Iowa-raised, Minneapolis-based Ben Cook-Feltz is a singer, songwriter, drummer and self-taught pianist. Combining observational, sometimes quirky lyrics with melodies that hearken back to the classic sounds of the 60′s and 70′s, he has been entertaining audiences throughout the Midwest as a dynamic performer, whether playing solo, with his crackerjack band, or backing up some of the finest regional talent. His new record, She Doesn’t Believe Me, will be released in October 2015.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 »
Jeremy Walker is a prolific composer and pianist who started playing the saxophone at age ten in his hometown of Minneapolis, MN. He was the founder of the club Brilliant Corners – voted by Downbeat magazine as “One of the 100 Great Jazz Clubs Worldwide,” and co-founder of the non-profit organization Jazz is NOW!– which launched with the Wynton Marsalis Quintet and surprise guest, Itzhak Perlman.
In 2003, City Pages voted Walker “Best Local Impresario” for his “community-conscious” programming. Turning to piano and composition in 2005, Walker earned recognition including a Jerome Foundation Travel/Study grant, and collaborations with TU Dance and Zenon Dance Company. He has performed with Vincent Gardner, Marcus Printup, Ted Nash, Ron Miles, Matt Wilson, JT Bates, and other notable musicians. In addition to commissions, Walker has written over 70 compositions for his bands: Small City Trio, Boot Camp, BOXCAR featuring Wessell “Warmdaddy” Anderson and Anthony Cox, The NOWnet, and The Bootet.
In 2014, Walker released his most ambitious recording to date: 7 Psalms. The album was released in March 2014 on CD Baby, iTunes and Amazon and was listed in Star Tribune as one of the 2014 albums in the Twin Cities Critics Tally with Walker listed as one of the “Jazz Heros” in Jazz Police.
In October 2014, Minnesota Orchestra named Walker Curator of the new Jazz in the Target Atrium series at Orchestra Hall bringing together national musicians with the regional Atrium Jazz Ensemble.Find out more »
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 »
Hailing from Minneapolis, Alex Rossi is a vocalist, guitarist and songwriter who has been performing professionally for over 15 years. With strong roots in blues, soul and funk, Rossi has created his own unique and recognizable sound from his diverse musical background. His performances most often include a 3 – 5 piece band and a crowd that never leaves the dance floor.
Rossi formed and fronted his band Root City in 1998, beginning as a blues trio and developing into a full band including a horn section and a fellow Minneapolis beatboxer, Heatbox. The band has been a mainstay of the Minneapolis music scene for a over a decade, holding down its legendary Wednesday night house gig at Gluek’s, which will come to an end in September 2015. He is also a cast member and co-creater of the Rhythmic Circus.
In 2013, Alex Rossi’s songwriting was recognized when he was selected as a finalist in the International Songwriting Competition. He has shared the stage with notable artists including Chicago, Steve Miller Band, Johnny Lang, Eric Hutchinson, Jimmie Vaughan, Blues Traveler, Morris Day & The Time, The Funk Brothers, Susan Tedeschi, Los Lonely Boys, and many others.Find out more »
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 »
Minnesota-based guitarist and composer Thomas Nordlund released his second album as a bandleader and producer, “Miles Left Behind,” May 7, 2018 on Shifting Paradigm Records.
Tracked in a single four-hour session with his quartet featuring Ben Abrahamson (banjo), Doan Roessler (bass), and Zach Schmidt (drums), “Miles Left Behind” picks up where his debut “Divide Avenue” left off, extending ideas about lyrical melody and non-standard form. It also contains elements of atmospheric sound design, processed from the sampled harmonics, open strings, and other noises of his guitars.
Opening tracks “Becoming” and “Even Long After” expand the vocabulary defined on “Divide Avenue” into more complex harmony, odd time signatures, and extended improvisation. A singular arrangement of “Aerial Boundaries” by Michael Hedges precedes the nostalgic slide-song “Where Summer Had Gone.” After reinterpreting the older “Wandering Daughter,” the record closes with the through-composed “Circling Plains” and a slow-burning arrangement of “Si” by Nils Frahm.Find out more »
Rick Carlson taught himself to play the piano by studying the vast works of Count Basie and Duke Ellington and capitalizing on a long string of happy accidents. He has also perfected the art of “circular drinking”, whereby he can sip martinis uninterrupted while still playing a cohesive piano solo.
He has been the pianist for the Wolverines Big Band since 1980. He is a sought-after accompanist by singers and has served as pianist and musical director for various local concert series, including those for the Twin Cities Jazz Society’s “J To Z” series, the Capri Theater’s “Legends” series, and for special presentations at the Heights Theatre and performing arts centers across the United States. He has performed on concert stages in London and New York City, and has appeared with Count Basie drummer Butch Miles, trumpeter Warren Vaché, New Orleans clarinetist Evan Christopher, and served as musical director, arranger and pianist in the Guthrie Theater’s presentation of “Coward’s Women”. He has opened for Rosemary Clooney, accompanied Kathryn Crosby in various cabaret shows, and counts Madeleine Peyroux among his many unwitting fans.
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 six 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 »