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The Swingsations: News

A Westy Update - March 12, 2015

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.

A trip to Stockholm - January 12, 2015

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.

Happy New Year! - January 10, 2015

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!

Take care, Westy - November 28, 2014

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.

Happy Thanksgiving! - November 27, 2014

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.

Another great night - November 20, 2014

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.

Return to Joe's - November 9, 2014

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!

Sorry I haven't written... - October 19, 2014

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.

Another Fun Night on the Queen Mary - September 4, 2014

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.

Art Deco Update - August 12, 2014

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.

Getting ready for the Art Deco Festival - August 6, 2014

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!

A Trip to Korea - July 22, 2014

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.

Thanks everyone! - July 8, 2014

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!

Recording on hold - June 25, 2014

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.

At Joe's Soon - June 8, 2014

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!

Back at Disney - April 23, 2014

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!

Spring News - April 21, 2014

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.

A Great Big Thanks! - April 7, 2014

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!

Last Minute Substitution - March 31, 2014

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!

More Disney dates - March 24, 2014

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.

Return to The Cicada Club - March 16, 2014

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!

110th tributes - February 6, 2014

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.

2014 Tributes - January 27, 2014

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.

Happy New Year! - January 1, 2014

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!

Back at Disney - December 24, 2013

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!
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