312 Chicago

  • Nicholas Barron

    Band leader, vocals, guitar

    Singer/guitarist Nicholas Barron has been entertaining Chicago audiences for more than two decades with his signature soulful vocals and unique interpretation of songs. Nicholas has opened for such national headliners as B.B. Kind, Al Green, Johnny Cash and the Neville Brothers and was featured in 2007 in the New York Times Emerging Artists series. Nicholas released his first solo acoustic CD, As I Am, in 2007 which highlights his original mix of blues, folk and soul. His latest solo offering, Two Of One Mind was released in early October 2014.

  • Frank Russell

    Bass

    Bass guitarist Frank Russell, a native of Chicago, started his music career early playing drums, guitar and sax before switching to bass guitar at the age of 14, and has been playing it ever since. Russell’s diverse performance background includes working on Grammy-nominated albums with Henry Johnson, performing at Steppenwolf Theater productions, and winning first prize in the 1992 Best of Chicago Jazz Search. He has performed in countless jazz festivals like Newport Jazz Festival, the Telluride Jazz Festival, and the Hyde Park Jazz Festival, and has performed with such distinct artists such as Ramsey Lewis, Freddie Hubbard, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Bobby Irving, Art Porter, and many others. Jazz writer, Dave Freeman writes, “For the complete Frank Russell bass experience, see him live, he’s one of the escapees from Monster Bass Island.”

  • Andrew Distel

    Andrew Distel was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. While studying at the prestigious College Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati, he was taken under the wing of Mary Ellen Tanner, a close friend and colleague of Rosemary Clooney. Under her tutelage, he was able to sit in and learn from some of the great musicians in the Cincinnati jazz scene-John Von Ohlen (drummer for Stan Kenton) and Cal Collins (West Coast guitarist for Benny Goodman). His mentors on the trumpet include the much sought after teacher and clinician, Pat Harbison; and the world-renowned trumpet guru, William Adam, former professor at Indiana University.

    Upon his arrival in Chicago, he began headlining at such notable venues as the Pump Room, the Green Mill, Pops for Champagne, Green Dolphin Street and performing at a variety of festivals including the International Association of Jazz Educators. Andrew’s steady weekend performances at The Pump Room have given him the opportunity to hone his craft even further with a band that is comprised of some of the rising stars of the Chicago jazz scene.

    He has performed or recorded with Ira Sullivan, Cal Collins, Bobby Caldwell, Ron Hawking, Rob Parton, Fred Hersch, Paul Leim, Brent Mason, Jimmy Nichols, Joe Chemay, Scott Burns, Ted Sirota, Bob Bowker, Darmon Meader, the Lakeside Singers, and the Phil Degreg Trio.

  • Yvonne Gage

    Vocals

    Yvonne is an R&B and jazz singer who has sung with some of the most famous singers and musicians in the world. She has shared the stage and recording studio with Celine Dion, Madonna, Smokey Robinson, Peter Cetera, Richard Marx, Ramsey Lewis, R. Kelly, and C.C. Winans. When she’s not performing on stage, Yvonne is singing jingles. She has recorded countless television and radio commercials in the past twenty years. Yvonne is also a writer and producer, having recently released her own CD single titled “Rainbow.”

  • Timothy McNamara

    Saxophone

    Born in Oak Lawn, Illinois, Timothy started on piano and switched to saxophone in high school. Originally pursuing an engineering degree at UIUC, his love of jazz was fostered there by Sinclair Greenwell (“Guido Sinclair”). Returning to Chicago 1992, he finished a degree in Jazz Studies at DePaul University (‘95).

    He has performed with Jon Faddis, Branford Marsalis, Phil Woods, Benny Carter, Frank Wess, Bob Mintzer, Nancy Wilson, Doc Severinsen, Larry Nozero, Buddy DeFranco and Aretha Franklin, Lou Rawls, the Four Tops, Roberta Flack, Peabo Bryson, Frankie Valli and Aaron Neville. He has also accompanied a variety of Broadway shows and the Milwaukee and Rockford Symphonies. After releasing a cd of original compositions, he is working on a cd with wife Ellen Germaine.

    Additionally, Tim teaches instrumental lessons and coaches jazz combos and orchestra at FWParker School in Chicago. He has served as an adjudicator for the LALPC and IMEA.

  • Kwame Steve Cobb

    Drums

    Kwame Steve Cobb, a veteran drummer, songwriter and producer, began his professional career at age 16 performing in lounges and nightclubs on the south side of Chicago. Kwame is a significant contributor to the celebrated history of the Chicago music scene as a session and touring musician. His discography spans over three decades and includes record sessions as well as commercials for radio and television. As recording artists, Kwame and his wife, Chavunduka wrote and produced the classic recording call “Seven Principles,” the first complete contemporary collection of original songs for Kwanzaa. Their song “It’s Kwanzaa Time” has been embraced as the anthem of Kwanzaa by celebrants around the world and has been featured in a number of TV and radio programs.

    Kwame and his wife, Chavunduka have eight adult children, and ten grandchildren. His ongoing commitment is to use the arts and African culture to promote health and peace in the world.

  • Leandro Lopez Varady

    Keyboard

    Leandro Lopez Varady, pianist of 312 Chicago, first performed at the age of 19 in his native Buenos Aires, Argentina. He graduated from the Catholic University of Arts and Musical Sciences “Santa Maria de los Buenos Aires”, where he majored in Composition, receiving a Gold Medal and Honorable Mention in 1992. In the late 1990’s, Leandro has toured through Asia with the Eldeé Young Quartet in Singapore, South Korea and China.

    Since 1999, Leandro became part of the music scene here in Chicago. He has played in several venues as The Green Mill, The Jazz Showcase, Andy’s Jazz Club, and Fitzgerald’s among others, as well as in different festivals (Chicago Jazz Festival, South Shore Jazz Festival, Chicago Summer Dance, Detroit Jazz Festival, and The Jazz Bistro in St. Louis, MO.)

    In 2003, Leandro has recorded a solo piano CD entitled “Snail Shell” and participated as a sideman in several other recordings.

    Leandro Lopez Varady currently works as a Music Director at Saint Martin’s Episcopal Church in Chicago and as a pianist, teacher, arranger, and composer.

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312 Chicago

312 Chicago

This dynamic band features two of the Chicago music scene’s most charismatic entertainers, singer/guitarist Nicholas Barron and vocalist Yvonne Gage. Nicholas has opened for such legends as BB King, Al Green and the Neville Brothers. Yvonne has sung with performers like Celine Dion and Madonna, and can be heard on three R. Kelly CDs. Barron and Gage’s soulful vocals and inventive interpretations of classics, backed by a raucous and highly accomplished R&B, pop and rock ensemble, draw rave reviews and have garnered a faithful Chicago following. Perfect for corporate events or wedding receptions, 312 Chicago keeps your guests dancing all night.

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