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The Swingsations: News

Another big thanks - September 30, 2018

Again I must say thanks to all who have visited my website - September has seen an all time high in visits. Regarding the recording - I was unable to get my guys together for a photo shoot, as Bryan my drummer will now be gone until early November. So the plan now is to do it then - I have lined up a fine photographer Richard Takanega to do the photos - he is a big fan of music and has taken many photos of me and some of the other guys at Disneyland ( his wife Connie is a great photographer as well ). I plan to use the Music Room in Orange as our venue - a place run by Westy's wife Sharon, where Westy spent a lot of there will be a connection to our dear friend. So the final preparations continue - thank you for your patience and support, and stay tuned.

Thanks everyone! - August 21, 2018

Just a quick note to say thank you to everyone who has visited this website recently...there's been a recent increase in visits here, and I hope that you all have enjoyed what you've seen. I will be posting more updates on the new recording soon - at the moment I'm still in the process of raising some additional money for the duplication and packaging, plus a photo shoot. So please check back soon!

More progress soon - August 1, 2018

Hello again, and thanks to all those who have visited the website recently...there's be an increase in visits in July for which I'm very grateful.

This is a brief recording update - at this time I'm short on funds, so any further progress has been put on hold. I still need to do the CD duplication and decide on the packaging
(artwork, photo, etc.) and finalize the info so it can be distributed on CDBaby. So a few more hurdles to jump, but the end is definitely in sight. I'll keep you posted as to further developments. Thanks again for your support!

A fun gig - July 25, 2018

It's a pleasure as a musician to work with other groups, in other contexts - and that's what I got to do earlier this week. I appeared at Joe's in Burbank with the Carl "Sonny" Leyland Quartet, playing some hard driving boogie woogie, blues, and some 20's - 30's era standards. It was fun and quite a workout! Carl is the best in the business when it comes to boogie woogie, and he's a great guy to work for. My band mates were Josh Colazzo on drums and Lahksmi Ramirez on bass. A swingin' time was had by all!

Some sad news... - July 24, 2018

Unfortunately I have some sad news to report - after 13 years, there will be no Art Deco Festival on the Queen Mary, and consequently we won't be performing. Apparently there has been another round of management changes, and a change in the Special Events Department. I will miss performing for the good people at the Art Deco Society - it was always fun to do and for many years was very profitable for us , as we played at the Observation Bar on both Saturday and Sunday of the event, in addition to doing the Friday Cocktail Reception. I can only hope that perhaps they'll try to host it next year. So farewell for now, and we'll cherish the memories.

Good news! - July 18, 2018

I have a positive update about the new recording. I was a little concerned about the cost of licensing the cover songs on the CD, as last time ( 13 years ago! ) you could only deal with the Harry Fox agency in New York, and it was expensive. But thanks to research and the changing times, I was able to find a company to license the tunes for less money than I expected ( they're called Easy Song Licensing ). And, I only had to license 12 instead of 14 because 2 of the tunes are Public Domain now. The service was great - fast, they do both physical product and downloads, and even offer a volume discount. Long story short, the licensing is complete, so now it's on to the packaging and duplication...once a little more money is raised. Stay with me, it will be out soon!

Swingin' at the Casino - July 14, 2018

A belated report and thank you - our appearance at Casino San Clemente on July 11 was a great success! It was a sold out concert again, and so we were moved to the Ballroom, which is a larger venue ( with good sound as well ). We also had a few dancers, which was nice. My thanks to Linda and the staff at the Casino who were very helpful, efficient, and friendly. And a big thanks to Phil and my super subs Jonathan Stout, Benjamin May, and Jimmy Ford for helping me lay down some swingin' music. Here's hoping that we'll be back soon!

Coming up... - July 10, 2018

Our second appearance at Casino San Clemente is now just around the corner - tomorrow night, July 11, from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. Tickets are still available, and I was recently informed that there will be space for dancing on the patio, which is near the West Wing performance area. My regular sax man Phil Krawzak will be there, along with special guests Jonathan Stout on guitar ( of Campus Five fame ), Benjamin May on bass, and Jimmy Ford on drums. It's sure to be a swingin' time! For more information please visit my Calendar page here, or The Swingsations on Facebook. See you soon!

Another great night - June 29, 2018

Once again a great night at Barley Forge Brewing Co., and a big thanks to my band - Phil Krawzak, Tom Liston, Benjamin May and George Andrus for making it all swing. The staff was once again very friendly and helpful, which always makes for a great experience. Thanks also to the fans and friends who came by to say hello...much appreciated. Next up is July 11 at Casino San Clemente, so stay tuned.

Barley Forge #9 Coming Up! - June 27, 2018

We're only a day away from our ninth appearance at Barley Forge Brewing Co., and it's always a pleasure. My regular sax man Phil Krawzak will be there, and I'll have special guests Tom Liston on guitar, Benjamin May on bass and George Andrus on drums. Incidentally, having Tom and Ben on this gig reunites 3/4 of my band from 1996! We'll be playing some favorites from our two CDs plus a few tunes from the upcoming record. I hope to see you there! Check the Calendar Dates page for more information, and thank you.

Keeping busy - June 13, 2018

I'm heading into a busy period now, with a private event at UC Irvine on June 20 and our ninth appearance at Barley Forge Brewing Co. on June 28. And then we'll be making our Summer Jazz Series debut at Casino San Clemente on July 11. It's good to be working, and these gigs will help fund the next steps in getting my recording released - licensing, artwork and packaging. I hope that I'll see some of you along the way. Thanks for you support!

Just added - June 5, 2018

A quick news flash - we have been invited to perform at the Casino San Clemente again, this time as part of their Summer Jazz Series. Our last performance there was in November of 2016 during their Autumn Leaves Jazz Series, and we were a big hit, performing to a sold out house. The date is Wednesday night, July 11, from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. I'm hoping for another great turnout and a great performance. Thanks, and I'll be posting more details soon.

Spring cleaning at the website - May 31, 2018

Just a quick note to let you know that I'm doing some long overdue "cleaning up" here at the website - adding some new photos from recent gigs and the recording session, updating the calendar, and trying to do a better job of keeping you informed in the news section. I hope that you'll check it out, and that you enjoy what you see and read. Thank you!

One step closer... - May 30, 2018

Yes, I'm a step closer to completing work on the new recording...I now have three fully mastered and mixed copies of the CD with the tunes in order. Thanks to the great of work of my engineer Bryan Shaw, we were able to fix some balance problems and do some additional fixes. After much debate, I was able to come up with a tune order that I'm happy with, and I thin that you'll enjoy as well. There is a good variety of tempo and mood, and something among the sixteen track for everyone to enjoy. Dixieland, novelties, group vocals, pretty ballads, and of course plenty of swing. Now it's on to licensing and packaging/artwork - stay tuned for more updates soon!

new recording update - May 23, 2018

Here is a quick update on our new recording - after several weeks of listening to the takes and portions of takes, I was able to decide on which ones to use. Some of the tunes needed some minor fixing, as often happens. I sent Bryan Shaw ( engineer ) the choices and last week he completed his "mixing and fixing" magic. This past Monday I listened to these final takes and they sound great! Bryan said that he didn't have to do much with balancing the group sound because we did it naturally...which is a credit to the musician ship of the group and our ability to listen and blend. Bravo, guys!

So now I am debating the song order for the CD - it hasn't been easy, but I think I've come up with a good one, and I hope that you'll enjoy it. Stay tuned for more updates.

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.
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