Jazz series to feature KC group

By The Mercury

TOPEKA — The eighth concert in Topeka Jazz Workshop’s 44th season will be Sunday from 3 to 5 p.m. at Topeka’s downtown Ramada, 420 SE 6th Street. 

Featured artists will be Kansas City pianist Paul Smith, tenor sax man Mike White, bassman Bob Bowman, drummer Todd Strait and vocalist Kathleen Holeman, who hails from St. Joseph, Mo.

Smith, Bowman and Strait constitute the original PBT Trio (Paul, Bob and Todd) who have entertained area jazz fans for many years.

Smith has been a fixture on the KC jazz scene since 1965, and has played with many local and nationally known musicians.  He played piano for singer Karrin Allyson all over the world from 1990 until his retirement from the road in 2004.  It was while playing with Allyson that the PBT Trio was born and became known as a world class act.

Bowman was a graduate of Washburn Rural High School when he won a Topeka Jazz Workshop scholarship and chose to attend a Stan Kenton Jazz Clinic.  He then studied at North Texas State University and in 1976 joined the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra.  Bowman moved to KC in 1988 and has been a vibrant part of the Midwest jazz world.  He is considered one of the best bassists in America.

Strait is also a native Topekan and winner of two TJW scholarships, in 1979 and 1980.  A graduate of Seaman High School, Strait moved to the East Coast, where he studied with the prestigious Ed Soph.  Strait is considered by many to be one of the best drummers in the business.

White is a practicing attorney in KC who plays tenor sax in his spare time.  This is his first appearance on the TJW stage.

Holeman, a jazz vocalist and trombonist in the KC area and the Ozarks for over 25 years, has performed at jazz festivals, concerts and private events in the Midwest and the South.  She is director of vocal jazz and jazz piano at Missouri Western State University, where she directs the Missouri Western Vocal Jazz Ensemble.  She has appeared before Topeka jazz audiences on at least three occasions in the past five years and lives in St. Joseph with her husband ,Steve Potter.   

Admission to Sunday’s concert is by season ticket, which can be purchased at the door for $60 per adult or $25 per students under 21. Tickets will also be good for TJW’s final concert of the season on April 28, featuring the Graham Dechter Quartet, with drummer Jeff Hamilton.

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