ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Viewed by many in the community as a Rochester icon, Les Fields of the Turkey River All Stars band conjures beautiful sounds in the style of Dixieland jazz. If you’ve seen him around town, you’d be hard-pressed to find him without a pocket trumpet.
For more than half a century, Fields entertained audiences nationwide, including five United States presidents. He brought musicians across Southeast Minnesota together for performances and invites people to join in on the band’s improvised tunes. All these years later, he’s still doing what he loves.
To honor the musician, Castle Community in downtown Rochester named its event hall ‘Les Fields Hall’ and will host a monthly series of jazz concerts featuring Les Fields and the Turkey River All Stars and a visiting guest band. The Winona Minnesota’s Gate City Jazz band helped kick-off the inaugural series Sunday.
“It’s not only fun to play but to see their reactions,” said Les Fields. “If we do it well enough, we’ll get good reactions.”
The band got its name from the river that runs through Fields’ Cresco, Iowa hometown. Much like a river, when it comes to his music, he goes with the flow. No sheet music.
“Les has been a Rochester icon for many many years,” said Steve Barlow of Rochester who attended the concert with his mom. “You can tell the audience really responds to Les and he just brings a certain joy to the hall and through his music.”
“He really loves his music and he’s a true musician and he has a lot of fun with it,” said Dorothy Gores, a Rochester resident.
David Forest agrees, “He’s one-of-a-kind, at 91-years-old and he’s still going strong, going out there to different places and playing, always bringing that pocket trumpet along.”