Nelson Thomas Devereaux has been playing saxophone since the age of eight, inspired to pick up the instrument first by the music of Charlie Parker, Sonny Stitt and the Ellington and Basie big bands that he heard while listening to music with his grandfather. Deeply involved in music from elementary school onwards, Nelson participated in many varied musical projects and ensembles in the Milwaukee area and studied jazz at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, eventually picking up Clarinet and Flute doubles before the end of high school. Making the made the move to Minnesota in 2007 to attend the University of Minnesota: Twin Cities. He’s studied with Dave Milne, Mike Lewis, Clay Jenkins and Berkeley Fudge, among others.
Nelson graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Saxophone Performance, studying saxophone with the iconic Eugene Rousseau. He also received a Bachelor of Music Education, giving him the opportunity to work with students of all ages/musical styles. Currently, Nelson enjoys listening to as many musical artists and genres as possible, as well as writing and playing new music. Now graduated, you can see Nelson performing with groups around the cities such as The New Sound Underground, Hustle Rose, The Tasty Tones, The Adam Meckler Orchestra, The Brass Barn Polka Band, The Jazzland Wonder Band, and Chihuahua City as well as many other collaborations. He also currently directs 4th and 5th grade school band at Waite Park and instructs woodwinds at Twin Town Guitars.
Pianist Joe Strachan is a 2013 graduate of the University of Minnesota, and was the pianist for the third edition of the Dakota Combo (2008-09) while attending Northfield High School. A former student of Laura Caviani and Bryan Nichols, he first studied classical music, switching to jazz in eighth grade. After a year at Lawrence Conservatory of Music, he transferred to the U of M in Minneapolis where he found more performance opportunities, appearing at the Artists Quarter, Dakota and Studio Z and playing with John Raymond, Jake Baldwin, Alicia Steele, the Jazz Wonderband and more. More recently he has performed with the Adam Meckler Orchestra, Pete Whitman X-Tet, Endeavors, Jake Baldwin’s Quintet, and as part of the Off the Cuff improvisation series at the Aster Cafe.