Trombonist/Composer Rafe Lyford has been involved with music from a young age. He began playing trombone at the age of 10 and played in various jazz bands throughout high school. He received his Bachelor of Music degree from Lawrence University majoring in performance with a jazz emphasis and completed graduate work towards a master's degree in jazz studies and contemporary media at University of Rochester's Eastman School of Music.

Rafe has studied with Ken Schaphorst, Fred Sturm, Nick Keelan, and Mark Kellogg. He has performed with Marlena Shaw, John Medeski, New York Voices, the Dave Brubeck Quartet, Moore by Four, Charlie Haden, Sam Palafian, Benny Golson, and Kenny Werner.

Rafe currently resides in the Twin Cities, MN, where he performed regularly with a group comprised of musicians found on the CD called the Things Quartet. The members were: Max Wendt, Jim Guckenberg (both Lawrence University alumni), and Matt Netter. The group has since disbanded.

They perform mainly in the Twin Cities, but they have also done several gigs in Wisconsin and Iowa. Specific venues include:

  • Café Luxx in Minneapolis, MN
  • Several metro area Dunn Bros. Coffee shops in the Twin Cities
  • Borealis Caffé (now extinct) in Dinkytown near the U. of Minn.
  • Avante Garden in Anoka, MN
  • Contented Cow in Northfield, MN
  • Underground Coffee in Chaska, MN
  • Christensens in St. Paul, MN
  • Old Man River Café in West St. Paul, MN
  • Little River Summer Music Festival in Little River, MN
  • Iowa Cubs Club in Des Moines, IA
  • Royal Amsterdam Hotel in Pella, IA
  • Lawrence University Coffehouse in Appleton, WI

The Things Quartet performs a musical repertoire that resembles it's name: all sorts of things from the far stretches of musical styles with a jazz sensibility. And yes, they swing too! With this sense of openness incorporated into their music, it has allowed them to come across as more approachable to the audience then some stereotypical jazz groups.

Most of the members of the Things Quartet have been playing together off and on for the past ten years. The current group has been performing together for over two years now. Most of their book is comprised of original music by the band members, but they also include tunes by the giants of jazz as well as a few German drinking songs. Check them out. They're sure to play something that will get your toes tapping!

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