Local jazz artists say “good-bye” to Des Moines with farewell concert series

The dark, sultry voice of Roxi Copland and the Michael Buble-esk sounds of Max Wellman have come together for a final farewell series at one of Des Moines’ most intimate theaters, The Temple Theater. The “Max and Roxi: Live at the Temple” series kicked off last weekend with shows on both Friday and Saturday nights and will conclude this weekend with a series of shows on Friday (8:00 p.m.), Saturday (8:00 p.m.) and Sunday (7:00 p.m.).

“Audiences can expect new arrangements of a variety of songs ranging from standards to today’s music, as well as a number of my own tunes,” said local musician, Roxi Copland. “Max & I will be backed by a stellar 7-piece band comprised of the some of the best musicians in Iowa.”

I attend the first show of the series last Friday night and I was blown away by the luxuriously smooth sounds that Max and Roxi brought to the Temple Theater’s stage. The 7-piece band was backlit by rich blue and red lights and the jazz sounds filled the room with holistic and soulful beats. Audience members bobbed their heads to the beat, laughed along with Max and Roxi’s antics and even gave a standing ovation at the end of the night.

The show showcased each vocalist and it was obvious to the audience that both performers have a true passion for jazz music and performing for a live audience. Max and Roxi laughed back and forth sharing stories and memories (Roxi used to be Max’s piano teacher), they blended harmoniously (it gave me goose bumps), and they were quick to tout the extreme talent of their supporting band members.

Sadly, Max and Roxi’s show is labeled a “farewell series” for a reason. Shortly after this concert series, Roxi will head to Vancouver and Max will leave for Atlanta – both to further pursue their music careers and dreams. Max recently wrote on his blog:

“To my people in Des Moines, don’t fret! Things will definitely be different in the future, but I will drop in from time to time. However, this is probably the end of my active performing schedule in Des Moines for the foreseeable future. It has been a wonderful ride… I can’t thank you all enough for the support that you have thrown my way.”

Roxi plans on leaving Des Moines the week after the Temple Shows and in true Roxi fashion, she already has a full schedule ahead of herself. She plans to tour the West Coast this fall, to record a full-length acoustic album, and to get ready for a national tour the following spring.

“A number of factors contributed to the decision – I want to spend some time touring the West Coast and it’ll be nice to be closer to family (I grew up near Seattle),” said Copland. “Vancouver has an incredibly vibrant music scene and it seems like a great place to expand into international territory.”

With all of this being said, one thing is very obvious. This is the last time that audience members will see both Max and Roxi on stage together for a while, and the last time they’ll be able to experience these phenomenal musicians in the heart of downtown Des Moines, where they’ve grown and played for the past few years.

Max and Roxi: Live at the Temple is a show you don’t want to miss or you’ll be sorry that you did. Tickets can be purchased online at CivicCenter.org, at all Ticketmaster locations, at the Civic Center Ticket office (open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) or by calling (800) 745-3000.

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