January 12-14 2018
We are super excited to announce that we are bringing back
Ben Polcer and the New Orleans Grinders
These amazing people will also be your music track instructors!
Ben Polcer (trumpet, piano) grew up at listening to jazz greats at his father’s famous New York music club, The Eddie Condon Jazz Club. After finishing his music degree at Michigan, he performed a variety of genres in New York before moving to New Orleans to play the early jazz music he loves in its birthplace. He plays with a variety of traditional jazz bands across the city including the local swing-dance heroes, the Loose Marbles. Ben is now running his own band, The New Orleans Six. He brings to every performance his passion for the collective ensemble style that makes the New Orleans jazz sound so distinct.
One of the top young jazz bandleaders in New Orleans, Ben Polcer has played and toured extensively with Loose Marbles, Baby Soda Jazz Band, Meschiya Lake & the Little Big Horns, and many other great jazz bands.
Since arriving in New Orleans, Ben has been a catalyst in the resurgence of talented young musicians playing traditional music at venues around the Big Easy. He has performed at Preservation Hall, The House of Blues, Fritzels Jazz Pub and all over Frenchmen Street, the city’s new center for traditional jazz.
He can also been seen leading bands at the Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown, the Seattle Lindy Exchange, and many of the other top swing dance festivals around the country.
An established bandleader, composer, performer and improviser, Aurora Nealand has become a prominent force in the New Orleans music scene since she first arrived in 2005. Combining the “formal education” – a music composition degree from Oberlin Conservatory and training at the Jacques Lecoq School of Physical Theatre in Paris – with the “informal” experience of playing music in the streets and clubs of New Orleans and throughout the northern Hemisphere, Nealand has emerged as an innovative, sensitive and daring music creator and performer.
She is most recognized for her performance on saxophones, clarinet and vocals and has been at the forefront of the revival of New Orleans Traditional Jazz amongst the younger generation of the city’s musicians. After playing and learning as a sideman in established New Orleans Bands for several years, (Panorama Jazz Band, VaVaVoom, The New Orleans Moonshiners), in 2010 she formed her own Traditional Jazz band “The Royal Roses”. The Royal Roses released it’s first album, “A Tribute to Sydney Bechet: Live at Preservation Hall” to national acclaim and Nealand was voted as one of Downbeat Magazines top ten rising stars for soprano saxophone in 2010.
Nealand grew up in a musical family in California listening to Preservation Hall Jazz Band recordings side by side with Stravinsky, Joan Baez and the Pixies. Later, during her time at Oberlin College/Conservatory she was exposed and fell in love with the recordings of Mingus, the soundscapes of Mort Subotnik and the performances of Laurie Anderson. With a strong interest in interdisciplinary work and sound for theatre and installation, she moved to Paris to study at the Ecole du Theatre Physical Jacques Lecoq. Upon returning to the states, she bicycled cross-country collecting audio interviews and stories in rural America to be used in a series of compositions about true “American Dreams”. This bicycle trip landed her in New Orleans, which has acted as her home base since 2005. In New Orleans she began playing traditional jazz, jazz manouche of Django Reinhardt, as well as Balkan/Klezmer music. She quickly became involved in the local improvisation scene as well, making frequent appearances at the Open Ears series playing her own compositions with various ensembles and artists.
Jason Jurzak (Kid KaBoom) Sousaphone/String Bass – was raised in a musical household with all forms of music surrounding him. His father, a well-known west coast traditional jazz trombone player and educator, instilled in Jason a love for the early styles of American music. A multi-instrumentalist and composer, Jason has traveled the world playing everything from reggae to ragtime, and his compositions have been aired on PBS, NPR, Sirius XM, the BBC and radio stations worldwide. In 2007, his love of early jazz brought him to New Orleans where he has quickly become a popular musician in the Frenchman Street music scene and traditional jazz clubs around the city. He now works with a wide variety of New Orleans musicians–from Meschiya Lake and Leroy Jones to Chris Thomas King and Bonerama–and can be heard most every night of the week. He resides in the French Quarter with his wife, Tatiana.
Russell is most well known for his work in The Russell Welch Hot Quartet, which is a premier New Orleans gypsy swing outfit, having performed for festivals, concerts, clubs, and vintage dance events in over 12 countries world wide. The RWH4 combines traditional acoustic hot jazz ala Django Reinhardt with the energy and unmistakable sound of New Orleans. The group has released three albums in the last three years: “Showarama Hot Trio” (all original) – nominated for best traditional jazz album 2012 by the Offbeat Music Awards (NOLA), “Pour Vous”, and, most recently, “MISSISSIPPI GIPSY” (all original).
Benji Bohannon has worked with many different bands before calling New Orleans home some of these include Bria Skonberg’s hot 5, the Jim Cullum Jazz band, and the Climax jazz band from Toronto. Recently he has been doing session work around New Orleans for a variety of bands both at home and abroad. He has performed in jazz blues and rock and roll festivals all over the world and covers a spectrum of styles.
In October of 2011, Nick won a pair of Aris Allens in the costume contest at his college scene’s Halloween dance. He’d only been at it for less than a month, but he decided that since he had these shoes, he might as well stick with this whole swing dancing thing. Five and a half years later and Nick is a student of all things swing. He has traveled upwards of 30 weekends a year to dance and to learn about swing dancing and swing music. He now serves as DJ Coordinator for the Knoxville Swing Dance Association and is a regular in the DJ rotation. The music’s gonna swing. No way around it. Nick’s library of swing music that is sure to bring any swing dancer to their feet with a smile on their face. Nick sees the music as the third partner in the dance, and his goal is to be that partner that you look forward to dancing with again and again.