For Claudia Villela, music is a journey into spontaneity and inspiration, as her past recording projects with Toots Thielemans and Michael Brecker can attest. Raised in Rio de Janeiro, she absorbed the folkloric tradition of her native Brazil, as well as the influences of classical composers and American jazz. Her vocal improvisations and compositions encompass the full range of emotive sound, sometimes dramatic, sometimes humorous, but always fascinating. She has been dubbed by JazzTimes Magazine as a “…genius with a blistering voice…”
Kenny Werner has been a world-class pianist and composer for over forty years. His prolific output of compositions, recordings and publications continue to impact audiences around the world. In 1996 he wrote his landmark book, Effortless Mastery, Liberating The Master Musician Within. Werner has since created videos, lectured world-wide and authored many articles on how musicians, artists or even business people can allow their “master creator” within to lift their performance to its highest level, showing us how to be spontaneous, fearless, joyful and disciplined in our work and in our life.Find out more »
Iowa-raised, Minneapolis-based Ben Cook-Feltz is a singer, songwriter, drummer and self-taught pianist. Combining observational, sometimes quirky lyrics with melodies that hearken back to the classic sounds of the 60′s and 70′s, he has been entertaining audiences throughout the Midwest as a dynamic performer, whether playing solo, with his crackerjack band, or backing up some of the finest regional talent. His new record, She Doesn’t Believe Me, will be released in October 2015.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 »
Joanne Shaw Taylor has established herself as the UK’s number one star of the blues rock world. The girl with the big voice from the Black Country has toured extensively around the world, released critically acclaimed albums and gained a global fan base as well as having the honour of playing alongside some of her musical idols.
Joanne’s debut album, White Sugar, first opened the door and Joanne’s career has since gone stratospheric, with her breaking the notoriously hard-to-crack US market. She beat the stereotypes of her age and gender, gaining acclaim from critics and peers alike. Subsequent albums; Diamonds in the Dirt, Almost Always Never and Songs From The Road followed and saw Joanne’s fan base rise globally.
In 2014 Joanne reunited with her White Sugar album producer Jim Gaines and recorded her new studio album in Memphis. That album, The Dirty Truth, was a return to Joanne’s original sound that mixes rock riffs with blues influences. The album was released in the UK in September 2014 on Joanne’s own independent boutique label Axehouse Records to critical acclaim across the world and has already become her biggest selling album to date.
Joanne is a bona fide star with famous fans across the guitar world including Joe Bonamassa (who described her as a superstar in waiting), Tedeschi Trucks, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Wilko Johnson, Glenn Hughes, and John Mayall to name but a few.
Following international recognition in 2016 including performances on Later… With Jools Holland, BBC’s Glastonbury coverage and outstanding reviews for her latest album Wild, Joanne tours with a formidable force.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 »
“Berets and Bongos” describes the Café Accordion experience. A loungy, eclectic mix, full of French flare, Latin heat and Bohemian attitude. The heart of the Café Accordion repertoire is the romantic, gypsy-influenced valse-musette. The group complements the musettes with swing, ballads, tangos, cha chas, rumbas, and cumbias to create a wonderfully varied show. They inject their music with good humor and expressive abandon. Their high level of musicianship and passion for performance makes them an entertaining concert act as well as a great dance band.
CAO is led by Dan Newton on accordion and vocals, with Eric Mohring on mandolin, violin and vocals, Erik Lillestol on bass and vocals, Robert Bell on guitar and vocals and Joe Steinger on percussion. CAO has been delighting audiences and dancers alike since 1995. They have appeared in New York at the Lincoln Center’s Midsummer Night Swing series, the International Akkordeon Festival in Vienna, Austria, the Minnesota State Fair, as well as festivals, theaters and dance halls across the United States.Find out more »
Whether he is performing at popular venues in Minneapolis, around the mid-west or heading up programs teaching students about music, Joe Filipovich’s dedication to music is without question. When performing, Joe knows a vast variety of music and enjoys taking requests from the crowd to get the most crowd participation and interaction. He plays everything from classic rock, blues, southern rock, old country, and some pop acoustic songs. Joe released his debut album, “Release,” in early 2015. Since then, the Minnesota-based artist has enjoyed radio play in the United States and throughout Europe.
Not only content with performing, Joe also serves as a music teacher and promoter of Blues for Kids, a music education program he created at the non-profit organization, “Discover Music.” The program is known for organizing workshops at schools and festivals with the mission of teaching children of all ages about the Blues music genre with harmonica and guitar.
Joey will be bringing 17-year old Desiree to the stage, playing everything from classic rock, R&B, blues, soul, pop, and more!Find out more »
Dee Miller is a longtime Minnesota musician who has shared the stage with Koko Taylor, Janiva Magness, Bobby Messano as well as local favorites Lamont Cranston, Annie Mack, Renee Austin, Mick Sterling, and so many more incredible musicians. Guitarist Jimi “Primetime” Smith has been an integral part of the Dee Miller Band for the last three years- years that Dee counts as her best.
From her early days as a child listening to her mother singing the blues around the house in Maplewood, MN, Dee has been a singer. She first started singing along with Dionne Warwick and Aretha Franklin recordings as she crafted her skills. The sounds of Etta James, Bonnie Raitt, and Mahalia Jackson were part of a life spent singing as she walked down the railroad tracks that were right next door to her house. During these times, Dee realized the power of music and what a refuge it is for her.
Dee’s first professional gig was with the blues band “Minnesota Barking Ducks.” She also sang with bands such as “Liberty Street,” “Bottom Line,” “Night Train” with her dear friend Liz Cummings, and several others before she started the Dee Miller Band in 2004. Dee is also currently singing with “Who Nu.”
Dee has performed in many local music establishments. On a national level, Dee has performed in Chicago at Buddy Guy’s Legends, and in Washington D.C. at Madam’s Organ. Dee has also performed on stages in Memphis, San Francisco, Greenwich Village, Key Largo and Florence, Italy.
The Dee Miller Band is a two time winner of the Battle of the Blues Bands in Minneapolis. As the winner in 2015, the Dee Miller Band performed at the Lowertown Blues Festival as an opening act for Elvin Bishop and Walter Trout. The Dee Miller Band has performed at many other regional festivals.Find out more »
Acclaimed tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldana purveys explorative and deeply swinging original music, with Pablo Menares on bass and Jochen Rueckert on drums. These three musicians turn on a dime and project an uncommonly full orchestral sound, rich in spiritual intensity, all in the absence of a harmony instrument.
The title Back Home might seem to evoke Chile, where Aldana left in 2007 to pursue jazz in the U.S. In fact, Aldana reveals, Back Home “is not really related to Chile itself. It’s related to the first time I picked up the tenor and I heard Sonny Rollins.” The closing title track carries strong echoes of Rollins’ playful spirit, and reveals much about Aldana’s evolution from a 6-year-old alto player to “a bold new talent” (NPR), one of the most compelling and prodigious tenor saxophonists of her time. In fact, she wrote “Back Home” specifically for Rollins: “He was one of the first reasons I started playing trio, because the freedom that you have within the music, the interaction, the opportunity you have to express yourself and communicate with the other musicians.”
As a child Aldana studied with her renowned saxophonist father Marcos Aldana (son of saxophonist Enrique Aldana, whose Selmer Mark VI tenor Melissa performs with to this day). She began on alto but after hearing the landmark Sonny Rollins + 4 she switched to tenor and never looked back. Other important influences she cites range from Don Byas, Gene Ammons and Lucky Thompson to Chris Potter and Mark Turner.
In 2007 Aldana moved to Boston to enroll at Berklee, coming under the mentorship of tenor great George Garzone. Pianist Danilo Pérez and saxophonist Patricia Zarate provided Aldana with crucial support and guidance as well. In 2009 she took the plunge to New York and began apprenticing with greats such as Greg Osby and George Coleman, among others. In 2013 she became the first female instrumentalist and the first South American ever to win the Thelonious Monk Competition. She is also a recipient of the Martin E. Segal Award from Jazz at Lincoln Center and a double recipient of the Altazor Award, Chile’s highly prestigious national arts prize.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.