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 »
Bottomless Pit features guitarist Joel Shapira, with an array of post-bop sounds including Pete Whitman on tenor saxophone, double-bassist Tom Lewis and the astonishing former Weather Report drummer Eric Kamau Gravatt.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 »
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 »
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 »
MSCM Faculty Combo:
Adam Meckler – trumpet
Scott Agster – trombone
Pete Whitman – saxophones
Chris Olson – guitars
Sean Turner – piano
Gary Raynor – bass
Dave Schmalenberger – drums
Adam has toured all over the world as a performer with bands such as Youngblood Brass Band, Jack Brass Band, Jana Nyberg Group, Lulu’s Playground, and A Love Electric (Ropeadope Records). He released his debut album with the Adam Meckler Orchestra, When the Clouds Look Like This, in Fall of 2014.Find out more »
Rhonda Laurie hails from New York City, where she grew up in a family of professional singers and performers. Rhonda began her career as a cabaret singer in Manhattan nightclubs. She has studied vocal jazz with Janet Lawson, Judy Niemack, Sheila Jordan and Jay Clayton.
Rhonda is regularly praised for her smooth vocals and savvy interpretations of jazz classics and less familiar repertoire. In 2007, Rhonda was featured in the Twin Cities Jazz Society Jazz from J to Z concert, “I Get a Kick Out of Cole.” From 2007-2008 she enjoyed a weekly run at Cavé Vin in Minneapolis. Laurie has performed at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival 6 times, and she is a fellow of the prestigious Cabaret Conference at Yale. From 2004-2008, she was founding President of the MN Chapter of the Jazz Vocal Coalition.
Whether swinging a la gypsy, straight-ahead jazz, or cabaret, her approach is modern and fresh, obscuring musical boundaries. In 2010 Rhonda released her first CD, “Rhonda Laurie & Sidewalk Café,” and is getting excellent reviews and radio play.Find out more »
Belle Amour is a world class jazz band that captures the essence of the era with a look and sound that connects the audience to the music in a fun and engaging way. Belle Amour is comprised of classically trained professional musicians. Members of Belle Amour have toured nationally and internationally with acclaimed artists. Music performance is our way of communicating with the world around us.Find out more »
Patty and The Buttons preach the gospel of hot rhythm and happy feet. The band is similar to what you would find in a dance hall, cafe or nightclub anywhere around the world between 1920-1940. Despite being an ensemble firmly rooted in tradition, the band presents their music without being shackled to history. They play their own compositions as well as takes on music of the era.
Patty’s eclectic taste gives the band diverse influences including New Orleans traditional jazz, western swing, Gypsy melodies, ragtime piano blues, jug music and 1930′s popular song. The core instrumentation of accordion, clarinet, guitar and bass is light and swift, but also melancholic and lush when it needs to be.
Patty, mostly known as an accordionist, doubles as the band’s vocalist. His voice is inspired most by the old time hollers and croons from the dawn of recording once described as “Tom Waits meets Rudy Vallee.” More than anything, The Buttons is a group that is always enjoying themselves… Which seems to give audiences permission to do the same.Find out more »
Steve V and The Knockouts serve up high-energy, post-war Chicago blues, Memphis-soul, and West-coast swing with the kind of polished, professional show that has become a lost art in today’s “blues” scene. Boom Boom Steve is a 2016 inductee to the Minnesota Blues Hall of Fame, and for good reason! Steve and his band – featuring fellow MN blues hall of famer, Dan Schwalbe – have played alongside and backed up some of the biggest names in the biz – including James Cotton, Jonny Lang, The Blasters, Buddy Guy, Gary Primich, Bryan Lee, R.J. Mischo, and Hubert Sumlin, just to name a few.Find out more »