Welcome to the Valley
Leisure Valley Jazz Quartet
Bruce Thornton – clarinet and bass clarinet
Patrick Harison – accordian
Chris Bates – upright and electric bass
Joey Van Phillips – drums
The unique sound of Leisure Valley stems from the rare combination of clarinet and accordion in the front line and sets the band apart from most other jazz groups. “Welcome to the Valley” contains nine original compositions from clarinetist Bruce Thornton. Drawing on an array of influences from American jazz, European folk traditions, Brazilian music and a slick nod to Edgar Winter, Thornton has created a body of work that showcases his woodwind virtuosity and allows ample room for his bandmates to shine.
Bruce Thornton is currently professor of woodwinds and jazz at the College of St. Benedict / St John’s University and has made handful of albums over the last 15 years.
Patrick Harison (Patty and the Buttons, Loose Marbles) is the Twin Cities’ premier accordionist and has carved out a national and international reputation for precision and personality.
The rhythm team of Chris Bates (Atlantis Quartet, Red 5) and Joey Van Phillips (Dessa, Mystery Palace) provides all the necessary thrust, support and delicacy needed for every song.
“Welcome to the Valley” shows off the individual talents of these four Twin Cities musicians while simultaneously providing the listener with a captivating group sound. Leisure Valley was initially formed by Joey Van Phillips as an outlet to play with his collegiate professor, Thornton.
Right from the start, the combination of Harison and Thornton had a stunning affect on the music. Songs were made richer and more emotionally charged as the human feel of accordion and clarinet revealed the subtle intricacies of the melodies. Bates and Phillips were set free to explore together, providing counterpoint and contrast to the front line.
The musical range of Leisure Valley is quite broad and shows the versatility of its members in a joyfully exciting way.
Produced by Bruce Thornton
Recorded March 1 & 2 @ Wild Sound Studios
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Steve Kaul
Cover artwork and design by Olivia Vittitow
All selections composed by Bruce Thornton.
Copyright 2016 BDThorntunesMusic BMI
This project was funded in part by a College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University Faculty Development Grant.