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The Swingsations: News

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.

Get well, Wendy - July 18, 2013

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.

Some private gigs - July 18, 2013

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.

A Great Night at Joe's - July 9, 2013

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...

Return to Joe's - June 17, 2013

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

Another Westy Update - May 29, 2013

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.

I survived the marathon - May 28, 2013

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.

Marathon at Disney - May 21, 2013

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!

Another Westy Update - April 25, 2013

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.
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