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Jazz duet brings music to streets, bus stops

November 7, 2014

MSU student and alumnus join together to bring jazz music to Grand River Avenue.

Photo by Raymond Williams | The State News

Both Pickart, an MSU graduate student, and Rudner, an MSU alumnus, came together early this fall to start a duet violinist group. The two met at a party at a professor’s house and decided to collaborate and start a jazz group. Rudner decided that he wanted to run a rehearsal with Matt not to try to find a gig but instead to find a place that’s fun and spontaneous — somewhere outside on the streets.

The duo are still in the process of experimenting with several genres, but have started to play club jazz styles with their different styles and instruments — like “old Duke Ellington type tunes,” Pickart said.

“It’s almost like the goal is to not have a genre but to produce music that feels good to us and feels good to the people around us,” Rudner said.

Rudner and Pickart said they chose to play near bus stops on Grand River Avenue because it takes away from the cultural snobbery that classical music or jazz music can sometimes be associated with.

They also said performing on the streets helps strengthen the connection with listeners. The two play by ear and perform covers, original pieces and sometimes improv.

“The bus stop is great,” Rudner said. “Honestly, it is one of my favorite places to play because you get to watch the reactions of people.”

Pickart said music is a tough business.

“We both just want to teach and play and feel rewarded for that because that’s what we love to do — we’re musicians,” Pickart said.


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