Original CanUS Quartet
In 1991 a quartet of Canadian musicians who, under the leadership of Toni Blodgett, wanted a ‘change of pace’ group of top musicians who also could sing the complicated harmonies of such as the Boswell Sisters. Tom Hazzard and Al Adams made their debut appearances at their festivals a monumental step forward for the group known as “CanUS”. Although all were Canadian residents, their bass player, Joey Smith from Tennessee who played Victoria as a member of the Glenn Miller Orchestra was smitten by the lovely Diana and thus moved there. So he was the “U.S.” in the title amongst the Canadians, singing the third harmony as well as doing many arrangements. Years passed and reed virtuoso Tom Ackerman moved to Victoria from his job as music director on the Princess Cruise Lines but also married to a Canadian girl and so added to the U.S. part of our name! We have a lot to thank our Canadian lovelies for!
Together, they present a repertoire which was popular during the Roaring Twenties and Swinging Thirties and toured the jazz festivals on the circuit for 15 years. One other opportunity came their way unexpectedly when now retired Chief Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was gifted one of their CD’s and suggested to the Kennedy Center that they might be a good fit for them. Thanks to Canada’s Dept of Foreign Affairs funding their travel, it
actually happened Nov. 9, 2002. A Mississippi Rag critic wrote that “CanUS is a one-of-a-kind group with a sound unlike any other on the scene today which is a tremendous accomplishment””. Although they gave up travelling in 2006 they continue to perform at Hermann’s Jazz Club in Victoria, BC and other regional concerts. This excursion to Olympia is the exception with a happy renewal of friendships and reconnection to our audiences which we all look forward to.
Toni Blodgett – (Piano) The concept of a group dedicated to the jazzy trio vocals of the 20’s and 30’s first came to Toni when the members were gathered to sing Christmas carols with friend and singer Lynne McNeil. The name CanUS acknowledges that the outstanding musicians in the group originate from both sides of the Canadian /US border. Toni previously played ten years with the Dixieland Express Band: she then formed her own group which has had considerable success both at home in Victoria and in Jazz Festivals throughout the western and mid-western states as well as in Canada and Mexico! Toni was the recipient of the Sun Valley’s Year “First Lady of Jazz” award, honoring the band’s devotion to the arrangments of Connie Boswell and the Boswell sisters of New Orleans!
Through all this, Toni has retained her love of ragtime and recorded two ragtime albums.
Jim Armstrong – (Trombone & Vocals) He started is music career playing in a jazz band in Belfast, Ireland, where he lived until emigrating to Canada. He has toured North America, France, and Great Britain playing trumpet with The Phoenix Jazzers and trombone with the Grand Dominion Jazz Band during his many years residing in Vancouver. He is featured in numerous “All Star” festival bands and has been on a huge number of trad jazz recordings. One of his “Grand Dominion” recordings made it on to the sound tract of the movie “Pretty Women” and that band has continued to flourish at jazz festivals and cruise ships performances that has taken them around the world and continues to this day. It was during his move to Victoria in 1991 that he became a founding member of CanUS. It provided the perfect outlet for another of his talents: singing in any one of the many languages he speaks, including Canada’s other official language French. Some of the honours bestowed upon this prodigiously talented man are being named GENTLEMAN OF JAZZ at the Sand Diego Jazz Festival and America’s Classic Jazz Festival, Lacey WA, and FRIEND OF JAZZ at Vancouver’s Classic Jazz Festival.
Joey Smith – (Bass) As well as singing in the CanUS vocal trio, Joey wrote the transcriptions for many songs in the CanUS repertoire including most of the Boswell Soistrers and Mills Bro’s arrangements. Joey originates from Chattanooga, Tennessee, and after two years of touring as bassit with the Glenn Miller Orchestra, he received a Masters Degree in Music at Eastman School of Music In Rochester, NY. Joey came to Victoria with the Glenn Miller Orchestra show, but love took him off the road to wedded bliss with his Diane and fortunately for all of us they settled here in Victoria. He was, therefore the U.S. part of the CanUS in the original quartet. He is now settled in Victoria, BC as a full time musician, teacher and arranger. After a stint of two years working aboard the Princess Cruise Lines, Joey returned to Victoria and is again the bassist for CanUs. An outstanding musician, arranger and teacher at Victoria Conservatory of Music, Joey is without doubt Victoria’s most revered musician.
Don Leppard – (Drums) A retired military band leader and arranger, after 25 years in Canada’s RCAF, Don settled down to live in Victoria as a musician and contractor. He recorded for CBC and CTV and received his certificate of arranging from Berklee school of Music. His professionalism is evident in the variety of styles he confidently performs and although he is the only non-singer in the group, he makes a valuable “vocal” contribution in the introduction of “Diga Diga Doo”. He receives more more respect, however, with his Don Leppard Big Band and for such projects as recording sound tracts for TV shows currently filing in Vancouver and Victoria.
Ray Skjelbred and his Cubs
Ray Skjelbred and his Cubs play hot Chicago jazz mixed with New Orleans influences, early swing and plenty of blues. Each musician in this five piece group—Ray Skjelbred, piano; Kim Cusack, clarinet; Katie Cavera, guitar; Matt Weiner, bass and Jeff Hamilton, drums—is notable in the current traditional jazz scene. They have many years of playing experience and a strong historic sense of the music they have set out to perform. The International Association of Jazz Record Collectors Journal said, “For small-group Chicago-style, it doesn’t get any better than this.
The recent film “Piano Jazz Chicago Style” featuring Ray Skjelbred at the piano and narrating the story of his influences and the development of his playing as a “Chicago Style” pianist, was recently accepted as an official selection of the 2018 New York Jazz Film Festival and was the award winning film as documentary/history.
Fat Babies Classic Jazz | www.thefatbabies.com/
The Fat Babies are a seven piece jazz band interpreting classic styles of the 1920s and 30s. Founded in 2010 by string bass player Beau Sample, its members include Andy Schumm (cornet), John Otto (reeds), Dave Bock (trombone), John Donatowicz (banjo and guitar), Paul Asaro (piano), and Alex Hall (drums).
Queen City Jazz Band
Honored by Colorado Governors, the Colorado State Legislature and the Denver City Council the Queen City Jazz Band is celebrating its 60th anniversary in this year. The current band excels in entertaining listeners of all ages with the music of the early master of blues and jazz like Bessie Smith and Louis Armstrong along with the great sounds of “Second Line” straight from Bourbon Street. Ballroom dancers love the QCJB’s mix of the 1930s and 40s standards from Cab Calloway to Duke Ellington. Swing dancers fill the floor to toss and twirl to the music of Louis Jordan and Nellie Lutcher. Concerts always end with a standing ovation. The QCJB’s Gospel music featuring our great vocalist Wende Harston has inspired Denver area Christians for many years is and is featured at traditional jazz festivals across the USA. The Queen City Jazz Foundation has sponsored almost 100 clinics and visitations for school children whose young ears are often treated for the first time to America’s own musical treasure—jazz.
Ivory&Gold Jazz Band® | www.ivoryandgold.net
Praised by The L.A. Jazz Scene as a musical duo that can “draw out the beauty in the rich melodies and play the music…with taste, sensitivity, and a real affection for the idiom,” Ivory&Gold® celebrates the greatest examples of American jazz, blues, ragtime, Broadway and hits from the Great American Songbook. Internationally renowned American musical performer and historian Max Morath calls Ivory&Gold® “musically flawless.”
The duo, consisting of Anne Barnhart on flute and vocals with Jeff Barnhart on piano and vocals, was formed in 2001 to perform to great acclaim at the prestigious annual Jazz Festival in Sun Valley, Idaho. Subsequently, Ivory&Gold® has been invited to appear in hundreds of venues from coast-to-coast including The Musical Instrument Museum in Scottsdale, AZ, the Twin Falls Center for the Arts, The Tempe Center for the Arts, The Kerr Cultural Arts Center in Phoenix, AZ, The Tulsa Performing Arts Center, the Wolfboro Friends of Music Concert Series in Wolfboro, NH, and an annual concert at the Reutlinger-Brune Victorian Palace in San Francisco to name a few.
Individually, Anne and Jeff could not have come from more disparate musical backgrounds. Anne is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. and holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Music. Following extensive master-class experience performing for such world famous artists as Jeffrey Khaner and Goran Marcusson, Anne participated under Ransom Wilson in the Academie International d’ete de Nice held in Nice, France. Anne is a member of the International Who’s Who in Music and Musicians in the Classical and Light-Classical Fields. Anne’s teachers include Vanita Hall-Jones, John Wion and Ransom Wilson. She is lauded for her impeccable tone and phrasing and effortless virtuosity.
Jeff Barnhart is a highly regarded pianist, vocalist, arranger, bandleader, recording artist, composer, pedagogue and entertainer. Jeff began his professional career at age 14 performing throughout New England at jazz clubs and restaurants as a soloist and with ensembles. He continued to maintain a busy performing schedule while earning a double bachelor’s degree in Music and English (Summa Cum Laude) from Connecticut College. He earned his Master’s in Education from the same school, but found that teaching English got in the way of his real love: performing, composing and teaching music! He is on the road performing over 300 shows a year in all corners of the globe, many of them featuring Ivory&Gold®.
Ivory&Gold® has played to packed houses on 6 of the 7 continents in every imaginable scenario. This husband-and-wife team continues to thrill audiences with music, history and humor, enjoying a hectic schedule of concert, festival, and private home appearances scheduled into 2014. The Barnharts’ versatility and rapport create an incomparable listening experience for all ages and in all settings, from an intimate 20 person gathering to a 2000 patron event.
Grand Dominion Jazz Band | www.gdjb.com
Grand Dominion’s unique interpretation of Uptown New Orleans Jazz style has attracted fans from around the world. The band is an international mix of ex-Brits and Americans from the West Coast of North America which started their reunion type collaboration in 1982, and have been playing festivals, concerts and cruises ever since. They play with a joie de vivre that is positively infectious and fill each set with a distinctive musical repertoire which is satisfying to both listeners and dancers. There is a reason they have such a large, enthusiastic, and loyal following.
Uptown Lowdown | www.uptownlowdownjazz.com
Uptown Lowdown is following the current trend – downsizing due to less festivals in activity, less demand for Trad style jazz, travel difficulties, etc.
But Uptown Lowdown is downsizing in a positive way – restructuring is a more accurate description. Uptown now is a full band at five musicians. With two of our musicians living in other states – John Goodrich in Montana, and Al LaTourette on banjo retiring and moving to Idaho to be near his son, Uptown can still play the music we all love.
The Trad style is still a strong style of the band, a style that has survived for over 40 years and will continue to survive. However, other styles have moved into Uptown’s style – Swing, Mardi Gras, Jazz, etc. The ability of Uptown’s current musicians to be able to move from one style to another has become a popular feature for hiring at local events. The banjo chair is always open to Dave Brown. Thank you, Dave.
Many fans are concerned about Bert Barr’s current health issues and Uptown thanks everyone for such caring support. Bert is showing strong recovery daily. And thankfully, he has amazed everyone with his ability to still continue playing strongly, ala Louis Armstrong style cornet.
Tom Rigney & Flambeau | www.tomrigney.com
After fifteen years as the leader and electrifying violinist of The Sundogs, fiddler/composer Tom Rigney steps out on his own with a hot new band, Flambeau. The repertoire is original, eclectic, passionate, and filled with a musical and emotional intensity that will come as no surprise to followers of Rigney’s career.
Tom Rigney has been a part of the San Francisco Bay Area roots music scene for over twenty-five years. The son of baseball great, Bill Rigney, Tom is a native of the Bay Area. His musical career began after he finished his graduate studies at Harvard University, where he received a Masters degree in Fine Arts.
Tom first rose to prominence in the music scene as the leader/fiddler of the legendary Bluegrass/Western Swing band, Back in the Saddle. He won a Bammie award in 1981 for the band’s debut recording. He also wrote their hit song, “Time and Again”, which rode the country music charts in the Bay Area for many weeks, no small achievement for an independent release.
After the demise of Back in the Saddle, Tom joined Queen Ida’s Bon Temps Zydeco Band and toured the world with the Queen in 1983 and 1984. It was at this time that he developed a love of South Louisiana dance music (Cajun, zydeco, and New Orleans second line grooves). These styles formed a major ingredient in the sound of his next band, The Sundogs. Teaming with songwriter Joe Paquin and slide guitarist T.J. Politzer, Tom and The Sundogs performed and recorded together for fifteen years. They released seven CD’s (and even an LP!), including two on the Rounder label. Their last recording, “Dancing Room Only”, spent eight weeks on the Americana Radio charts nationally. They toured extensively across the U.S., Canada, and Europe, performing at numerous major festivals and concerts and at more dances and nightclubs than anyone cares to remember. Their sound was a scorching blend of Cajun, blues, and roots Rock and Roll–original Americana music that struck a nerve with audiences all over the globe.
And now, with the broadening and deepening of his composing skills, and the refinement of his virtuoso technique on the violin, Tom Rigney steps out as the focal point of the new band, and as the creator of all its music. The strong Cajun/zydeco influence is still present, as are the irresistible dance grooves that have been his specialty for twenty years. But there is also a deepening of the emotional range of his music and a concentration on creating moving and memorable melodies in a wide range of styles–he has literally become a “singer” on the violin. The music bursts with the energy of the bayou one minute, turns passionate with a gypsy tune the next; it can raise the roof with a Celtic reel and then touch the heart with a beautiful waltz; it can drive deep into the heart of the Blues or evoke echoes of Eastern Europe or the coast of Spain.
In 1998, Tom released the critically-acclaimed “Chasing the Devil” on the Parhelion label. In 1999, with his new band, Flambeau, he released “Red Boots and Rice”. The year 2000 saw the long-awaited re-release of his first solo album, “Rigo”. In May, 2002, Tom released “Metamorphosis”, an all-instrumental disc featuring ten new compositions as well as Tom’s memorable arrangement of Kate Wolf’s haunting “Brother Warrior”. “Metamorphosis” is Tom’s most ambitious and stylistically diverse CD yet. And in July, 2003, the new Flambeau CD, “Happy to be Here”, hit the street. Unquestionably the party album of the summer, “Happy to be Here” is filled with infectious grooves, hot playing from all the members of Flambeau, and a level of energy and intensity only surpassed by their live show.
Yerba Buena Stompers | www.yerbabuenastompers.com
John Gill | Banjo – Leader
John has been playing the banjo since 1964. He developed his love of traditional jazz by listening to the records of Lu Watters, and Turk Murphy. From 1977 to 1986 John was privileged to be a member of Turk Murphy’s Jazz Band. John is also a drummer, and guitarist. He has appeared in films (“The Aviator”, “Wild Man Blues”), on television (“The Tonight Show”, “Late Night with Conan O’Brien”) and on stage (Carnegie Hall). He performs throughout the world with Woody Allen’s New Orleans Jazz Band.
Duke Heitger | Trumpet
Duke is a rising star among a growing number of young musicians who specialize in traditional jazz. He is based in New Orleans and is in great demand as a leader and sideman. He is a regular guest on the nationally syndicated radio program “A Prairie Home Companion” and he tours regularly with Butch Thompson. He can also be seen and heard at major jazz festivals all over the world.
Leon Oakley | Trumpet
Last but by no means least, Leon is one of America’s greatest hot trumpet players. Originally from New York state, Leon moved to San Francisco in the 1960’s to play with Turk Murphy’s Jazz Band. A master of the hot blues based playing of King Oliver, Louis Armstrong, and Red Allen, his playing has livened up many a band including the great South Frisco Jazz Band.
Tom Bartlett | Trombone
Tom is an expert in the style of jazz legend Turk Murphy. Tom hails from Chicago where since the 1950’s has performed with. The Original Salty Dogs, and many other traditional jazz groups. He has been in The Peace Corps, the Army, and is a bilingual teacher. Also handy with a vocal chorus.
Orange Kellin | Clarinet
Originally from Sweden, Orange has been living in New Orleans since 1966. Over the years he has worked with many jazz legends including Louis Armstrong, Kid Ory, Zutty Singleton, Jabbo Smith and Jim Robinson just to name a few. Appears on the festival circuit with his own New Orleans Blues Serenaders, and “The Manhattan Ragtime Orchestra. These days when he isn’t touring in Europe, he splits his time between New York City and New Orleans.
Conal Fowkes | Piano
Conal is a pianist, double-bassist, vocalist, composer, arranger and teacher. His skills and expertise cover diverse fields of music from traditional jazz to swing and post-bop, from traditional Cuban Son to Salsa and Latin jazz, from classical to popular. He is at home as a soloist, in trios, small groups, big bands and as a vocal accompanist.
Kevin Dorn | Drums
Born in New York City, Kevin took up drumming at the age of 14. Since then, he has become one of the busiest drummers in traditional jazz. Kevin was the drummer for the Jim Cullum Jazz Band, the nation’s foremost traditional jazz group, appearing on their weekly public radio show, Riverwalk: Live from The Landing.
Clint Baker | Tuba
Clint was originally the bands drummer, but has made the switch to the tuba chair. Clint is a masterful multi instrumentalist at home on drums, tuba, trombone, banjo, guitar, cornet, and clarinet. His expertise in the intricacy and secrets of authentic New Orleans jazz make him an important part of any band.
Wolverine Jazz Band | www.wolverinejazzband.com
The Wolverine Jazz Band has been performing in the Boston area since 1996, specializing in the “Traditional Jazz” – New Orleans – style music of the 1920’s and 1930’s. The band is comprised of musicians known throughout New England as established masters of the style, who are also noted for communicating the sheer joy of the music. Typical fare during an evening with the Wolverines is a mix of tunes composed or made famous by Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, George Gershwin and Duke Ellington, as well as a variety of lesser-known composers. We also take pride in featuring a wide selection of obscure gems from the Jazz Era.
In addition to playing Dixieland jazz, the Wolverines are adept to dance music and are much in demand for private functions, as well as for concerts and at jazz clubs.
Jeff Barnhart and Charlotte's Boys
Jeff Barnhart is an internationally renowned pianist, vocalist, arranger, bandleader, recording artist, composer, educator and entertainer. Jeff began his professional career at age 14 playing and entertaining four nights a week in a restaurant in his home state of Connecticut. Here he began to learn the classic swing, jazz and ragtime repertoire of the early 20th century. The 21st century has found Jeff constantly appearing as a soloist, guest artist and pianist at jazz parties, festivals, clubs and cruises throughout the world. Jeff leads several bands in the UK: the Fryer-Barnhart International Jazz Band, which concentrates on hot music of the 1920’s, and Jeff Barnhart’s British Band, which performs small group swing of the 30’s and Jeff Barnhart and His Rhythm – The New Fats Waller Show. Jeff spent 15 years as pianist/vocalist with the US based Titan Hot Seven acting as band manager for 10 of those 15 years. Due to his versatility, vast repertoire and vibrant energy, Jeff is in increasing demand as a participant in international jazz events as either a soloist or as pianist in All-Star Jazz ensembles. In addition to his widely acclaimed solo and band appearances, Jeff is enjoying great success performing with smaller groups, most notably Ivory&Gold®, a group he co-leads with his talented wife, flutist Anne Barnhart. Ivory&Gold® has become a mainstay at many jazz and ragtime festivals throughout the US and the UK.
Jeff enjoys playing dual piano and has done so with such jazz luminaries as Ralph Sutton, Neville Dickie, Louis Mazetier, John Sheridan and Brian Holland. In addition to his own label, Jazz Alive Records, Jeff plays piano and sings on the international labels GHB, Summit-World Jazz Records, Music Minus One, and the two largest jazz labels in the UK, Lake Records and P.E.K. Sound. Most recently, Jeff has joined the roster of artists featured on the Arbors Records label, with 4 recordings currently available: the most recent featuring jazz legends Bob Wilber and Bucky Pizzarelli. Jeff has recorded as both pianist and vocalist on over 100 full-length albums. He averages 40 weeks a year on the road, bringing his music to all corners of the globe.
Allan Vache was graduated from Roosevelt Elementary School, Rahway Junior High School, and Rahway High School, Rahway, New Jersey 1959-1971. He also attended Jersey City State College, Jersey City, New Jersey 1971-1975. At this time he studied with David Dworkin of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and independently with famed jazz artist Kenny Davern.
From 1972-1975 Allan also performed many professional engagements with such jazz greats as Bobby Hackett, Wild Bill Davison, Pee Wee Erwin, Gene Krupa, Dick Hyman, Max Kaminsky, Clark Terry, Dick Wellstood, Ed Hubble, Cliff Leeman, Bob Haggart, Jack Lesberg, and many others. He also made numerous appearances with his brother, famed jazz cornetist Warren Vache, Jr.
From 1974-1975 Allan appeared in the Broadway musical “Doctor Jazz” at the Winter Garden theater, starring Bobby Van and Lola Falana. He performed with a band that appeared onstage, and Luther Henderson and Dick Hyman wrote instrumental arrangements.
In late 1975 Allan joined “The Jim Cullum Jazz Band” of San Antonio, Texas, formerly “The Happy Jazz Band.” He traveled extensively with this band to Europe, Australia, and Mexico, as well as to many concert and festival appearances throughout the U.S. He has recorded nine albums and compact discs with this band, including the only jazz CD of the entire score of Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess,” released on CBS Masterworks records. Concerts of “Porgy & Bess,” many featuring opera great William Warfield as narrator, were performed by Vache and the band throughout the Western hemisphere, including The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., and “The Cervantino Arts Festival” in Mexico City, for the U.S. State Department.
Allan has appeared in several “World Series of Jazz” concerts in San Antonio. These concerts featured the “Cullum” band alongside such jazz luminaries as Benny Goodman, Pete Fountain, Joe Venuti, Teddy Wilson, Scott Hamilton, Bob Wilber, and many others. Allan appeared with Jim Cullum at Carnegie Hall at the “Tribute to Turk Murphy” concert in January 1987. He has also performed with Cullum on the CBS Morning News, and PBS television show “Austin City Limits.” He also performed on NPR’s “A Prairie Home Companion” with Garrison Keillor, and was a regular performer on PRI’s “Riverwalk – Live from the Landing,” from 1987-1992. This program aired on over 200 public radio stations in the U.S. and abroad. Many of these shows are still rebroadcast today.
In the summer of 1992 Allan left San Antonio to pursue a free lance career. Since that time he has appeared as a solo performer at several jazz festivals and parties around the country and abroad. He has appeared with pop performers Bonnie Rait and Leon Redbone and can be heard on the soundtrack of the 1998 film “The Newton Boys”.
In 1993 he moved to Orlando, Florida to perform at various Orlando attractions including Walt Disney World and Church Street Station. Vache has numerous recordings to his credit, several under his own name, for various labels. These include Audiophile, Jazzology, Arbors, Sweet Jazz, and Nagel-Heyer, of Hamburg, Germany. Vache has presently recorded twelve CDs for this label, six of these as the leader. His latest CD’s are “Ballads, Burners & Blues”, released in March of 2004, which includes his wife, Vanessa Vache’, on clarinet, as a special guest, “With Benny in Mind”, a tribute to Benny Goodman, released in November of 2006, both for the Arbors label, and “Classic Jazz Duets” with pianist Mark Shane on the Sweet Jazz label of Hilton Head, South Carolina, released in August of 2007. His latest CD for Arbors is entitled “Look to the Sky” and features Allan with “The Central Florida Chamber Orchestra”. It also features original arrangements by John Sheridan and Allan. It was released in the summer of 2010.
In 2000 Allan became music director of the jazz cruise “Jazz Fest at Sea”, held annually, featuring many well known jazz performers each year.
Having toured in Australia, Germany, The Netherlands, Scandinavia, Russia, Austria, The United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Hungary, Switzerland, France, Brazil and Israel, Allan continues to work as a freelance artist in the Orlando area as well as appearing at many concerts and festivals in the U.S. and abroad.
Fred is a Jazz cornetist, specializing in New Orleans Jazz. Fred has led the Galvanized Jazz Band since 1971, where they played every Sunday evening for 35 years at the Millpond Tavern in Northford, CT. That gig ended in December of 2005.
Studying cornet beginning at age 9, Fred showed remarkable aptitude and played first cornet, first chair in Connecticut’s All-State Band as a high school freshman. He has been playing New Orleans Jazz since 1963 when he joined Big Bill Bissonnette’s Easy Riders Jazz Band. Fred is featured on more than 50 recordings, his most memorable being a 1965 GHB recording at Preservation Hall with jazz veterans Jim Robinson, Albert Burbank, Creole George Guesnon and Don Ewell. Fred also played or recorded with the great George Lewis, Louis Nelson, Kid Thomas, Teddy Wilson, Benny Morton, Emmanuel Paul, George Masso, Buddy Morrow, Big Chief Russell Moore, Conrad Janis, Les Paul, Edmund Hall, Herb Hall, Woody Allen, Gene Krupa, and others.
Fred plays a hot, driving cornet style, with a clear, defining lead. His major influences include Louis Armstrong, Kid Thomas, Kid Howard, Wild Bill Davison, Bobby Hackett, Muggsy Spanier, Ruby Braff and Thomas Jefferson. For the past 15 years, Fred has been a featured guest performer in France with JP Allessi’s French Preservation New Orleans Jazz Band, and in Denmark with the New Orleans Delight Jazz Band. Fred has also performed in England, Germany, and Belgium.
Jim Fryer began his professional career in the Boston area in the 1970’s, playing traditional jazz gigs as a teenager. A trombonist at home in many musical styles, he performs on other brass instruments such as euphonium, and adds vocals to many of his performances. Since moving to New York in 2005, he has performed steadily with many classic jazz musicians, most notably with Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks at many venues regionally and nationally, including the Iridium Jazz Club and the Highlights in Jazz concert series. He has appeared with many legendary musicians, including Doc Cheatham, Bob Wilber, and Anat Cohen. Mr. Fryer recorded on the soundtrack of the Robert De Niro film “The Good Shepherd” and appeared onscreen and on the Grammy winning soundtrack of the critically acclaimed
HBO series “Boardwalk Empire.” Mr. Fryer has performed on the Prairie Home Companion radio show, and has toured nationally and internationally as a soloist and as a member of the Nashville based Titan Hot 7. He has many recordings to his credit, including the 2007 release “Over Easy,” which he co-led with Canadian trumpeter Bria Skonberg, and 5 CDs with the Fryer Barnhart International All Stars on Lake Records, a UK based label. Mr. Fryer has been involved in music education since the 1980’s as a private teacher, clinician, and performer in schools. He taught at the Neighborhood Music School in New Haven from 1992-2005, serving as Director of Jazz Programs, and at the Rye (NY) Arts Center from 2005-2013. He currently narrates and leads concerts and workshops in schools via the organization Young Audiences
Marty Eggers (piano, bass and tuba) began his music career in Sacramento, California, where as a teenager he helped found the Sacramento Ragtime Society in 1982. He has been playing music full-time for over twenty years. For ten years Marty was the bassist for the popular ragtime trio Bo Grumpus, and for another ten he played piano with the Yerba Buena Stompers. Marty is married to pianist and drummer, Virginia Tichenor. They perform together as a duo, with Virginia’s musical family members, with the Crown Syncopators and with the Cali-Co Ragtime Quartet.
Marty’s talent and versatility have led him into several varied and prestigious engagements, including recording with San Francisco traditional jazz legend Bob Helm, tours of Germany with Hal Smith’s California Swing Cats and of the U.S. with the Ophelia Orchestra of Norway, and playing both piano and bass in a Bay Area backup band for Leon Redbone.
Though he works mainly as a performer, Marty also teaches traditional jazz and ragtime performance and theory to interested students of all ages and levels. He has been a faculty memeber for several years at both the San Diego Adult Traditional Jazz Camp (bass and tuba) and Camp Heebie Jeebies (piano), held near Port Angeles, Washington.
Marty is currenty an active member (on bass) in the trios of internationally-known pianists Butch Thompson, Carl Sonny Leyland and Stephanie Trick. Marty also plays bass and tuba with the Royal Society Jazz Orchestra. For nearly fifteen years he has held down a regular spot on piano at San Francisco’s legendary music club, Pier 23.
Josh Duffee is 34 years old, and is regarded as one of the best 1920’s style percussionists in the world today. He has performed at numerous jazz festivals and concerts all around the world, including Australia in 2001 & 2003 and England in 2008 & 2010.
Josh is also one of the most versatile and high-in-demand professional percussionists in the music business today. His skills are used for every style of music, bu his passion lies with the great jazz music of the early days.
Along with performing, Josh is also an accomplished jazz historian.
The book The Great Jazz Guitarists (Scott Yanow, for Hal Leonard Books) includes Bob Leary as one of 400 of the world’s finest jazz guitarists. He’s performed all over the world, on both guitar and Dixieland banjo since he was a young man.
Bob has performed with Carol Channing, in Hello Dolly; recorded several albums with Woody Allen’s musical director, Dick Hyman; and has played on more than 100 recordings with some of the most famous names in Dixieland music. He was a featured act and band leader on the Delta Queen, Mississippi Queen, and the American Queen steamboats, was a bandleader at Rosie O’Grady’s in Orlando, and was a Banjo King on Main Street at Disney World.
For the past 20 years, Bob has been a featured all-Star on the JazzFest at Sea and Jazzdagen cruises, and has played festivals in Tahiti, Germany, France, Canada, and at the Caesarea Jazz Festival, in Israel. He also tours with both the Midiri Brothers Band, and The Terrier Brothers.
When he’s home in Naples, FL, Bob plays regularly at the Ritz-Carlton Beach and Golf Resorts as a soloist and bandleader, and all over town as one-half of the 50’s – 60’s duo The Elderly Brothers. For years he has played the Saturday and Sunday brunches at Bice Restaurant on 5th Ave in Naples. He and Laura stroll as a duo at private parties and country clubs, where they tap into their vast repertoire of popular songs and requests. Bob also leads quartets and larger bands for any occasion, including his popular New Orleans Po’Boyz blues band.
Black Swan Classic Jazz Band | www.bscjb.com
Black Swan will delight you with exciting selections from the Roaring Twenties, the era of hot jazz bands and colorful characters. You will revel in Dixieland, vintage jazz, ragtime and old-time gospel music presented by one of the top traditional jazz bands in the country. Black Swan features the sizzling talents of vocalists Marilyn Keller, and sports top-notch cornet, clarinet, trombone, tuba, piano, banjo and drum instrumentalists. Since 1989 Black Swan has performed for artistic venues, festivals and dances throughout the western United States, Alaska, British Columbia and the Caribbean. Based in Portland, this versatile group can softly caress an intimate room, fire up a large concert hall, and keep dancers “cutting a rug”.
Marilyn Keller, vocalist
Marilyn brings a special magic to the stage with her mesmerizing presence and flawless vocal stylings. Diversity is one of her greatest assets and she displays it by appearing with Black Swan and a wide variety of other performance groups and styles: The Don Latarski Group, Tall Jazz, Tom Grant, Michael Allen Harrison and the Augustana Jazz Quartet to name a few. Marilyn regularly tours in Europe with New Orleans Delight and recently was selected as a featured artist to perform throughout western Australia.
Ron Leach, drums
Ron has performed in Latin, blues, jazz, bluegrass, symphonic and theater groups throughout Oregon. A lifelong student of drums and percussion, Ron has studied Latin rhythms in Havana, Cuba and joined Black Swan in 2000. Ron previously spent three years as music director on the Queen of the West before returning to shore to become active in land-based gigs.
Rick Holzgrafe, cornet
Rick played with the Fink Street Five in Orange County for seven years, and then the Apex Jass Band in San Jose in the early 1980s. He was a 20-year member of the Mission Gold Jazz Band before moving to Oregon, and has appeared with the Churchill Street Rhythm and Ted Shafer’s Jelly Roll Jazz Band.
John Bennett, piano
One of Wallace, Idaho’s native sons, John grew up in La Grande and Portland, Oregon, where he helped pay his Lewis and Clark College tuition by playing in a burlesque theater (he claims to be the only pit piano player who never looked up from the keyboard). He has taught public and private school music in The Dalles, Warm Springs and Portland and keeps active in the live music scene with band and solo work. John supplements his musical talents by interpreting Russian and has advanced degrees in teaching, linguistics and music.
Don Stone, trombone
Don is one of those rare individuals equally at home in a spectrum of musical ensembles ranging from massive symphony orchestras to a trombone/guitar jazz duo. Hailing from the Big Sky country, Don has co-led the Last Chance Jazz Band for the last 25 years, performing Dixieland music throughout the western states at Arts events, festivals and private parties. A talented instructor as well, Don teaches privately and is recently retired from Helena Schools.
Kit Johnson, tuba
Kit is founder and tuba player of Black Swan. A three-time recipient of the Close Music Award at the University of Oregon, Kit completed music and accounting degrees with honors. He was featured throughout Europe with the 76th US Army Band, and began performing in Dixieland bands after he returned to the states, including Black Swan, Uptown Lowdown, High Sierra and Buck Creek.
Alan Phillips, banjo
Alan performed on banjo and vocals with Black Swan between 1990 and 1995, from 1998 through 2006, and then again beginning in late 2012. Originally a french horn major at the University of Oregon, Alan eventually moved on to study piano tuning and restoration in Boston. This combined his love of music with a more practical approach to making a living. Alan has performed with the Eugene Symphony and the Oregon Festival of American Music, the Misty Water Drifters, the Drag Kings and the Hackers.
Josh Duffee and the Graystone Monarchs
Born in Moline, Illinois, and now residing across the river in Bix Beiderbecke’s hometown of Davenport, Iowa, Josh Duffee is regarded as one of the world’s greatest 1920’s style percussionists. He has performed at numerous jazz festivals and concerts all around the world, including England in 2008, 2010-2014, and Australia in 2001, 2003, 2011 and 2014.
He is the leader of The Graystone Monarchs, a 10-piece dance orchestra that performs music from the hot jazz era. The group performs music that was heard at the Graystone Ballroom in Detroit from the early 20’s to the mid 30’s, with their music coming from the libraries of the Jean Goldkette Orchestra, McKinney’s Cotton Pickers, Fletcher Henderson, Frank Trumbauer, Duke Ellington, King Oliver, Carroll Dickerson, and of course, Bix Beiderbecke. They also focus on playing the music from many other great dance orchestra’s from the 1920’s and early 30’s, giving them a well-rounded musical interest and sound that draws the listening and dancing crowd in to each of their performances.
The Graystone Monarchs feature some of the best musicians who play in a hot style on their instrument. Each musician can play the music just like you hear on a recording, but at the same time create a solo that is all their own. Josh’s drumming influences include Vic Berton, Zutty Singleton, Baby Dodds and Teddy Brown, but his main influence and inspiration comes from the musical and tasteful drumming of Chauncey Morehouse. Josh’s 8-year-old son is named Chauncey Duffee, after Mr. Morehouse.
They were featured at the Hawkeye-Swing Dance Festival in Iowa City, Iowa, in April 2013, and also featured at The San Diego Jazz Festival in November 2014.