Katia Cardenas is a jazz and R&B vocalist in the Twin Cities, recognized for her radiant energy, impeccable range, and dynamic and powerful voice. Releasing her debut EP in Spring 2016, she has been performing locally since 2014 at many local respected venues, including Crooners Lounge, Jazz Central Studios, Vieux Carré and Dakota Jazz Club. She grew up in the Pacific Northwest in a musical family, and was raised on jazz, funk, and R&B. She moved to Sacramento, California in 2000, where she received a Waldorf education, which instilled in her a deep appreciation and passion for music. Katia came to the Twin Cities in 2006 to attend Macalester College, where she performed regularly in a cappella groups and other bands. After graduating, music was just a side note for a few years as she pursued a career in acting and theater education. But in 2013, she realized the significant lack of music in her life, and needed to make a change.
Making music in the Twin Cities has been a family tradition ever since her father, Mark Cardenas, joined The Time in 1983, appearing in Prince’s iconic film “Purple Rain,” and later playing in Jessie Johnson’s Revue. Her mother, singer-songwriter Janis Kelly, also began her music career here at that time. While the family left MN before she was born, Katia’s emergence on the local music scene in 2014 has not gone unnoticed. Deemed “one of the fastest rising stars on the Twin Cities jazz scene,” Jazz Police also called her “a young but veteran vocalist who can cover Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday, yet is equally adept at modern folk/pop/blues,” while Rhythm & Grooves (KFAI 90.6) says, “Katia Cardenas has the pipes to get over an R&B tune, but also has the instincts and subtlety to handle jazz standards.”
Since her debut Twin Cities performance in February 2014, she has collaborated with numerous local musicians, exploring different musical styles, including jazz, latin, R&B, and pop. She has also joined Casablanca Orchestra (CBO), the Midwest’s premiere show band. Katia is passionate about creating community around the arts and has engaged with numerous local artist networks including Jazz Central Studios, Twin Cities Cabaret Artists Network (TCCAN), Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education, and Minnesota Music Coalition. As an actor and administrator, she also works with local theater companies Teatro Del Pueblo, Pangea World Theater and TigerLion Arts. The people she’s met through the Twin Cities arts and music community are a huge part of where she is today; they are a constant inspiration, and reminder to pursue her dreams.Find out more »
Kevin Gastonguay has a B.A. in music performance from McNally Smith College of Music. For the past 8 years he has been very active in the Minneapolis music scene, performing nonstop with his own original groups and as a sideman for many of the top musicians in town. With a hunger to understand harmony and improvisation and a determination to master rhythm and feel, Kevin has become one of the most versatile and busiest keyboardists in the Twin Cities.
Kevin teaches at McNally Smith College of Music, Modern Day Music, and Minnesota Valley Conservatory of Music.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 »
Nikki Roux & Rich Rue are the core members of the ongoing musical group, Nikki & The RueMates. Together, they express some of America’s great musical past through voice, guitar and songwriting in their interpretation of classic female blues tunes (by artists such as Bessie Smith and Memphis Minnie), 60’s-like electric guitar sounds, and lyrics that are thoughtful, dreamy, sultry and unguarded. Rich’s blistering slide guitar solos and Nikki’s melodious singing create an intimate, joyful and refreshing musical experience.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 »
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 »
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 »
As a bandleader, composer, and sideman, Chris Lomheim is an integral part of the vibrant Twin Cities jazz scene.
“…unquestionably one of the finest piano trio recordings on the jazz landscape today.” – All About Jazz review of Chris’s latest recording, Timeline
As leader of the Chris Lomheim Trio he has produced 3 CD’s: And You’ve Been Waiting? (1994) featuring all original compositions, The Bridge (2002) featuring a mix of originals and a handful of standards, and Timeline (2014) featuring all originals. Chris was nominated best pianist in the 1997 Minnesota Music Awards, and was awarded the Minnesota State Arts Board “Artist Initiative” Grant for 2014.
Travis Anderson (piano), Steve Pikal (bass) and Nathan Norman (drums)
With energy and chops to burn, they bring fresh interpretations to standards and more- from Chopin to Mario Bros. They swing like there’s no tomorrow while saluting the great trios of yesterday.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.