000
Jonathan Stumpf - Boulder, CO
Theory Of Everything Jam: Make a show out of it (excerpt)
THE FIRST SIGNS OF T.O.E. JAM
Along with support from music fans, the club promoters deserve equal amounts of credit for supplying their venues as outlets for the plethora of musical talent.
From Nederland comes "Michigan" Mike Torpie who holds his weekly Acid Jazz Workshop series at Nederland's Wolf Tongue Brewery. Started back in 1996 with help from Watts, the weekly acid jazz series showcases dynamic improvisational talent from the area.
"That is another blossoming of the musical community," stated Watts, "another branch of it, another expression."
CSIndy - September 7th 2000
Owen Perkins - Colorado Springs, CO
Dead Ahead: Five years after Jerry Garcia's death, the long, strange trip rolls on (excerpt)
For some 30 years, back-to-school was synonymous with a return from the Dead. Students came back to campus armed with new bootlegs, fresh tie-dies, and kind green bud. And in Colorado Springs, many students could count on both hands and a foot and a half the number of days until Block Break and a chance to rejoin the endless caravan for a few days on one coast or another.
Five years later, the trip is still on schedule, although the bursts are brief enough to seem like mere flashbacks. But make no mistake, life after Dead is no illusory pipe dream. There's a vibrant, active culture out there keeping the vibe alive and supplying giant ganja cookie salesmen with parking lots to peddle their wares for at least a month out of the year.
One of the Dead's most enduring legacies has been to define the prefix acid -- when applied to various forms of music. With their early acid test performances, they introduced the world to acid-rock and spawned such welcome stepchildren as acid-grass and acid-jazz. A chance to see some of the best acid-jazz on stage awaits you tonight (September 7) as a who's who of Colorado jam band all-stars converge at the Boulder Theater, billing themselves as The Theory of Everything (T.O.E.).
The group is made up of veterans of the venerable Nederland Acid Jazz sessions, a weekly gathering of musicians for no-holds-barred improvisations in dark, smoky bars in the hippie haven in the mountains. T.O.E. features electric mandolinist Michael Kang and keyboard player Kyle Hollingsworth from String Cheese Incident, guitarist Ross Martin from the Tony Furtado Band, drummer Dave Watts from his own Dave Watts Motet, and bassist Tye North of Leftover Salmon.
NedHead is designed to be an open forum for people in and around Nederland to discuss topics relevant to our community. It is also for people from afar who want to be more involved in "The Nederland Scene" and/or to keep in contact with other NedHeads. Once you become a member you can post messages to everyone in the group by sending one e-mail to a single address!
Topics of discussion might include, but are certainly not limited to: the town's music scene, musicians seeking bands, bands seeking musicians, music swapping, pre- and post-concert parties, current events, cultural gatherings, outdoor activities, garage sales, rooms for rent, frisbee-golf tournaments, neighborhood get-togethers, chili cook-offs, potluck dinners, travel plans, child care and much more. Upcoming Nederland Acid Jazz ensembles are posted weekly here also.
I can not give you a gig unless I know what you sound like. Therefore,