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Being a part of the music community in Minnesota is a gift to every artist, listener and participant.  The stage of Vieux Carré is rich with history and whispers of musicians past. Today the tradition continues with a varied schedule highlighting local talents in many different genres with a focus on jazz, soul, blues, and the magic of each.  Patrons and artists share the room to commune in the celebration of life and each other.

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Past Events

August 2018

$7

Twin Cities Hot Club

August 8 @ 8:00 pm - 11:00 pm

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 Police

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$6

Maryann and the Money Makers

August 9 @ 8:00 pm - 11:00 pm

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.

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$10

Jana Nyberg Group

August 10 @ 9:00 pm - August 11 @ 12:00 am

Since moving back home to the Twin Cities in 2008, Jana has become a force in the jazz scene. With an appearance on season 10 of American Idol, and the release of several full-length albums, Jana is moving forward full steam. Known for her unique blend of jazz and pop music, she is a sought after performer and recording artist. On stage, she brings a vibrancy and passion that is infectious and ignites her audiences. With three records to date and a new one in progress, she shows no signs of slowing down.

Winter Song, the band’s third full length album, is done in true JNG style. A mix of poppy, fun, original music and jazz classics is something we’ve come to expect from the band. Despite what the title might suggest, this 13-track album features a slew of original music enjoyable any time of the year. There are also those winter favorites that you’ve come to expect when a band does an album for the season. Jana’s husband, trumpeter Adam Meckler, is featured singing along with Jana on “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”, “Águas de Março”, and the title track (an original tune with a rock flavor). The JNG breathes new life into standard winter fare with their renditions of “Santa Baby”, “Let it Snow,” and other traditional tunes.

Whenever the Jana Nyberg Group takes the stage the audience is all smiles. Nyberg’s sparkling personality and warm, smokey vocals are the perfect winter elixir.

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$10

Katy Vernon Band

August 11 @ 9:00 pm - August 12 @ 12:00 am

“One of the Twin Cities’ most beloved folky singer/songwriters.” – Star Tribune

Born and raised in London, UK, Katy now calls Minnesota home. She has written songs for as long as she can remember and is always happiest when she’s singing, even when dealing with some pretty tough challenges. Katy’s debut solo release was ‘Before I Forget’. This was both a tribute to her parents, whom she lost as a teen, but also an embrace of her new solo direction after discovering the ukulele and the songwriting it inspired.

In a deliberate effort to use her writing to move beyond the grief and sadness of her earlier work Katy wrote the song ‘Pearl’ which she released as a single prior to this full length release. Each song on ‘Present’ is an exploration of the effort to embrace the here and now. Exploring the realities of life, the good and the bad, without being numbed or sugar coated.

Katy Vernon has also used her enthusiasm and knowledge of the local ukulele scene to organize and perform at her successful Annual Uke Fest Concert, now expanded to a two night celebration and fundraiser benefitting Arc GTC. Katy has been featured on TPT’s Almanac, WCCO’s Women Who Rock, The Current, KFAI, and more.  In addition to clubs and festivals she has performed at venues including The Guthrie, The Cowles Center with the James Sewell Ballet, and even the Fitzgerald Theater with Garrison Keillor!

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$7

Shifting Paradigm Records Residency: Atlantis Quartet

August 14 @ 8:00 pm - 11:00 pm

Atlantis Quartet has emerged as a leading voice in the Twin Cities’ burgeoning modern jazz scene since its inception in 2006. The group features four of Minnesota’s most exciting young jazz artists, saxophonist Brandon Wozniak, guitarist Zacc Harris, bassist Chris Bates, and drummer Pete Hennig. They have come together in this setting to create and explore fresh and original sounds in the heart of and on the edges of the jazz idiom. The ensemble’s blend of complexity and accessibility has proven a perfect fit for all listeners.

Though the group is primarily focused on new and original music, it has honored its influences with dynamic performances the at the Dakota Jazz Club of two classic albums in their entirety; John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme in 2008 and Herbie Hancock’s Head Hunters in 2009. Atlantis Quartet’s renditions were met with great praise from audiences and critics alike, invoking a handful of encore performances.

“What is abundantly clear is that each of the members of Atlantis Quartet are highly skilled musicians who have invested themselves heavily to develop their individual approaches…Together, they sound genuinely inspired… Atlantis Quartet is a versatile group of jazz musicians whose music evidences their understanding and appreciation of important jazz influences – influences that they have assimilated into their own individual and group creativity.” -Jazz Improv Magazine

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Acadian Heritage Event

August 15 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

“Scattered to the Winds” – The Acadian Deportations, 1755 – 1764 A French-American Heritage Foundation Heritage Event Celebrating National Acadian Day in Canada Presentation at 7pm by Dr. Marty Guidry Dr. Marty Guidry is a “Cajun” from Baton Rouge, Louisiana who will talk on the Acadian deportation of 1755, with the reasons for the deportation, why they deported to the Atlantic seaboard and to France and England, and then into the actual phases of the deportation. He will give his…

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$8

New Riverside Ramblers

August 15 @ 8:00 pm - 11:00 pm

The New Riverside Ramblers band brings high-energy Cajun dance music from the prairies and bayous of south Louisiana up the Mississippi River to the Minneapolis – St. Paul, Minnesota area. The band’s compelling version of Cajun French music blends many influences from different south Louisiana communities, and includes two-steps, waltzes and blues. The members of the band have been immersed in Cajun music for many years. They have studied and performed with Cajun music greats such as Dewey Balfa, Tracy Schwarz, Steve Riley, Marc & Ann Savoy, DL Menard, Eddie LeJeune, Calvin Carriere, Lionel Leleux, and others.

The New Riverside Ramblers have been playing together for over 25 years for dances, festivals, parties, and other special events. Although the band usually performs as a 5-piece with bass and percussion, they also perform as an acoustic trio with Cajun accordion, fiddle, rhythm guitar, and French vocals.

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$8

Mae Simpson Band

August 16 @ 8:00 pm - 11:00 pm

Originally from Beaufort, South Carolina, Mae Simpson spent her formative years knowing that there were plans to do bigger things in life. Mae set out from the South at a young age and began her musical career in Omaha, Nebraska. At the age of 21 Mae headed north to Minneapolis.

By November of 2017, Mae joined her vocal and guitar talents with Jorgen Wadkins on guitar and Ricardo Romero on percussion. Influenced by blues, soul, funk and folk, the trio quickly realized their collaborative efforts had a sound worth pursuing. The band quickly added Keaton Judy on saxophone, Paul Pederson on trumpet, Dave Kellermann on bass and drummer Scott Thomson.

Whether the venue is small and intimate, or raucous and roaring, the band members’ contagious  connection draws the audience into each note.

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$10

Debbie Duncan

August 17 @ 9:00 pm - August 18 @ 12:00 am

Debbie Duncan may be considered the upper Midwest’s “best-kept-musical secret,” but she has become a local legend and treasure in her home of Minneapolis. Her personality, vitality, and versatility all contribute to that fact. She is a terrific entertainer, and this is certainly part of her appeal.

The Twin Cities’ “First Lady of Song” as she is so often referred to by media people, club owners, and dj’s, is a stunning and versatile vocalist who captivates audiences and jazz musicians. Minneapolis Star Tribune reports “She’s superb on funky upbeat workouts, tender ballads and all kinds of jazz numbers; she energizes the ordinary and puts her stamp on just about everything she does.”

“Duncan’s a terrific entertainer… But more than that, she’s a superb singer – probably the finest in an area that boasts some excellent female vocalists… She showed just how good she is… when she tackled ballads, bebop, blues to some scat choruses reminiscent of Sarah Vaughan and finally to a concluding soul shot.. She sang with abandon, yet with control which most singers never learn.” -Bob Protzman, St Paul Pioneer Press

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$10

Jeff Ray/Hurricane Harold & the Altered Stakes

August 18 @ 9:00 pm - August 19 @ 12:00 am

Musicians from the Midwest have a knack for reinventing tradition. Jeff Ray is no exception. Go to any one of his performances and you’ll hear his fans say the same thing, “his music sounds old and new at the same time”.

Born and raised in Minnesota, Ray left home at the age of 17 to cut his teeth in Memphis. It was through those travels that he developed his unmistakable “East-meets-West” bluesy Americana sound.

Joining Jeff and Harold will be MN Blues Hall of Famer Donald ” Hye Pockets” Robertson (Luther Allison, Willie Murphy, RAMM) on percussive hand drum and Josh Granowski, an in demand bass player who covers many genres excellently.

Musicians from the Midwest have a knack for reinventing tradition. Jeff Ray is no exception. Go to any one of his performances and you’ll hear his fans say the same thing, “his music sounds old and new at the same time.” Born and raised in Minnesota, Ray left home at the age of 17 to cut his teeth in Memphis. It was through those travels that he developed his unmistakable “East-meets-West” bluesy Americana sound.

Watch closely and you’ll see Jeff Ray’s thumb keep the bass note thumping while he glides a glass slide seamlessly across the fret board. At the same time, his foot drives a heavy backbeat on a homemade portable front porch while an electronic tanpura drones at his side.

Jeff Ray and his lineup of guest musicians have been featured at a number of high-profile venues, including the Taste of Minnesota, the Porcupine Mountains Festival, Deep Blues Festival, Highland Fest, Acoustic Sounds Café (NPR), and Radio Heartland (NPR), to name a few. He has shared stages with Chris Smither, Justin Townes Earle, Indigenous, Spider John Koerner, Earl Greyhound, the Black Diamond Heavies, Pat Donohue, Retribution Gospel Choir, Dawes, Charlie Parr, James Hunter, Marcia Ball, and many more.

In 2009, Ray won second place in the Spotlight Songwriter Competition in Minneapolis, MN and in 2010, Jeff Ray and Harold Tremblay (harmonica) won first place in the Greater Twin Cities Blues Society’s ‘Road to Memphis’ competition. They were selected to represent Minnesota at the 2011 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN.

“a quality that could only come by blending the birthplaces of Bob Dylan and the delta blues.”
– Des Moines Register

“The clarity and precision of Ray’s bottleneck playing, as it swoops and dives through his vocal lines, is so well-honed and has such an alluringly liquid quality that it puts him in a league with the best on the planet. Folks such as Ry Cooder, David Lindley and Bob Brozman have nothing on this young virtuoso.” – Duluth News Tribune

“Ray’s honeyed vocals and deft slide guitar stylings offer blues fare more contemplative than gritty, with a vibe that’s equally indebted to Ravi Shankar, Nick Drake, and Greg Brown. Simply lovely.” – mnartists.org

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Musicians from the Midwest have a knack for reinventing tradition. Jeff Ray is no exception. Go to any one of his performances and you’ll hear his fans say the same thing, “his music sounds old and new at the same time”.

Born and raised in Minnesota, Ray left home at the age of 17 to cut his teeth in Memphis. It was through those travels that he developed his unmistakable “East-meets-West” bluesy Americana sound.

Joining Jeff and Harold will be MN Blues Hall of Famer Donald ” Hye Pockets” Robertson (Luther Allison, Willie Murphy, RAMM) on percussive hand drum and Josh Granowski, an in demand bass player who covers many genres excellently.

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.

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