Rico’s Pub hosts local jazz group Crosscurrent


Crosscurrent member, Gregory Yasinitsky, playing the saxophone.

{{tncms-asset app=”editorial” id=”c0651eae-70be-11e6-98a2-2f7a26e26074″}}

While the Cougars prepare for the first game home game of the season, a local pub will feature musicians that put a modern twist on old tunes.

Musicians from WSU and UI will perform in the jazz group Crosscurrent at Rico’s Pub in Pullman. Their performance is part of many others held at Rico’s throughout the year.

Rico’s Pub, established in 1909, has the same style and feel of a pub in England or Ireland. Unlike a bar, the atmosphere is more laidback.

“I would describe it as a community hangout,” Rico’s general manager Gary Marinin said. “Anybody can come here and feel welcome.”

The terms “bar” and “pub” are sometimes used interchangeably, however there are significant differences between the two. Most of the difference depends on the environment, said Rico’s primary chef John Minker.

Bars typically serve only alcohol, and are strict about keeping out anyone under the drinking age. Pubs generally have food and allow minors until a certain hour, promoting family and community, Minker said.

“Most people are fascinated by how long this has been here,” he said. “They love it because of the environment.”

Rico’s also serves traditional pub-style food. However, they don’t have a huge kitchen like a restaurant, meaning it will take more time for food to come, but the quality is assured.

Rico’s hosts a variety of events, from guest music groups to Trivia Tuesdays to Retro Gaming Night. One popular event is Harry Potter Night, featuring several attractions such as homemade butter beer, a live Hedwig and Moaning Myrtle haunting the bathroom.

Several of the events are hosted in the pub and run by people in the community. Familiar faces come in often, increasing that sense of community which is sometimes hard due to the transient nature of Pullman’s population, Marinin said.

Trivia Night is another popular event, and lately Rico’s has incorporated businesses in Pullman such as Gladish Community Center, Alternatives to Violence on the Palouse, Café Morro and Crimson and Gray, Marinin said.

Marinin said music is a large part of Rico’s culture. This weekend, Rico’s will host Crosscurrent, a swinging jazz quintet. The members of the group are music professors from WSU and UI.

“A lot of these professors were internationally touring musicians who are extremely talented,” Marinin said. “You have some of the most talented musicians in the world that are playing (here).”

Crosscurrent was founded in 1983. Two of the original members still playing today are Greg Yasinitsky, the director of WSU’s School of Music and Daniel Bukvich, a composition and jazz choir professor at UI.

“It’s a group that plays a contemporary version of what might be called hard bop jazz,” Yasinitsky said. “A hard-driving, exciting, part swinging with emphasis on exciting improvisation.”

The group consists of Yasinitsky on saxophone, Bukvich on percussion, UI Director of Jazz Vern Sielert on trumpet, WSU’s Dave Snider on bass, WSU professor Brad Ard on keyboard and guess bass player Dave Bjuer.

Hard bop jazz-style music takes inspiration from the ‘50s and ‘60s, but through a contemporary version, Yasinitsky said. Much of their music is originally composed by Yasinitsky.

“From the first time I heard (jazz) as a little kid, it seemed like that was the thing for me,” Yasinitsky said.

Yasinitsky compared jazz music to a high-wire act. A great deal of the music is made up on the spot, which can be exciting but also includes an element of danger.

Yasinitsky has played at Rico’s since 1982. It’s a popular place because of its great atmosphere, food and bartenders, he said.

“The interesting thing about Rico’s is that they’ve had jazz … so long I don’t even know when it started,” Yasinitsky said.

Crosscurrent will play at 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday at Rico’s Pub in downtown Pullman. Admission is free and open to those over 21.