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Jazz trumpeter Pemberton is in concert this Sunday

by Jane Lightbourn • Staff writer

Jazz trumpeter Jon Pemberton will perform in concert from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, July 20, at the Alexis Bailly Vineyard. His appearance is part of the Jazz in the Vineyard series this month and August.

Jon Pemberton is a Minneapolis/St. Paul based jazz musician, enjoying an active career as trumpeter, pianist, teacher and composer. He was born in Fergus Falls, where his interest in music was evident at an early age. He began his musical studies with piano lessons at age 6. Guitar lessons followed at 10, and trumpet studies began at 11.

He also sang and acted in local college productions. At 12, his parents arranged auditions with local university piano professors. While only in the seventh grade, Pemberton began traveling two hours round trip for weekly one-hour piano lessons. During these early years, he also continued playing trumpet in the school band. In addition, he formed his first jazz combo with high school friends.

After graduating from high school, Pemberton moved to St. Paul to continue his musical studies at Macalester College. At Macalester, he was trumpet soloist and arranger for the Mac Jazz big band and section leader for the Macalester Symphony orchestra. In addition, he was a member of various jazz combos as well as pianist for the Macalester Dance Troupe. He graduated from Macalester with a degree in trumpet performance.

After graduating from college, Pemberton began a career in private teaching (brass and piano) which lasts to this day. He has taught thousands of students, many of whom perform in the area’s top youth orchestras, and some of whom have gone on to their own professional careers. He also began his performance career after graduating from college. In these years he focused on the trumpet, landing sideman gigs with many of the area’s top bands and musicians.

In addition, he formed his own jazz quintets, The PemberTones and Tribute to Lee Morgan, both heard regularly at the Artist’s Quarter, a top St. Paul jazz club. Pemberton returned to the piano when he had the good fortune of befriending local jazz piano giant, Bobby Peterson. Peterson generously offered Pemberton free jazz piano lessons. With his strong backgrounds in both classical piano technique and jazz trumpet improvisation, Pemberton proved a quick study, and was soon landing piano gigs in addition to trumpet gigs. In his quintet, The PemberTones, he alternated on trumpet and piano, while Peterson took turns on saxophone and piano. Pemberton has had regular piano gigs at the Zander Cafe and the Loring Pasta Bar.

The remainder of the schedule:

July 27 – Chris Hagedorn and Friends. Spend an afternoon listening to a variety of saxophone-centered jazz music influence by Lester Young, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Hank Mobley, Joe Henderson and Charles Lloyd.

Aug. 3 – Pemberton with Jimmy Wallace. Pemberton returns with a special guest. The two will play their trumpets in presenting some unbeatable jazz.

Aug. 10 – Doug Little. Little is a saxophonist, flautist and composer whose sound blends soulful American jazz and contemporary Cuban rhythms. He has recorded many CDs and performed throughout the United States and Europe.

Aug. 17 – Barbara Meyer Returns. She will sing cabaret and jazz standards. Her musical roots also encompass Broadway show tunes, gospel and rock and roll.

Aug. 24 – Pavel Jany and the Talking Strings has been on the music scene with a wide range of jazz styles from bossa nova to jazz-fusion. Gary Schulte and Andrew Foreman will join him for the afternoon.

Aug. 31 – Gondwana returns. The season concludes.

The Jazz in the Vineyard series are held Sunday afternoons in July and August at the Alexis Bailly Vineyard rain or shine. They will be held rain or shine. The winery will offer a variety of picnic needs for purchase. All its wines will be available for tasting and purchase.

The Alexis Bailly Vineyard is located at 18200 Kirby Ave. Take Highway 61 south from Hastings to 170th Street, turn to the right. Drive two miles; as the road curves, it becomes Kirby Avenue. The vineyard is on the left side.