PO Box 924 | Olympia, WA 98507 | 360.943.9123

Festival Band Bios

Bob Schulz Frisco Jazz Band

The Frisco Jazz Band is definitely one of the more talented groups on the West Coast Today.  Their style is patterned after the late Bob Scobey Frisco Band of the ’50’s and early ’60’s.

As many of you might know, Bob Scobey & Clancy Hayes were the popular heroes of the 1950’s, not just in the Bay Area, but all across the country.

Scobey was never comfortable with such terms as “traditional jazz” or “New Orleans jazz”…he was more of a free musical spirit than a conformist.

This is the feeling the Frisco Jazz Band wishes to convey as they perform their program for you.

Even though Bob is considered one of the foremost exponents of the Scobey style of trumpet and is an outstanding vocalist in the tradition of Clancy Hayes, and some of the members of his band are Alumnus from the Scobey and Turk Murphy bands, they enjoy performing in the styles that have been influenced by all the greats , both past and present.

This, in fact, is more to the liking of the entire group.  You may hear bits and pieces of Muggsy, Murphy, Armstrong, Condon and Berigan…much the way the free spirited Scobey would have done.

Musicians

Bob Schulz on cornet; Kim Cusack on reeds; Doug Finke on trombone; Ray Templin on drums; Scott Anthony on banjo; Jim Maihack on tuba; Ray Skjlbred on piano

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.