By Patte Purcell
Jazz Jams are one of the staples of the Palm Springs music scene. I’ve attended Mikole Kaar’s jazz jams for years. His new one at The Block was packed last Wednesday night for his birthday party. Mikole plays sax, flute, piano and sings. He does primarily straight ahead jazz. He’s got Doug McDonald on guitar, Gilbert Hansen on bass and Dennis Burke on drums.
I’ve known Mikole Kaar for about 5 years. He always does a great job, but it wasn’t until I did this interview that I realized the amazing amount of musical experience he brings to the desert.
He played with the Coasters and Drifters. He was the contractor (who hires) for the Temptations. He played with Joe Cocker and did several soundtracks for movies including Twins where he played “Yappity Yap” with 2 Live Crew.
This enterprising man had his first song on the charts at age 13, a rock and roll band, The Mod Caps, with a tune called “She’s a Social Climber.” He opened for Billy Joel’s band, Hassles and The Young Rascals, in the South Hamptons as a teenager. How many musicians can boast that?
His love of jazz has taken him on the path he is on today. He has performed with straight-ahead jazz artists including Johnny Hammond Smith, Billy Larkins, Russ Freeman (Rippingtons) and David Benoit.
Mikole moved to the desert 11 years ago from Las Vegas, and about 5 years ago, started a weekly jazz jam at The Tavern in Palm Springs. He moved to A.J.s on the Green and has recently moved it to The Block in Cathedral City on Wednesdays from 7-10. Local musicians stop by and get the joint jumping and the party people come out in force!
The block is located in Cathedral City on the corner of Date Palm and Ramon. On Friday and Saturdays from 6-9 he’s at Nicolino’s (35325 Date Palm Drive) and also for brunch on Sundays from 10:30-2:00.
He is currently recording a new straight ahead jazz CD with 10 songs called Give em Heaven. He’s producing it himself at Dori Amarillo studio in LA. When I asked if he had any goals he said: “Make a million dollars playing jazz.” Then he chuckled, “Do you know how you make a million dollars in jazz? Start with $2 million!” Mikole is a baby boomer who is living his dream and his message is “Don’t ever give up on your dream, age is not a factor.”
Mikole can be reached by email at Mikolekaar10@gmail.com