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Sound description: Mumbling secrets to a flummoxed doorman, slipping dead presidents into his hand, then past the dark door, all speakeasy-like. Through the walls, the crack and thud of drums, the crisp punch of an upright bass slapping time, horns thriving on the riff, guitar wailing testimonials that would coax Trouble to check his bags at the door. The Grand Marquis are guardians of a musical portal, weaving catchy originals with classy covers. Music meteorologists, if you will, concocting their own brand of weathered styles. It's old-school jump blues, rockabilly and fiery jazz balled up into one big hit of red hot Rhythm 'n' Roll. Once injected, don't be alarmed; you might see through blurry eyes and nicotine haze the ghosts of America's musical past, conjuring delusions of 30's KC, 50's Memphis, Village hangouts, or the jazz jungle of Harlem. Yet these are merely roots from which their music grows; twisting and blending, melding until you catch a glimpse of things to come. Awaken from the intoxicating fog while their songs linger on your ear, echoing the chant of the Blue Devil, and you're sure of one thing: you gotta go back for more.
Influences: Count Basie, Lester Young, Walter Page, Django Reinhardt, Bix Beiderbecke, Lenny Bruce, Bessie Smith, Big Joe Turner, Joe Williams, Louis Armstrong, Coleman Hawkins, Duke Ellington, Stash Records, Mahalia Jackson, the devil and the good lord, Boulevard Pale Ale (or Irish when available), Knob Creek, fine wine, and good times.
|Bryan Redmond||Saxophone, Vocals|
|Lisa McKenzie||Drums, Marimba, Washboard|
|Ben Ruth||Bass (upright), Tuba|
The year 1998 birthed a new sound out of the spirit of Kansas City jazz. The Grand Marquis, then a quartet, consisted of Carl "Slim" Hanson (guitar & lead vocals), Bryan Redmond (saxophones), Andy Dondzila (upright bass), and Lisa McKenzie (drums). 1999 brought the addition of bassist and longtime friend, Ben Ruth, adding the raw, driving force that helped cultivate what the band is today. The year 2000 was celebrated by the release of their debut CD release; "Burlesk." Trumpeter Chad Boydston came along early in 2002, putting the icing on the cake for the now-quintet's second CD entitled "Le Chant Du Diable Bleu," released later that year. The Grand Marquis were further refined in August of 2003. Sammy Nicolier came into the fold as guitarist, while Redmond's baritone voice replaced the departing Hanson on lead vocals. The new refined style shines through in their eponymous third CD release from 2004. The band's versatility was strengthened following their nationwide 30-city tour that year, when McKenzie added washboard and marimba to her arsenal, while Ruth picked up the tuba. Today, they keep the spirit alive as one of the hardest working bands in Kansas City continuing the tradition, making their own brand of jumpin' blues and hot swinging jazz. Ever ubiquitous in the Kansas City music scene, the Grand Marquis are finding themselves in demand around the Midwest as an innovative, versatile and thoroughly entertaining band. They are sure to find favor with anyone looking for good music.