No. 2 - About The Swingsations

Well, as I feared, these blog entries may turn out to be bi-weekly...wrapping up my school teaching year, etc. is keeping me busy. Hopefully I'll have more time soon. Anyway, I wanted to write about the origin and history of my band. The beginnings go back to 1993 when I started rehearsing a four piece group - I had just started writing a few arrangements. I still have a cassette tape somewhere of that group. Nothing much happened until the next year when the personnel stabilized and I started rehearsing more often. That first group was myself, Jay Mason on clarinet, alto, and tenor; Charlie Warren on string bass, and Tom Liston on guitar and banjo ( back then I was interested in switching back and forth from a dixie to a swing feel ). Charlie Warren and Jay soon left, and were replaced by Mark Visher on saxes/clarinet and Benjamin May on bass. This was the group that started to do gigs in 1995 - we appeared at local Jazz Society meetings and also did a few park concerts. Things started to happen for us in 1996 - more gigs, and an appearance at the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee. We also made our first recording at a home studio ( on cassette - I still have a few ) which we sold at's a curious mix of dixieland, swing, and some tunes that I composed for my daughter, son and my late father. In 1997 Mark left and was replaced by Dan St. Marseille, and this group appeared at the Sun Valley Idaho Jazz Festival in 1997 - that was a lot of fun. Since Dan was more comfortable just playing tenor and clarinet, I dropped the alto sax parts from my band book, and it's been tenor and clarinet ever since. We also appeared at the now defunct Sweet and Hot Jazz Festival around this time as well, and also performed at the Orange County Classic Jazz Festival as well. In 1998 Benjamin left and was replaced by Eric Stiller on bass. The guys convinced me that it was a good time to add a drummer, and suggested that I try Ed Slauson, and he joined us toward the end of 1998. Well, I've probably gone on long enough for now. In the next installment I'll talk about our next more professional recording, and more goings on up to the present, as well as thoughts on our repertoire and what we're trying to accomplish. Thanks for reading!

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