Shades of Blue Jazz Band
"Shades of Blue" was an incredible find- 'a diamond in the rough' during the maddening search for a band that fit our values for integrity and authenticity and high level of musical craft! Julianne and Chris are very accomplished musicians with a laid-back communication style- choosing to focus their energy more on their honed talent and your requests than boast through over complicating to seem "better than the rest." They are simply awesome, richly inspired musicians with an authentic beautiful energy when they perform- perfect for couples wanting something real and quality. We had one hiccup with timing- partly our fault not better communicating when we wanted the band to begin (we had hired just Chris and Julianne for ceremony and cocktail hour) and expected the full band to start for the first dance at 6pm, then break, then begin again after dinner around 7:30pm- but for some reason that 6pm start time was missed in communication, so we had to push it back an hour spontaneously which no one noticed anyway. That unfortunately meant they couldn't play for as long as I wished- BECAUSE THEY ARE SOOO GOOD!! (We had a DJ hired for late-night, but if I could do it again, I would have had Shades of Blue play all night long!).
They exceeded my expectations in quality of their craft- just vibrant and gorgeous to hear in person! But, I would have appreciated tighter clarity and execution of the timing we had assumed was communicated to them a few months in advance. No matter- it was an awesome choice regardless : )
Shades of Blue is a great band that I recommend highly. Juliane and her team are very accommodating and pleasant to work with. They helped create a warm ambiance to our reception and got people dancing! Several accomplished musicians were in attendance and all raved about the band.
For quality, spirit and generosity of heart, there is no finer music for any event!
I had such a wonderful experience with Shades of Blue on my wedding day! All of my guests commented on how wonderfully they did, and how they had the perfect balance of interest and excitement without being overpowering during our outdoor cocktail hour. I would highly recommend them to anyone!
Shades of Blue is a class act!! Our New Year’s Eve wedding was held in a lovely old mansion, and we asked our guests to share our celebration with formal attire and light-hearted fun. Shades of Blue helped us celebrate in style ~ Chris played beautiful classical guitar to accompany the ceremony, and Juliane and the band helped the set the tone with our requests for a mostly 1940s repertoire for the reception, complete with songs by George Gershwin, Cole Porter, and, of course, Shades of Blue’s own Juliane Gardner. With everyone in their sequins or tuxedos, we danced to Juliane’s beautiful voice as she sang “Someone to Watch Over Me,” “Let’s Fall in Love,” and “So in Love.” The whole affair just oozed romance and charm! We are so thankful that Juliane, Chris, and Ezra were such an integral part of our special night. And when we throw our 10th anniversary soiree, we hope that they will be the band to help us ring in the New Year!
With all our best wishes,
Audrey & Brian Le
Recipe for a perfect wedding and reception to kick -off a lifetime of happily- ever- afters: something old, something new, something borrowed and Shades of Blue. When we were planning a destination wedding in Deer Isle, Maine, we were so fortunate to have Shades of Blue recommended to us by the innkeepers at the Pilgrim’s Inn.
Juliane, Chris and their band were wonderful to work with. They have an impressive play list of both classical and contemporary songs, but they were also willing to learn a new piece for my daughter’s wedding. Juliane’s voice is warm and expressive. Chris is such an accomplished and versatile musician. All our guests commented on how much they enjoyed the music. It just wouldn’t have been as memorable and special without the music they provided.
Shades of Blue is a wonderful band for any occasion.Their Jazz repertoire is deep and polished with a delivery that is soft as silk or Look out Loud - as the tunes and ambiance require. Chris and Julianne are clearly musical soul mates whose professional talents and gracious ways blend like butter and sugar to satisfy one and all. Without any fuss, they helped us select specific songs and included some of our own "back in the day " favorites to perfectly deliver each musical stage of our wedding plans. With pleasure I recommend the "Something Blue" at your wedding be the fabulous SHADES OF BLUE -
Shades Of Blue Bio
The members of Shades of Blue began playing together 20 years ago when they met as students of the University of Maine atAugusta’s Jazz and Contemporary Music program. They continued to perform together in various groups until the band was formed in its present configuration in 2008. Since then, Shades of Blue has enjoyed an extensive playing schedule in mid-coast and down-East Maine, pleasing audiences with an eclectic mix of old time jazz favorites, blues, original compositions, and sometimes reggae. The core of Shades of Blue is Juliane Gardner – lead vocalist and rhythm guitar, Chris Poulin – lead guitar/vocals/flute, and Ezra Rugg – acoustic and electric bass. Depending on the occasion the band functions as a trio or a quartet adding Mark Macksoud on percussion. The band sometimes adds a piano, trumpet, or sax.
Juliane Gardner began singing for large audiences at the age of five, performing in musicals with Cold Comfort Productions for twelve years. She started performing in bands as a teenager and then studied jazz vocals and piano at UMA. At a very early age she began listening to and eventually emulating jazz greats such as Carmen McRae, Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald, Lambert Hendricks, and Ross, and Thelonious Monk. Juliane is also influenced by singer/songwriters such as Paul Simon, Bonnie Raitt, Patty Griffith, Jack Johnson, and James Taylor. The mixing of these two aesthetics is evidenced by her critically acclaimed albums Pack Saddle Road (2003), and You’ll Find it When You’re Not Looking (2009). Juliane has shared the stage with Chris Smither, Jessie Winchester, and Noel Paul Stookey. Her 2007 composition “Love and Comforting” was selected for inclusion in the nationally syndicated ABC TV series, Men in Trees in the spring of 2008.
Chris Poulin began playing guitar at the age of 9. At this young age, he wore out the needle on his first record player while listening to the Beatles. Chris went on to get a Bachelor’s degree in jazz from UMA, and a Master’s degree in jazz and classical guitar from Youngstown State University in Ohio. While at YSU, Chris, (together with the YSU big band), won an award in the jazz world’s premiere magazine, Downbeat, for the best college big band in the US. Chris has been a composer and a performer for 20 years in numerous jazz, blues, funk, and reggae groups throughout the US and on cruise ships in the Caribbean. He has performed with jazz artists such as Kenny Burrell, Sean Jones, Bob Moses, James Weidman, and Deborah Davis. More recently, Chris headlined the Hope Jazz Festival with the Pavvo Carey Quartet. Chris’s influences include Wes Montgomery, B.B. King, Chet Baker, Nat King Cole, and Bob Marley.
Ezra Rugg formed the group Antigravity in 1995, a favorite on college campuses and clubs throughout New England that features Ezra’s unique fusion of jazz and funk original compositions. He studied acoustic bass with New York session player Ben Street, electric bass with local legend Glen Dubois, Afro-Cuban percussion with Al Delgado, and drums with Steve Grover. As a recording engineer, Ezra has produced albums with local groups Tree By Leaf, Shawn Mercer, the Straight Up Jazz Trio, and Shades Of Blue. He also produces jingles for local radio. Ezra has been frequently featured on Friday Night Jazz with host Rich Tozier on MPBN radio.
Mark Macksoud is a sought after jazz drummer providing percussion for many jazz groups in Maine. Born and raised inWestchester, N Y, Mark has studied with Tony Williams, Ed Soph, Alan Dawson, and Fred Buda. He graduated from New England Conservatory and has performed with Cab Calloway, James Williams, Tiger Akoshi, and Bobby Watson. He currently teaches drumming at Colby College and Perkins Music.
Both Chris and Juliane are highly accomplished musicans, have CD's, radio interviews, benefits and extensive live performances to their credit. Juliane is sparkly, exceedingly professional, has an awesome Jazz voice and with the addition of Chris Poulin and their bass player, delicious harmonies and "swing" dancin' come naturally.