"We Always Swing"® Jazz Series presents

Joe Locke - Geoffrey Keezer Group w/ MU Concert Jazz Band

Photo Credit Marie Le Claire

Set I: MU Concert Jazz Band with Special Guests Joe Locke and Geoffrey Keezer

Set II: Joe Locke-Geoffrey Keezer Group


The season’s Artists-in-Residence centers on a co-led band that successfully blends the vibraphone and piano as well as any duo on the planet. Leading the way is Joe Locke, one of the most respected and original vibraphonists; joining him is pianist Geoffrey Keezer who, though just beyond 40 years old, has been a first-call keyboardist for more than 20 years. 


Locke’s musical sensibility and attack areboth original yet they sonically recall both Milt Jackson’s “fat” bluesy sound and Bobby Hutcherson’s joyous, mellifluous, soulful and magical sound that’s filled with elongated spacing and seemingly endless sustain. The result is astonishing. Keezer, meanwhile mentored in part with the late pianist James Williams – an apt development given that the Jazz Series’ education program is so-named; these days, Keezer is one of the most technically and harmonically advanced pianists on the scene. The Eau Claire, Wis., native possesses total command of the piano. Together, Locke and Keezer – two mid-career veterans – form a formidable and musically exceptional combination.


Locke has been voted the #1 vibist in Downbeat’s Critic's Poll (TDWR) and Brazil's International Jazz Poll. He has recorded more than 25 titles as a band leader; as either producer and/or sideman he appears on nearly 100 recordings. A self-taught improviser, Locke benefited from his early studies in classical percussion and composition at the Eastman School of Music. With all his recent projects Locke has completely transcended his past reputation as a fine post bop instrumentalist, demonstrating an even more complete musical picture that includes everything from melodic chamber jazz to intensely personal compositions that bridge the gap between post bop and a more lyrical contemporary style.


Keezer, at all of 18 years old, became a member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. In the early 1990s he was a member of the Contemporary Piano Ensemble that featured fellow pianists Williams, Harold Mabern, Mulgrew Miller and Donald Brown in addition to bassist Christian McBride and drummer Tony Reedus. Since heading out on his own he has issued titles with regularity while simultaneously working with others of equal stature. Here’s a sample: His 1998 release, Turn Up The Quiet, featured vocalist Diana Krall, Joshua Redman and McBride; his partnership with world renowned classical artist Barbara Hendricks as musical director-arranger produced It's Wonderful — A Tribute to George Gershwin. One of his releases, Sublime: Honoring the Music of Hank Jones, featured a set of piano duets with Kenny Barron, Chick Corea, Benny Green and a re-visit with Miller, while another, Wildcrafted, is a live trio effort. Keezer received GRAMMY nominations in both 2009 and 2010 for still two more titles.


The first Locke-Keezer release, Live in Seattle (Origin), dates to the 2005 Ballard Jazz Festival. Their latest, issued just recently on the Motéma label as the Joe Locke-Geoffrey Keezer Group, is Signing. The well-received quartet disc also includes bassist Mike Pope and drummer Terreon Gully, both who will participate here. 


During their stay as 2012/2013 Artists-in-Residence Locke and Keezer will work with MU Jazz Studies students. The culmination of residency will be a shared performance – as Locke and Keezer serve as special guests with MU’s top jazz band delivering a sterling set of both original and originally arranged music under the direction of Arthur White.

Audio and Video

Thursday, Mar 14, 2013

"Jazz in the District"

Doors: 6 p.m. | Start: 7 p.m.

Sponsored by

"Beautiful playing! I love your improvised pianisms together with your wonderful compositions. Very inspiring!" --

- Chick Corea on Keezer

"The special hook-up between vibraphonist Joe Locke and pianist Geoffrey Keezer is based on shared assets like chops, listening skills and a gift for communicating the joy of making music. [...] Locke/Keezer can make complex material sound suave and tricky time signatures flow."

- Jazz Times

Joe Locke-Geoffrey Keezer Group w/MU Concert Jazz Band

Joe Locke: Vibraphone
Geoffrey Keezer: Piano
Mike Pope: Bass
Terreon Gully: Drums
MU Concert Jazz Band: Assorted

Press Photos

Photo #1