Catasauqua Press

Monday, July 22, 2019

The jazz hot at Miller Symphony Hall

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 by JERRY DUCKETT Special to The Press in Focus

If you are a fan who regularly attends the "Jazz Upstairs" monthly series in the Rodale Community Room, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown, you know that one of the keys to its success is a mix of different jazz styles.

That philosophy continues 7:30 p.m. May 17 with an evening of music by Hot Bijouxx, featuring vocalist Kristen Jasionowski, guitarist Ryan McNeely, accordionist Dallas Viety and percussionist Kevin Ripley.

According to Jasionowski, the band plays what she calls hot swing.

"It's music from the 20's to the 30's, from the Prohibition Era, before the big bands. But we also blend in other sounds from today's pop to the great American Songbook, Bosa Nova, and French Gypsy swing-waltz."

Jasionowski, born in Abington, Montgomery County, who also serves as arts and media director for the group, graduated from the University of the Arts, Philadelphia, in 2008.

Prior to her college years, Jasionowski never really had any association with jazz, even though she always harbored a desire to sing, and spent some time in her middle school chorus. It was only after working as a hostess at Chris' Jazz Cafe, Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, that she found her niche.

"Shortly after college, I got the opportunity to be an intern in residence at the Women's Studio Workshop in Rosendale, New York. They distributed National Foundation for the Arts funding," says Jasionowski.

"They also had what is called an art farm, so I became interested in farming and eventually followed my ex-boyfriend, a musician and a farmer, to California, where I began to play piano and write a little music."

"Prior to Hot Bijouxx, we had a band called Arboretum and we played at farmers' markets and on the streets for gas money. But I wanted to start a farm, so we moved back to the Philadelphia area in 2010. Now my business is called Lunaria Gardens, and I do all sorts of gardening and farming for many clients. "

Vietty and his accordion act as the backbone for Hot Bijouxx. Shortly before they adopted that name, they called themselves Dallas Viety's Pop Music Project. He is an avid student of French Musette and Gypsy Jazz, and also has a group called the Musette Project.

Hot Bijouxx just released its first CD, "I Found a New Baby," last month.