Inspired by Duke Ellington and George Gershwin, Sam Miltich of Grand Rapids began playing piano at the age of four. Music was always part of his life in northern Minnesota; but when Sam heard the music of the late gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt he was hooked. Acoustic instruments, driving rhythm, and the “swing feel” sounded like a melding of his favorite genres into one; and he dedicated himself to the study of gypsy jazz. By the time he was eighteen he was touring with the Robin Nolan Trio in the U.S. and Europe. He would later join the Hot Club of San Francisco before starting his own band, the Clearwater Hot Club. Virtuoso guitarist Sam Miltich brings the gang from Grand Rapids for a live set, on The PlayList!
Inspired by Lake Superior’s North Shore waterfalls, glass artist Mike Tonder works on large and small scale pieces of glass at his Blue Skies Glassworks in Two Harbors. Working with recycled plate glass, kilns and a sandblaster, Tonder creates one of a kind, ice blue glass sculptures. Hand-crafted from flat sheets of glass, each creation is carefully assembled, then fired in an electric kiln. After firing, the glass forms are carved and etched to perfection. Small pieces range from tabletop icebergs and cliffs to bowls, plates and more. Large pieces include a 16 foot wall installation at the Duluth Clinic and a large piece for Duluth’s Technology Village. Designed, fused and finished in his Two Harbors studio, Tonder’s artwork is appreciated by art lovers across the country; and by King Harald V of Norway!