Stan Sorenson Trio at Sacred Grounds

Categories: Last Night
rsz_stan_sorenson.jpg
2/3 of the Stan Sorenson Trio. (Nothing says jazz like cardboard cutouts of cats.)
This is part of a series of reviews of bands who play weekly at local bars.


The show: Stan Sorenson Trio at Sacred Grounds in Scottsdale.

The look: Your standard church social hall.

The smell: Coffee. If my olfactory sense serves me correctly, a dark roast.

The taste: Church cookies.

Three words/phrases to describe the night: Unexpected, quiet, candlelit.

Who to bring with you: A grandparent.

Drink of the night: House brew...coffee. (I think that's all they serve. It might come over ice upon request, and I saw some bottled water too.)

Sacred Grounds is not exactly a coffee house. It's the social hall of a Scottsdale church that's converted to a makeshift coffee house on Thursday nights, with the sole purpose of hosting live jazz bands. So pretty much the complete opposite of my usual haunts.

The venue hosts different bands every Thursday night for a $5 donation. While up to this point all of the nights I've reviewed for this project were free, the $5 charge isn't quite as outlandish as it might sound. Sacred Grounds really does host some of the Valley's best jazz musicians, including famed organ player Papa DeFrancesco. Papa D is not only famous for his work on the Hammond B-3, but also for fathering the legendary Joey DeFrancesco, who played with Miles Davis.

This particular night the Stan Sorenson trio had the floor, and played a fusion of original tunes marbled into both standard and less conventional covers. The Beatles seemed to be a favorite of Sorenson's, and throughout the night he and his group played jazz infused versions of several of their songs, including a melding of "Come Together" with jazz standard "So What", and a surprisingly pretty "Across the Universe" with "Over the Rainbow." (I know -- I was really skeptical about it myself, but is was done artfully and worked well.)

While most of these weekly events are pretty casual (come as you are, whenever you feel like it) this one was slightly more on the formal side, being that there were lit candles at all the tables, and with only two or three exceptions (myself being one of them) everyone seemed to come at the very beginning and stay until the very end. The good news is that this means people were extremely attentive. The fact is that at a lot of venues, the bands that make up the during-the-week portion of the calendar become background to conversation, games of pool, and an occasional dart contest. But since the back room of a Scottsdale church doesn't really have a lot of distractions, people concentrated on the music intently.

It must also be noted that the average age of those in attendance was likely in the 70s. While it was my initial inclination that this was not really my crowd, I did realize that it was pretty cool that senior citizens still came out to see live music in the middle of the week. While it wouldn't be someplace that I'd go to very frequently, if and when I'm 75, I can only hope to be cool enough to still go see shows. Maybe our generation will put on indie rock shows when indie rock is aged and not recognized as relevant by the youths, in the back rooms of former art galleries.

I still can't tell if this is appealing or absolutely horrifying...

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