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The Swingsations: Blog

No. 3 More History

Posted on June 9, 2012
Yep, I've been away from the blog too long again...but let's continue.

As I related earlier, Ed Slauson joined in 1998, making us a five piece group. Ed was a wonderful drummer and a great person - unfortunately he only did two gigs with the band during his time with me, though he was on hand for our first professional recording ( Swing That Music ) which was done at Dick Hamilton's LA studio in March of 1999. I was able to get it released on cassette in time for the summer and our appearance at the Big Bear Lake Festival Of Jazz ( we played there for three straight years, 1998 - 2000, before it unfortunately folded as many classic jazz festivals do ). Sadly, Ed lost his long battle with cancer and died in August of 1999. When I released the recording on CD later, I dedicated it to Ed.
At this time, we were still keeping fairly busy with park concert appearances, and I asked Larry Wright ( a local legend out here - multi instrumentalist extraordinare ) to replace Ed on drums, and he agreed to do so. Toward the end of 1999 Eric Stiller left to go to New York and I replaced him with the one and only Lee "Westy" Westenhofer on bass and vocals. I didn't make much use of Westy's vocal talents at first - that would come later.

Tom Liston was getting more and more busy with steel drum playing ( he has done quite well with it ) and gradually faded out of the group. I had been using Tom Hynes as a sub, and so he now became the new guitarist. As for Dan St. Marseille, he gradually faded out too - I had been using Phil Krawzak whenever I could and had always admired his playing from way back in the early Dean Mora days. So around 2003 - 04 he became my regular sax/clarinet player.

Whew! So much history to relate. In the next installment I'll try to bring it all up to date, beginning with our second ( and most current ) recording. Thanks for reading, and I welcome your comments.