An Afternoon with Susan Chastain An Afternoon with Susan Chastain

Photos by John Lilley





An Afternoon with Susan Chastain

  • $30 Assigned Rows 1-2
  • $20 Assigned Rows 3-5
  • $15 General Admission
  • $5 Student
  • Susan Chastain, vocals
  • Paul Keller, bass
  • Cliff Monear, piano

Event Details

KCH is proud to welcome home Susan Chastain, celebrated jazz vocalist and owner/impressaria of the Firefly Club of many years.

Susan Chastain

Susan Chastain made her public debut at age three, performing in her mother's bar in Oklawaha, Florida, singing along with Patti Page records on the jukebox. Susan has sung with Paul Keller's big band since 1991 when she was a waitress at the Bird of Paradise jazz club. Susan went on to do extraordinary things for the jazz community as owner of Ann Arbor's famous Firefly Club. For ten years, the Firefly Club presented top-quality jazz and blues seven nights a week. Susan's vision, dedication and tireless efforts made the Firefly Club a well-loved destination for jazz musicians and jazz fans alike. The Firefly Club hosted a myriad of jazz and blues talent including Benny Golson, Monty Alexander, Jeff Hamiton, David "Fathead" Newman, Mulgrew Miller, Danilo Perez, Mose Allison, Greg Osby, Dave Liebman, Mose Allison, Patricia Barber, Janis Siegel, Big Bill Morganfield, Elmore James, Jr., Alvin Youngblood Heart, Tim Ries, Barbara Morrison, Kermit Ruffins, Mark Elf, Roseanna Vitro, The Clayton Brothers, Eric Reed, Maria Muldaur, Brian Auger, Johnny Varro, David Sanchez, Tierney Sutton, and Karrin Allyson. Even more importantly, Susan and the Firefly Club provided a home for the many local jazz musicians to who thrived there thanks to her generosity and nurturing. Sadly, the Firefly Club closed its doors permanently in August of 2009.

Now, Susan splits her time between Ann Arbor, MI and St. Augustine, FL where she can be near her grandson Atreyu. Susan Chastain remains a valued member of the Paul Keller Orchestra (which plays every Monday night at Zal Gaz Grotto), and Paul Klinger's Easy Street Jazz Band (which plays every Tuesday from 5:30 till 8:30 at Zal Gaz Grotto in Ann Arbor for the popular Dixieland Happy Hour). She has accompanied the PKO on their two European tours and appears on five of their CDs (, and she appears on all four of the Easy Street Jazz Band CDs. Susan has performed at all of the Michigan-area jazz festivals. Susan is featured prominently on her 2005 CD “Steady Gig” with the Paul Keller Ensemble. On “Steady Gig,” Susan sings 11 of her favorite standards with memorable musical arrangements by Keller. Susan's rich alto voice, relaxed style and personal warmth shine throughout this recording. Her newest venture is a non-profit organization called The Jazz Greenhouse, which focuses on jazz education for young musicians, and presenting jazz in non-traditional venues for the benefit of the community, with special emphasis on children and senior citizens.

Paul Keller

Paul Keller is one of the busiest bassists in the Detroit area today, earning the nickname “The House Bass Player For The State Of Michigan.” Since 1989, Paul has led the 15-piece Paul Keller Orchestra, which plays original, obscure and classic big band material from all periods of jazz history, and performs every Monday night at Zal Gaz Grotto in Ann Arbor. Paul also plays in the popular Keller/Kocher Quartet and in The Paul Keller Ensemble, a three-horn sextet that features creative arrangements by Keller and his bandmates. Keller’s groups are well-known and highly regarded throughout Michigan. His jazz groups have appeared at many regional music festivals, including the Detroit International Jazz Festival, the Ann Arbor Summer Festival, the Ann Arbor Jazz and Blues Festival, The Michigan Jazz Festival and the Flint Jazz Festival. They have presented successful concerts for the Thunder Bay Arts Council, the Crooked Tree Arts Center, the West Michigan Jazz Society, The Dennos Museum Center at NWMU, the Windsor/Detroit Jazz Club, Bay City’s State Theatre, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Detroit Institute of Arts. Keller tours with his long-time bandmates drummer Pete Siers and vibraphonist Cary Kocher as members of clarinetist Dave Bennett’s Benny Goodman Tribute band. Paul has been recognized internationally for his association with pianist/singer Diana Krall and guitarist Russell Malone.

Cliff Monear

Cliff is one of Detroit's most sought-after jazz pianists whose diverse repetoire commands respect from fellow musicians and pure enjoyment from jazz lovers. He was educated at the Berkeley School of Music and is currently on the faculty at the Jazz Studies Program at Wayne State University. Cliff's rich performance history includes major tours with artists such as the Temptations, and his local jazz group, "The Cliff Monear Trio," is one of the busiest performing rhythm sections in the Midwest. Cliff also offers his extensive piano expertise as a sales consultant for Hammell Music.