French 75 is a continental sextet, performing popular standards from the World Wars and beyond. Songs that got their start abroad, some from here that were big “over there”, and a few selections originating south of the border. French 75 is named for the cocktail made with gin and champagne that was invented in France in WWI, when a French 75 referred to a 75mm cannon. The group is led by clarinetist Tony Balluff, who has also provided new arrangements for these classic songs. Singing in English and occasional French, Maud Hixson also tells the stories behind the intercontinental enthusiasm for the Great American Songbook and its foreign-born contributions. Performing for events from the Vita.mn Pool Party to the Minnesota Orchestra’s Symphony Ball, they also perform in concert, with their shows “Beyond The Sea: Jazz From The Continent”, and a new presentation debuting this fall, “Café Society: From Piaf To Coward”.

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The Ensemble: Tony Balluff, clarinet (Southside Aces); Maud Hixson, vocals; Gus Sandberg, saxophone (Jack Brass Band); Robert Bell, guitar (Café Accordion Orchestra); Steve Pikal, bass (Barbary Coast); Nathan Norman, drums (Illicit Sextet)