For nearly two decades, the Southside Aces have performed traditional New Orleans jazz for weddings, festivals, clubs, and more — music furnished for all occasions. The Aces utilize the traditional canon for its sweetness and spice, joy and sorrow, whatever the mood should call for.
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 in South Minneapolis, late August 2003. Since their first gig on a flatbed truck in Apple Valley, the Aces have released six albums, including their most recent —How Long Blues— featuring piano master Butch Thompson.
In New Orleans, the jazz tradition thrives off a wide array of styles. The Aces possess a diverse repertoire, with a roll call that includes the names of Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Hoagy Carmichael, Duke Ellington, and Bix Beiderbecke. Plus Crescent City classics like Bourbon Street Parade, Just A Closer Walk With Thee, and St. James Infirmary. And let’s not forget the funky rhythms of brass band powerhouses like Mardi Gras in New Orleans and Palm Court Strut!
The Southside Aces have performed at the Dakota Jazz Club, Crooners Supper Club, Vieux Carre, Twin Cities Jazz Fest, Bix Beiderbecke Jazz Festival, and Minnesota Orchestra Sommerfest, to name a few. They’ve driven dancers to a frenzy at national dance competitions and led second line parades through the streets of the Twin Cities. And they’ve played events in Denver, Omaha, Chicago, Des Moines, and all across the great state Minnesota — which, if you’re keeping score, makes them a “territory band.”
Look for the Southside Aces at your local jazz venue, or contact the group to add a little swing to your next special event. They’re all swell fellas, too!