Bruce Henry, Debbie Duncan & Gwen Matthews

Bruce Henry, Debbie Duncan & Gwen Matthews

Fri · September 8, 2017

7:30 pm

$0.00 - $10.00

Guarantee Your Seat

This show is no cover but you can guarantee your seat for $15.

Bruce Henry
Bruce Henry
Bruce Henry “possesses a three and one-half octave range, a pure voice with versatility and depth that few can match” (CD Baby). Born in West Point, Mississippi, he moved to Chicago as a young child and was already singing in the family’s Baptist church by age 5. His pianist father immersed young Bruce in the music of Basie and Ellington. Although initially studying classical music at the Chicago Conservatory of Music, his love of improvisation led Henry to the music of Nina Simone, Al Jarreau, and John Coltrane. Absorbing eclectic styles of vocals and composition while touring the world, Bruce has garnered a large following in France and the Far East, and has been heard live on the BBC as well as on movie soundtracks. Over his career, Bruce has performed on such exotic and legendary international stages as the Malate in Manila, the Klezmer Festival in Israel, Le Bilboquet in Paris, the WhitBread in London, the Coconut Grove in Miami, the Waldorf Astoria in New York, and Grand Wailea in Maui.

A Minneapolis resident for over 30 years, Henry maintained a nonstop schedule of performing, recording, and teaching before his move back to Chicago. In addition to private lessons, his educational efforts include workshops on creativity, vocal performance and Afro-American musicology, including the inspirational workshop, “Evolution of African American Music.” He served on the faculty of McNally Smith College in St. Paul and as the Music Director for the Hands On Child Care Center for children age 5-16. He also served as the first President of the local chapter of the Jazz Vocal Coalition (later the Jazz Vocalists of Minnesota). Bruce has appeared frequently at local music venues, concert halls, and the Freedom Jazz Festival. He was the guest vocalist with the Ramsey Lewis band at Orchestra Hall and toured with Joe Vass’s The Soul of Gershwin project in 2009. In 2012, he performed a tribute to Marvin Gaye at the Hopkins Center for the Arts, and has appeared as guest artist for Jazz @St. Barneys in Plymouth. Other recent projects include tributes to Ellington and Gershwin, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, soul music, and “Afro-Blue.”
Debbie Duncan
Debbie Duncan
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. Most importantly, however, “she’s a superb vocalist, probably the finest in the area/” [Bob Protzman, St. Paul Pioneer Press]

Debbie was raised in Detroit by parents steeped in jazz, and was surrounded by the vibrant sound of Motown that was sweeping the country. She also has a strong love of folk, classical, and gospel music. The combination of these influences has given her the ability to blue the lines between jazz and popular music, and to sing with a rare level of emotional conviction that draws the audience into the heart of a song. She can move from a whisper to a fever pitch in the breath of a phrase and testigy in a way that commands the listeners rapt attention. Her choice of songs reflects her background. It ranges from jazz standards by great American composers to obscure bluesy sounds [bu Oscar Brown, Jr.] to popular music [by writers like Carol King]. Always, the treatment is Debbie’s alone.

Debbie hones her skills through years of experience. She studied classical voice for 14 years, including 4 years at Wayne State University. In Detroit she recorded back-up vocals for Mitch Ryder and Bob Seger. She then spent several years in the Los Angeles music scene recording back-up vocals for various artists and performing with her own jazz groups in popular nightclub settings.

Originally brought to Minneapolis by Rupert’s Nightclub. This ambitious and widely popular new club featured only the strongest performers and a crack 10-piece band. Jon Bream of the Minneapolis Star and Tribune raved: “Duncan is quite simply the star of the show… she’s superb on funky upbeat workouts, tender ballads and all kinds of jazz numbers; she energizes the ordinary and puts her stamp on everything she does.”

She soon got noticed by the rest of the Twin Cities music community and began working extensively with her own trio. Composed of master pianist Don Stille, bassist Gary Raynor [formerly in Sammy Davis Jr’s trio] and Phil Hey [one of the finest bop drummers in the Midwest], they found themselves in constant demand. Debbie has since then surrounded herself with some of the Twin Cities finest musicians creating many different sound, colors, and textures.

She started collecting awards; Best Female Jazz Vocalist, Best Jazz Vocalist, Best Female Performer, Best Jazz Group, Best Jazz CD: Minnesota Music Awards; Best Female Jazz Vocalist: Minnesota Black Music Awards.

As her reputation grew, touring musicians began to learn about her and inviting her to sit in on their performances.

SINGING AROUND THE WORLD
Debbie has sung with Bobby Watson and Horizon, Roy Hargrove, Bobby Lyle, Jack McDuff, John Hendricks, Mark Murphy, Chicago’s legendary Von Freeman, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and Rececca Paris. She received rave reviews opening for greats such as Herbie Hancock, Stephan Grapelli, Miles Davis, Lou Rawls and Joe Henderson. She also sang on Jimmy McGriff’s CD, “In a Blue Meed”, where her track of Dr. Feelgood was the most-played tune on that CD.

Debbie has now expanded her musical horizons nationally to such places as the legendary “Snug Harbor” in New Orleans, “The Green Mill” in Chicago, “Bay Fest Blues Festival” in Mobile Alabama, “Alabama Blues and Jazz Federation” in Montgomery, “Black Hills Jazz Festival” in Black Hills South Dakota, the “Sioux Falls Jazz Festival” in South Dakota and the “KBEM Jazz Festival” in Minneapolis Minnesota.

Let’s not leave out the Eastern area. Debbie has performed at the Baltimore Museum of Arts, Montpelier Art Museum in Laural Maryland, Studio 57 in Washington D.C., and at “Don’t Tell Mama” in New York city. We certainly can’t forget her being invited back two years in a row to the Latitudes Hotel in Paris, 1996-1997. Debbie performed at the Du Maurier Jazz Festival, and various other jazz cenus in Vancouver, B.C.

Duncan is a very civic-minded, conscientious person often donating her time and talents to organizations geared to helping others. She’s often seen performing in benefits for AIDS, Women’s Abuse, Black College Funds, Alzheimers, Senior Citizens and book giving programs for kids. She’s been featured on complication discs benefiting organizations such as Camp Heartland for Kids with AIDS, and Memory Moments for Alzheimers. For the past five years she has been an instructor at Music Tech College teaching a Vocal performance workshop, helping young, upcoming performers to hone their talents.

Debbie an entertainer constantly evolving in her craft, continues to grow in her artistry. her 1995 CD release and holiday concert, performed at the renowned Guthrie Theater “proved that she just keeps getting better”, Bret Robson, Star-Tribune Music Review. Her CD “Live at the Dakota” has and still is drawing much deserved attention nationally. She is also the featured vocalist on Adi Yeshaya’s big band CD [Nice one for Boo]. She recently released a wonderful new CD “travelin’ at the Speed of Love”. Duncan is always pressing forward, digging deep into her creative energies, ever moving towards her destiny.

As word spreads even more about this talented and versatile performer, she is poised to become a major voice in American music. And she deserves to be, for she has earned the praise of those who have heard her with a constant commitment to her art. Critical phrases like “Stole the Show”, “Star of the Show”, “Blew away the crowd”. and “No such thing as a sub par performance by the versatile Duncan” are common in her reviews.

They are responding to a rare combination on personality and vocal talent that promises to build an expanding base of renown wherever she sings.
Gwen Matthews
Gwen Matthews
From Stevie Wonder, Kenny Rogers, members of Earth Wind and Fire and numerous others, Gwen has recorded with the best. She has performed at the famed “Montreal Jazz Festival” in Canada and the “Fleur de France Festival” in Paris, and, was featured in festivals and concerts throughout Europe with The Denis Colin Trio. She also toured Russia with “Women Who Cook” and traveled internationally with the Rupert’s Orchestra.

Her career started by singing jingles in Minneapolis, later, in Los Angeles and New York. You can hear her golden voice on many National and local spots for Northwest Airlines, General Mills, Whirlpool and many others. Gwen recorded songs with the Emmy Award winning group “The Music Workshop For Kids” and traveled world-wide for such corporate clients as: Bandag, All-State Insurance, Johnson and Johnson, and the Radisson Hotel Chain.

Her move to Los Angeles lasted eleven years where she worked for many musical giants from nationally acclaimed producers to hit-making songwriters, who sought her for studio background and stage performances. Gwen has recorded with Stevie Wonder, the late Skip Scarborough, Frank Wilson, Phillip Bailey of EWF and Larry Dunn, also of EWF, Lamont Dozier, Susanne DePasse of Motown and Ronnie Laws & Norman Connors. Periodically, she would be asked to arrange and sing background parts for their recording projects. At times, singing sessions with the noted group “Silk”.

While in L.A., Gwen studied four years under world-renowned vocal technician Seth Riggs, a gift to her from her friend Stevie Wonder. Another highlight in the late 90's was when she appeared on the Oprah Show.
Although born in Chicago and living in Los Angeles for eleven years, Gwen claims Minneapolis as home. Upon returning from L.A. in 1987, she recorded her European hit “Keep On Pushing”. She also joined the famed “Rupert's Orchestra” and began her production career. Her first projects were produced for Mattel's GI Joe, General Mills and Black Inc. Some of Gwen’s CD productions included a gospel CD called “Celebrate Faith”. But, her proudest production was “Uniting For You” which included over 40 of Minnesota’s finest artists as they performed to raise money for AIDS in Africa. Along with, the amazing title song "For You” which was co-written with Jarrod Anderson and the late Skip Scarborough.

Gwen has received numerous awards and recognition. She was nominated numerous times for the Minnesota Music Awards as “Best Female R&B, Gospel and Jazz Vocalist”. She also shared the coveted award as “Best Cover Band” with the Rupert’s Orchestra for several years. Gwen also won the Minnesota Black Music Awards twice. And, in 2007 she was inducted into the Minnesota Rock and Country Hall of Fame with ‘Passage’; in 2009 for the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame with Crow.

Currently, she offers vocal mastery classes and workshops Nationally; also, teaches and coaches privately. With her rich, velvet, funky voice she continues to excite audiences leaving them standing and screaming for more. She also performs locally and nationally with the Pop Orchestra, “Synergy” and for fun, Gwen enjoys singing blues with the band “The Walking Wounded”.
Venue Information:
Crooners Lounge & Supper Club
6161 Hwy 65 NE
Minneapolis, MN, 55432
http://www.croonersloungemn.com/