Bon Iver releases live album recorded with a high school jazz band
The Eau Claire native lends a hand to a local school music program
You know all about Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, don’t you? He has a beard, he’s a loner, he hangs out in cabins, and he makes sad, sensitive music that your girlfriend won’t stop playing in the car. But there’s another side to the Wisconsin-bred troubadour—a jazzy, positively swingin’ side that he displayed in April when he joined the Eau Claire Memorial High School Jazz Ensemble for an eight-song set that included standards and re-worked versions of Bon Iver songs “For Emma” and “Lump Sum.” Vernon played the show as a fund-raiser for the ensemble’s trip to New York for the “Essentially Ellington” school band competition. He also did it because, well, he’s just a really good and proud Eau Claire boy.
If you’re a fan of Bon Iver or the Eau Claire Memorial High School Jazz Ensemble—or preferably both—you’ll want to check out A Decade With Duke, which compiles both the ensemble’s performance and the set with Vernon. Volume One reports that the physical CD is available only in Eau Claire at select locations, though people who aren’t residents of northwestern Wisconsin will also be able to download the album at iTunes, Amazon.com, and other retail outlets. Proceeds will go to Memorial High School's music program, which officially has the coolest fund-raiser of any music program in the country.
Here’s a scintillating clip of Vernon rehearsing “Lump Sum” with the kids.