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The Swingsations: News

Barley Forge again! - May 2, 2018

I'm pleased to announce that we'll be appearing for the ninth time at Barley Forge Brewing Co. in Costa Mesa...the date is Thursday, June 28, from 8:00 to 10:30 p.m. ( two one hour sets as before ). I'm very pleased that we've been a part of their Thursday Night Jazz Series for over two years. I'll have my regulars Phil Krawzak and Dave Eastly on hand, along with special guests Tom Liston on guitar and George Andrus on drums. I'll be featuring tunes from the upcoming album along with old favorites - hope to see you there! For more info check out my Calendar Dates section or my Facebook band page or event page.

What you'll be hearing - April 17, 2018

The recording sessions are over, and now the work of selecting the best tune takes and editing begins. It's keeping me busy, as there is so much great material to go through.
I wanted to let you know about the songs that we did.

First, there is a vocal tribute by me to Lee "Westy" Westenhofer, my bassist and friend. It is I Believe In Miracles, a wonderful tune from the 1930's that Westy used to sing with us. I hope that it brings you pleasant memories of him and his great talent.

I have always tried to include a few Classic Jazz/Dixieland numbers on my recordings, and so you will hear Walkin'The Dog ( from 1917 ) and Jelly Roll Blues, a Jelly Roll Morton altered blues from 1915.

There are some great harmonized vocal numbers, paying tribute to the great jazz based novelty/vocal groups of the 1930's - Rhythm, by the Spirits Of Rhythm, and I Like Bananas (Because They Have No Bones ), by the Hoosier Hot Shots. These tunes are in three part harmony, adding Phil Krawzak on clarinet. They're a lot of fun!

I have two originals on the record - Jivin' Around, a nice medium swing number, and Minor Blues For Django, which titles speaks for itself and continues our tradition of presenting tunes associated with or written by Django Reinhardt.

There are also two instrumental features. I wanted to feature Phil on tenor, as I've admired his playing for years. You will hear him on It's The Talk Of The Town, based on the 1933 recording by Fletcher Henderson that featured Coleman Hawkins. I have a feature on Time On My Hands, a lovely tune from 1930. The verse to the tune is also included, which is pretty as well.

Well, this is an overview of some of the tunes. I'll return later to talk about the other ones. I look forward to getting this fine music out to you soon!

Another great session - April 6, 2018

Yesterday was our second and final day of recording, and was once again a great success. We recorded the remaining six tunes with multiple takes, and then redid two tunes from the previous day ( including my ballad feature ). These two "redos" were much more relaxed and swinging and I'm glad that we did them. After that there was some overdubbing of vocals to do, and that was it. I was able to finish ahead of schedule and under budget, thanks to the great playing of my band and the fine job that Bryan Shaw ( our engineer ) did. My thanks to him, and of course to Phil, Tom, Dave and Bryan - it's a great honor to work with you. I'll be posting a few photos from the session soon...some are up on Facebook already. Now it's on to choosing the best takes and mastering the recording. I'll keep sending updates, so please visit again soon!

Session #1 a Great Success! - April 4, 2018

Well, the first recording session is in the books, and it went very well. Originally scheduled for noon to 5 p.m., we actually started about 12:20 and ended about 4:40 so that Dave Eastly could get to his gig. Despite this we were able to record ten tunes, with two and three takes apiece - this surpassed my goal of six or seven. My thanks to our recording engineer Bryan Shaw for his fine work and for keeping us on task ( he did our previous record as you may recall ), and to the guys ( Phil, Tom, Dave and Bryan ) for their excellent work. Looking forward to tomorrow's session when we'll do the six remaining tunes and tie up the loose ends. Stay tuned for more updates!

Final preparations - March 27, 2018

Hi again! With a little over a week until the band goes into the studio, I'm trying to get everything prepared. There's a lot to think about and do, because the main idea is to make the sessions go smoothly. It's exciting and overwhelming at the same time, but my overall feeling is that the time is right and that we'll make some great music. Stay tuned here for more updates...

The new recording - March 20, 2018

The new recording is something I've been planning for awhile, as I related to you recently. I want this to be a good representative sample of the music that we do - there will be some 1920's Classic Jazz/Dixieland, some 1930's Swing, some novelty numbers, and even a Thelonious Monk tune, as I'm looking to expand the swing repertoire ( Monk liked medium tempos and I think that a lot of his tunes would work in a swing dance format ). I will also be using three part harmony ( two vocalists and clarinet ) on several tunes - this sets us apart from other small groups and is our "secret weapon".

I'll be sending out more details soon. Thanks everyone!

Back to the studio - March 13, 2018

I'm very happy to announce that I will be taking the band into the studio in April, to record our third album. It's been far too long since our last one - 13 years! Time just seemed to get away from me, and the death of "Westy" Westenhofer also put things on hold for awhile. But now I feel that the time is right, and that we'll be able to put out a great recording.
I'm looking forward to it, and will be giving you all more details soon. Thank you everyone for your support!

Thank you, Barley Forge! - March 13, 2018

A belated thank you once again to Barley Forge Brewing Co. for having us back for our eighth appearance as part of Thursday Night Jazz. It was a great night, and of course a great big thank you to my band - Phil Krawzak and Dave Eastly, my regulars, and special guests Tom Liston and Paul Johnson. We hope to be back soon, and we also hope to be out and about at more venues around the area.

At Barley Forge again - January 29, 2018

I'm pleased to announce that we'll be returning to Barley Forge Brewing Co. in Costa Mesa for our eighth appearance on Thursday night, Feb. 22. On this night my special guests will be Tom Liston on guitar and Paul Johnson on drums, along with regulars Phil Krawzak and Dave Eastly. I am very happy to be back, as this fine establishment has been a great place to play and the staff is always friendly and very gracious. We invite you to come out and enjoy their fine beer and great food, and of course some swingin' music. Although there is no room for dancing, please feel free to tap your feet, nod your head, and enjoy. Thanks everyone!

A good year - December 24, 2017

First of all, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to fans and friends out there! We appreciate your support and look forward to more gigs in the coming year. I was fortunate to continue to perform at the Barley Forge Brewery, and was able to continue our yearly appearance at the Art Deco Festival ( just the Cocktail Reception this time, but it was still fun ). In addition we made our debut at the Pour Vous club. I'm also grateful to have worked on a regular basis subbing at Disneyland. Best wishes for the coming year, and I hope to see you all somewhere along the way.

A brief update - October 31, 2017

It's time to bring you up to date on some of our recent appearances, as I haven't written in a while. We had the pleasure of performing for the Fall Kick Off at Mariner's Church in Irvine - it was in September and we received many compliments. I am hopeful that we'll return there soon to play for more events. We also returned to Barley Forge Brewing Co. in Costa Mesa last week ( Oct. 26 ) for our seventh appearance...another fun night of music. My thanks to the band - regulars Phil and Dave and special guests Tom Liston on guitar and Gareth Price on drums. We were able to pay tribute to Thelonious Monk on the recent centennial of his birth by performing two of his tunes ( his roots are in the Swing Era and many of his tunes work in a swing setting ). All in all, a busy and successful fall season. Here's hoping for more great gigs soon!

Pour Vous Debut - July 24, 2017

We'll be making our appearance for the Swingtronic dance event, hosted by Marshall Watson...it's at Pour Vous, a French inspired restaurant on 5574 Melrose Ave., and the date is Wednesday night, August 23, from 10:30 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. ( we play two half hour sets, 10:30 - 11:00 and 11:30 to midnight ). Marshall is a long time swing dancer and fan of this music, and he's been hosting this event for four years. I'm very pleased to be making my debut here, and hope that you can join us! There are more details on the Facebook event page The Swingsations at Swingtronic!

Cocktail reception time change - July 16, 2017

Hello friends! At the request of the Art Deco Society, our performance for the Cocktail Reception on Friday, August 18 will be 7 to 9 p.m., instead of 6 to 8. Since it's the only event on Friday they wanted to move it a little later. Details are still coming, and hopefully it will be possible for the general public to purchase tickets after the Society members purchase theirs. I'll keep you posted, and thank you.

Cocktail Reception is on - July 13, 2017

There was some confusion regarding the Art Deco Cocktail Reception, but after some negotiation I'm happy to announce that it will be held as previously announced - 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. in the Verandah Grill of the Queen Mary. Though not officially part of the Festival program, it's the "kick off" event. Please check the Queen Mary website or the Cocktails In Historic Places Facebook page for more details.
It's great to back again, and I hope that you can join us.

Barley Forge again! - June 29, 2017

We'll be returning for our sixth appearance at Barley Forge Brewing Co. in Costa Mesa as part of Thursday Night Jazz...the date is Thursday, August 24, from 8 to 10:30 p.m. Come join us for some great beer and food, and some swinging jazz. This has become a great venue for us, and though there is no room for dancing I invite you to come and listen ( and tap your feet ). See you there, and thanks! For more details please visit http://www.barleyforge.com.

Art Deco Festival: Correction - June 28, 2017

Hi again - I've been informed by the management of the Queen Mary that the Art Deco Festival schedule is going to be changed this year. Unfortunately, our Friday night dance gig at the Pajama Derby has been cancelled as a result. We will still be doing the cocktail reception in the Verandah Grill on Friday night ( 6 to 8 pm ), and I believe it will still be open to the public through a separate ticket.
Thank you for your support, and I will keep you all posted with any further details.

Disney Dates - June 10, 2017

Apart from my work in my band and with Jonathan Stout's group, I have been fortunate to work quite frequently as a sub at Disneyland. I'm happy to say that I continue to do so. I'll be working all of the Saturdays in June with The Royal St. Bachelors over in New Orleans Square ( on the late schedule, 4:45 to 10:30 pm, seven sets ). In addition I'll be showing up with The Jambalaya Jazz Band in New Orleans Square and The Main St. Straw Hatters from time to time, and sometimes with The Silver Dollar Six/Hook and Ladder Company on Main St. It's always an honor to work with these fine musicians. If you're around this summer and see me, please stop by and say hello!

We're back on the Queen - June 9, 2017

Yes, I've just confirmed that we'll be returning for our thirteenth consecutive appearance as part of the Art Deco Festival on the Queen Mary. The date is Friday, August 18, with the cocktail reception in the Verandah Grill from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., followed by a quick move to the Queen's Salon for the dance and Derby Races from 8:30 ( approximately ) to 11:00 p.m. I'm always happy to perform for John Thomas and the fine people of the Art Deco Society, who do such great work in preserving historic Los Angeles buildings and landmarks form the 1920's and 1930's.
Separate tickets are available to the public for the reception, but the dance is for Society members only. For more information please visit the Queen Mary website www.queenmary.com and look under events. Hope to see you there!

Thanks again! - May 18, 2017

Once again a big thank you to Greg Nylen and the staff at Barley Forge Brewing Co. for having us back for our fifth appearance last week, as part of Thursday Night Jazz. The people at Barley Forge are very considerate and helpful, which makes it a great place to play. As always, I think my great band - Phil, Tom, Dave, and special guest Gareth Price in drums...they did a wonderful job, playing both our regular numbers and some new pieces. A great honor for me was getting to meet 98 year old swing dancer and World War II veteran Art Sherman, who danced in LA back in the Palomar Ballroom days of the 1930's. He was very gracious and complimented both myself and the band. What a treat! We look forward to being back soon, so stay tuned...

Tomorrow night - May 10, 2017

I'm looking forward to our fifth appearance at Barley Forge Brewing Co. tomorrow night. I'll have my regular band except for Bryan Taylor - in his place will be Gareth Price, a great young musician who I've had the pleasure of working with at Disneyland. He was also with us at Barley Forge in January. I'll be trying out some new tunes, including a new vocal number. If you're in the Costa Mesa, CA area come on by! For more information check my calendar dates section.

Return to Joe's - January 27, 2017

Thank you Lorenzo Rossi and all the good people at Joe's in Burbank for the great gig last Monday night! I had the regular band together for the first time in two years, and it was great to work with all of them again. Also a big thank you to all the fans and friends for coming out. It's always a pleasure, and we hope to be back soon.

Return to Barley Forge - December 20, 2016

Yes, we'll be returning to Barley Forge Brewing Co. in Costa Mesa for our fourth appearance - the date is Thursday, January 5, from 8:00 to 10:30 pm ( two one hour sets ). We hope that you can join us to welcome in the new year with some great jazz and swing! My regulars Phil Krawzak and Dave Eastly will be on hand, and I will have Jonathan Stout guesting on guitar ( my boss in the Campus Five ) and Gareth Price on drums. It should be a great time, and I hope to see you there.
For more information please visit my Calendar section here - I'll also be putting up a Facebook event page soon.

San Clemente Swing - November 4, 2016

Great news - our November 3 debut at Casino San Clemente was a big success! They booked a record amount of reservations and the West Wing room was packed with people. It was wonderful to play for a real listening audience, and an enthusiastic one as well - we even received a standing ovation at the end! It was all part of the Autumn Leaves Jazz Series, and I'm sure that we'll be returning. A big thanks to Jason House and Sarah Rodriguez for the promotional work, and to my musicians ( Jim Jedeikin, Tom Liston, Dave Eastly, and George Andrus ) for their great work. Here's to more swing and classic jazz in Orange County!

A new venue - October 6, 2016

I'm pleased to announce that we'll be making a debut at a new location - The Casino San Clemente, a historic building dating back to the 1930's which used to host the big bands and many Hollywood stars. They had a successful Summer Jazz Series and have decided to extend into the fall with the Autumn Leaves Jazz Series. We have been selected to represent traditional jazz, but I'll be mixing in some hot swing as well. The date is Thursday, Nov. 3, 7:00 to 9:30 pm ( two sets ). I'll have Dave Eastly with me plus special guests Tom Liston on guitar, Jim Jedeikin on sax and clarinet and George Andrus on drums. Please check my Calendar Dates section for more specific information, and we hope to see you there!

Return To The Art Deco Festival - August 17, 2016

We're happy to be performing once again for the good people of the Art Deco Society for the annual Art Deco Festival. This is the twelfth year, and we've been a part of every one! This year the festival will take place this coming weekend ( August 19 - 21 ), and not on Labor Day Weekend as in the past. We'll be performing on Friday at the Cocktail Reception in the Verandah Grill from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., then making an immediate relocation to the Queen's Salon for the Deco Derby and PJ Jam from 8:30 to 11:00 p.m. If you're interested in attending please visit www.queenmary.com or visit the various event pages by the Art Deco Society on Facebook. Thank you!
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