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 »
Adam Meckler is a trumpet player, composer and educator living in Minneapolis, MN. The Adam Meckler Orchestra, his 18 piece big band, released When the Clouds Look Like This in September of 2014. Later that year it was listed among 2014’s Best Jazz Releases on iTunes.
Adam holds Faculty positions in Trumpet, Jazz and Music Theory at McNally Smith College of Music, and MacPhail Center for Music. He tours with Youngblood Brass Band among others, and plays regularly with a host of bands around the Twin Cities including Nooky Jones, The Jana Nyberg Group, The Graydon Peterson Quartet and The Pete Whitman X-Tet. His latest release is with his Quintet, Wander, is now available.Find out more »
Joel Shapira is a top performing classical and jazz guitarist based in the Twin Cities. His educational background includes studies with some of the world’s greatest players and teachers including jazz legends Joe Pass, Tal Farlow and Gene Bertoncini, as well as master classical instructor Alan Johnston. A native of St. Paul, Joel attended Berklee School of Music in Boston and The Mannes School of Music in New York City where he lived, performed and taught for eight years.Find out more »
At 20 years-old and already an acclaimed performer on the Twin Cities jazz scene, pianist and composer Will Kjeer has not constrained his resume to his home state. He has performed as a bandleader and sideman around the U.S. and in Canada at venues in the Twin Cities (Artists Quarter, Vieux Carre’, Jazz Central, Studio Z, Black Dog, Icehouse), at the Twin Cities and Iowa City Jazz Festivals, and at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC, the Lighthouse Cafe in Los Angeles, and the Upstairs Jazz Club in Montreal, Quebec.
Will attended high school at the Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, later completed a post-high school program at Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan before beginning his performance degree at the California Institute of the Arts, and now continuing at McGill University. Before high school graduation, he played piano with the Dakota Combo for two years, spent a year with the Minnesota Youth Jazz Bands, and was Youth Artist in Residence for the PipJazz Foundation. He’s also a three-year member of Steve Kenny’s Group 47 and founding member of Hoaxer. Will has been invited to participate in international and competitively-selected programs, including Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute in 2016 and the 2017 class of Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead. He has been fortunate to learn from mentors such as Billy Childs, Jason Moran, Rufus Reid, Reuben Rogers, Xavier Davis, and Ralph Peterson. He currently studies with acclaimed international pianist Jean-Michel Pilc. – Andrea CanterFind out more »
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 »
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 »
“Daddy Squeeze” has been playing offbeat accordion music since 1987, when he won the Nebraska State Accordion Contest at the Czech Festival in Wilber, Nebraska. He has used the squeeze box for playing all kinds of music not normally associated with free-reed instruments, as well as standard accordion material.
Daddy Squeeze also enjoys mixing up styles and genres that don’t generally seem compatible. “Music out of context”, or “Ethno-clectic Bop” is the result of his gender-bending experiments with Celtic, Tex-Mex, Creole, Blues, Jazz, Scandinavian, Polka and pop music.Find out more »
At Vieux Carré, every last Friday of the month is the Best Friday Ever! The Southside Aces sextet plays a century’s worth of New Orleans jazz. They travel from Louis Armstrong to Jelly Roll Morton to Preservation Hall, with stops along the way at Duke Ellington and Bix Beiderbecke. From Buddy Bolden to Lady Gaga! What?! You heard right. That’s why this is the Best Friday Ever.
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 »
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 »
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 »