Red Lenses

January 2023. Snow Way! Don’t be dishoveled. Come hear some music and enjoy yourselves. Sometimes we gotta get out to get in. You dig?
Dean, Jay and myself are pleased and flipped to be continuing our musical residency at Metronome Brewing. Join us on TUESDAY JANUARY 10th for our rescheduled 1st Tuesday at Metronome.

….and now this wonderful message from Dean-

Happy New Year!

Attention Fellow Fun Seekers:
The Red Planet Residency Grooves On!

Please Join Us:

First Tuesdays (rescheduled) at the MetroNOME!

Tuesday, January 10 · 7-9pm

Red Planet

Dean Magraw guitar
Jay Epstein percussion
Chris Bates bass

The MetroNOME
385 Broadway St
Lowertown, St Paul, MN

Space is the Place!



9:30 pm @ KJs Hideaway


Chris Bates – basses
Pete James Johnson  – drums
Chris Thomson and Peter Whitman – saxophones
Jake Baldwin – trumpet
Nick Syman – trombone
very special guest:
DEAN MAGRAW – guitar and MOJO

Steve Kenny says “Twin Cities fans of inventive jazz have enjoyed witnessing the evolution of Red 5, led by bassist extraordinaire Chris Bates. And it really was a quintet when first conceived about 10 years ago and when the band released its first recording in 2012. Yet one of the delights of this ensemble is its expanding cast and somewhat fluid nature. The anchor, of course, is leader Chris Bates, who has brought together a septet for this headliner performance. Expect suprise new compositions and favorites from the “New Hope” CD. It’s a wall of sound, groove, and power with face-melting solos by these Minnesota Jazz favorites.”

I have to just say that it’s amazing to gather friends together and play this music. I was leaving our rehearsal last Saturday and was feeling so joyous and happy about hearing these songs again! The music was born out of a love for Ornette Coleman, Ali Farka Toure, and Dave Holland (amongst many others). It was brought to life in 2012 on the album ‘New Hope’. Since then I’ve added a guitar and a trombone to the band and expanded the sonic foundation of Red 5 into a more orchestral direction. I can’t thank my bandmates enough for coming along with me on this adventure! It’s  a very rare opportunity for this band to play out. Our last two performances were in October of ’21 and April of ’22. As a special treat Dean Magraw is playing guitar for this show and he is absolutely bringing his thing to the proceedings. It’s a rare chance to catch me and Dean together in two distinct bands. I would love to see you at this show. Tickets linked above in the KJ’s link.


Longtime friends and frequent live collaborators, Nathan Hanson and Chris Bates, connect for a duo recording; Weights and Measures.


The new release from Shifting Paradigm Records, out January 27, showcases the musical empathy and deep listening that the duo are known for.


Time has a slippery fluidity, especially since the coronavirus pandemic and the murder of George Floyd caught our collective attention. It can be difficult to recall whether something happened last week or two years ago. The sudden shift in our daily routines presented a concept for saxophonist Nathan Hanson and bassist Chris Bates to explore. It made it possible for them to document part of the complexity of the moment, a year after covid cancelled all of their concerts and rearranged how they did almost everything, ten months after George Floyd’s murder, and in the midst of the trial. Surely another way to observe the flow of time was called for.

It was strangely comforting for Hanson to discover that John Nystrom proposed, in 1859, a new system of weights, arithmetic, coinage, music notation and timekeeping (including a sixteen month year). Many of these titles derive from his writings.

On the eighth of Suvenary, according to Nystrom’s calendar, the duo spent the day recording in the 100 year old sanctuary of Christ Lutheran Church on Capitol Hill in St. Paul, across the street from the Minnesota State Capitol. The grand acoustics of the room, and the heavy equipment traffic just outside contributed an ambiance that is felt as much as heard. Their agenda was to learn where the music would take us.

Hanson and Bates have been playing together for thirty years or more, and yet, this is their first recording together. Weights and Measures is a document that quantifies a response to the losses and the blessings, and the disorientation of the moment.
This album is very different from anything I’ve released before and I think you will enjoy the results. Follow the link above to preorder your copy and listen to a sample track. Big thank yous to Caleb Anderson for recording and mixing. David Bates for mastering. Jamie Brewick for graphics. Lara Hanson for the cover art. Benny Moreno for the photo. Zacc Harris and the Shifting Paradigm label for putting this out, and Nathan for being a true friend and deep collaborator!

CD Release concert is planned for February 12th, 4 pm at Christ on Capitol Hill in St. Paul. More details forthcoming. If anyone wants to book a house concert for this duo we would gladly try to figure out a way to play for you. Please email me.


Friday 1/13 – 8 pm Jazz Central Studios – JC Sanford, Chris Bates, Phil Hey. Standards trio!

Saturday 1/16 – 2 pm Le Musique Room – Joyann Parker Patsy Cline Tribute. Beautiful matinee on a Monday.

Sunday 1/22 – 7:30 pm Sam Miltich and friends: Tribute to Bill Evans. With Chris Lomheim and Jay Epstein. A rare treat for Sam to be playing down in the Cities.

Tuesday 1/28 – 8:00 pm Crooners Lounge – Joyann Parker Band. We’re in the studio recording more songs for the new album coming out in late spring. Come join us for Soul, R&B and Roots originals and classics.

stay classy -cb