Chris Thomson, saxophones
Park Evans, guitar
Brian Courage, bass
Jay Epstein, drums
Brian Courage is a bassist and composer originally from Long Island, NY. Courage moved to Minneapolis in 2012 after finishing his studies at the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music in Appleton, WI. In the Twin Cities, Brian became more than a first-call sideman, joining forces with other (mostly) young artists to lead or co-lead some of the most exciting ensembles in town. In addition to his Courageous Endeavors and Mountain King (three-bass) ensembles, Brian performed with the No Coast Quintet, Dave Karr Quartet, a trio with Pat Moriarty and Ellen Lease, the Pete Whitman X-Tet, Gypsy Mania, the John Raymond Quartet and Peter Kogan Group, as well as with many area vocalists and such visiting artists as Lew Tabackin, David Hazeltine, J.D. Allen, and Walter Smith III. Since his return to New York City in fall 2014, Brian has performed at several venues around Brooklyn and Manhattan as a member of the Chris Misch-Bloxdorf Dectet. – Andrea Canter, Jazz PoliceFind out more »
As a teenager growing up in rural southern Michigan, Lonesome Dan Kase happened upon a radio show called the “Blues Cruise,” broadcast out of Ann Arbor. Although he had picked up the guitar a year or so before, when he began hearing artists like Reverend Gary Davis and Robert Johnson, he quickly became hooked on the country blues.
Lonesome Dan’s live performances showcase both his unique finger-picking style and dynamic vocals as well as his depth of knowledge of the history of the blues and related forms.. If you catch a live performance, you’re bound to walk away with some interesting tidbits about known artists like Blind Lemon Jefferson or more obscure performers like Funny Papa Smith. Lonesome Dan’s trusted companions are his hand built Kopp K-35 6-string and his 1935 National played bottleneck/slide style.
Lonesome Dan Kase continues to play his unique brand of blues in and around Minnesota. However, his desire to experience other parts of the country still takes him out on the road. Dan has put out 4 solo cds as well as 2 with Crush Collision Trio and one with 32-20 Jug Band. His most recent cd, “So Glad I’m Livin’,” was released in early 2009.Find out more »
Jay Young is one of the Twin Cities’ ‘first call’ bassists. He is a freelance performer and educator involved in a vast array of projects, working with national and international artists. He has performed at the Guthrie Theater, Ordway Center, Illusion, and Penumbra Theatre. Jay has also been a featured performer at the Lincoln Center, Juilliard School, Boston Symphony Hall, The Blue Note, Umbra (Italy), Espoo (Finland), and Tejo (Portugal). He has shared the stage with Ray Brown, James Moody, Dizzy Gillespie, T.S. Monk, Grover Washington Jr., Dave Brubeck, Ron Carter, Buster Williams, Bobby Lyle, Eddie Daniels, the Minnesota Orchestra, Omaha Symphony, Phil Upchurch, Jennifer Holiday, Harry Connick Jr., Jay Leno, Paul Bollenbeck, Reverend Al Green, Bobby McFerrin, Jefferson Starship, Carole King, and Ray Charles, Kevin Mahogany, Joe Lovano, Ernie Watts, Tim Ries, Sony Holland, Marvin “Smitty” Smith, and many others.Find out more »
One of the great soul and blues singers in the Twin Cities, Willie Walker has lent his sweet tenor voice to a number of high-profile projects, yet still remains one of the region’s best kept secrets.
Walker’s music comes from a different time, a different place and a different point of view. He’s one of the few vocalists from the golden age of soul that is still standing and that can still sing.
His new group, We “R,” will feature all of the soul classics you know and love, done in Walker’s own inimitable style.Find out more »
Vocalist and composer Kavita Shah makes work in deep engagement with the jazz tradition, while also addressing and advancing its global sensibilities. A lifelong New Yorker of Indian origin hailed for possessing an “amazing dexterity for musical languages” (NPR), Shah incorporates her ethnographic research on Brazilian, West African, and Indian musical traditions into her original repertoire. She was named Downbeat’s Best Graduate Jazz Vocalist in 2012 and won the ASCAP Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composers Award in 2013. Shah’s second album, Interplay, is a program of standards and originals in duet with bassist François Moutin – with special appearances by pianist Martial Solal and NEA Jazz Master Sheila Jordan, Shah’s mentor.
Francois Moutin was born in Paris. His early interest in music was encouraged by his parents. At age 5, Francois began studying guitar, then piano by age 11. The acoustic bass became his most lasting passion as a teenager. Also studying mathematics and physics, Francois received a college degree in engineering and earned a doctorate in physics at the age of 24. Then he elected to become a professional musician.
Three years later, as a member of the legendary Martial Solal Trio, Francois was recognized as one of the finest young bass players in Europe. At 29, he began co-leading the Quintet Moutin with his twin brother Louis, a top echelon jazz drummer. This project has evolved into the Moutin Reunion Quartet. In November 1997, Francois moved his base to New York, where he has found steady work in live performance and studio sessions with the premier artists on the New York jazz Scene.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 »
Kendra Glenn is a powerhouse soul singer, with a rich melodic tone that will leave you spellbound. Kendra has been in the Minneapolis music scene for about 17 years.
She has been a studio session vocalist for Andy Kotz Productions, opened for various national acts such as Dazz Band, Rolls Royce, and Cameo, and provided background vocals to blues guitarist/singer Scott Holt, former guitarist to Buddy Guy and former Prince protégé SueAnn Carwell. She also had the pleasure to work with Mr. Andre Fischer, former drummer/ producer and vocal arranger of Rufus and Chaka Khan. Definitely a “Diva” in her own right!
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Harmonica whiz Harold Tremblay started playing harmonica in high school. Upon moving to Minnesota, he hooked up with the great Twin Cities blues player Curtis Blake (Sonny Rodgers Harp player on his Handy Award winning “Big Leg Woman”) to hone his harp chops.
Harold founded Cool Disposition with players who have backed up the best- Mojo Buford, Baby Doo Caston, John Lee Hooker, Sonny Rodgers and many of the touring greats. Cool Disposition competed at the 2007 International Blues Challenge in Memphis. Harold returned to the IBC in 2011 in the Solo Duo category with Jeff Ray.
Tremblay always has several projects going on. This All-Star revue will feature some of the best blues players in the Twin Cities.
Harold hosts a blues/roots radio show at KFAI Radio. “Harold’s House Party” airs Wednesdays from 4-6pm.Find out more »
Grammy winning fingerpicker Pat Donohue’s devotion to acoustic guitar has made him an American standard, as he echoes the tones of Robert Johnson, Charlie Parker, Merle Travis or Muddy Waters. A versatile guitarist’s guitarist, Pat enjoys entertaining fans with intricate fingerpicking, easy wit, and nimble interpretations of old blues, swing, R&B and original tunes. A regular on NPR’s The Prairie Home Companion for many years, Pat Donohue has become a household name nationwide.
Besides his guitar chops, Donohue is also a talented songwriter whose original songs have been recorded by Chet Atkins, Kenny Rogers, and more.
Chet Atkins called Pat Donohue one of the greatest fingerpickers in the world today. And he writes songs too — recorded by Suzy Bogguss, Kenny Rogers, and others. Nobody’s Fault (Bluesky Records) is the most recent of Pat’s 10 albums.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 »