The Stellanovas play "cafe jazz"--intimate, swinging, original, dynamic music accompanied by unique instrumentation-- violin, accordion, cello, guitar, and vocals. Originals plus inventive interpretations of jazz and latin standards. The Stellanovas are: Mary Gaines--cello, vocals; Chris Wagoner--violin, viola, accordion, ukelele, hawaiian guitar, vocals: Ed Fila--guitar; Jim Huwe--drums All are Wisconsin music veterans.

Latest News

In Nov. 2006, The Stellanovas released our 2nd CD, titled "The Groovy Sessions" in honor of the third member on the recording, our good friend and drummer, Mr. "Groovy" Jim Huwe (pronouned "Hoovee"). The Groovy Sessions is a fun live-in-the-studio romp through classic vintage jazz tunes played on our usual (or unusual) mix of violin, cello, ukulele, hawaiian guitar, and drums--plus plenty of lead and harmony vocals.

Band Bios

Mary Gaines--Cello, Vocals
Chris Wagoner--Violin, Accordion, Ukulele, Vocals
Ed Fila--Guitar, Vocals
Jim Huwe--Drums (quartet)

Biography
The Stellanovas are an acoustic jazz ensemble from Madison, Wisconsin. Comprised of veteran musicians who have recorded and performed with musicians as various as U2, The Smashing Pumpkins, Willy Porter, Taj Majal, The Indigo Girls, Koko Taylor, Ray Charles, Delbert McClinton, Greg Brown, Peter Himmelman, Asleep at the Wheel, and the Subdudes, the trio comprising The Stellanovas (Ed Fila, Mary Gaines, and Chris Wagoner) have been courting each other musically for over a decade. Finally, these three unique voices have combined to create emotional and soulful music that is at once happy, sad, and whimsical.

Mary Gaines (Cello, Vocals):
Originally a jazz guitar major at the University of WI-Stevens Point, Mary truly found her musical voice studying jazz cello under the tutelage of the great Richard Davis (bass player with artists ranging from Sarah Vaughan to Van Morrison) at the UW-Madison. Mary is also known for her amazing voice--often compared to Bonnie Raitt, but definitely her own. She (along with her husband, Chris Wagoner) has done extensive work as a session musician, appearing on albums such as Smashing Pumpkin's "Gish", several Freedy Johnston, Willy Porter, and Carrie Newcomer albums, and scores of others.

Chris Wagoner (Violin, Accordion, Vocals):
A founding member of Madison's Harmonious Wail, The Common Faces, and The Moon Gypsies (the latter three co-founded with Gaines), Chris has had his foot in just about every musical circle in Madison. Classically trained as a violinist, Chris met Mary while attending the UW-Madison. Switching to an alternating diet of jazz and classical violin studies, while playing in bands ranging from rock, blues, and country, to folk and jazz, Chris has been an in-demand performer and session musician in the region for almost two decades.

Ed Fila (Guitar, Vocals):
After graduating from North Texas State's highly lauded jazz department, Ed migrated back up north to Wisconsin (after a stint in Chicago) to show us how it's done. Due to his versatility and good-humored nature, he has long been a first-call sideman in groups and sessions. Chris and Mary first teamed up with Ed over ten years ago while playing for a house party and have been looking for an excuse to play together ever since! In addition to The Stellanovas, Ed performs regularly with his group Next Exit, co-leads The Ed Anders Quartet with saxophonist Anders Svanoe, and is the newest member of the new gypsy-swing group, Caravan.
Artist Information

A Partial List of Venues (with various ensembles):

The House of Blues (Chicago)
Int'l Folk Festival Hallein, Austria (Headliners)
The Bluesman (Vienna, Austria)
The Barrymore Theatre (Madison, WI)
Summerfest (Milwaukee, WI)
Bastille Days, (Milwaukee)
The Grand Theater (Wausau, WI)
The Freight & Salvage (San Francisco, CA)
Taste of CO (Denver, CO)
The Bumbershoot Festival (Seattle, WA)

Best of Madison 2005

Mary Gaines & Chris Wagoner were voted Madison Magazines Best Band/Musicians in their Best of Madison 2005/Staff Picks Category.

  • Member Since: 2006
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