The Zoot Jumpers are a Maine-based band that plays hot jump blues and cool swing, including the great music of Count Basie, Louis Jordan, Squirrel Nut Zippers, and more. The band features Bruce Couillard on saxophones, Michelle Boggs on trumpet, Bess Jacques on piano, Tom Jacques on bass and harmonica, and Per Hanson on drums and harmonica. Everybody sings!
Meet the band
Michelle Boggs’ dazzling abilities on trumpet are the product of many years’ in-depth study combined with the natural sassiness of a southern gal from Georgia. Michelle studied trumpet at the University of Georgia in Athens, obtaining a BA in Music, before touring extensively with the Air Force Band of New England. Michelle's performance experience includes the Maine State Music Theater, the Best of Broadway at the Merrill, the Fogcutters, the Edith Jones Project, Bonnie Edwards and the Practical Cats, Blues Mafia, Downeast Soul Coalition, the Carmine Terracciano Band, the Bangor Symphony, the New Hampshire Philharmonic, and the Savannah Symphony. Currently Michelle stays busy with the Sultans and the Zoot Jumpers. In addition to her busy performance schedule, she also maintains a private lesson studio and brass instrument repair shop.
Bruce Couillard has been swinging the sax since he was a teenager. Inspired by the “Texas Tenor Sound” of saxophone heroes like Illinois Jacquet, Sam “The Man” Taylor, and Jimmy Forrest, Bruce transmutes the glories of 40s swing, R&B, and jump blues into a living present. Past projects include The Jump Kings (Buffalo, NY), Zoot Planet (Fairfield, CT), Blues Mafia (Westbrook, ME) and Bonnie & The Practical Cats (Portland, ME). When Bruce isn’t wailing with the Zoot Jumpers, he enjoys cutting a rug with his swing dance partner (and wife) Laura.
Drummer Per Hanson is a long-standing New England music icon, revered by musicians and audiences alike. While most widely recognized for his blues drumming, his also connects with audiences through his inspired and soulful harmonica-playing and singing. He has spent many years on the road and in recording studios as a founding member of Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters; with harmonica legend James Cotton; with blues pianist David Maxwell; and too many other greats to name here without embarrassing Per, whose endearing humility belies his larger-than-life musical presence and command. Per now plays with various projects throughout southern Maine, including the Zoot Jumpers and Bess Jacques & The Strays. When he is not behind the drums he tends his family’s antique shop in Cape Elizabeth.
Pianist and singer Bess Jacques left behind a career in math and computer sciences to return to her home state of Maine in 2014 as a full-time musician. Bess is drawn to music of many styles, from classical and jazz to folk and funk, and she loves combining these elements in her compositions, arrangements, and improvisations. When she’s not swingin’ and rockin’ with the Zoot Jumpers, she performs regularly in the greater Portland area with her combo Bess Jacques & The Strays.
Tom Jacques has been part of the local Portland, Maine music scene since the 1990s. In addition to upright bass, he plays harmonica, mandolin, and guitar. Tom was a founding member of the bluegrass band The Jerks of Grass, and it was during his time playing with the Acadian Aces that he learned he loved to play for dancers.