Featured Performers

Paul Asaro

Paul Asaro is known worldwide as one of the finest interpreters of the ragtime and jazz piano styles of Harlem Stride, Jelly Roll Morton, Scott Joplin and Eubie Blake. Asaro plays them all with a fine ear for detail, blending the elements into his own personal style. Paul has appeared at concerts and festivals worldwide and has performed onstage with such musical legends and luminaries as Leon Redbone, Steve Allen, Marian McPartland, Butch Thompson, Jeff Healy and Vince Giordano. He was one of the featured pianists in the Obie award winning Broadway production of Vernel Bagneris’ and Morten Gunnar Larsen’s “Jelly Roll! The Music and the Man”. Asaro has had long runs as house pianist aboard the legendary New Orleans steamboat “Delta Queen” and in Chicago with Jim Beebe’s Chicago Jazz band.

Currently Asaro tours the country as accompanist to Leon Redbone, playing concerts as a duo as well as appearing on NPR’s “A Prairie Home Companion” and “Mountain Stage” and recording for Leon’s latest studio album. Paul’s piano can also be heard on two recent albums by singer and guitarist Loudon Wainwright III including the 2010 Grammy Award winning “Charlie Poole Project”. Recent appearances include solo and two-piano duets with Butch Thompson and Jon Weber for the Twin Cities Jazz Festival’s “Stride Piano Night”, an extended solo tour for Allied Concert Services, and onscreen with Vince Giordano’s band in the HBO series “Boardwalk Empire”. When not on the road, Paul performs weekly with the jazz band “The Fat Babies” at the long established Chicago jazz club The Green Mill. The band plays a wide variety of jazz from the 1920s through the 1940s and has released four albums to critical acclaim with their Delmark Records release “Chicago Hot” being named one of the best jazz album releases of 2012 by the Chicago Tribune.

Peoria, Illinois
May 21–25, 2015