Trio flips the jazz standards

The New Standards. Photo provided

The New Standards. Photo provided

There’s a saying that goes simply: “Out with the old, in with the new.” Paradoxical as it may be, that the phrase itself seems ancient; but the contradiction will have little bearing on its relevance this Thursday as The New Standards descend on the Paramount Theatre.

Started in 2005 as a side project among Minneapolis-based musicians Chan Poling (piano), Steve Roehm (vibes) and John Munson (bass), The New Standards have appeared in intimate clubs around the country (think City Winery in New York City and Minneapolis’ own Dakota Jazz Club).

The three bandmates’ musical backgrounds are varied — Munson was an original member of Semisonic while Roehm came out of a Texas punk outfit called Billygoat — but their diverse histories and shared love of songwriting is perhaps why the New Standards’ sound is anything but standard. Sensing a lack of an interesting jazz trio repertoire beyond the oft-tread numbers, they got together originally to jam on their favorite songs from every era (from Iron & Wine to Britney Spears), particularly post-1960’s pop music.

The stripped-down acoustic setting leaves them room to explore each tune and embrace the spirit of improvisation and jazz.

The group makes fun and humor a priority, but from the first note to the last, you’ll know they’re serious musicians. In fact, their commitment is evident outside the theatre as well as in; the group has planned a session with the Austin High School band program to discuss and demonstrate the importance of music and musicianship before their performance on Thursday.

The New Standards take the stage at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday.

Grab your tickets ($15 in advance or $20 at the door) at the ArtWorks Center 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.Wednesday Through Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays or by going online at austinareaarts.org, and get ready to forget everything you thought you knew about standards.

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