Grasshoppah - Bear’s Den Volume 42: A-Z Collection of 50 Oddities & Rarities (2001-2014)

Bear’s Den Volume 42: A-Z Collection of 50 Oddities & Rarities (2001-2014)

Jazz Story of the Day


Serving jazz worldwide since 1995

Jazz Story of the Day

  • Brother Bear Productions

    "If there is any way to articulate the dharma of Brad Fritcher + trois, it is progressive. And their progress lies not in the encapsulated foundations of standards and accomplishments already achieved, it lies at the next stepping-stones of melodic emanations in Jazz music."  - Fortier

    We here at Brother Bear Productions love jazz because the sound is unparalleled. We met trumpeter Brad Fritcher and immediately decided to add jazz to our roster. Our advice to new listeners is to check our fresh new jazz quartet and ArtPrize 2013 Jazz Winners, Brad Fritcher + trois. The project consists of four eager musicians who are expanding their artistic vision beyond the strict confines of the jazz genre’s tradition. Their debut album, Blue Lake Studio Sessions is one that conveys each member’s ability to communicate intellectually and musically to themselves, each other and the listener. They continue to tether audiences to their concepts and their sound with live and intimate performances. Not to mention the press feels that the world needs to hear them. They are pushing the jazz envelope,  redefining the image of jazz, and these musicians have forever linked Brother Bear Productions to the world of jazz. We are grateful to be a part of their journey.

ArtPrize 2013: Brad Fritcher + Trois, Modern Pioneers

ArtPrize 2013: Brad Fritcher + Trois, Modern Pioneers

With their win in the jazz category at St Cecelia Music Center,
Brad Fritcher + Trois allow themselves little time to celebrate.

Within the national semblance that ArtPrize has become, there is 
one medium in which artists must indefatigably labor to gain recognition: 
music. Brad Fritcher is the lead-man for experimental jazz band, Brad 
Fritcher + Trois, as well as the proprietor of an insatiable desire to reach 
the unknown. "New Jazz Standards" is the soul axiom for this young group 
of talented musicians: Brad Fritcher the trumpeter, Dutcher Snedeker on 
keyboard, Ryan Wallace on bass, and Christian Vanduinen on drums. 
With a few non-amicable confrontations with the "Jazz Police" — 
self-established Brahmans of definitive jazz — the band's goal is to break 
form with the traditional standards of Jazz music. They're out to discover 
new potentialities within music itself.

jazz, brother bear productions, Brad Fritcher, Brad Fritcher + trois, ArtPrize 2013, BBP, BBPpresents, bear yovino, press

Originating from Flint, Michigan, Fritcher spent the majority of his childhood
on a farm; a 200 acre country-canvas to gallivant with a wild and restless
imagination."It's where my work ethic comes from," he grins. Notwithstanding
Disney's legendary Aristocats, one of his first musical influences was a record
of his grandfather's, whichhe admits, he was originally attracted to because
of the model posing lasciviously on the cover. That record sparked a profound,
lifelong infatuation with music. Fritcher never saw himself primarily as a jazz
musician until he discovered influences like Duke Ellington, John Coaltrain,
and Miles Davis, and found himself craving the genre. 
After meeting Grand Valley student, Dutcher Snedeker, Fritcher became
acquainted with Christian Vanduinen, a vigorous percussionist and music
student at Grand Rapids Community College. Bassist Ryan Wallace, also
a Grand Valley student, was introduced to the group, as well as their current
manager, Bear Yovino. "Bear is an animal," Brad explains. "He doesn't stop."
Fritcher originally hired Yovino to create a personality profile for the band,
and ever since, he and his company, Brother Bear Productions, has been a
tireless catalyst for the band and their aspirations. 
Though the group may already be thriving in fruitful compatibility, they are
still in their youth; their first rehearsals happened in January of 2013. With
the leadership of Brad Fritcher and manager Bear Yovino, Brad Fritcher + Trois
soon began booking gigs and finding new sounds, as well as publishing their
first album, Blue Lake Studio Sessions, a compilation of both original and
interpretational pieces. 
With their ArtPrize 2013 showcase at Saint Cecelia Music Center, Brad Fritcher
+ Trois placed first in the Jazz category, winning $2,000 in prize money, and
$1,000 in studio recording time. Despite the success, Fritcher believes they are
still far from accomplishing their final envisioned fruition. "I could talk about how
I want to sound, but to say I am even close..." 
Though he knows his goal is a thought without end, he feels anything but solace.
An erstwhile professor of his once shared an idea with him that if you are not
satisfied, then you are progressing, and if there is any way to articulate the
dharma of Brad Fritcher +Trois, it is progressive. And their progress lies not in
the encapsulated foundations of standards and accomplishments already
achieved, it lies at the next stepping-stones of melodic emanations in Jazz music.


jazz, brother bear productions, Brad Fritcher, Brad Fritcher + trois, ArtPrize 2013, BBP, BBPpresents, bear yovino, press

The Grand jazzes up Grand Haven for 5th year

This October roundup of West Michigan music news at Local Spins takes a peek at long-running jazz jams in Grand Haven..


By Mary Mattingly
27th August 2013

At first blush, it sounds like an unlikely night for a live music phenomenon.

But for five years running, The Grand Seafood & Oyster Bar in Grand Haven has turned Tuesday evenings into a jumpin’ jazz affair with a host of West Michigan musicians jamming with fellow jazz players and furthering their craft to the delight of lakeshore audiences.

“I look forward to it every week, even when I’m tired,” said bassist and guitarist Mike Drost, a Grand Valley State University jazz professor who moved to Grand Haven five years ago from Chicago. “I enjoy hanging out with the guys, talking shop. We play new tunes, it’s a great place to do that. When there are people there, they really appreciate it.”

Located in downtown Grand Haven, The Grand – with its sleek bar and intimate setting – hosts the jazz jams every Tuesday from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

With a menu that’s more upscale than the typical open-mic bar, the seaside theme of the restaurant keeps it cozy, with an eclectic fish tank mounted behind the bar. A dimly lit interior maintains an elegant, yet relaxed setting where diners can either tap their toes to live jazz or enjoy conversation.


Since the jazz jams first began in 2008, the venue has attracted everyone from professionals to local musicians just starting out.

“(The jams) are open to all,” said Drost, who serves as house bassist for the jams. “I like to encourage everyone, especially students, to come out and play. The owner is so gracious to have people come play every week.”

Drost first got involved thanks to Kája Lill, a GVSU student and bassist. Lill, after learning that Drost was a jazz guitarist, invited him out to the jams, which debuted in the summer of 2008 with musicians Scott Pellegrom, Lee Heerspink and Seth York.

Drost said he has enjoyed watching the evolution of players such as house drummer Jonathan Swanston and Lill, who has since moved to Texas.
“I watched Kája (Lill) become a great bass player,” Drost said. “We’ve had weird people come try to sit in. (The jams are) great during the winter when there’s not a lot going on.”

Although the bar is busier in the summer due to the tourist season, the jam is now focused on encouraging high school students to come out and play, with Drost emceeing.

“I want students to get the opportunity,” Drost said. “I had it when I was young. Teachers invited me to play in real-life experiences and it only served to further my playing chops.”


Dutcher Snedeker, a junior at Grand Valley State University and pianist for award-winning local jazz quartet Brad Fritcher + trois, took the position of house pianist this past July after Lill left West Michigan to pursue graduate school in Texas.

“I love the fact that we can collaborate with solid musicians every week and play a variety of tunes,” Snedeker said. “It’s a great way for all of us to improve as musicians, especially when guests sit in on different tunes. Each week has a different feel to it and keeps things interesting.”

Snedeker pointed out that a variety of musicians turn out for the sessions, including Fritcher and “some other locals from the nearby area.”

Players of all levels are welcome.

“Everybody who loves jazz, who wants to learn about it, come out and play,” Drost said. “Music is an educational experience, and it’s a nice place to hang out.”

GVSU students take home ArtPrize award

GVSU students take home ArtPrize award

BBP, BBPpresents, bear yovino, Brad Fritcher, Brad Fritcher + trois, jazz, brother bear productions, press

Dutcher Snedeker was leaving a recital and Brad Fritcher was waiting tables when the news rolled in from their manager Bear Yovino—their band Brad Fritcher Trois had won the jazz category in
The group of four is comprised of Grand Valley State University students Snedeker on piano and Ryan Wallace on upright bass, along with soon-to-be GVSU student Fritcher on trumpet and Christian VanDuinen on drums.
Throughout ArtPrize, they performed their piece ‘Smooth Silk’ at St. Cecilia’s Music Center and
Women’s City Club. The song, which was originally composed by Snedeker for the piano, came
together in chunks.
“I poked my professor’s brain for ideas, and while he said a couple of things, it was his overall desire for something ‘non-modal’ that drove me to add the key change and develop the rest of the song into something that ended more upbeat and rhythmic,” Snedeker said.
After the piece was finished, Snedeker brought it to the rest of the group, and they further developed each individual part, he said.
“It was one of the first tunes that we all read as like a framework, and we were all like ‘Wow, this is a great tune. Good job, Dutcher. We’ll use this,’” Fritcher said.
Once the final album was complete, they decided to enter it into ArtPrize, where they got the
opportunity to perform four times for a variety of different people.
“We felt great as a group, and we pushed really hard for votes and to have folks listen to the tunes live,” Snedeker said. “We all are busy with other projects and commitments, too, so to have some great performances come together so naturally was a great feeling, and it shows how committed everyone is to the group.”
It is that feeling of being a group that keeps the band progressing forward in their work.
“The award is really cool, but really all four of us are just trying to work really hard to collectively make four individual sounds bigger than just four people,” Fritcher said.
As they move into recording their new album, they will continue to produce music that is not
considered ‘stuffy,’ he said.
“I hate to say it, in some realms, people think jazz turns into the upperclass music and it doesn’t have to be that way,” Fritcher said. “We’re just trying to continue the art form—the jazz tradition.”
Although they do want to keep up with tradition, their music cannot be simply classified as jazz alone, Snedeker said. Their music also incorporates hip hop, R-n-B, rock, metal and many other stylistic elements.
“Jazz often has a slightly rigid appearance attached to it, and we are part of the movement of both moving jazz forward and connecting the past and present histories of the genre to our listeners,” Snedeker said. “We look forward to bringing our music to more venues in Grand Rapids and we encourage any Laker to bring a friend and come hang out.”
As the jazz category winners, the band received $2,000 of prize money and will begin recording its new album in the very near future. The members hope to release within the next four months.
To say thank you to ArtPrize voters, their current album can be purchased at: for a discounted price.

Source 1
Source 2

Win ‘could not have come at a better time’ for Brad Fritcher + trois


Bear Yovino, who represents Brad Fritcher + trois, reports that the band – which he calls “a hidden treasure” in West Michigan – was “stoked” upon hearing the good news about the award, which Yovino says is proof that “the growth of the band will come sooner than anticipated.”

“We now have an open door to record the new album, provide hard copy CDs for sale, and maybe offer a limited edition vinyl. We are all very thankful,” he told Local Spins

“This could not have come at a better time for everyone involved. … They are professional, true to themselves, true to their music, and true to their fans."

• Jazz: Brad Fritcher & Trois’ “Smooth Silk” (Listen to it online here.) Read the Artist Spotlight feature on Brad Fritcher + trois at Local Spins, and find more information about the band online here.

ArtPrize 2013: St. Cecilia Music Center names 5 winners of $2,000 each

ArtPrize 2013: St. Cecilia Music Center names 5 winners of $2,000 each 

BBP, BBPpresents, bear yovino, ArtPrize 2013, Brad Fritcher, Brad Fritcher + trois, brother bear productions, jazz, press
Brad Fritcher + trois's ArtPrize entry, "Smooth Silk," was awarded $2,000 in the jazz category. (photo by BBP)

By John Serba | 
Follow on Twitter 
on September 29, 2013 at 2:24 PM

GRAND RAPIDS, MI - St. Cecilia Music Center, the musical hub for ArtPrize 2013, awarded $10,000 in prizes today.

Five $2,000 awards were handed out to artists in five categories, during ArtPrize's Top 10 announcement ceremony at Rosa Parks Circle. Winners were determined by popular vote, notably outside of regular ArtPrize voting.

The five winners are:

ArtPrize musical entries were eligible for the $360,000 in total prizes in the competition, although none of them ended up in the Top 10, selected by popular vote. Musical entries are also eligible for the Jury Award in the performance/time-based category.

St. Cecilia first became an ArtPrize exhibition center in 2011, but didn't begin offering the $2,000 prizes until 2012.