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 »
Erica West is strong, confident, and sultry right out of the box. Her striking looks and mesmerizing vocals make an immediate impression on the senses. In a uniquely captivating way, Erica brings a beautiful fusion of soulful, R&B, pop, jazz and blues inspired melodies to the microphone. But do not let her silky vocals fool you. Erica’s vocal style is both powerful and sultry influenced by female vocalists such as Barbara Streisand, Whitney Houston, Sade, Nina Simone, Shirley Horn, Anita Baker, Sarah McLachlan, Lizz Wright, Goapele and Jill Scott.
Erica loves the true art of musicianship, lyrical content, beautiful melodies and music that demonstrates true emotional expression. With hypnotic phrasing, subtle shading, and a powerful range, she offers that emotional experience, holding you spellbound from the first note to the last. There’s a passion that vibrates off of her and raptures her audience. That makes it easier than ever to separate her from the rest.Find out more »
In a career spanning over 45 years, pianist and clarinetist Butch Thompson has earned a world-wide reputation as a traditional jazz and ragtime master. He tours widely as a soloist or at the helm of any of his several ensembles, including his well-known Butch Thompson Trio, his eight-piece Jazz Originals band, the Butch Thompson Big Three, or his unique blues duo with fingerstyle guitarist Pat Donohue.
In 1974, he joined the staff as the house pianist of public radio’s A Prairie Home Companion. By 1980, the show was nationally syndicated, and the Butch Thompson Trio was the house band, a position the group held for the next six years.
In addition to extensive touring (he has traveled the world from Cairo to Tokyo) as a soloist and with his trio and 8-piece Jazz Originals Band, he finds time to write and teach. His writing has appeared in various magazines including Down Beat and The Mississippi Rag, and among his teaching credits are residencies at the American University in Cairo and the New England Conservatory of Music.Find out more »
Composer, arranger, producer, guitarist Dean Magraw has fine-tuned his “Heavy Meadow” approach to music from years of performing and recording with some of the finest musicians in the United States, Europe, and Japan. His first recording, Broken Silence, came out in 1994 and won the NAIRD award for Best Acoustic Instrumental Album of the Year.
Dean has since produced myriad passionate albums, including his latest release, Fire on the Nile (Red House Records), a duo collaboration with renowned percussionist, Eric Kamau Gravatt.
“Dean Magraw… so liquid, lyrical and effortless it’s like listening to a dancer.” -Steve Tibbetts
“Dean Magraw unveils soulful melodic grooves intricately designed to heal the broken dancer, confuse the boldest mathematician, and eradicate ennui in our lifetime.” -Nick LethertFind out more »
The only place in town to find a whole night of the music of Louis Armstrong! The Southside Aces Big Five plays King Oliver Louis. They play Hot Fives Louis. They play big band Louis. They play All Star Louis. All for seven lousy bucks!
The Southside Aces Big Five is:
Josh Granowski-string bass
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 »
Listening to Miss Myra and The Moonshiners is like taking a swig of Tennessee’s finest moonshine; it’s smooth, with a kick. The Moonshiners deliver the sultriest mix of vintage jazz and barrelhouse blues and nothing but the highest proof tunes can satisfy Miss Myra’s soul. She belts melodies hearkening back to the roots of America’s original art form, invoking the powerful vocals of Bessie Smith with the silkiness of Lil Green, while the talented instrumentalists in her band shine through with the perfect accompaniment.Find out more »
Singer/songwriter Rena Haus rolls folk music, blues, and jazz into unforgettable performances that are somehow always intimate no matter the venue. Her music is like the sound track of our common human experience, creating a personal connection with her audience. She draws listeners close with her unassuming talent and absolute sincerity, whether playing solo, in an acoustic duo with John Wilber, or with her trio consisting of Ed Pesche on electric guitar and brother Bob Haus on the fretless bass.
Rena left a very successful musical career in Phoenix to help save her family’s 1881 homestead farm. Minnesota music lovers have benefited greatly, for in addition to performing in many venues around the state, she’s been heard on NPR’s “Prairie Home Companion” and “Car Talk” (The Mechanic’s Tune) as well as radio stations KFAI, KUMD, and KVSC. She’s played with, or opened shows for, artists like Chico Chisum, Marc Cohn, Iris Dement, Alison Krauss, Spider John Koerner, Maria Muldaur, Loudon Wainright III, and at least a dozen other artists you’d recognize.
Like the late, great, Dave Ray said, “This chick can pick!”.Find out more »
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 PressFind 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 »
“Annie Mack is a real find. Her songs are testimony to the power of music and how it can change lives.”
-Colorado Blues Society
“In a blues world overrun with bad-mama posturing on one hand and hoochie-mama silliness on the other, it’s refreshing to hear a lyricist with deeper ideas on her mind.”
– David Whiteis/ Living Blues Magazine
“I am a student of my environment,” Annie Mack’s reply to the question of songwriting inspiration is blunt and honest, exactly like the woman herself. “I am a student of my immediate surroundings, my work surroundings, my Church surroundings. When I write a song, I ask myself, ‘Do I feel something? Is my idea powerful enough for me to cry or laugh, or force me to think?’”
Annie is branded as a blues singer, but she is so far out of the realm of standard blues that she not only defies the category but has created a whole, new identity for herself and her music. Her first record, Baptized in the Blues, rings with roots tinged gospel tunes and retro Motown soul, then shuffles easily to a classic country beat complete with the lonesome drone of a pedal steel. Annie’s voice is unique, bold and charismatic; never sharp or shrill. She is a natural born singer, true to her own style and dedicated to the ideals that music is a prime communicator and healer.Find out more »
In Cyrus Chestnut’s hands the piano isn’t so much an instrument as a soul-powered chariot that swings with abandon, carrying listeners along on a joyous ride.
A standout since his student days at Berklee, Chestnut spent formative years accompanying vocalese legend Jon Hendricks, anchoring the quintessential young lion quintet of Terence Blanchard and Donald Harrison, and touring with Wynton Marsalis. But he credits his early 1990s stint in vocal explorer Betty Carter’s band with radically expanding creative vision.
At his most ebullient leading a trio, Chestnut is joined by two superlative masters. Best known for his performance on Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew and the sparkplug for Chick Corea’s beloved fusion band Return to Forever, Lenny White has amassed a well-deserved reputation as one of the drumming world’s powerhouses. Bassist Buster Williams is one of jazz most esteemed and versatile collaborators who has contributed to hundreds of albums with everyone from McCoy Tyner and Bobby Hutcherson to Larry Coryell and Nancy Wilson. The trio has developed a beautiful chemistry as evidenced on the pianist’s newest recordings.
“There is something inspired and kinetic about [Chestnut’s] playing with Williams and White, as if they are all three trying to push each other to discover new avenues of expression.” – All Music GuideFind out more »