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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, July 25, 2014

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In Music

Steve Mackay performs in Milwaukee on Sept. 19 with members of The Danglers.

Mackay turns to jazz influences


Steve Mackay is a Michigan tenor saxophonist and member of Iggy and The Stooges. On his most current jazz release, Northbeach Jazz, MacKay turns to his early influences, such as Stan Getz, and John Coltrane.

"North Beach Jazz" is a vinyl-only release on After Music Records. Mackay performs at The Jazz Gallery, 926 E. Center St., on Sept. 19. He plays a gig at Phat Heads in Green Bay the night before.

"I'm paying homage to the classic beat generation neighborhood of North Beach, home of the Blackhawk and various other jazz clubs," says Mackay. "The Kingston Trio recorded an album at the Hungry Eye, a strip club. We used to play a family friendly show at the Condor Club right there on Columbus and draw in tourists, that's the feel I was going for on the record."

Over the years, Mackay's legendary skills have led him to play with the likes of Commander Cody and Snakefinger. Mackay was the band leader of the Violent Femmes' "Horns of Dilemma" horn section and Mackay toured with the band, including a trip to South Africa.

The recording sessions for "North Beach Jazz" included bassist Mike Watt of Minutemen and Firehose, and Marc Lampert, Dick Deluxe and Jermey Long, all Carnal Kitchen partners in crime. The disc is Mackay's most jazz-oriented record and a bit of a departure after a career playing punk rock and free jazz.

Since Mackay tours solo, The Danglers' David Gelting (bass) and John Sparrow (drums) will provide musical support at the Milwaukee gig.

"We'll do a couple of songs from 'Sometime This Way I Talk,' a couple from the new record and then put together the rest of the set as free-form jazz and blues," says Mackay. "There's also going to be some guest vocals and we're going to play a slow junky version of 'Blister in the Sun.'"

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