Mike Kramer – Guitar

Drawn to and inspired by the raw and natural sounds of the ’60s and 70’s electric guitar, I listened to players like Jeff Beck, Larry Carlton and Robben Ford.

In the pursuit of learning my instrument I studied classical guitar and soon found myself playing with our local community college jazz band in Prescott, AZ. My fondest memories are of jamming for hours in the basement with my brother playing bass – sometimes just the two of us and often with the many musicians that would form our early bands.

The goal of supporting myself with music drove a variety of projects – after-hours R&B gigs in Watts, dance bands in Van Nuys, jazz sessions in Phoenix and a traveling top-40 act which took me to Japan. Eventually I found myself  in Phoenix playing blues with Big Pete Pearson. Often playing 20 plus nights consecutively, our shows included opening for John Lee Hooker New Year’s Eve ’86 and two extensive tours throughout Mexico as part of the Arizona Arts Commission.

What I learned through all this is that what I really missed was the freedom of jamming in the basement with family and friends. I stopped playing and I sold my equipment. I eventually packed up and moved to Boulder with a cheap Telecaster my dad gave me.

In essence I started over – jamming alone on my electric guitar. I explored notes and chords making choices based solely on the idea of whether they sounded good to me or not; my influences in rock, jazz and blues always coming through.

A snowstorm in the mountains led to a serendipitous encounter with drummer Jay Vogt and an invitation to a series of absolutely fantastic jam sessions in Boulder. From those sessions, various projects emerged – all based on the idea of expression. This is where I met Spencer King and eventually Scott Allen – and we formed the Bilbao Jazz Trio.

The Bilbao Jazz Trio really is a jam band with vision and purpose. When I play with Scott and Spencer, I think in terms of shapes, colors and textures – and I’m reminded of those early basement sessions with my brother.

Youth in Action Colorado is a project of One Society International a Denver based non-profit 501c3 providing cultural exchange trips to and from Japan. Join us Friday, August 3rd 5-9pm as we support this year’s class in fundraising with great food at Biju’s and our groove-based music!

Flyers for Kids is a nonprofit organization focused on helping to bring underprivileged children from a Denver Public School, Valverde Elementary, to Denver Zoo Lights annually. They are responsible for fundraising, gift purchases, recruiting volunteer participation, and providing needed supplies for the school. Last year Flyers for Kids raised over $5,000 in just three months, and took over 40 children, 70 volunteers and 15 staff members to the event.

We are honored to play at their upcoming fundraising event Friday, March 2nd 6-9pm at Biju’s Little Curry Shop on Tennyson – and we hope you can make it!

YIA is committed to building the character, strength, and knowledge of our youth. The program includes: Japanese
language and culture study, community service, volunteer work and fundraising, culminating in a month-long cultural exchange trip to Japan. Youth in Action is a program of One Society International a Denver based non-profit 501(c) (3) and 170(b) (1) organization for youth ages 13-19.

Bilbao and FriendsAugust King on keyboards and Eric Loew on violin joined us Labor Day for a jam session at the JazzBarn.  We experimented with sounds to see how far we could take it for our upcoming gig this Friday at The Berkeley Inn in Denver. August has recently returned from an intensive year of music study in Norway. Eric plays with local Boulder band – dwarf planets. Spencer also plays with the dwarf planets. Be sure to join us if you can: 6:30 – 10:00 PM this Friday, September 11th at The Berkeley Inn, 3834 Tennyson Street, Denver, CO 80212

La Cour Bistro & Art BarBilbao guitarist Mike Kramer, Suzanne Real of the Boulder Wine Meetup group, and La Cour Bistro and Art Bar proprietor Janet Poth, have planned an event for Saturday, December 6th 5:30 – 10:00 pm that will delight all senses – while the Bilbao Jazz Trio performs, La Cour will host a biodynamic wine tasting.

You may opt in or out of the wine tasting – if you choose to participate, the cost is $10 and includes 2-ounce-pours of each of  four wines – Domaine Begude’ “Terroir 11300” 2012 Chardonnay, Francois Chidaine’ Touraine Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Domaine du Bel Air’ Bourgueil Les Vingt Lieux Dits old vine Cabernet Franc 2011, and Chateau Couronneau’ Bordeaux Superior Rouge 2012. These special wines contain no sulfites.

Stay for dinner – La Cour Bistro and Art Bar offers a fantastic full menu to compliment their French wines. Janet is offering a 15% discount for their cheese plate and full glasses or bottles of the four featured wines for the entire evening.

Tasting starts at 5:30 pm / Music starts at 6:30 pm