I just returned recently from my second trip to Budapest, Hungary, where I was performing with Jonathan Stout's Campus Five.  I loved being there and playing for the swing dancers, some of whom were listening as well.  I have made some friends there, and I find the people to be warm, friendly and thoughtful.  On this trip I also had the opportunity to sell a few of my new recording with Mr. Stout's blessing, so I was able to spread a little of my music to Europe.  Travel is such a wonderful thing, you can learn so much and take in so much history.  It was a great trip, I hope to return again someday...and of course it's always great to return home.

I recently signed on with a promotional agency, and now I'm happy to say that they have provided me with a review of the new album on the online site Jazz Corner.  It's a good one, and I'm pleased that we're beginning to get some press.  The reviewer was especially impressed with Lady Be Good and Jelly Roll Blues

Here is the link to the review;

https://www.jazzcorner.com/news/display.php?news=9283

Please check it out and enjoy!

I am saddened to hear that Barley Forge Brewing Co. will soon be closing due to increased rent costs at their location.  I was a real pleasure to perform there for the last four years as part of Thursday Night Jazz.  As I have written before, we were always treated wonderfully by the staff there - they provided the bands with food and complimentary drinks and were very friendly and helpful.  Their sound man was also great as well.  We will miss being there, and thank all of the new and old fans who came out to see us and enjoy our music.  Good luck to the Nylens, and thank you!

It was another fun weekend for us, as we performed for the Fall Kickoff at Mariners Church in Irvine.  We had done this event two years ago, but this time we were there for two days - Saturday night and Sunday.  It was really swinging, and I got to talk to many wonderful people who enjoyed our music.  Thanks to my band for a great job - Phil, Tom and Dave were there, and we had special guests Benjamin May and Jimmy Ford helping out as well.  I passed out quite a few business cards, so we'll see what happens.  Looking forward to our next appearance here.

I'm looking forward to performing for the good people at Mariners Church in Irvine this Saturday and Sunday, as part of their Fall Kickoff.  We've done several events for them this year, all enjoyable.  Saturday, Sept. 7 we'll be playing from 6:15 to 7:30 pm ( after the 5:00 service ) and on Sunday Sept. 8 we'll be doing two short sets, from 9:30 to 10:00 am and 12:30 to 1:00 pm.  If you happen to be in the area come on by!

I had a great time in Seattle last Sunday, leading an all star group for the final dance of the Seattle Lindy Extravaganza.  Despite flying in on the day of the gig and having difficulty getting a rehearsal in beforehand, we were able to create some great music and the crowd loved it!  I was able to introduce the audience to some of the great Swingsations tunes, including "Tain't Whatcha Do, Swing That Music, Flat Foot Floogie, and The Music Goes Round just to name a few.  A big thanks to Jonathan Ng for inviting me to be a part of the event and for his help throughout.  And many thanks to the band - Jacob Zimmerman on sax/clarinet, Greg Ruby on guitar, Jen Hodge on bass and josh Collazo on drums.  They read my music wonderfully and played great!  Here's hoping I can return again, perhaps with my own group.

I'm looking forward to being part of this great swing event - my first time leading a group at a major dance event.  I'll be joined by some wonderful musicians - Jonathan Doyle on sax and clarinet, Greg Ruby on guitar, Jen Hodge on bass, and josh Collazo on drums.  This will be a great opportunity to introduce the Swingsations repertoire to a new audience...I'm sure that they'll enjoy it!  A big thank you to Jonathan Ng for inviting me.  If you'd like more information and are in the area, please visit the event website:  https://www.savoyswing.org/slx   

I'm pleased to announce that I will be leading an all star group of musicians at the Seattle Lindy Exchange - the date is Sunday, July 21.  This will be a wonderful opportunity to play my Swingsations repertoire for a new audience, and it is my first experience leading a group at a major swing dance event.  It should be a lot of fun!  I'll be joined by Jonathan Doyle on sax and clarinet, Greg Ruby on guitar, Jen Hodge on bass and Josh Collazo on drums - a great band, and I'm honored to be working with all of them.  I will post more details soon.

It was my great pleasure to perform again at Casino San Clemente last week ( on May 22 ), as part of the Spring Into Jazz Series.  Though an unexpected thunderstorm kept some fans away, we nonetheless had a great time performing for those who did attend.  We were in the Ballroom so there was some dancing.  What pleased me the most was being able to play a gig with my regular band - which can be difficult at times due to our busy schedules.  Thank you Phil, Tom, Dave and Bryan for a swingin' night, and thank you Linda and the staff at the Casino for inviting us again.  We hope to return soon - maybe for the Fall Series.  

Once again it was a fun night at Barley Forge in Costa Mesa!  My thanks to the fans who showed up, and to those who became fans by hearing us for the first time.  And of course a big thank you to my band - Phil, Dave, and my special guests Jonathan Stout and Paul Johnson.  Jonathan made a special trip from Pasadena to help me out, which I really appreciate.  Next up is Spring Into Jazz at Casino San Clemente on May 22 - hope to see you there!

 

A quick update to our upcoming Barley Forge gig on Thursday, May 16 - in addition to regulars Phil Krawzak and Dave Eastly, we'll be joined by Jonathan Stout ( great guitarist and fellow bandleader ) and the great Paul Johnson on drums, whom I've had the pleasure of working with at Disney for many years.  It will be a swingin' night, with a mix of old and new favorites from our repertoire.  For more information check out the calendar page here, or The Swingsations page on Facebook.  Thank you!

A reminder that we have two gigs coming up in May - the first is yet another appearance at Barley Forge Brewing Co. in Costa Mesa on Thursday, May 16, 8:00 - 10:30 pm.  I think we're up to at least our eleventh gig here, and always happy to do it.  I'll have Phil and Dave with me plus special guests Jonathan Stout on guitar and Paul Johnson on drums.  The second date is at Casino San Clemente on Wednesday, May 22, 6:30 - 9:00 pm, where we'll be concluding the Spring Into Jazz Series.  This will be our third appearance here as part of the Jazz Series, and this time I'll have the regular band.  I'm looking forward to a great night!  For more details on these gigs, please visit the calendar section here or the Facebook page The Swingsations.  See you there!

Yes, as of today the new recording is available for purchase on Cd Baby! The audio sample links should be up soon as soon as the final review processes are completed - and I hope to have audio links up soon on the website as well. You can purchase physical product (CD) or digital downloads. You can find the link on the Buy tab here on the website. Thank you, and enjoy!
Hi again - a quick update: I submitted the new recording to the fine people here at CDBaby last week, and once they receive it and I complete a few more sign up steps, it will be available to purchase in physical and digital formats. I should mention that my other two recordings ( Swing That Music and Swingers and Novelties ) are available now, in case you were unaware. Enjoy, and Happy New Year!
In all the rush of the Christmas season, I forgot to make the big announcement here - the new recording is finished and delivered! The title is Still Swingin'! and I took delivery on Dec. 18. I'm sending some copies to CDBaby today, and hopefully in about a week or so it will be available online. I've already sold a few at the Lindy Focus dance event and at a few of the Campus Five gigs, thanks to the generosity of fellow bandleader Jonathan Stout. I'm very proud of this recording - it has a great variety of music and I'll think that you'll enjoy it. I am particularly happy that I was able to do a tribute to "Westy" by singing I Believe In Miracles, a nice old song that he did with me for many years. Thank you everyone, Happy New Year, and Happy Listening!
I'm looking forward to our photo shoot this Sunday, December 1 - first of all because the band is in need of a new promotional photo, and also because it's another step in the completion of the new recording. It will be held at the Music Room in Orange, a multi use dance and performing arts studio run by Sharon Westenhofer, Westy's wife. So there is a wonderful connection to our old friend, as he spent many happy hours here working and rehearsing. Our photographer is Rick Takanega, a great fan of musicians who has taken many photos of me and the other Disney musicians over the years. Stay tuned for the results!
We'll be making our tenth appearance at Barley Forge Brewing Co. in Costa Mesa, just in time for some Christmas cheer - the date is Thursday, Dec. 13, with two sets of music 8:00 - 9:00 p.m. and 9:30 - 10:30 p.m. We hope to see you there to enjoy some great music, beer, and food. I hope to have my regular band there that night, and if we're really lucky the new recording may be ready. Looking forward to seeing you there!
Yes, after a brief delay due to scheduling conflicts and a busy fall schedule, I'm back to work on the new recording. The graphic design is underway, with duplication to follow, courtesy of Marc Smaniotto at ABACAB Multimedia. The final piece of the puzzle will be including a photo or two on the CD, and I have managed to set up a photo shoot for Sunday, December 2. It will be at The Music Room in Orange, which has a connection to Westy, as it is run by his wife Sharon and he spent a lot of time there working and helping with the musical projects. Our photographer will be Richard Takanega, a great friend of musicians who has taken many photos of me and the other guys around Disneyland. Once the photos are chosen, we can bring this wonderful recording to you at last! I'm looking forward to having it completed and sharing it with all of you.
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 time...so there will be a connection to our dear friend. So the final preparations continue - thank you for your patience and support, and stay tuned.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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 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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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...
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
It was a real pleasure once again to perform at Barley Forge Brewing Co. in Costa Mesa. We received some nice compliments from the audience, and the staff was courteous and friendly as always. A special thanks to my musicians - my regular man Phil Krawzak, and my special guests Brad Roth ( sounding fabulous on the acoustic guitar ), Benjamin May ( a reunion of sorts, as he was my bass player 20 years ago ), and George Andrus on the drums. We hope to be back again in the near future. Next up, the Art Deco Festival on Friday, August 19...details soon.
I'm looking forward to our third appearance this Thursday night, August 4, at the Barley Forge Brewing Co. Though there is no room for dancing, it is a great place for listening and the staff is very friendly. Please join us for some great food and beer, and of course some swinging jazz and swing. We play two sets, from 8 to 9 pm and 9:30 to 10:30 pm. Please come out and join us! For more information please visit http://barleyforge.com.
We had a great time performing for the second time at Barley Forge Brewing Co. in Costa Mesa. I thank the staff for having us back and for their kind hospitality, and I also thank Danny and David House for bringing us back. Even there is no real room for dancing ( and technically it's not allowed ), we had two couples "cut a rug" on one of our fast numbers - they did a great job! We hope to be back again in the very near future...stay tuned!
I'd like to welcome Dave Eastly into my band as a replacement for our dear friend Westy. Dave has been working in my band for the last eight years as a sub, and I've had the pleasure of working with him at Disney for many years. He is a fine bassist and singer, and I plan on using his talents to make the band even better and carry on our tradition of happy, swinging music with the right blend of vocals and instrumentals. Thank you, Dave, and here's to many more years of swing.
I'm pleased to announce that we'll be making a return appearance at Barley Forge Brewing Company in Costa Mesa - the date is Thursday, March 3, at 8:00 p.m. Our first gig was well received and I'm looking forward to being back. I'll have Tom Liston on guitar and Paul Johnson on drums as special guests, as well as Phil Krawzak and Dave Eastly. Unfortunately there's no room for dancing, but we encourage you to "chair dance" as much as you'd like! Our friend from Disneyland Danny House is in charge of booking entertainment, and we're certainly glad to be a part of it. Please join us for some great beer, great food, and swingin' music. For more details please visit http://barleyforge.com. See you there!
As 2015 winds down, I want to thank all of our fans for supporting us this year, and to wish you all joy and happiness in the coming new year. It was an eventful 2015 for the band, as we were able to perform at some new venues - the MadHaus for the Long Beach swing dancers, over in Anaheim for the Swingin' On The Promenade dance event in July, and we also performed up at Joe's in Burbank and appeared at Casa Costa Mesa during June, July, and August. We were on the Queen Mary once again for the Art Deco Festival, and capped off the year with an appearance at Barley Forge Brewing Co. in December...we hope to return there in 2016. Of course, on a sad note, we lost our long serving bass player and vocalist Lee "Westy" Westenhofer in September. It was a great loss, and he will always be remembered for the joy he brought to so many people through his great humor and fine playing. Thank you, Westy. In closing, Happy New Year to you and yours, and I hope to see you in 2016!
We'll be returning to the scene on Thursday, December 17, at a new location - the Barley Forge Brewing Company in Costa Mesa. They are going to start having jazz groups on Thursdays in December, and we've been selected to represent classic jazz and swing. We are supposed to start at 7:30 pm, and the specific details are still coming in - I'll keep you all posted when I know. It will be great to be swingin' again in Orange County.
I am so very sorry to report the death of my dear friend Lee "Westy" Westenhofer, after his long battle with heart problems. He left us this afternoon, surrounded by his family and listening to some of his favorite music. Anyone who has seen our shows over the past fifteen years knows what an amazing musician and entertainer Westy was, and how much joy he brought to so many people. He was so very generous to me, giving me advice, carpooling to gigs and expecting no pay, and helping out in so many ways. I will cherish the music that we made together, and am proud that he is featured on my second recording. God grant him peace, and condolences to Sharon and his sons. Farewell, old friend - you are greatly missed and will not be forgotten.
Our dear friend and bassist Lee "Westy" Westenhofer continues to struggle with heart problems. After spending time at UCLA Medical Center he has now been transferred back to Sharp Medical Center in San Diego, where they hope to do a procedure to strengthen his heart and also strengthen him so that he can have a heart transplant. It has been a long, exhausting ordeal for both him and his family, and I must ask you all to continue to pray for him and keep he and his family in your thoughts. Thank you very much.
It's almost September, and we have a few events in store...the first is our appearance at the 11th annual Art Deco Festival on the Queen Mary. We'll be performing this Friday night, Sept. 4, for a reception and the PJ Party in the Queen's Salon. Unfortunately this event is not open to the public, but you can certainly buy tickets if you'd like ( visit the Queen Mary website ( www.queenmary.com - look under events ). And the following Friday, Sept. 11, we'll be returning to Casa Costa Mesa - two sets from 9:30 to 11:30. We hope to see you at one or both of these performances.
Hi everyone - as you may know if you've seen my posts on Facebook, my bass player and friend Westy has had a difficult summer, as he continues to have problems with his heart. He is now at UCLA Medical Center ( having been there for several weeks )and is very weak, but things to be improving at this time. I was able to visit him yesterday and give him my best wishes and to relay the thoughts and prayers of so many of his friends and fans. Please join me in continuing to hope and pray that he may gain strength and eventually be able to receive a heart transplant. Thank you!
It's been a great summer so far, as we now have a steady once a month gig at Casa Costa Mesa ( on the second Friday of the month )- we'll be there until the end of this year and hopefully into the new year..our next appearance will be Friday, August 14. In addition, we'll be performing as part of the Swingin' On The Promenade series for the city of Anaheim on Saturday night, August 8, form 6:30 to 10:00 p.m. This is a free event, so if you're in the area please come by! And we will once again be performing for our friends at the Art Deco Society over Labor Day weekend. It's great to be playing our music on a regular basis, and we hope see all of you along the way.
Our first gig at Casa Costa Mesa was a success, and so we've been invited back - our next appearance is Friday, July 10, from 9:30 to 11:30 p.m. This time I will have Tom Liston as my special guest on guitar ( who was my original guitarist back in 1995 )as well as George Andrus on drums, along with regulars Westy and Phil Krawzak. We hope that you can join us at this stylish 1920's style bar. Please visit www.casacostamesa.com to RSVP and receive your secret entry code. Thanks for your support!
We had a really good time performing at Casa Costa Mesa last Saturday night - it's a new venue in the OC featuring live music and wonderful craft cocktails. Everyone there was very friendly and helpful, and the management would like to have us there on a monthly basis - so let's keep our fingers crossed. We hope to see you there on our next appearance!
I'm pleased to announce a new nightclub gig coming up in June at Casa Costa Mesa, a new 1900's style pub and bar in Costa Mesa. We'll be there on Saturday night, June 20, from 10 p.m. to midnight. John Reynolds will be guesting on guitar, and I'll have Westy there as well. It should be a fun time, and perhaps the beginning of a regular gig...so we'd appreciate your support. For more details please visit www.casacostamesa.com.
I'm happy to announce our next gig, and Westy will be with us...it's a swing dance for Fourth Saturday Swing in Long Beach. The date is Saturday, May 23, from 9 pm to midnight at the MADhaus in Long Beach, 634 Pacific Ave. The theme is Frankie Manning's birthday and we're pleased to be a part of it. I'll have my regular band there with special guest Gareth Price on drums. It should be a fun time and we hope that you can join us for some great music and to welcome back Westy. For more details please visit the Facebook event page https://www.facebook.com/events/1421197564864457//. Thanks for your support!
This year marks the twentieth year of the band, and what a fun time it has been...from the early days when it was just a crazy dream of mine to have a band that could play the best classic 20's - 30's jazz and swing, to the years of playing jazz festivals and park concerts, weddings, and being a featured act at some great nightclubs like the Derby, the Argyle Hotel, and the Cicada Club - and also performing at the Art A Fair Festival in Laguna Beach for 17 straight years, as well as the Art Deco Festival every year since the beginning in 2005. It's all been a lot of fun, and I wish to thank all the musicians past and present who have worked with me and helped to bring some swingin' music to the world. And a big thank you to all you fans for your support throughout these years. Let's keep on keepin' on!
I'd like to bring you up to date on Westy's condition, as it has been about a month since I last posted. He is recovering at home, slowly but surely...the operation that he had took a lot out of him, but he is getting better and plans on playing a gig later this month ( which is surely good news, if he feels that he can play again ). Please continue to keep our good friend in your thoughts and prayers, and we'll continue to hope to have him with us again later this year.
I'd like to let you all know how Lee "Westy" Westenhofer is doing there days. As you may know from my posts, he has been having difficulties with this heart and defibrillator, which was firing way too often. Unfortunately he has been in and out of the hospital these past few months, culminating in an operation several weeks ago where they operated on the nerve endings to his adrenal glands so that the defibrillator would stop firing. So far so good...the operation seems to have been successful, but Westy is in a lot of pain, slowly recovering at home. His eventual goal is to get a heart transplant, but he needs to be in shape for that and that will take time. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers, with all good wishes for a speedy recovery.
I was very fortunate to be able to travel to Stockholm, Sweden over the Christmas holidays to perform once again with Gordon Webster's fine band. What a great trip...Stockholm is a beautiful city and I had a lot of time to explore it. It was also a thrill and a great honor to play with Gordon again. The event was a swing dance event called Snowball, and I got to play some swinging music with some first class musicians. I also got to meet and talk to some wonderful and friendly Swedes, which is what makes travel so worthwhile to me. It's great to make friends and make people happy all over the world through music. I hope that you all get a chance to travel sometime in your lives...it's well worth it.
A little belated, but I want to wish you all a wonderful 2015...may you all find happiness and success in this new year. We didn't have a great quantity of gigs in the past year, but we enjoyed the ones we had. I'm also happy to report that Westy is at home recuperating from his surgery of last month - he'll be back with us soon. Here's to lots of music making opportunities in the coming year!
As we enter the busy Christmas and holiday season, I'd like you to keep our friend Lee "Westy" Westenhofer in your thoughts and prayers. He is spending the weekend in the hospital in LA, awaiting open heart surgery to deal with a nerve on the outside of his heart. He feels confident that the procedure will take care of the problems he's been having lately, and I certainly hope that all goes well for him. He has been such a beloved musician and entertainment in this area for so many years, and we hope to enjoy his talents for many more years. Hang in there, Westy - we wish you all the best.
As another Thanksgiving draws to a close, I hope that it was a good day for all of you. It may be a cliché, but it's true...although times may be tough and problems many, we still have so much to be thankful and grateful for. I am thankful to be able to play wonderful swinging music on a regular basis in Southern California, and for all of you fans who come out to listen and dance - at Disneyland, w/Jonathan Stout's group, and The Swingsations of course. I greatly appreciate your support, and wish you all happiness and peace on this day.
We had a great time at Joe's once again - thanks to everyone who came out to listen and dance, especially James Redmond ( who took some great film last time in July and who did some photographs this time ) and my faithful fans Gene Hatsiguchi and Tise Chao. It was great to have the regular band together again, and although Wendy wasn't able to be with us as originally planned, it was still a swingin' time. Thanks also to Lorenzo, our congenial host - keep up the good work, and we hope to be back again in the new year.
We'll be making a return visit to Joe's in Burbank - the date is Monday, November 17, from 9:15 to midnight. This time I'll have my regular band including the fabulous Tom Hynes on guitar. As a special treat Wendy Rea will be joining us on vocals - we're always happy to have her join us for some wonderful singing. Please join us for a fun and swinging time! For more information please visit the Facebook event page The Swingsations@Happy Feet Monday!
I must again apologize for the lack of entries lately - it is once again the time of year when I put on my other hat as an elementary band director at four schools, and even though it's part time it tends to take up a lot of my time in the fall. Some of my other band members are busy as well - Tom Hynes is a full time instructor at Azusa Pacific University and Phil Krawzak can be seen weekly at Disneyland as a member of the Disneyland Band. We do hope to be out and about again in the near future, and I thank you as always for visiting my website and for your continued support.
My thanks go out to the Art Deco Society and the staff at the Queen Mary for another wonderful night last Friday at the Art Deco Festival - we played for a large group of dancers at the Welcome Reception and then performed several sets of swingin' music in the Queen's Salon. It was a great tenth anniversary celebration, and we hope to return again next year as always.
After some discussion it turns out that we will be performing on Friday night only for the Art Deco Festival ( August 29 ). The management has decided to go in another direction for entertainment on Sunday night. We will be happy to do the Cocktail Reception and PJ Jam, but unfortunately these events are not open to the public ( you can, of course, buy an admission to the Festival and join the fun ). I'll keep you posted as to other upcoming events.
Yes, it's almost that time again when we perform for our good friends at the Art Deco Society - this year marks the tenth anniversary of the Art Deco Festival, held on Labor Day Weekend on the Queen Mary. I'm pleased to say that we've been involved from the very beginning back in 2005, and it has been a great honor and a pleasure to play for this fine organization. This year we will once again be playing for the Cocktail Reception at the Verandah Grill on Friday, August 29 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., and then moving to the Queen's Salon for the Pajama Party from 9:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. We may also be doing the for public performance at the Observation Bar on Sunday, August 31, but it hasn't been confirmed as of yet. It's a really fun weekend of events, and I hope to see you there!
I've just returned from a wonderful trip to South Korea, where I was performing with Gordon Webster's fine group from New York City. We played on July 18 and 19 at the Jeju Swing Camp on the island of Jeju-Do, off the southern coast of South Korea. I had a wonderful time - the people there are very friendly and generous, and it was a real honor to work in a band of top class jazz musicians ( I had worked with Gordon previously last November at Joel Plys' swing dance event on Catalina Island )...they are real road warriors and can deliver the goods! I want to thank all the kind South Korean fans and people for making my trip an unforgettable experience, and Gordon for some incredible music making. I hope to post some photos from the trip on Facebook in the near future.
A big thank you to all who attended our gig at Joe's last night! A great time was had by all, and it was a real treat to have the great John Reynolds guesting on guitar and vocals. We hope to return soon, and I thank Lorenzo Rossi, our most gracious host, for having us back. Hope to see you all again soon!
Well, as is sometimes the case when dealing with groups of people, I wasn't able to get the band all together to record in June as I had hoped. I'm going to try for late August or perhaps early in the fall, although I return to school teaching then and it's harder to get practice time in on my horn...we'll see. Don't worry, I will get this project started soon, and I look forward to a great third recording in the near future.
Hi again - I wanted to let you know that we'll be appearing at Joe's in Burbank on Monday night, July 7, 9 p.m. to midnight, as part of Happy Feet Mondays. It's hosted by Lorenzo Rossi, a longtime fan of the band. Our special guest on guitar will be the great John Reynolds ( like last year ), filling in for Tom Hynes. I'll have all of my regular players, so it will be a swingin' affair...plenty of vocalizing between John, Westy and myself. Please check my Calendar Dates for more info, or Lorenzo's Happy Feet Mondays Facebook page. We're looking forward to it!
I'm pleased to let you know that I'll be returning to Disneyland this weekend to work with my friends in the Royal Street Bachelors. I'll be in New Orleans Square this Friday and Saturday from 12:30 to 7:00 p.m. As always, if you're in the area please come on by and say hello!
Happy Spring and belated Easter Greetings to all of you! After our recent Cicada Club appearance we are anxious to perform for you again. I have a possible recording session in the works for June ( our third - as it turns out I end up making a record once a decade! ), with special guest vocals by Wendy and finally getting Bryan on record after having been my drummer for almost eight years. We also hope to return to the Art Deco Festival over Labor Day Weekend. So stayed tuned, and I hope to have more gig news for you.
Yes, a big thank you to all who who attended our Cicada Club last night - the band was swingin' and Wendy Rea sounded great on her return to the band. She and her friend Jhey Castles debuted two Boswell Sisters numbers which we'll be able use as solo vocals as well. I appreciate all the help given to me by our gracious host, Mr. Maxwell Demille, and Robert Smith. The whole show came off great, and we hope to do it again soon!
Phil Krawzak, my wonderful tenor sax and clarinet player, will not be with us this Sunday night due to another gig that will end later than he expected. We'll miss him, but in his place we'll have Jim Jedeikin, a wonderful player whom I've had the pleasure to work with at Disneyland and with Dean Mora's band. This will be his first time performing my regular repertoire - I'm sure that you'll enjoy his playing. Welcome, Jim, and see you all soon!
I'm pleased to say that I've been working fairly steadily as a sub at Disneyland...it's been a great honor to be there on a regular basis since 2006. Thanks to my colleagues ( and friends ) Ken Treseder, Rusty Stiers, and Dan Barrett, I'll be working at New Orleans Square on a fairly regular basis from now until July and hopefully even beyond that. I thank the three of them for keeping me busy, and invite you to come by and say hello if you're in the area.
Yes, we're be performing once again at the fabulous Cicada Club in downtown LA! The date is Sunday, April 6, starting at 8:30 p.m. I'm pleased to say that I will have all of my fine regular players plus we'll be joined by Wendy Rea ( welcome back! ). There may be a few more surprises as well. As always, for complete details please visit www.cicadaclub.com. See you then!
In addition to the centennial tributes that I mentioned previously, there are some prominent classic jazz/swing era musicians celebrating their 110th birthday this year, such as Jimmy Dorsey ( Feb. 29 ); Glenn Miller ( March 1 ); Thomas "Fats" Waller ( May 21 ); Bill Coleman ( one of my personal favorites on the trumpet - Aug. 4 ); William "Count" Basie ( Aug. 21 ); Eddie Condon ( Nov. 16 ); and Coleman Hawkins ( Nov. 21 ). I'll try to pay tribute to them throughout the coming year. A big thanks to all of them for the great music and great memories.
Well, as usual I would like to honor some of the fine musicians of the classic jazz/swing era whose birthday centennial is this year. Among them are the bassist Bob Haggart and saxophonist "Flip" Phillips ( both on March 13 ); the trumpeter/bandleader Erskine Hawkins ( July 26 ); and the bassist "Slam" Stewart ( Sept. 21 ). In addition we have 110th tributes to Eddie Condon, Count Basie, Glenn Miller, Fats Waller, Coleman Hawkins, and one of my favorite trumpeters Bill Coleman. I'll have more specifics on their birthdates later...for now, a big thank you to all of them for their contributions to this great American music.
On behalf of myself and the band, we'd like to wish all of you a very Happy New Year. I hope that you find joy and wonderful experiences in the coming year. I am grateful for the gigs that we had last year ( including some well playing private events ), and hope for more in the future, especially some more for public events so that we can perform for you, our fans! Thank you to my band as always for their fine work. And we hope that Wendy will recover from her illness and be able to join us on future gigs. Take care, and see you all soon!
After a hectic holiday season, it's my pleasure to tell you that I'll be returning to sub with the Royal St. Bachelors at Disneyland - it's been over a month since I've been out there but it seems much longer...I'm looking forward to being back. I'll be there on Friday through Sunday, Dec. 27 - 29, from 12:30 to 7:00 p.m. and then Wednesday and Thursday, Jan. 1 and 2, from 11:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. If you're around New Orleans Square please stop on by. Merry Christmas!
It's that wonderful season once again, and I wish all of my fans and friends out there a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I appreciate your support, and hope to see you in the upcoming year. I feel very lucky to be able to play this wonderful music for you, and hope to be able to do it as long as I'm able to hold a trumpet. Take care, and keep swingin'!
This past week has seen the death of two fine musicians from the SoCal area - first, "Robbie" Robinson, trombonist, pilot, and all around nice guy, who passed away on Nov. 23. I had the pleasure of working with Robbie on several occasions, and I enjoyed being with him - he was a great player and a real positive person. The second is Larry Giannecchini, a great guitarist and long time performer at Disneyland and all over the area. He died on Nov. 29 after battling cancer for several months. He was well versed in many styles of music and was a great guy as well. I will miss our conversations about music, especially about Ravel and other classical composers. So farewell, old friends - you are not forgotten.
We'll be busy in December doing a few private gigs - the first one is Thursday, December 5, at the Circa Restaurant in Manhattan Beach...it's called Swing Of the Times and is a celebration of the 80th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition. I had originally posted this as a public event, but the Facebook event page lists it as Invite Only. However, if it goes well, perhaps this could become a new swing jazz venue. On Saturday, December 14, we'll be playing for a Holiday Party at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Redondo Beach. It's good to be busy, and we hope to be out in the public eye soon.
Here's a quick update on our singer and good friend Wendy Rea - she is recovering from her illness slowly but surely and will be joining us for a corporate gig in December. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers and we'll hope to see her performing in 2014. Hang in there, Wendy!
I had a fun time this past Monday, doing a TV taping with the Jambalaya Jazz Band at Disneyland...it was for the TV show The View, and it will be broadcast tomorrow (Thursday) at the beginning of the show. So if you're around in the morning tune in and let me know what you think. It was a fun time, and I was honored to be a part of it. It's great to be able to get some major exposure performing with some fine musicians.
Well, it seems that time has slipped away from me since the Art Deco Festival - I immediately became busy doing the other jobs that I do in the fall ( part time elementary school band director, private trumpet teacher, Disneyland sub ), and neglected to add anything new to this journal. I apologize, and will try to do a better job. Other than a nice paying corporate gig in December, we're on hiatus for the moment...but stay tuned, new gigs will be coming soon. In the meantime, look for me at Disneyland in December.
A belated thank you once again to all the fine people at the Art Deco Society of Los Angeles for having us perform at the Festival on the Queen Mary. We enjoyed performing in the Queen's Salon on Friday night ( a new venue for us ), and also in the Observation Bar on Sunday. It was nice to see so many attendees dressed up in their finest period attire - it set just the right atmosphere for the elegant ship. Thanks as always to my band for doing a great job. We hope to see you again next year!
Just a quick reminder that our annual appearances for the Art Deco Society are coming up this weekend - it's the ninth Art Deco Festival. We'll be there Friday night for a private reception in the Verandah Grill and then perform for the PJ Party from 9 to midnight. Our only for the public performance this year in Sunday, Sept. 1, from 10:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. in the Observation Bar. If you're in the mood for some late night music and fun please come on by...we hope to see you there! for more information about the festival and other goings on, please visit www.queenmary.com.
Our singer Wendy Rae is recovering from a severe illness, so I'd like you all to keep her in your thoughts and prayers. We hope that she'll be able to return to singing soon. Some of you may remember her from the Eddie Reed days, and she also fronted a series of swinging groups in the mid to late 90's and early 2000's. Good luck and feel better soon, Wendy...we're all thinking of you.
I've been fortunate to have picked up a few private events here in July, which has helped to keep us busy. The first was last Saturday, where we played for a wedding reception in Bellflower - the couple was very nice and we had a good time...had quite a few singing requests to fill for the first dances and the bouquet dance, but they all came off fine. Coming up this Saturday we're doing a birthday at the Cicada restaurant ( also the site of the Cicada Club shows on Sunday nights ), with special guest Ginger Pauley filling in Wendy Rae. I enjoy working for the staff there so it should be a fun time. We hope to have more for the public events soon...until then, it's the Queen Mary Observation Bar gig on Sunday night, Sept. 1.
What a fun night we had at Joe's in Burbank on July 1 - thank you Lorenzo Rossi for inviting us, and for all the good dancers and fans who came out. "Westy" Westenhofer was there, back and sounding better than ever. It was also a real treat to have John Reynolds as a special guest on vocals and guitar...we had some great three way scatting between John, Westy, and yours truly. Also thanks to Phil Krawzak on tenor and clarinet and our other special guest, George Andrus, filling in for Bryan Taylor. We hope to return sometime soon! Next up for us is the Art Deco Festival on the Queen Mary over Labor Day Weekend, so stay tuned...
Just added - The Swingsations will be making a return to Joe's Great American Bar and Grill for the Monday Night swing dance series...the date is Monday, July 1, from 9:15 p.m. to midnight. We will have the great John Reynolds on guitar and George Andrus on drums - he ran the dixieland band at Knott's Berry Farm for many years. My regulars Phil Krawzak and Westy will be on hand as well - by the way, you can welcome Westy back to work after his recent health problems - hooray! It should be a really fun time, and we hope to see you there. For more information please www,danceatjoes.com
I wanted to let all of you know that Westy is well and is getting better and better - he has been home from the hospital for several weeks now. Despite a little trouble with nausea ( from some of the medications he's taking ), things are going well and he should be cleared to drive again soon. I'm also happy to report that he'll be working with me at a private wedding reception in July, which means he'll be back to performing again - which should bring a smile to many faces. Bravo, Westy, looking forward to seeing and hearing you again.
Well, it was a whirlwind of jazz last weekend, as I participated in the 24 hour Disney event from Friday at 10:15 p.m. until 5:00 a.m. Saturday(!) - I was with the Main St. Straw Hatters dixieland group for that shift. After a few hours rest I came back to perform with the Ellis Island Boys at Downtown Disney from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. It was a nice change of pace to play at Downtown Disney, and I even saw a few of my school band students. Thanks to all the dancers who came out, esp. on Sunday ( I was there again from 11 to 4 ). All in all, it was a fun and swinging time.
It will be a wild weekend of music making this Friday and Saturday - first off, I'll be involved in the 24 Hour event playing with the Straw Hatters Dixieland Band on Main Street from 10:15 p.m. Friday to 5:00 a.m. Saturday. Then, after a pause to catch my breath, I'll be with the Ellis Island Boys at Downtown Disney from 11:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. I'll also be with the Ellis Island Boys on Sunday, same location and times...whew. Come on by if you can, it should be a fun time...hope we all hold up!
Well, I'm happy to report that Westy came home from the hospital last Monday - I spoke to him today and he sounded great. He says that he continues to improve, and continues to be amazed and profoundly grateful for all the well wishes that he has received. He has a nurse checking up on him, and is getting used to life with his LVAD heart valve attachment. So far so good...we hope that our good friend continues to improve.
I'm pleased to let you know that our bassist and all around funny man Lee "Westy" Westenhofer is doing very well after his surgery. The doctors have installed a special valve on his heart to help with blood flow, and they are very pleased with his progress thus far. He wants to let everyone know how thankful he is for all the kind wishes, thoughts, and prayers that he has received. He should be in the hospital for another week or so, and then hopefully he'll be back to entertainig us all very soon. Hang in there, Westy - we're all wishing you the very best.
Our fine bassist, singer and all around funny guy Lee "Westy" Westenhofer is in the hospital due to heart problems - please keep in your thoughts and prayers. He is due to have an operation tomorrow and should be doing much better afterwards. Westy has been such a great entertainer in the LA area for so many years, performing at Disneyland for a long time, and also with the Palm Springs Yacht Club, one of the original "retro swing" groups in this area. A kind and generous man, he never fails to make people smile. Hang in there, Westy, we're wishing you the very best!
Thanks to all who were able to join us this past Sunday at the Cicada Club - it was a fun time. It was a real pleasure to work with Josh Collazo again, who was filling in for Bryan Taylor on drums. We also had a last minute replacement on bass, my old friend Art Gibson - Westy couldn't make it due to health problems ( more on that later ). Wendy sounded great as always, and we enjoyed performing for the big foxtrot dance contest. Thanks Mr. Maxwell Demille for having us back, and we look forward to next time.
Our Cicada Club gig is fast approaching, this coming Sunday night at 8:00 p.m. In addition to our usual fun and swinging show, we will be playing for a Foxtrot Dance Contest during our second set ( starting at 9:30 ) - the winners will receive two tickets to a fabulous show at Walt Disney Concert Hall. We hope that you can join us for a night of dancing fun! For more details please go to www.cicadaclub.com or the Facebook page Jim Ziegler's Swingsations featuring Wendy Rea @ The Cicada Club. See you there!
I'll be returning once again to the Paradise Gardens Stage at California Adventure to perform with the Ellis Island Boys...the dates are this Saturday and Sunday, March 16 and 17, starting at 11:50 a.m. and concluding at 7:30 p.m. It's always a pleasure to work with Ralf and John Reynolds, and it looks like their group will be there a long time because they know the classic jazz style and they know how to put on a great show. Come on by if you can, and thanks for your support!
As is my custom, I'd like to once again pay tribute to some of the great musicians of the classic jazz/swing era on the 100th anniversary of their births. Two great bandleaders head the list - Woody Herman ( May 16 ) and Charlie Barnet ( October 26 ), along with the great singers Helen Humes ( June 23 ) and Big Joe Williams ( October 16 )... also the great saxophonist Earl Bostic ( April 23 ). We can also do some 110th commemorations - Bix Beiderbecke ( March 10 ), Jimmy Rushing ( August 26 ), and Earl "Fatha" Hines ( December 28 ). And for good measure a belated 90th birthday tribute to the great pianist/composer Mel Powell ( February 12 ). Thanks to all of you for your wonderful music - you are not forgotten!
We're booked for our third appearance at Maxwell Demille's Cicada Club in downtown LA. We've enjoyed our previous visits and look forward to another great one. Wendy Rea will be joining us again and I'll have most of my regular band - the exception being our special guest for the evening, the great drummer Josh Collazo who will be filling in for Bryan Taylor. For more details, please visit www.cicadaclub.com. I look forward to seeing you there!
Wow, it seems like a while since I've been able to post some events for the band, but never fear, things will be happening very soon. I'm looking forward to another Cicada Club appearance as well as our annual Queen Mary Labor Day Weekend with the Art Deco Society. Thanks for your support, and keep checking!
I was fortunate to have played the first two weekends of this year with The Ellis Island Boys, Ralf Reynold's fine group at California Adventure. Though the weather was unusually cold, we managed to heat up the bandstand with swinging jazz, and had some great dancers show up as well. Thanks Ralf, John, and Katie for a great time! I have more dates booked with them in the coming months, so stay tuned...
I'll be fortunate once again to be performing with the fine groups at both Disneyland and California Adventure during this holiday season. I'll be appearing with the Royal Street Bachelors on Wednesday, Dec. 26 ( noon to 7:30 ), and Friday and Saturday, Dec. 28 and 29 ( 12:30 to 8 p.m. ) I'll also be guesting with The Ellis Island Boys on Sunday, Dec. 30 ( 11:55 am to 7:30 p.m. ). Come on by and say hello if you can, and Merry Christmas to all of you!
At this time of year I wish to take a moment and wish all of you a Merry Christmas and other blessings of the holiday season. Thanks to all of our loyal fans who have supported us this year - we hope to see you in the New Year. Thank you also to my band members - Phil, Tom, Westy, Bryan and Wendy - for the wonderful work that you do...you're the greatest! Here's hoping for a fantastic and swinging 2013!
Just a quick note to wish each and every one of you a Happy Thanksgiving with your families and friends. We will always have problems, but we have so much to be thankful for, especially in this great nation, blessed with so much wealth and freedom. So give thanks, and have a wonderful day!
We're pleased to once again make an appearance at the 24 Hour Cancer Dance A Thon, held this Saturday and Sunday, November 17 and 18. The "Mini Swingsations" ( a quartet with special guest Josh Colazzo on drums ) will perform from 10 to 10:45 pm on stage at the 24 Hour Fitness Ultra Sport in Irvine. Shesha Marvin and OC Swing are once again holding this very worthwhile event to raise funds for the City Of Hope Cancer Center...come out and listen, dance, and help if you can. For more information please visit www.danceathon.org. I'll be performing later on ( early am Sunday ) with Jonathan Stout and the Campus Five, so it will be a swingin' evening all around.
I had a great time performing with the Ellis island Boys at California Adventure last weekend...Ralf, John, and Katie continue to swing out, and I was glad to be part of it. I'll be out there again on Saturday and Sunday, November 3 and 4, from 11:50 am to 6:30 pm. I'm looking forward to it, and hope to see some of you there.
After a long break, I'll be guesting once again with The Ellis Island Boys, Ralf and John Reynolds' fabulous band at Disney's California Adventure. I'll be there on Saturday and Sunday, October 20 and 21, from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm, and also Saturday and Sunday, November 3 and 4, also from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. It should be a really swinging time - hope that you can come by. For more information please check out the Ellis Island Boys Facebook page.
We had a good time this past Sunday at the Santa Ana Blues and Jazz Festival - I was called in as a last minute addition and so we did it as a quartet, and we got a good response from the people there. Thank you Robert and Sara Escalante for putting on this event, and we hope that we're able to do it again. The venue (Original Mike's) may decide to start booking jazz and swing groups, so let's keep our fingers crossed...
This just in - we've been added to the musical lineup for the Summer In The City Jazz and Blues Festival this Sunday, Sept. 23, at Original Mike's Restaurant in Santa Ana. We'll be playing two sets, 12:30 to 1:30 pm and 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. This is a brand new event, and there will be good food, prizes, and a vintage car and bike display in addition to some swingin' music by yours truly. This will be a "Mini Swingsations" gig ( quartet )with Westy and special guests George Andrus on drums and Raul Reynoso on guitar. We hope that you can join us...for more info please visit www.originalmikes.com and click events. Even though we're not listed, we will be there as we were a last minute addition. Thanks as always!
Once again a big thank you to my band and to the Art Deco Society for another great weekend of music on the Queen Mary. John Thomas and the Society have been very good to us for eight consecutive years. Although we had to shorten our Sunday night gig due to a budget cut, we hope to return to our regular schedule next year. We're looking forward to many more years on the fabulous Queen Mary!
Yes, it's just around the corner - our perfomances at the eighth annual Art Deco Festival on the Queen Mary this Labor Day Weekend. We'll be performing for the public in the Observation Bar on Friday night, August 31, from 9:00 pm all the way to 1:00 am and also on Sunday night, September 2, from 8:00 to 11:00 pm. In between I'll be with Dean Mora's Orchestra for the Art Deco Ball on Saturday night. Wendy Rea will be joining the band for our bar gigs this year, so it will be extra special. We hope that you can join us! For more details, please visit www.queenmary.com.
My swinging summer at Disneyland continues...I've been fortunate to be working in New Orleans Square a lot. I'll be with the Jambalaya Jazz Band on Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday ( August 2, 4, and 5 ) from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm. In between, I'll be working with the Royal Street Bachelors on Friday night, August 3, from 5:00 to 8:00 pm. More jobs coming up next week - I'll keep you posted.
In case you missed our show at the Cicada Club last Sunday night, it is now available for viewing on their website www.cicadaclub.com. Just click on the Movies, Photos, and More tab, and then click on Television Broadcasts. It was a great show, and I hope that you enjoy it. Happy viewing, and I welcome your comments either by email or my Facebook page.
Yet another swell time at the Cicada Club! A big thanks to everyone who came out and to all those who watched the broadcast. Also thank you to Mr. Maxwell Demille for having us back and for being the ultimate host. Also thanks to my band and Wendy - you were terrific as always. The broadcast will be up soon at www.cicadaclub.com. Next up - the Art Deco Festival over Labor Day Weekend...details soon.
A quick reminder that our second appearance at Maxwell Demille's Cicada Club is fast approaching - Sunday, July 15, from 8:00 to 10:30 p.m. Wendy Rea will be joining us once again, and there will be plenty of swinging music as always. For details please visit the club website www.cicadaclub.com. See you soon!
What a fun time! Thank you Lorenzo Rossi and all the friends and fans who came out to our gig last night at Joe's in Burbank. Although Wendy Rea was not with us due to illness, we soldiered on and it was a swinging night. We hope to be back in the future - next up, our return to the Cicada Club on July 15.
Just added - we'll be appearing at Joe's Great American Bar and Grill as part of Happy Feet Mondays. The date is Monday, June 25, from 9:00 to midnight. Our good friend Lorenzo Rossi has set this up, and it should be a really fun time. I'll have my "A" band that night plus the fabulous Wendy Rea...we hope to see you there! For complete details please visit www.danceatjoes.com or www.facebook.com/LABalboaNight. Thanks for your support!
Thanks again to the Third Saturday Parlour Parties and Alicia Milo for inviting us basck to play the USO Show this past Saturday - there was a good crowd and we had a fun time. It was great to see all the active and retired military on hand as well - a big thanks to all of you. It's so nice to have fans down near San Diego, and we hope to be back again soon.
I've made yet another leap into the 21st Century by starting a blog - the first posting is already up. Please check it out and let me know what you think. I plan on doing weekly postings about myself, the band, and the classic jazz and swing music and musicians which we all love. Thanks, and happy reading!
I'll be guesting again with the fine bands at both Disneyland and California Adventure - this Thursday, May 10 with the Ellis Island Boys at California Adventure ( 11:50 am to 7:00 pm )and this coming Sunday, May 13, with the Jambalaya Jazz Band at Disneyland ( New Orleans Square, 10:30 am to 5:30 pm ). With the new and improved California Adventure opening in June, there's going to be a lot more music everywhere, and I hope to be a part of it. Here's hoping that I see some of you along the way.
Yes, we'll be returning to perform for the good folks at the 3rd Saturday Parlour Parties in San Diego...the date is Saturday, May 19, from 9:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. It's a USO themed show, in tribute to WW2 and the contributions of our military 70 years ago. We'll be playing great tunes from that era, as well as a few undiscovered gems. Guesting with us that night will be Albert Alva and a friend from the past, my original guitarist Tom Liston. For complete details, please visit www.facebook.com/#!/ParlourParties/events.
I'll be returning to the trumpet chair with Richard Halpern's backup band, The Blue Serenaders, this coming Sunday night ( April 29 ) at the fabulous Cicada Club in downtown LA. Richard never fails to put on a great show, and it's a pleasure to work with him. Come on by if you can - complete details are at www.cicadaclub.com.
I had a lot of fun guesting with the Ellis Island Boys at California Adventure over the last two weeks. We played some exciting and swinging music and made a lot of people happy! Thank you Ralf Reynolds for inviting me, and here's hoping that this gig goes on for a long time. I hope to be back with them soon, and in the meantime will be making some sub appearances in New Orleans Square in May and June.
As a follow up to my previous entry, I had a really swinging time filling in on trumpet with Glenn Crytzer's Syncopators. What a great band! We played last Saturday night in San Diego and Sunday night in Newport Beach ( at the Balboa Pavilion ). Thank you Glenn and all the guys for a great time...hope to do it again in the future.
I'll be back at the Balboa Rendezvous dance event this year, but this time I'll be subbing on trumpet with a fabulous band from Seattle - Glenn Crytzer's Syncopators. I got to hear his band last April and they were really swingin'. I look forward to working with him and his fine musicians. Incidentally, the Balboa Rendezvous dates are Saturday, March 31 in San Diego and Sunday, April 1, in Newport Beach. For more info visit www.2plyswing.com.
Well, I have some more gigs with the great Reynolds Brothers Band ( The Ellis Island Boys ) at California Adventure...the dates are Thursday, April 5; April 12 - 15 ( Friday - Sunday ); and April 20 - 21 ( Friday and Saturday ). I'll be there from 11:50 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. all days. What a great band! I hope that you can be there.
I'm pleased to announce that we're returning to the Art Deco Festival on the Queen Mary for the eighth consecutive year...the dates are Friday, August 31 from 9:00 p.m to 1:00 a.m. in the Observation Bar, and Sunday, September 2, from 8:00 to 11:00 p.m. once again in the Bar. We'll be doing our usual reception gig for the Society members from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Friday in the Verandah Grill. As an added treat, Wendy Rea will be joining us on the Observation Bar gigs. So come on out and enjoy some swinging music!
I'm pleased to let you know that I'll be appearing this month with the great Reynolds Brothers band ( The Ellis Island Boys )at Disney's California Adventure Park. The dates so far are Thursday, March 8, and Friday, March 23 - the sets go from 11:50 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. When it comes to swinging hot jazz, John and Ralf know how to deliver...it's always a pleasure to work with them. I hope to see you there!
Just added - we'll be returning to the fabulous Cicada Club on Sunday night, July 15, for two sets starting at 8:00 p.m. I'll have Wendy Rea along as well as most of my regular group. We hope that you can join us for another night of swingin' music in a beautiful venue.
I am sorry to report that the SwingFling LA event ( and our Saturday March 24 performance as part of it ) has been postponed due to poor ticket sales. The promoters have promised to try to hold it in the near future, perhaps when finances aren't so difficult. So please "stay tuned" and we'll hopefully do this as well as other gigs. Thank you!
I was honored to be part of a group of musicians selected to re-record the background music for Main Street at Disneyland. The actual recordings took place last September at Capitol Studios in the famous Studio A ( what a thrill it was to be in that room ), and they have been playing the new tunes since January 9. So if you're around Main Street , take a listen...I'm very proud of how they turned out. Most of the cornet solo work is by Chris Tedesco, but I have a few short ones here and there. Thank You Dean Mora and Chris for inviting me to do these recordings - it should be playing for many years to come.
As is my custom, I like to pay tribute to the great practitioners of Classic Jazz and Swing on the centennial of their birth, and for this year we have the trombonists Trummy Young and Tyree Glenn, saxophonist Don Byas, bandleader Stan Kenton, and - probably the most notable performer - pianist Teddy Wilson, born on November 24, 1912. Also for good measure we have the 110th anniversary of the great guitarist Eddie Lang. We will be celebrating their contributions and perhaps playing some of their music throughout the coming year. A big thanks to all of these fine musicians for their contributions to American Music.
We already have two dates on the books for 2012...the first is Saturday, March 24, from 10:00 am to noon as part of SwingFlingLA. We'll be providing music for the Hair Of The Dog Pancake Parlour event in the Blossom Room of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. The second date is Saturday, May 19, from 9:30 pm to 12:30 am, where we'll be performing once again for Alicia Milo and our friends at the Third Saturday Parlour Parties in San Diego. Stay tuned for more details soon!
A quick note to all of you, both near and far...wishing you all the best for the New Year of 2012. Thanks for your support in the past year, and looking forward to entertaining you in the next. See you soon!
For those of you in the mood for swing and jazz at Disneyland, I'll be subbing with The Royal St. Bachelors the rest of this week, starting tomorrow. The place is the French Market Stage in New Orleans Square, and the shift goes from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm ( roughly on the half hour ). I'll be there through Sunday, New Year's Day. If you're in the area please stop by and say hello...Happy New Year, everyone!
As I write this, it's a little late in the day - still I want to wish all of you out there a Merry Christmas and Holiday Greetings. Thank you for your support in the past year, and I hope to see many of you in the coming year.
I want to say thank you to Alicia Milo and the folks at Third Saturday Parlour Parties in San Diego for having us perform this past Saturday, and to everyone who came by to listen and dance. Unfortunately Wendy Rea was unable to join us due to illness, but we had a fun time all the same. We hope to be invited back soon - in the meantime, here's hoping for a successful and swinging 2012!
I'll be very busy performing next week, and very grateful for the work. First I'll be with Richard Halpern at the Cicada Club on Sunday, December 4, followed by The Swingsations dance gig at the Annenberg Community Beach House in Santa Monica on Tuesday, December 5. Then it's two nights with Dean Mora's Orchestra on December 6 and 7. I'll finish the week with two days at Disneyland with the Jambalaya Jazz Band - Saturday and Sunday, December 10 and 11. I hope to see you somewhere along the way!
Our December 5 gig at the Annenberg Community Beach House in Santa Monica is fast approaching! The 6:30 p.m. reservations are at capacity, but there is now an 8:00 p.m. reservation link ( for the more experienced dancers and anyone else still interested in attending )- it is http://beachculture90-1.eventbrite.com/ Again, we'll be performing from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. See you soon!
I've just added some new photos from our recent gig at the Cicada Club - live action as well as formal poses. Yes, Bryan Taylor, my drummer, is finally "in the picture", as well as the lovely Wendy Rea. There's a nice new formal shot of the band on the home page as well. A big thanks to Brian Boskind for the photography. I'll be adding more soon - until then, enjoy.
Just added - we will be performing for the Third Saturday Parlour Parties event in San Diego, run by Alicia Milo. The date is Saturday, December 17, from 9:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. The theme for the party is the movie "A Christmas Story", so it should be loads of fun. Complete details are up at the Facebook event posting: www.facebook.com/events/193067517445454 Hope to see you there - Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you!
On this special day I want to say thanks to all of you loyal fans and listeners who have supported us this year, and also to give thanks for this wonderful country in which we live. I'm grateful to have the opportunity to play wonderful music for all of you. Have a great day, and Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!
I'll be returning to New Orleans Square at Disneyland to work with some of my favorite musicians in the Jambalaya Jazz Band...I'll be there tomorrow ( Saturday )and Sunday, November 12 and 13, from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. If you're in the area come on by! I hope to be out there a lot over the Christmas season and will let you know.
I'd like to take a moment to thank all the veterans of our armed forces out there, past and present. This is your special day, and I honor your service and sacrifice. God Bless all of you.
One more reminder that we'll be at the 24 Hour Dance A Thon in Irvine tomorrow night - our performance slot is 8:00 to 9:00 p.m. Come out and support this very worthwhile cause, or make a donation if you can't make it. Complete details are at www.danceathon.org
One more thing - we had a photo shoot at the Cicada Club gig, and you'll soon see some fabulous new shots of the complete band with Wendy Rea and with our drummer Bryan Taylor. A big thank you to Brian Boskind for doing the photography.
A quick reminder that we'll be appearing this Saturday, November 12, from 8 to 9 p.m. as part of the 24 Hour Cancer Dance A Thon at 24 Hour Fitness Ultra Sport in Irvine - it's located near the 405 Freeeway. come be a part of this very worthwhile cause. For complete details please visit www.danceathon.org, and thanks very much!
What a great time we had last night at the fabulous Cicada Club! There was a good crowd in attendance, plus quite a few people tuned in to the internet broadcast ( up to 4,000 at one point ). A big thanks to my terrific band and to Wendy Rea and to all of you for your support. If you missed it, you can log on to the club website and check the broadcast archives.
If you're not in the Los Angeles area or can't make our show at the Cicada Club this coming Sunday ( Nov. 6 ), you can still watch our performance live on the internet! Just log onto www.cicadaclub.com/broadcast. Our show starts at 8:00 p.m. Pacific Time...we hope that you'll enjoy the show!
We will once again be performing as part of the 24 Hour Cancer Dance-A-Thon - our slot will be from 8:00 to 9:00 pm on Saturday, November 12. Come out and support this very worthwhile cause - raising funds for the City of Hope. Thanks again Shesha and everybody at OC Swing for your sponsorship and hard work!
Just added - we'll be performing at the historic Annenberg Beach House in Santa Monica (on the Marion Davies Estate) on Monday night, December 5, from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. Admission is free, but you'll need to make a reservation as seating is limited. Come join us for a fun dance in a historic setting...I'll have my "A" band plus the fabulous Wendy Rea. For complete details, please visit http://annenbergbeachhouse.com/beachculture. See you there!
Regarding my band photo on the Cicada Club website which shows only four people - we are actually a five piece band as you know. Bryan Taylor, our drummer, was stranded out of town by the weather when this photo was taken. I hope that this clears up any confusion.
Just a quick reminder that our debut at the fabulous Cicada Club is coming up soon - Sunday, November 6 at 8:00 p.m. I'll have my regular "A" band ( Phil Krawzak, Tom Hynes, Lee "Westy" Westenhofer, and Bryan Taylor ) plus the great Wendy Rae as our featured vocalist. Wendy will also be joining Westy and myself for some group vocals. We hope that you can join us! For more details, please check the club website: www.cicadaclub.com. Thank You!
Once again a big thank you to John Thomas and everyone at the Art Deco Society of Los Angeles for having us perform once again at your festival on the Queen Mary. It was a great weekend, and I was happy to see so many people in attendance. Here's hoping for many, many more. Stay tuned - our next big appearance is the Cicada Club on November 6!
Yes, it's almost time once again - The Swingsations will be performing for the seventh straight year as part of the Art Deco Festival aboard the fabulous Queen Mary in Long Beach. As in past years, we will be doing two gigs open to the public - this Friday night, September 2, from 9:00 pm to 1:00 am, and Sunday night, September 4, from 8:00 pm to 12:00 am. Both gigs will be in the Observation Bar. For more details please check the website www.queenmary.com. We hope to see you this weekend!
A big thank you once again to our friends at the Art A Fair in Laguna Beach...we had a great time performing there for the 17th straight year. The weather was great and the art displays were wonderful. It's always a pleasure and we hope to be back again and again. Next up - The Art Deco Festival on the Queen Mary on Labor Day Weekend! Stay tuned...
I will be once again making quite a few appearances in New Orleans Square at Disneyland during the first two weeks of August, working with my good friends in both the Jambalaya Jazz Band and the Royal Street Bachelors. If you're in the area come on by and say hello! I'll give the specific dates as we get closer.
I'm happy to announce a definite date for our debut at the fabulous Cicada Club in downtown Los Angeles...it will be Sunday, November 6. Mr. Demille assures me that this should be a firm date, and we're definitely looking forward to it. Stay tuned for more details as the date approaches. In the meantime, don't forget our upcoming appearances at the Art A Fair in Laguna Beach in August...thank you!
Unfortunately fate has been unkind once again, and our Sept. 11 date at the Cicada club has been preempted for a private event. We hope to have another date scheduled soon, where you'll be able to hear the "A" Band with Wendy. I'll keep you posted. Thanks as always for your support!
Yes, I'm slowly but surely adding some more photographs of recent gigs - our May 27 performance at the 75th Anniversary of the Queen Mary's maiden voyage and our June 10 gig at the Frank Lloyd Wright Birthday Party at the Hollyhock House. All the photographs are courtesy of Chris Launi of the Art Deco Society...thanks very much, Chris! You'll be able to enjoy Wendy Rea's photographic debut with the band in the Hollyhock photos - enjoy, everyone!
What a fun time we had last Friday night at the Hollyhock House! It was a birthday party for Frank Lloyd Wright held on the grounds of the incredible home which he designed. Once again I must thank John Thomas and the Art Deco Society for inviting us - I had the regular band including Wendy Rea, and despite the cool weather we managed to generate a little musical heat. We even had dancers on the grass! With this gig and the Queen Mary 75th Maiden Voyage reception, it's been a busy time for us. Look for pictures soon, and we'll see you on the Queen for the Art Deco Festival in September.
We are very pleased to be a part of the 75th Anniversary of the Queen Mary's maiden voyage ( it happened on May 27, 1936 ). We will be performing at a private reception this Friday to mark the event, and we also plan to make it a focal point of our performances at the Art Deco Festival over Labor Day Weekend ( September 2 - 4 ). Why not take a visit to the grand old ship this year? It's a beautiful place to visit and relive an era of travel with style.
This just in - our debut at the Cicada Club has been rescheduled to Sunday night, September 11. As it sometimes happens during the spring and summer, the club has been booked for a wedding...it is a popular place, after all. Please mark your calendars and I guarantee that it will be worth the wait. In the meantime, I hope to see you at one of our other upcoming gigs.
I'll be out performing with the Royal Street Bachelors in New Orleans Square at Disneyland - the dates are both Mondays, April 4 and 11, and it's a later start time - 12:00 to 7:00 p.m. Hopefully more to come this spring and summer. If you're in the area, stop by and say hello!
Hi everyone - here's some news...The Swingsations will be appearing as part of The Balboa Rendezvous, Joel Ply's wonderful swing dance event. We'll be performing on Saturday night, April 2, from 9 to midnight at the Portugese Hall in San Diego. Joining us in her first public appearance will be the fabulous Wendy Rea. complete details can be found on the event website: www.2plyswing.com. We hope to see you there!
I hope that you all enjoy our new homepage - a slightly different look. There's also a more recent band photo there ( from Feb. 2010 ). Unfortunately someone's missing in the photo - our drummer, Bryan Taylor, who was stranded out of town by bad weather. I hope to have a nice shot of the complete group very soon...until then, enjoy, and thanks for your support.
Just a little advance warning of our appearances this year...first, we'll be featured at the Balboa Rendezvous in San Diego - the date is Saturday, April 2, from 9:00 pm to 12:30 am. More details soon, and please check www.2plyswing.com for additional information. The other date is our debut appearance at the Cicada Club in downtown LA on Sunday, June 12. Looking forward to both of these, and many more to come.
I'm looking forward to some great centennial tributes this year, including one of my trumpet heroes Buck Clayton (Nov. 12, 1911). In addition, some other great trumpeters will be honored - Roy Eldridge (Jan. 30) and Cootie Williams (July 10), plus two legends of the Count Basie Orchestra and of swing - Freddie Green (March 31) and Jo Jones (Oct. 7). Last but not least, it's Louis Armstrong's 110th Birthday on August 4! What a great year - a big thank you to all these great musicians...you are not forgotten.
Happy New Year everyone! I'm pleased to announce that vocalist Wendy Rea will be joining us for selected gigs this year. A longtime favorite in the Southern California area and leader of her own groups ( The Famous Players, The Lost Boys ), Wendy's vocal stylings will be the perfect addition to The Swingsations Vocal Department of Westy and yours truly. She will be joining us at the Balboa Rendezvous in San Diego on April 2 and at the Cicada Club in downtown LA on June 12...hopefully more to come. Welcome, Wendy - we're looking forward to swinging with you!
As 2010 winds down, I wanted to make mention of some other fine jazz musicians celebrating a centennial this year. I focused on Django and rightly so, but wanted to also pay tribute to Big Sid Catlett, Charlie Shavers, Milt Hinton, Artie Shaw, Louis Prima, and Mary Lou Williams who were also born in 1910. Thank you all for your incredible music and for the inspiration and joy that it continues to bring to all of us.
Just letting you know that yours truly will be appearing with the Jambalaya Jazz Band at Disneyland this Thursday and Friday, with sets at 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 1:30 and 3:00, 4:00, and 5:00 p.m. If you're in the area come on by, and a very Happy New Year to one and all!
Merry Christmas, everyone! Just wanted to give you an update as to where I'll be apppearing in the near future. On December 26, I'll be at the fabulous Cicada Club with Richard Halpern's Hollywood Cavalcade ( 8 to 10:30 pm ), and I'll be working at Disneyland with the Royal Street Bachelors on December 27 and 28 and with the Jambalaya Jazz Band on December 30 and 31, followed by a New Year's Eve gig with the Campus Five at the Atomic Ballroom in Irvine. Hope to see you along the way, and here's hoping for lots of swinging music in 2011!
Hello everyone, and Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. I wanted to let you know that I've lowered the prices on both of our CDs at the cdbaby website ( www.cdbaby.com )just in time for Christmas - they are now both $10.00 apiece, with a 10% discount for multiple purchases. It's a great time to get some great music for both old and new fans alike. Thanks for your support!
You can help us get an appearance at the famous Cicada Club in downtown L.A.! All you have to do is send a short email to Maxwell Demille ( the man in charge ) and let him know that you'd like to see The Swingsations in 2011. His email address is maxwell@maxwelldemille.com. Thanks in advance for your help - it's a great place to play and we deserve a chance!
My apologies, friends - September is my busy time in my other life as an elementary band director. I hope that you are all having a nice late summer/early fall. Unfortunately nothing to report as far as live gigs for the band( although I will be doing the occasional Campus Five gig as well as subbing at Disney )- I can tell you that I'm working on getting back into the SkyRoom in Long Beach, and Mr. Demille has mentioned that we may be making a Sunday night appearance at the fabulous Cicada Club in the new year...so stay tuned!
Once again I want to say thanks to John Thomas and all the great people at the Art Deco Society for having us perform again on the Queen Mary. What a great weekend - it's so great to see everyone dressed up so nicely and to be able to play some wonderful period music. We hope to see you again next year!
It's coming up soon - our sixth appearance at the Art Deco Society Festival on the Queen Mary, held over Labor Day Weekend. Once again we'll be making public appearances at the Observation Bar on Friday night, Sept. 3 ( 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. ) and Sunday night, Sept. 5 ( 8 p.m. to 12 midnight ). In between, you can see me w/the Dean Mora Orchestra at the Art Deco Ball on Saturday night. A busy weekend of great music - looking forward to it, and hope to see you there.
You'll be able to see me quite often this coming week at Disneyland - I'll be appearing on Wednesday, Aug. 25 with the Royal Street Bachelors ( from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm ) and on Friday, Sunday, and Monday with the Jambalaya Jazz Band ( Aug. 27, 29, 30 - 10:30 am to 5:30 pm ). It's always a pleasure to work with the fine musicians in New Orleans Square. Please drop on by if you're in the area.
Hello after a long absence - I've just returned from an incredible trip to Europe, including a 12 day cruise on the Baltic Sea. We saw so many wonderful places, St. Petersburg , Russia and Berlin Germany among them. What a privilege to be able to see such wonderful places as the Hermitage and the Berlin Cathedral, to gaze on the beauty of the Norwegian fjords, and to enjoy the hospitality of many people in place I may never see again. I met some fine musicians along the way ( in St. Petersburg and in Tallin, Estonia ) and was impressed by their fine playing. I hope that all of you get the opportunity someday to travel to these wonderful places.
We'll be returning to the SkyRoom in Long Beach this coming Saturday night, July 10, from 8 p.m. to midnight. We had a great time on our last visit and are looking forward to being there again. This time we'll have some special guests on the bandstand - Ken Treseder (sax/clarinet), Dave Eastly (bass/vocals), and Paul Johnson (drums) - three great musicians whom I've had the honor of working with at Disneyland. It will be a swinging time, and we hope to see you there! For more details, please visit www.theskyroom.com.
We'll be returning once again to the Art A Fair Festival in Laguna Beach for our 16th consecutive year! Our first appearance is this Saturday, July 3, from 12 to 3 p.m. and our second appearance will be Sunday, August 15, also from 12 to 3 p.m. come enjoy some great music and beautiful art! for mor information please visit www.art-a-fair.com
Just letting you know that I'll be performing in New Orleans Square at Disneyland: Tomorrow June 24 w/The Royal St. Bachelors, Friday June 25 w/The Jambalaya Jazz Band and Sunday June 27 w/the Bachelors again. More to come in July...come on by and say hello if you're in the area!
We had a fun gig at the SkyRoom this past Saturday night - what a beautiful place to play. It was a great opportunity to play for a great variety of people, taking their requests, and playing a variety of old popular music in many styles. We'll be back there on July 10, so come on by if you're in the area.

Just a quick reminder - our appearance at the Skyroom is coming up! It's next Saturday night, June 12, from 8:00 p.m. to midnight. Please check the Skyroom website www.theskyroom.com for reservations and further details. I'll have my regular group with me, and we look forward to playing in this beautiful venue.

I've just added two more dates at the Skyroom in Long Beach - they are June 12 and July 10, and the times are 8 p.m. to midnight. If you're looking for a classy place to go and enjoy some great music, please come on by!
Yes, I've finally made the leap. You can check out my page on Facebook ( the one with the silly photo of me in Pisa helping out the famous tower ). I'm slowly but surely adding info to it, so drop me a line if you'd like and tell me what you think.
We had a great time last Wednesday night playing for the dancers at the Strutter's Ball in Orange. It was a treat to have my regular band and be doing a gig out in public again ( as opposed to the private events that we do ). Thanks Shesha Marvin for keeping swing alive and well in the O.C.! As to yours truly, I'll continue to turn up at the Ball with various groups, so stay tuned.
We had an enjoyable gig last night at the Sky Room in downtown Long Beach, atop the old Breakers Hotel. It was a dinner/dance event for the Art Deco Society - our good friends who we also entertain during their Labor Day Festival on the Queen Mary. Everyone had a great time, and there's a good possibility that we'll be back there again for future events - I certainly hope so, because it's a great venue for vintage music.
I'm pleased to announce our return to The Strutter's Ball in Orange, CA. the date is Wednesday, May 5, form 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. This has been the weekly source for live swing music since last fall, and it's still going strong. I'll have the regular band with me, and we look forward to playing there again. By the way, I'll be there with The Campus Five on Wednesday, April 28. Check www.struttersball.com for more details - we'll see you there!
We'll be featuring music of the great Django Reinhardt this year, which is the 100th anniversary of his birth. Not only a genius jazz guitarist but an incredible composer as well, he made a great contribution to the history of jazz. I'll also be looking for tunes related to the drummer Big Sid Catlett on the centennial of his birth. Look for musical tributes throughout the year, as we feature the work of these great musicians.
Well, it was another great time playing for all the dancers Saturday at the 24 Hour Cancer Dance A Thon. We worked as a quartet this time, with special guest George Andrus on drums filling in for Bryan Taylor. We hope that you all had a great time as well, and that you're recovering. Thanks again Shesha and ocswing for all of your hard work in putting on this wonderful event.
We'll be appearing once again at the 24 Hour Cancer Dance A Thon this weekend, joining a roster of great swing groups ( including Stompy Jones and Dean Mora )to help raise money for the City of Hope Cancer Center. This is a wonderful event, expertly run by Shesha Marvin of ocswing, and we're always happy to do it. We'll be there from 4 to 5 p.m this coming Saturday, March 13. Please come out and donate your time and dancing and enjoy some great music! The complete details are at www.danceathon.org
The photos from last weekend's Bayside Ball 2 are now up - my special thanks to Brian Boskind for coming out and taking them. What a great night of music...it was a privilege as always to play trumpet alongside of the great Bryan Shaw, and to hear all of the great musicians we had assembled. Thank you dancers as well! I hope to see you all again soon - until then, enjoy the photos!
It was a swinging time in Santa Monica last night - thanks to all who came out to Bayside Ball 2! We had a great time battling the Campus Five, and everyone was blessed to hear some great music. One of many highlight was getting to hear Phil Krawzak and Albert Alva duel each other on "Lester Leaps In". For my part, it's always a pleasure to play alongside the great trumpeter Bryan Shaw. Brian Boskind came by to take some photos, so look for some updates to the Photo Gallery soon. Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!
I'm happy to announce that we'll be donating our services again this year for the 24 Hour Cancer Dance A Thon on Saturday, March 13, located at the 24 Hour Fitness Ultra Sport in Irvine, CA. We'll be performing from 4 to 5 p.m. with a contingent from the regular group, and yours truly will return later in the evening ( probably midnight ) for a jam group. It's run by ocswing and is truly a wonderful event - all proceeds go to The City of Hope to fund cancer research and treatment. Thank you Shesha Marvin for running this event year after year. We hope to see you there! You can find all the important information at www.danceathon.org

Yes, it's almost here - the Bayside Ball 2, where we'll be going up against the Campus Five in a battle of music. The date is Saturday night, February 13 from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. at the Santa Monica Bay Woman's Club in Santa Monica, CA. I hope that you can make it out to cheer us on. Jonathan has a great band, and should be a worthy challenge. But in the end, everyone wins because we'll all hear some great swing music. Hope to see you there!

I've added a few more photos to the gallery. Most are from the past two Art Deco Society Festivals ( Sept. 2008 and 2009 ). Again, thank you Brian Boskind for the photos, and thank you dancers! More to come soon.
Yes, I'm finally adding some pictures into the Photo Gallery ( slowly but surely). The majority are from the Art Deco Festival on the Queen Mary ( Sept. 2009 and a few from Sept. 2008 ). Of course, I'll post more as they come in. Please check it out and enjoy. By the way, my thanks to Brian Boskind for taking the Queen Mary photos.
A quick update - John Reynolds will not be joining us at the Bayside Ball II - rather it will be my wonderful regular guitarist, Tom Hynes. We're looking forward to a spirited but friendly bout with the Campus Five, with lots of fine music being played. There will be a combined band set, so you'll get to hear the contrasting styles of the players ( Tom and Jonathan, Phil Krawzak and Albert Alva, etc.). Looking forward to it - details to follow soon.
I'll be out again at Disneyland soon, working with my friends in the Royal Street Bachelors and the Jambalaya Jazz Band. The dates are Friday, Jan. 15, 2:00 to 6:00 p.m with the Bachelors and Saturday and Sunday, January 16 and 17, 10:30 a.m to 5:50 p.m. with Jambalaya. If you're in the area come on out to New Orleans Square!
I just wanted to thank everyone who came out to our performance at The Strutter's Ball this past Wednesday night - we were well received and had a lot of fun. Shesha Marvin and Jonathan Stout are to be commended for keeping live swing music alive and well in Orange County. Stay tuned, we hope to be back soon.
I've been busy lately out at Disneyland, rehearsing a new show, "Tiana's Showboat Jubilee", based on the upcoming animated movie. It's quite a production, involving a parade with a large cast and using the Mark Twain riverboat. The show started last week, and I'll actually be performing in it tomorrow and on Wednesday, Nov. 11. In addition, I'll be appearing with the Royal St. Bachelors on Nov. 18 and on Nov. 21 ( in the afternoon ). If you're in the area come on by and say hi!
As I related in my last entry, there's live music on Wednesday nights in Orange, and now we'll be a part of it...on Nov. 18 we'll be appearing from 8:30 p.m. to midnight at the Strutter's Ball, located at the Women's Club at 121 S. Center St. It's run by Shesha Marvin and ocswing, and complete details can be found at www.struttersball.com, or the ocswing website. Come on out and support live swing music in Orange County! We'll have Ralf Reynolds guesting on drums that night. We hope to see you there!
Good news! Jonathan Stout ( of Campus Five fame ) will soon be producing live music every Wednesday night at the Women's Club of Orange (121 S. Center St., home of the Strutter's Ball). It will feature some of the best swing groups in the area, as well as special "all star" combinations. The Swingsations hope to be there soon, and I plan on being there on a regular basis. Stay tuned to www.ocswing.com for the start date and more details.
Hi everyone! I'm sorry it's been a while since I've written, but I tend to get busy with other matters this time of year. Between family and starting up my elementary band programs, time just seems to slip away. The band has been doing a few private events, and we hope to be doing something for the public again soon. In the meantime, have a wonderful fall!
Many thanks to the Art Deco Society of Los Angeles and the Queen Mary for another great weekend of music. We performed for a reception and did a four hour gig in the Observation Bar on Friday, and then returned for a four hour bar gig on Sunday. In between, I performed at the Art Deco Ball with Dean Mora's fine band. The crowds were large and very appreciative. Thanks again, everyone - we hope to be back again for our sixth consecutive year in 2010.
We had a great time last night performing on the Redondo Beach Pier - special guest guitarist Riner Scivally played especially well, and we were able to pay tribute in song to many famous jazz musicians on their centennial year (Lester Young, Ben Webster, Chick Webb among them). It looks like we'll be back next year, so stayed tuned!
In addition to my band and working with Dean and Jonathan, I've also had the privilege (and pleasure) of working with the fine musicians in New Orleans Square at Disneyland...I've been subbing there for three years on a fairly regular basis. You can see me performing with The Royal Street Bachelors (trio) and The Jambalaya Jazz Band ( six piece street group ). Look for me subbing with both groups this summer and throughout the year.
We want to extend a big thank you to the City of Rancho Cucamonga for allowing us to be part of their Fourth of July celebration at the Epicenter. What a well run event - the staff was so friendly and helpful. We hope to be invited back next year.

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