Jon Pemberton is a Minneapolis/St. Paul based jazz musician, enjoying an active career as trumpeter, pianist, teacher and composer. Jon was born in the small town of Fergus Falls, Minnesota where his interest in music was evident at an early age.
Jon began a career in private teaching (brass and piano) which lasts to this day. He has taught thousands of students, many of whom perform in the area’s top youth orchestras, and some of whom have gone on to their own professional careers. Jon also began his performance career after graduating from college. In these years he focused on the trumpet, landing sideman gigs with many of the area’s top bands and musicians. In addition, Jon has formed his own jazz quintets, The PemberTones and Tribute to Lee Morgan.Find out more »
Formed in 1998, Grand Marquis has since become solidly rooted in the Kansas City music scene as one of the hardest-working bands in the region, playing over 100 shows per year! The group has performed from coast to coast, released 7 albums, including a 7″ 45 rpm vinyl record/CD combo recorded at the legendary Sun Studio in Memphis, TN. With their own versatile and thoroughly entertaining brand of American roots, blues and Prohibition-era jazz, the Grand Marquis are consistently finding themselves in high demand.
Ben Ruth: upright bass, sousaphone, backing vocals; Chad Boydston: trumpet, backing vocals; Ryan Wurtz: electric and acoustic guitars; Trevor Turla: trombone, backing vocals; Fritz Hutchison: drums, backing vocals; Bryan Redmond: lead vocals; soprano, alto, tenor & baritone saxophones.Find out more »
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 »
with Leslie Rich & Rocket Soul Choir
Annie is a song and dance man in an open relationship with music. She longs for temporary amnesia and all it brings. She could be a musician, a photographer, actress, concubine, weapons manufacturer, or a rocket scientist wearing a really cool apron from the fifties. She can appreciate the concept of the “proximity fuse” for both its ring and metaphoric pizazz, and enjoys the commitment that truly red lipstick demands. She listens to her favorite songs over and over again, dooming them to love, and likes the smell of books, even new ones. She believes songwriting is an act of spiritual archeology and so sifts through words to find bones of song, telling stories about being a person in a world full of people. Annie relies on the artistry, thick invention, and dig-right-down-into-it-ness of the Bang Bangs: the stacked chording and “just what the song wants” guitar of John Riedlinger, the stealthy bass-shark that is Tom Penney, and the heavy adventure and sharp-corner-turning of new drummer, Mike Kittel (the band thanks Chadly Koppenhaver who gave much, but wanted to move on).
The band values energy, theatricality, animal intelligence, beautiful mischief that holds some truth, and the mild perversion of total frankness. They’re alt rock grunge meets late 60s dark rock, if you must know, with something heavier thrown in, like a chocolate anvil.Find out more »
with Leslie Rich & Rocket Soul Choir
Leslie Rich, guitar
Pete Boulger, drums
Jason Wahl, bass
Leslie grew up in Belfast in the 70’s, when it was the norm to have soldiers patrolling the streets and to be searched by a heavily armed police force just to go shopping downtown.
He turned to music to stay out of trouble and started performing solo shows in many of the city’s bars. He was privileged enough to open for many of his idols over that time. In 1994 The Rocket Soul Choir was formed, growing a following and releasing two albums on Northern Ireland’s, Immortal Recordings label – 1999’s Geek Love and 2001’s The Written Lie. This version of the band toured Ireland, the UK and Scandinavia.
On a solo trip through the Midwest back in 1997 he met Jason Wahl and Michael Jorgensen from the band Homo Jenkins and they started to perform together off and on as the RSC. This was a major factor in Leslie’s decision to emigrate in 2004 and now considers Minneapolis to be his home.
During the years since emigrating, Leslie became the principal songwriter, guitarist and singer for bands like A Little Of The Ready and the Celtic folk band, Hounds Of Finn. Jason and Michael meanwhile went on to join Minnesota punk band, The Skullcranes, but in October 2014 Jason and Leslie started to talk again about the RSC. Jason suggested Minneapolis music scene stalwart, Pete Boulger, who had been introduced earlier while drumming for Church Of Cash.
Mike Cramer is a stylistically versatile multi-instrumentalist, an award-winning performer, and educator. He began playing guitar at the age of 7 and performing publicly at 10. His first musical love was acoustic blues and the Quad Cities, near his hometown of LeClaire, Iowa, provided the opportunity for him to learn from local blues players—as well as the many national blues artists as they came through town. By the time he was in high school his musical interests expanded to include jazz and by his senior year he was gigging two nights a week playing jazz.
Cramer studied music at the University of Northern Iowa where he earned a BA in Music with a minor in jazz studies in 2000. After moving to the Twin Cities in 2003 he began seriously digging into flatpicking guitar. In 2012 Mike won the Minnesota State Flatpicking Championship after several years placing in the top five.
An active performer, Mike is an in-demand guitarist and mandolin player in the Twin Cities. He has shared the stage with or opened for John Hartford, Steve Kaufman, B.B. King, Tommy Castro, Chris Duarte, Gordon Goodwin, and Terell Stafford.
“An Illinois native who grew up in northern Minnesota, Josh Granowski began playing the contrabass at age 11, soon followed by bass guitar. As a teen he studied with a classical cellist and played punk/thrash/rock music as well as jazz. Since moving to the Twin Cities in 2004, Josh has played festivals and local gigs, and has been very active in the local improvisation and experimental music community. He performs with Large Marge, Bookhouse Trio, Baby Demons Trio, Painted Saints, Aby Wolf, Amethyst Three, Merciless Ghost, and others.” – 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 »
Steven Hobert describes himself as a soul who plays, sings and dances while exploring life’s mysteries. His genre-blending piano, accordion and vocal music has been described as “delightful, innovative and viscerally inspiring” that “dazzles audiences with sincerity and playfulness to open up hearts and fire imaginations.” Based out of Minneapolis, he tours as a soloist, leads the world beat-driven ensemble FireFlyForest, performs with the chamber-jazz ensemble Lulu’s Playground (accordion, trumpet, guitar and cello), and works as a free-lance producer, composer and instrumentalist for countless shows with vocalists and ensembles doing jazz, klezmer, sacred music, Americana, classical, rock and Latin American music.
Through his authentic and vulnerable expression, Steven aims to be a musical vehicle to spark inspiration, compassionate connection, and facilitate community & healing.Find out more »
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 »
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 »
The Twin Cities Hot Club (TCHC) represents Minnesota in the burgeoning revival of gypsy jazz originally popularized by Django Reinhardt, Stephane Grappelli and the Hot Club of France. They recreate not only the famous la pompe that distinguishes this romantic brand of acoustic jazz but also gypsy bossa nova, musette, bolero, and swing. TCHC perform this timeless deep-rooted music that is physical, alive and speaks directly to the heart.
TCHC formed in September of 2004 and have been sharing their expressive, “hot” style with audiences ever since. The group has been featured on KBEM Jazz 88.5fm, Minnesota Public Radio, and has received rave reviews in Vintage Guitar Magazine, Acoustic Guitar Magazine, the Twin Cities Jazz Society Newsletter and the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Notable performances include: author Michael Dregni’s book release Django: the Life and Music of a Gypsy Legend, Twin Cities Hot Summer Jazz Festival, Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown, Midwest Lindyfest, Minnesota Sur Seine with Dorado Schmitt, Minnesota State Fair and the Uptown Row Django Jazz Festival, to name a few.
“These guys swing hard at all times while never masking the emotional nuances and melodic tone. And it’s a treat to sit back and listen to, and watch, acoustic strings.” -Jazz PoliceFind out more »