Willis show Bar

*New to Noel Night!

4156 Third Avenue
Detroit, MI 48201

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NOEL NIGHT HOURS: 5:00 P.M. - Midnight

Willis Show Bar presents:

“NoLa Night” - A Holiday Gumbo

Live performances by The Heavy Petters at 8:30 p.m., 10:00 p.m., & 11:30 p.m.

John “T-Bone” Paxton - vox/trombone
Mike Zaporski - piano
Dave Zwolinksi - drums
Jorian Olk-Szost - bass
plus special guests

tunes spun by
The Dapper DJ

burlesque show by
Hannah the Hatchet & Ada Vice

and other surprises!

John “T-Bone” Paxton - vox/trombone - John “T-Bone” Paxton is a veteran trombonist and vocalist professionally active in Southeastern Michigan for many years. He is the featured singer and trombone soloist with the award-winning jazz ensemble, the Planet D Nonet.  John is a 2nd generation musician and a son of the “Jazz Age.” His soulful sense of swing, phrasing, and his ability to interpret and bring personal meaning to a lyric allows him to connect to his audience at an emotional level, both as a vocalist and as an instrumentalist. John was integral member of the Sun Messengers band for decades, leaving to develop his own career as a jazz singer and trombonist. Tbone has played with a lot of great blues and R&B men including Earl King, Johnny Adams, Sir Mac Rice, Pinetop Perkins, boogie piano master Mr. B, and even the Latin Jazz Great Eddie Palmieri! His repertoire reflects all of these influences, featuring both hits and obscure rarities by such artists as Fats Waller, Frank Sinatra, Danny Barker, Nat Cole, and Louis Jordan, creating his own personal take on the Great American Songbook. John draws the audience in and brings passion, soul, a unique repertoire, joy and authenticity to his performances everywhere and every night!! Look for his upcoming recording “Back in Your Own Backyard” with the RJ Spangler Quartet.

Mike Zaporski - piano - Michael Zaporski is a Detroit pianist, composer, arranger and educator. He is known for his work with his band “Future Visions” and the “Planet D Nonet” led by R.J. Spangler. “Future Visions” is an outgrowth of the “Visions” band led by the late Detroit saxophonist Sam Sanders, where Zaporski was a member of for many years. Sam Sanders’s “Visions” band traveled to West Africa where they not only performed but also taught Jazz through the U.S. State Department. Under this specially sponsored program, Sanders and his band, (including pianist Michael Zaporski) played long side some of the top names in Jazz including innovative major recording artists such as drummer Art Blakey, saxophonists Pharoah Sanders and Jackie McLean and trumpeter Donald Byrd. Their time in West Africa also enabled them to learn first hand about the various local folk music traditions of the places where they lived, taught and performed. These ancient musical traditions have had an immense influence on Zaporski’s playing and composing to this day. His playing is very expressive and can be intense one moment and lyrical in the next. He utilizes the full range and capacity of the keyboard as he creatively crafts interesting solos with unique improvisational structure. He also explores dynamics, which create dramatic compositional effects. Mr. Zaporski is currently teaching music in the Oak Park School District where he shares his knowledge, experience and stories with the future generations of musicians and music fans.

Dave Zwolinksi - drums - David Zwolinski is an up and coming Detroit drummer that is pushing new boundaries in the music scene. He brings a powerful presence and musical sensibility influenced by many greats like Jack Dejohnette, Tony Williams, Elvin Jones, and Max Roach. From the age of four, David began studying drums with great enthusiasm which lead to numerous first place competition placements within the National American Guild of Music over a ten year period. In his professional career, David has opened for Smokey Robinson, toured with Australian award winning artist Peter Harper, toured with Frank Zappa alumni Ike Willis, and worked with many of the top players in the Detroit music scene.  He has also played in featured acts in prominent Detroit venues, such as Cliff Bells, Steinway Piano Gallery, Music Hall Jazz Cafe, Music Hall Main stage, The Fillmore, The DSO, Baker’s Keyboard Lounge, and the Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe.

Jorian Olk-Szost - bass - Jorian has been playing electric and upright bass professionally since age 16. He is a versatile player comfortable in many genres and settings including jazz, blues, rock, reggae, musical theater, pop, country, and folk. This versatility is on display in the artist’s he has recorded and performed with like Naima Shambourgeau, The Look, The Theater Bizarre Orchestra, and dozens of others. He has played festivals ranging from the Michigan Jazz Festival, to Arts, Beats, and Eats, to the regional High Times Cannabis Cup, and everything in between. He has performed at historic venues such as The Filmore, The DIA, Cliff Bell’s, The Magic Bag, The Whitney, and many many more performance spaces around Detroit. He has also had several televised and broadcast appearances on Fox 2, WDIV 4, WDET, and other media outlets. You have ample opportunities to catch him perform with close to 200 gigs each year all over the Detroit area.