Maria Baranova


The Holler Sessions

Every Tue., Wed., Thu., Fri., and Sat. from Aug. 4-19
7:30 p.m.
Every Sun. from Aug. 6-13
7 p.m.
Aug. 20
1 p.m.

Despite becoming less prevalent to mainstream listeners, jazz has influenced every musical style to arise in its wake. This ingrained influence is explored with irresistible enthusiasm in playwright Frank Boyd’s The Holler Sessions. Patterned as a radio broadcast, this one-man show at the Guthrie’s Dowling Studio finds Boyd channeling a frenetic Kansas City disc jockey who’s infatuated with jazz. Feverishly extolling both the virtues and vices of the form’s most innovative musicians, timeless compositions, and landmark recordings, Boyd plays the role with an evangelical zeal that borders on the fanatical. The character’s emotional fervor applies not just to the music but also to the hardscrabble history of a culture capable of sparking such an impassioned outpouring of musical expression. Rather than academic arguing, the production demonstrates the enduring potency of the music with captivating song selections. Wisely enough, it seems that even the irrepressibly obsessed Boyd knows when to quiet down and let the music speak for itself.