The Sarah LeMieux Quintet plays something called "chamber jazz" - a beautiful hybrid of classical instrumentation and notated counterpoint, woven jazz harmonies and vocal improvisation. It's part Debussy, part Ella Fitzgerald, part Klezmer; at once nostalgic and new. Current members include Sarah's brother Brendan on percussion, Gretchen Frazier on viola, Julie Levene on clarinet and Alexander Svensen on the upright bass.
" LeMieux plays with the contrast between a clear jazz lilt and a gritty, growling blueswoman, coming across classy and unhinged at the same time." - Dan Barry, Hartford Advocate
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This is how it came about: Sarah LeMieux grew up in an exuberantly eclectic musical family. Her mother tended toward French folk, and her father played the blues - and when her little brother arrived, he kept everyone awake with the drums. After earning her BA from New York University, Sarah stayed in New York working as a session vocalist and guitarist - both in the studio, and as a hired support performer. NYC has a diverse and vibrant music scene, and it presented her with opportunities to interpret, create and absorb a broad spectrum of music.
Sarah came home to Connecticut after the birth of her first child and began producing and performing her own original material. She managed to earn an international reputation and BSMF Records in Japan began releasing her albums to radio stations world-wide. LeMieux and her band have earned excellent reviews for performances at the National Women in Blues Festival, Mamapalooza festival, the International Festival of Arts and Ideas, Hartford's Infinity Hall, the Glastonbury Apple Harvest Festival and International Women Arts (SWAN) Day Festivals. Most recently, The Sarah LeMieux Quintet won "Best Jazz" at the 2014 and 2015 Connecticut Music Awards, with "Moments Musicaux" winning Album of the Year for 2015.
Sarah teaches guitar, voice and piano at music schools in New Haven and Fairfield County. In New Haven, she's a founding member of a work group devoted to developing music and dance education programming for individuals with special needs. She's also developed hands-on arts enrichment and mindfulness programs for public schools. In recent years, she has rediscovered her love of classical and liturgical music, which continues to weave its way into new compositions.