Local Jazz Dream Team

Liscio’s veteran musicians tackle traditional styles

Tyler Henderson, photos by Anna Mateffy

Liscio, composed of veteran Chippewa Valley music teachers and performers, focuses on traditional jazz styles such as R&B, delta blues, Latin, and New Orleans jazz.
Liscio, composed of veteran Chippewa Valley music teachers and performers, focuses on traditional jazz styles such as R&B, delta blues, Latin, and New Orleans jazz.

Whether it’s funk bands playing at the bars, college jazz combos playing in coffee shops, or even a live big band playing the hits of the ’40s, in a musically enlightened area like the Chippewa Valley you can find just about any style of jazz. But Ken Rogers and Dave Mueller saw a void in the scene, and they have filled it with their jazz group, Liscio.

Playing traditional styles like rhythm and blues, delta blues, Latin, and New Orleans jazz, Liscio consists of seven members from the community who have experience as performers and teachers.

“When Ken and I decided to put Liscio together, we handpicked the people that, in a perfect world, we would want to be in this group,” Mueller said. “It was a combination of team players with great talent, and we wanted to make sure people were cool with the type of music we wanted to play.”

That stellar cast of musicians includes Lyle Heck on saxophone and clarinet, Mueller on fluegelhorn and trumpet, Gordon Murphy on keyboards, Steve Clay on bass and tuba, Rogers on guitar and banjo, Brad Stoughton on drums, and Roxanne Litchfield Holly handling the vocals.

Their traditional style is something that Rogers, a retired band director, was looking for from the beginning. “A lot of student groups focus on things from bebop all the way to funk, but they typically don’t focus on things like the delta blues or R&B music,” he said. “We do that … and we play it stylistically accurate.”
They can often be found gigging at the Acoustic Café and From the Vine, but Liscio has been performing all over the Chippewa Valley since February.

Although the members come from musical backgrounds that range from the West to the East coast, they have all found a home in the Chippewa Valley and are bringing those experiences and talents together to form a group that is very different from any other in the area.

“The thing I dig about the Chippewa Valley is that I know a lot of the musicians here,” Mueller said. “Everyone in the band has played in many groups with diverse talents, and they’ve experienced a lot.”

“Everybody bends a bit in this group, that makes it fun,” he added.
Liscio will perform at 7pm Friday, Nov. 15, at From the Vine Wine Room, 2526 Golf Road, and at 7pm Saturday, Nov. 23, at Acoustic Café, 505 S. Barstow St.

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