|Jim and Jane delight their audiences with original songs, harmony vocals, thoughtful lyrics and strong instrumental playing on guitar, electric and upright bass. Their concerts are a tour de force through blues and swing, folk, funk and straight-ahead jazz. They present this wide range of styles on their 2 CD’s, A Pocket Full of Tunes and Jim and Jane. Their music has been featured on MPR-The Current, WPR, WCCO, KBEM, KFAI, WPR and WOJB.
Together they have played with Randy Sabien (former head of the Berklee School of Music jazz violin department), Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame drummer Clyde Stubblefield, and many of the finest jazz, blues and pop musicians in the area. In 2004 they recorded the soundtrack for By Heart, an independent movie filmed in Wisconsin.
Jim Ouska won a West Bank School of Music Jazz Composers Series grant in 1991 and has been featured in Twin Cities Jazz Society and Minnesota Guitar society concerts. His recordings have received radio play around the country and were also featured, along with an interview, on Leigh Kamman's The Jazz Image on MPR. He has received nominations from the Minnesota Music Academy as guitarist of the year in jazz, R&B and bluegrass divisions.
Jim formed the jazz quartet Jordu (Minneapolis StarTribune says "Jordu is tight, offering solid, disciplined jazz and bop sounds") the folk group Full Moon (“A great new addition to the music scene!” Steve Alarik, Coffeehouse Extempore) and the R&B/swing/blues group The Slim Hippos (Blues Review says of their CD "well oiled cats doing their thing"). Jim has also played with the Drifters and Patti Page.
Jane Aleckson has played and sung with the prestigious Women Who Cook! since 1988. WWC! performed in the Soviet Union in 1988 as part of a peace tour and documentary which aired on Public Television. WWC! concert venues included O’Shaunessy Auditorium, the Guthrie, the State Theatre, the Orpheum, Northrup, Ordway, and opening for the Target Center. Jane was the leader of The Jane Gang, a 10-piece horn band for 10 years as well as playing with Prudence Johnson, Dean McGraw (recording The Songs of Greg Brown), Gene Pitney, Tony Sandler and many others. Jane can be heard on commercial ads as singer/bassist and many Twin Cities musicians’ original artists' CDs.
Jim and Jane first played together in 1988 in a recording studio in Minneapolis called West Bank Sound, creating music for a children’s radio program. The following year they began working together in a 7-piece group (Avia Pochta) playing exclusively Russian music written by a songwriter from the Soviet Union who was living in the twin cities at the time.
For the next dozen or so years they played in a various groups on and off until 2003 when fiddle ace Randy Sabien hired them to play some concerts with him and the discussion began about playing together as a duo.
The Jim and Jane duo creates a perfect outlet for all the creative elements that they have cultivated over the years individually. The writing, singing and playing across the range of styles they enjoy offers a continual challenge and much satisfaction.