Jazz pianist Jay Johnson will perform Evansville's First Friday concert from 7-9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 5, at the Evansville Art Center, 111 Main St.
Johnson helped found Finestra, a jazz ensemble in Elbow Lake. In the 1990s, while a member of the Center Singers in Fergus Falls, he said he was inspired to "learn to play jazz piano if it kills me." He attended jazz courses including Phil Mattson’s Vocal Jazz workshop and Indianhead Arts Jazz summer workshop.
Finestra began when Johnson, Wally Warhol on trumpet and Arlyn Swenson on bass formed a jazz trio with a select repertoire of jazz and jazz interpretations of pop tunes.
Johnson's musical experiences were shaped early on by his church and he recently played in the praise band at Hope Community Church in downtown Minneapolis.
He said he enjoys playing ensemble jazz, but learned solo pieces during COVID that he will perform in Evansville.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. This is a free concert, but donations are welcome. Concert-goers are encouraged to bring a treat to share; beverages will be provided. Vaccinations or masks preferred.