Drummer JT Bates has been an integral and highly influential member of the Twin Cities music scene since the late '90s. After founding the experimental Fat Kid Wednesdays jazz night at the Turf Club's Clown Lounge, Bates has sat behind the kit for some of the area's best and most inventive bands, including Alpha Consumer, Marijuana Deathsquads, Andrew Bird, Coloring Time, and Dead Man Winter. In addition, he keeps the free-form Clown Lounge legacy alive with the weekly JT's Jazz Implosion residency at Icehouse. Bates finally took his many talents front and center this past year with the release of his debut solo album, Open Relationships.The innovative, genre-bending record was released on avant-garde local label Totally Gross National Product, and features dynamic collaborations between Bates and sonic alchemist Mark McGee, guitarist Jeremy Ylvisaker, and producer extraordinaire BJ Burton. But it is Bates' vibrant compositions and bold rhythms that carry these tunes to a unique place.