Espresso! merges two musical traditions in red-hot interpretations of American swing and Gypsy jazz favorites. The traditions of the past come alive with powerful instrumental leads and vocals in French and English. Very danceable, this music is infectious. Espresso! includes an abundance of Colorado talent: Bill Pontarelli (clarinet), Jordan Ramsey (mandolin), Alexios Anest (lead guitar), Emily Reynolds (rhythm guitar), and Duane Webster (bass). Bill (“Doc Jazz”), chanteuse Emily and stand-up bass man Duane have performed Gypsy Jazz and American Swing for many years at venues in and around Boulder and Denver, Colorado. National Mandolin Champion Jordan Ramsey came on board in 2010, greatly enriching the new group dynamic. Our own gypsy from Nebraska, Alexios Anest joined in 2017. Together, we create our saucy swing sound. We have played this music for years and love keeping the tradition of American swing music and Gypsy jazz alive.
Bill Pontarelli is a super star on the clarinet and offers tasty vocal stylings. A consummate musician, we call him the best in the West for good reason—his red-hot phrasing and stunning tone are clear, clean and wonderfully appealing. Bill also offers rich and engaging vocal tunes in his unique style. He has been the ‘first call’ player in Denver for decades and also plays with Flexigrass, Pete Warnick’s Colorado-based jazzgrass band and numerous other groups.
Jordan Ramsey is an award winning mandolinst and teacher currently residing in the Front Range area of Colorado. He has won the National Mandolin Contest in Winfield, KS, the RockyGrass Mandolin Competition, and many other honors and awards. His dynamic styling and lead lines range from subtle and artful to explosive, the perfect counterpoint to Bill’s clarinet.
Alexios Anest studied guitar at the Berklee College of Music and has spent years perfecting his talented approach to classical, flamenco, gypsy jazz and rock and roll guitar. His blistering leads are characterized by fast sequences of stunning notes. After several years of entertaining on the Holland American Lines, he has settled in Denver, where he teaches and plays with a variety of groups, most notably, Espresso! and Fortunato.
Emily Reynolds’ swinging jazz chord chops are evident in the swing and Gypsy jazz genres where rhythm is central to the music. Up and down the neck of the guitar, she sets a strong rhythmic tone. Her powerhouse vocals are featured in Espresso!, with tunes in both English and French. Band manager for Espresso!, Emily also plays with the Swing Chicks, a Colorado-based swing band and sings three-part 40s tunes with the TriTones in Seattle.
Duane Webster is a fabulous bassist from Boulder, Colorado. His dynamic leads and steady rhythm holding down that bottom end have made him a popular player with a wide variety of bands exemplifying many musical styles of music over the years. He has played with so many of the really great players and was featured in the original Ophelia Swing Band along with Tim O’Brien, Dan Sadowski and others. Currently he plays with Sweet Spot Trio and VooDoo Lily. He joined Espresso! in 2017.