What Would Mingus Do? Jazz Composers Workshop
(Live at the Central Park Grill, Buffalo)
Tim Clarke, trumpet (on Blue Bonnet and Mr. Cool)
Nelson Starr, trumpet (on Say It Isn't So)
Kelly Bucheger, alto & tenor sax
John Allen, guitar (on Say It Isn't So)
Michael McNeill, piano (on Blue Bonnet and Mr. Cool)
Wally Jederman, vibes (on Blue Bonnet)
John Werick, bass
John Anderson or Joe Hochulski, drums
Blue Bonnet (Kelly Bucheger)
Mr. Cool (Kelly Bucheger)
Say It Isn't So (Kelly Bucheger)

What Would Mingus Do? performs every Monday night here in Buffalo at the Central Park Grill. (If you're in town on a Monday night, come on down and bring your horn -- we'll put you to work!) What Would Mingus Do? plays NOTHING but originals, and no one else in Buffalo is doing anything quite like it. I worried after I left Minneapolis that I'd never have a group of the caliber of The Illicit Sextet again (see below...), and that my best playing days were behind me, but I was wrong -- this is a great, scrappy group that's slowly building a following in a tough jazz town filled with many great players and precious few venues....

Other Side
(Live at the Allen Street Hardware Cafe, and at La Tee Da, Buffalo)
Kelly Bucheger, alto & tenor sax
Phil Sims, trombone (on The Everywhere Calypso)
Marc Cousins, bass (on The Everywhere Calypso)
John Werick, bass (except on The Everywhere Calypso)
Doug Dreishpoon, drums
The Everywhere Calypso (Sonny Rollins)
Four In One (excerpt) (Thelonious Monk)
In A Sentimental Mood (Duke Ellington)

Other Side is my "chordless" group, usually a trio but lately a quartet, featuring a flexible line-up of standards and originals and even free stuff (see below!). Especially worth checking out is Buffalo trombone wizard Phil Sims' blockbuster solo on The Everywhere Calypso, and listen during Sentimental Mood (recorded outside on the glorious patio at La Tee Da): as I'm playing the bridge on my improv, a women comes up and says "Could you play 'Happy Birthday' -- for me..."; since I was kind of busy, I nodded her over to Doug, who dutifully took her request (and we did indeed play it for her...).

Other Side
(Free improvisations)
Kelly Bucheger, alto & tenor sax
Marc Cousins, bass
Doug Dreishpoon, drums
Semi-Functional (Bucheger/Cousins/Dreishpoon)
The Secret Life of Insects (Bucheger/Cousins/Dreishpoon)
Horton Hears A What (Bucheger/Cousins/Dreishpoon)

THESE ARE SOME OF MY FAVORITE TRACKS HERE! These clips are pulled from longer free improvisations where we "just played" -- there was no previous discussion of what we were going to do, in terms of tempi or keys or "vibe" or whatever. I think there's some really beautiful stuff here....

Blue Lake Faculty Sextet
(Summer 2005 Live Concert Recording, BLFAC, Twin Lakes, Michigan)
Rich Fanning, flugelhorn
Kelly Bucheger, alto sax
Dave Jensen, trombone
Philip Burkhead, piano
Chris Berg, bass
Tim Froncek, drums
The Visitor (Kelly Bucheger)
Infant Eyes (Wayne Shorter)

I've been teaching at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp off and on since around 1999 or so, and I'm entirely convinced that every summer I've been there I've learned as much as or more than the most eager camper. This faculty sextet was a group of monster players, and I'm fortunate to have worked with them, and regret that this particular group could only come together for two weeks.

These are some of the first recordings of me playing alto. I've been a tenor player my whole life (there's a reason why my domain name is jazztenor.com!), but about a year before this recording I started working on alto -- and absolutely having a blast!

The Illicit Sextet
(1992-93 Studio Recording, Minneapolis)
Steve Kenny, trumpet
Kelly Bucheger, tenor sax
David Roos, guitar
Chris Lomheim, piano
Tom Pieper, bass
Nathan Norman, drums
(Selections from the CD Chapter One)
No! You'll Want The Window Down (Steve Kenny)
Chapter One (Kelly Bucheger)
Mean What You Say (Theme for Woody Shaw) (Kelly Bucheger)
Fortune Kooky Blues (David Roos)
Izzy & Lambchop (Chris Lomheim)
New Entangoments (David Roos)

The Illicit Sextet was an ensemble based in the Twin Cities that I formed with Steve Kenny and David Roos, two friends from college, back in the late eighties. The group played exclusively originals, and became pretty well established as one of the best jazz groups in town. Several of us won jazz composition awards, and in 1993 the group was named Best Jazz Group in the Minnesota Music Awards.

Life became overly complicated while we were finishing this CD project: my wife finished grad school and (quite unexpectedly, on her first, "practice" job interview!) got a gig in Buffalo, New York. All of the sudden I was to move shortly after this disc was finished. As it turned out, I left Minneapolis before I'd even had a chance to see the CD in stores....

I'm really proud of this recording. While I regularly wince at some of my playing on it -- not until moving to Buffalo did I actually develop a sturdy practice regime, and my playing has changed and improved a lot in the years since these tracks were laid down -- I think it's a worthy documentation of a fine group. I feel truly honored and lucky beyond belief to have worked with such great people and outstanding musicians, and I thank them for it.

It feels a little weird for me to feature so many tracks of the "old version" of me, which doesn't represent where I "am" right now, but this CD has been out of print for a while, and it deserves to be heard. For that reason, I'm offering a big chunk of the it here.

I hope you enjoy the tracks...

Kelly Bucheger
Buffalo, NY

Kelly Bucheger's Jazz Pages