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MP3 Clive, Call Nigel - Christmas in Saint Paul

A small jazz combo featuring quiet guitar chords and cool sax--with a hot female vocal soaring above.

1 MP3 Songs
JAZZ: Smooth Jazz, EASY LISTENING: Mood Music


Minneapolis, MN, November 14, 2006 – A group of St. Paul residents has recorded and released a new Christmas song, entitled Christmas in St. Paul, intending to promote the song and to sell downloads and CD’s for the benefit of local charities. The band, named “Clive, Call Nigel,” is made up of four local lawyers and two bankers, for whom music is a passion, but not a profession.. The song was written and arranged last year, but not in time to be recorded for the holiday season. This year, the band teamed up with music producer Matt Fink, who operates Star Vu Studios from his home in Savage. Fink is the former keyboard player for Prince and the Revolution. He lent taste, talent, engineering expertise, a disciplined approach to recording, and jazz piano to the effort.


Steve Beck is a health lawyer at Fredrikson & Byron and the principal composer of the song. According to Steve, “I came up with the idea last year of trying to create a new song that would be a throwback to some of our favorite Christmas tunes, such as Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and The Christmas Song. These are pop songs more closely aligned with jazz than with rock or folk music. Working on a Christmas tune gave me the opportunity to write something that musically resembles a jazz standard, which comes with a whole different set of rules and expectations from the band’s usual alternative rock material. It seems to us that there is always room for another song to make the Christmas song catalog a little richer. We hope that we have created a song that people will like, but we also really want to give the song to the community. So, it’s a bit like We Are the World, but produced by regular people who live and work in the Twin Cities rather than celebrities.”

Q. – Where does the band’s name, “Clive, Call Nigel,” come from?

A. – Several of us like to watch American Idol on TV, and last year, a contestant who was leaving the show made a farewell speech to the audience in which she declared that she still planned to make it in the music business. In the middle of this goodbye, she looked into the camera and said, “Clive, call Nigel,” meaning that Clive Davis, the music industry mogul, should call Nigel, the producer of the show, to work some kind of deal. It seemed to us that this was a sentiment that must be echoed in the minds of everyone who wishes he or she could be a music star. We all want Clive to notice us and to call Nigel.

Q. – Who are the members of the band?

A. – Aside from Steve, two of his law partners, Laurie Hartman, the band’s lead singer, and Ryan Johnson, its lead guitarist, are band regulars. Laurie’s singing is what really creates the group’s sound – her voice has a pure, smooth quality, sounding a little like Karen Carpenter, and she can sing in a low, alto range but also reach up to handle soprano parts with power. Bob Rubenstein, President of Trust Operations for Marquette Trust, is the band’s drummer and provides the group with a very solid rhythm base. All but one of the band members live in Highland Park in St. Paul, and practice in Bob’s living room. Charlie Broadnax, a senior vice president at U.S. Bank, is a very fine guitar player, and handles the bass in the group. Charlie came up with a very nice bassline for the song after trying out a number of different approaches. Jake Holdreith, another local lawyer, also plays with us occasionally, although he did not get to be featured on this recording.

Q. – Do you have other recordings or play regularly on the local music scene?

A. – We have done a couple of charity concerts at First Avenue and the Fine Line with a related band of lawyers at an event called the “Attractive Nuisance Tour,” which is sponsored by the Esquire Group and the Justice Foundation. For these performances, we essentially have performed covers, plus a couple of original rock songs. We have a number of unrecorded original rock tunes that we are working on, but have not performed or recorded them yet. As we have developed as a band, we have found a remarkable number of friends and acquaintances, clients and professional contacts, who have some music connection – there are a lot of us out there, musicians who continue to play, even if they don’t do so professionally. We think we represent a kind of silent majority of musicians who nobody knows, because they play for their own private enjoyment, but who nevertheless can make good music.

Q. – What charities will benefit from the song proceeds?

A. – We have not decided as a final matter, and much will depend on whether the song is a success. But we are very interested in a program called “Breakthrough St. Paul,” which provides mentoring to St. Paul public school students who have high academic potential and are capable of going to college, but don’t have the opportunities or advantages that some kids do. In addition, Steve is a former president of the Board of the Humane Society for Companion Animals, and has a soft spot for that organization. In addition, during the holiday season we are interested in contributing to Toys for Tots. Of course, the idea of giving to a number of charities presupposes a level of sales success that we can’t count on . . . yet.

Q. – Where can people hear the song and how can they buy it?

A. – We will be seeking to get the song aired on local radio stations, especially those playing Christmas music. We are planning to sell song downloads on https://www.tradebit.com. We will also produce some CD singles and will be looking for local outlets to handle these. But the season is short. We hope that Minnesotans will appreciate our vision of using homemade art as the focus of a community charity drive, and will rally and buy the song the way they bought homer hankies. All profits earned during the holiday season will be donated to charity.

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