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The Swingsations: News

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!

Christmas Greetings! - December 24, 2013

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'!

Farewell to old friends - November 30, 2013

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.

More private gigs - November 30, 2013

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.

A Wendy Update - November 25, 2013

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'm on TV! - November 20, 2013

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.

Sorry I Haven't Written - October 23, 2013

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.

Thanks again, Art Deco Society! - September 16, 2013

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!

Late Night on the Queen Mary - August 26, 2013

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.
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