Butch Thompson Riverboat Trio with special guest Duke Heitger from New Orleans on trumpet


The Butch Thompson Riverboat Trio with Special Guest Duke Heitger from New Orleans.

Butch Thompson’s Riverboat Trio celebrates the halcyon days when jazz came up the Mississippi from New Orleans to Saint Paul aboard riverboats specially outfitted for the “excursion” trade. Instead of staterooms, these vessels had large dance floors and bandstands. The musicians aboard brought jazz with them. It's all about dancing.

Butch Thompson has always lived by the river and has been fascinated by New Orleans music since his first visit to the city in 1962, and he returns every year.

Special guest Duke Heitger, TRUMPET

Duke lives in New Orleans and he and Butch are long time collaborators. He is one of the most sought-after players on the international scene and leads his own Steamboat Stompers aboard the Natchez paddlewheeler in the crescent city.

Duke Heitger, trumpet



Wildman Blues (excerpt)

Tishamingo Blues (excerpt)

Tony Balluff has absorbed the New Orleans tradition and developed his own silky clarinet style. He was inspired by his visits to New Orleans, and by original members of The Hall Brothers Jazz Band (Butch Thompson among them), and is fairly steeped in the tradition now. He “has a certain knowledge he will be involved with New Orleans music for the rest of his life.” He leads his own popular Twin Cities band, the Southside Aces.

Twin Cities string bass player Josh Granowski is a versatile musician who has mastered the classic New Orleans string bass technique that underlines everything. He began playing the mighty contrabass at age eleven and spent most of his adolescence studying classical etudes, playing rock wth friends, and jazz standards with older people. Josh enjoys playing all kinds of music and is very active in the improvisation and experimental music community.

A typical excursion by the Riverboat Trio includes jazz, blues, and stomps, all designed to get dancers out on the floor, with Butch’s entertaining and informative commentary. Butch is on piano of course, but he occasionally picks up his own clarinet to play a duet with Tony.