Sat18Mar20177:30 PMCrossings Event at The Zumbrota State Theatre
The New Standards
The New Standards aren’t a cover band, but operate more on the model of jazz bands in the ’50s and ’60s that utilized popular songs of the day to riff off of.
Started in 2005 as an off-shoot project between Minneapolis based musicians and friends Chan Poling (piano), Steve Roehm (vibes) and John Munson (bass), TNS has grown into a globe-spanning adventure, filling theaters and clubs around the world, spawning several CDs, videos, cartoons, dance/theater projects, and ancillary gewgaws that have charmed and delighted an ever-multiplying legion of faithful fans.
Their latest CD, “Sunday Morning Coming Down” is a bit more serious. Poling lost his wife, Eleanor Mondale Poling, and Munson, his mother, while they were making the record.
“A little of that melancholy seeped in,” Poling says on the trio’s website. “But it also serves as a vehicle of escape and expression for us all, and benefits from both the Yin and Yang of loss and celebration.”
The three core members of The New Standards all come from illustrious Twin Cities bands. Chan Poling founded the seminal Punk/New Wave band The Suburbs. John Munson was an original member of Trip Shakespeare and the chart-topping Semisonic. And Steve Roehm started on drums in the Texas punk outfit Billygoat and the avant-jazz Electropolis.
All three are fans of great songwriting. Sensing a lack of an interesting jazz trio repertoire beyond the usual “old standards,” they got together originally to play and sing their favorite songs – from every era, particularly post 1960s pop music - in a stripped-down acoustic setting, making room for solos and arrangements with the freedom of jazz, and yet never fully abandoning the modest soul of pop and rock.
Though many may associate an acoustic tango version of Brittany Spears’ “Toxic” with camp, TNS is not a lounge or novelty act. One listen to their music and one realizes they take their music-making as well as their jobs as entertainers seriously.
And yet, they are very funny.