Best Jazz Artist - 2011
No jazz band in the Twin Cities is on the prowl both creatively and in gaining national recognition quite like the Atlantis Quartet. Guitarist Zacc Harris, bassist Chris Bates, saxophonist Brandon Wozniak, and drummer Pete Hennig all keep busy on myriad other projects. But as the Atlantis Quartet they create something greater than the sum of their considerable individual skills. Each player's ideas and strengths seem to infiltrate the others' consciousness, so the music evolves as a constantly shifting mosaic of textures, rhythmic patterns, and tonal colors. It's 21st-century jazz to be sure, with sharp incorporations of funk, rock, and international sounds, but built on a solid foundation of bop, swing, free jazz, and everything that has come before, including blues and gospel. All four members are terrific musicians and superb improvisers who can glow with lyricism but seem to peak on taut spirals of imaginative fire. All four Atlantises have written new tunes that have joined the band's repertoire since Animal Progress was released a year ago. This spring the band will burnish its growing national rep with a swing to New York, followed by a fall jaunt that may coincide with the release of a live album. Stay tuned. This is a band with a limitless future.