They are about Music, about Town, about Play, about soul, about fun…
Started in 2005 as an off-shoot project between Minneapolis based musicians and friends Chan Poling (piano), Steve Roehm (vibes) and John Munson (bass), TNS has grown into a globe-spanning adventure, filling theaters and clubs around the world, spawning several CDs, videos, cartoons, dance/theater projects, and ancillary gewgaws that have charmed and delighted an ever-multiplying legion of faithful fans.
The three core members of The New Standards all come from illustrious Twin Cities bands. Chan Poling founded the seminal Punk/New Wave band The Suburbs. John Munson was an original member of Trip Shakespeare and the chart-topping Semisonic. And Steve Roehm started on drums in the Texas punk outfit Billygoat and the avant-jazz Electropolis.
All three are fans of great songwriting. Sensing a lack of an interesting jazz trio repertoire beyond the usual “old standards”, they got together originally to play and sing their favorite songs – from every era, particularly post 1960’s pop music – in a stripped-down acoustic setting, making room for solos and arrangements with the freedom of jazz, and yet never fully abandoning the modest soul of pop and rock.
Another thing: though you may associate an acoustic tango version of Brittany Spears “Toxic” with camp, TNS is not a lounge or novelty act. One listen to their music and you realize that they take their music making as well as their jobs as entertainers seriously.
And yet, they are very funny.
The New Standards appear as a trio in intimate clubs like City Winery in NYC and The Dakota Jazz Club in Minneapolis, and also as the ringmasters of a widening array of talented musicians and guest artists in larger settings such as their popular Holiday Shows and dance-crazy extravaganza Variety shows.
A short blurb from the Mpls Star Tribune about last year’s Holiday Show:
“This year’s New Standards holiday show at the Fitzgerald Theater is richer, nuttier and undebatably more satisfying than Aunt Martha’s fruitcake. With an emphasis on the nuttier.”
Whatever your favorite incarnation of TNS, don’t miss them when next they come to your town.