At 20 years-old and already an acclaimed performer on the Twin Cities jazz scene, pianist and composer Will Kjeer has not constrained his resume to his home state. He has performed as a bandleader and sideman around the U.S. and in Canada at venues in the Twin Cities (Artists Quarter, Vieux Carre’, Jazz Central, Studio Z, Black Dog, Icehouse), at the Twin Cities and Iowa City Jazz Festivals, and at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC, the Lighthouse Cafe in Los Angeles, and the Upstairs Jazz Club in Montreal, Quebec.
Will attended high school at the Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, later completed a post-high school program at Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan before beginning his performance degree at the California Institute of the Arts, and now continuing at McGill University. Before high school graduation, he played piano with the Dakota Combo for two years, spent a year with the Minnesota Youth Jazz Bands, and was Youth Artist in Residence for the PipJazz Foundation. He’s also a three-year member of Steve Kenny’s Group 47 and founding member of Hoaxer. Will has been invited to participate in international and competitively-selected programs, including Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute in 2016 and the 2017 class of Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead. He has been fortunate to learn from mentors such as Billy Childs, Jason Moran, Rufus Reid, Reuben Rogers, Xavier Davis, and Ralph Peterson. He currently studies with acclaimed international pianist Jean-Michel Pilc. – Andrea CanterFind out more »
Maryann Sullivan’s passion for jazz began at an early age, when her father, a local trumpeter, played his jazz records in their home. She studied music in college, and played flute and saxophone in the Augsburg Jazz program under the direction of James “Doc” Carlson.
Sullivan has been an on-air radio personality in the Twin Cities since the 1980s. She has worked in a variety of radio formats and settings. Her jazz broadcasting career began when she worked at KTWN-108 in Anoka, the first full time jazz radio station in the Twin Cities area. She went on to broadcast jazz at several stations, including KTCJ, KTWN’s “The Breeze” new-age jazz satellite radio network, and KTWN Video as a jazz video host.
Sullivan is also an established voice-over professional, and has worked since 1981 on thousands of voice over engagements, including industrial show narration, audio books, telephone systems, and advertisements. Her client list numbers in the hundreds.Find out more »
Rick Carlson taught himself to play the piano by studying the vast works of Count Basie and Duke Ellington and capitalizing on a long string of happy accidents. He has also perfected the art of “circular drinking”, whereby he can sip martinis uninterrupted while still playing a cohesive piano solo.
He has been the pianist for the Wolverines Big Band since 1980. He is a sought-after accompanist by singers and has served as pianist and musical director for various local concert series, including those for the Twin Cities Jazz Society’s “J To Z” series, the Capri Theater’s “Legends” series, and for special presentations at the Heights Theatre and performing arts centers across the United States. He has performed on concert stages in London and New York City, and has appeared with Count Basie drummer Butch Miles, trumpeter Warren Vaché, New Orleans clarinetist Evan Christopher, and served as musical director, arranger and pianist in the Guthrie Theater’s presentation of “Coward’s Women”. He has opened for Rosemary Clooney, accompanied Kathryn Crosby in various cabaret shows, and counts Madeleine Peyroux among his many unwitting fans.
The Family Vines is a group of siblings who reflect the journey of a young man traveling far from home to pursue his dream, falling in love, finding himself, and returning to his roots. Visions of beauty and truth permeate throughout the music, tapping into the corners of every lovers brain. Graber brings these things to life with his gift for vibrant storytelling and sweet melody.
Elliott Graber is a singer, songwriter, and musician. Native to the Midwest, Graber has entertained audiences throughout the United States and the United Kingdom. His professional experience in the music, film, and theater industry has served him with great success over the past decade. He is currently continuing his music career in Minneapolis, MN and Los Angeles, California.Find out more »
Joel Shapira is a top performing classical and jazz guitarist based in the Twin Cities. His educational background includes studies with some of the world’s greatest players and teachers including jazz legends Joe Pass, Tal Farlow and Gene Bertoncini, as well as master classical instructor Alan Johnston. A native of St. Paul, Joel attended Berklee School of Music in Boston and The Mannes School of Music in New York City where he lived, performed and taught for eight years.Find out more »
The Songtet is a band about great songs. Styles change and evolve, but a great song sung by a great singer is almost a universal truth, timeless and constant. Jeremy Walker’s Songtet interprets everything from Dylan to Ellington, the American Songbook to Walker’s own originals.
Singer Jason Harms possesses one of the great natural instruments. His voice is bold and earthy, and he sings with rhythmic assurance and a deep well of personal emotion. Walker is increasingly becoming known as a composer with a rare gift for the voice, with strong melody and surprising phrasing. The band is rounded out ably with Jeff Brueske (bass) and Tim Zhorne (drums). These four musicians last collaborated on the sweeping and startling 7 Psalms most recently performed to a near full house at Orchestra Hall.Find out more »
Earthy, emotive soul music from a stunning new talent. Accompanying herself on guitar and piano, Mayyadda performs original songs alongside others she loves, creating an arresting, heartfelt effect. Get drawn into Mayyadda’s musical world, and hear the future of contemporary R&B.Find out more »
Southside Aces perform traditional New Orleans jazz. The band first began as the brainchild of Clarinetist Tony Balluff and Sousaphone player Erik Jacobson. Their whispers and rumors materialized in Tony’s foyer near Pillsbury and 27th in South Minneapolis, late August 2003. Since their first gig on a flatbed truck in Apple Valley, they’ve played weddings, festivals, clubs— “music furnished for all occasions.”
The Aces have self-produced and released five CDs: All Aboard!!, Bucktown Bounce, A Big Fine Thing, their Christmas album, Santaphone, and their latest, Second Thursday.Find out more »
A veteran of the Twin Cities music scene, multi-instrumentalist Steve Kimmel is considered a legend of the West Bank. Steve ran the old Rainbow Gallery Jazz Club and handled bookings for the Loring Bar. His long and colorful career includes stints in acclaimed jazz project Natural Life, as well as blues favorites the Lamont Cranston Band.Find out more »
A member of the Midwest music scene for many years, Ginger is a regular visitor to the region’s finest stages. Classically trained, gospel influenced, and jazz inspired, Ginger’s musical foundation is a true amalgam of musical styles presented with her own unique delivery. A former member of Sounds of Blackness, Ginger has also been very active in the local theater scene.
Ginger’s early background was gospel, and she honed her skills in church and in the Grammy Award winning group the Sounds of Blackness. Then came Moore by Four, and years of singing the jazzy gospel infused vocal arrangements that gave the group an international audience. And now, all that talent and experience is brought into her own group, GCQ.Find out more »