These are some of the groups and individuals I've been fortunate to play with over the last few years. As you'll see, I like variety in my musical life.
Pecos River Brass is a 20 piece big band based in Lewisville. I started subbing with them in July 2001, and took over the drum chair in November of that year. It's an exciting band that plays a lot of original charts, and continues to be a great learning experience.
Miss Marcy is a blues singer whose repertoire focuses mainly on the works of the early blues stylists like Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith. She was cohost of the Tuesday jams at Maple Point when I started my stint with the band, and we've worked together often since that time. She's a truly unique artist and always rocks the house.
Revival is a five piece rock band I played with from early 2005 to May 2009. Originally formed as an Allman Brothers tribute band, Revival's repertoire has became an eclectic mix of classic rock, blues, and fusion.
For a little over a year I had the pleasure of playing in the house band for the Maple Point Tuesday night jazz jam, with Rich Glass and Alex Camp on bass and Mike Garvey on piano. Besides the trio we also had two outstanding singers who hosted on alternate weeks, and we brought in other singers and musicians as special guests.
I first met Lynn Ross at the Balcony Club when we both sat in with Art Riddles' group. She got the jazz jams at Maple Point started before moving on to other interests. A jazz stylist in the classic sense, she swings hard, and audiences love her.
Carolyn Lee Jones also hosted the MP jams, and sings modern standards, with some forays into other pop music. The music always swings when Carolyn's at the microphone.
Jennifer Martin, who alternated with Carolyn as host on Tuesday nights the last few months of the jam, started out as one of the singers who showed up to sit in, and has evolved into a very fine interpreter of the standards. She's a real pleasure to work with and to hear.
It's also been my good fortune to work with several other excellent singers, mostly female. The jokes about female singers are many, but these women are serious about their craft and it shows.
Bess Ruyle is another singer who I met originally at Maple Point. I've been fortunate to play with her band, Bess 'n the Boys, at other venues, and it's always fun for everyone.
Andrea Dawson hosted a Monday night blues jam at Maple Point. She is well known in the blues community for her dynamic style and powerful voice, and plays all over Dallas/Fort Worth. Besides performing with her regular group, we've also worked together with Revival and Trinity River Blues Band.
Besides my regular bands, I frequently sub with other groups, as can frequently be seen on my calendar page. Here are some of those bands.
Metro Praise Orchestra is a Christian big band based in Bedford. I frequently fill in with them when Danny Prado, their regular drummer, has to be absent. The players and arrangements in this band are both excellent, and I look forward to my chances to work with them. Our most recent performance together was on July 4th, 2006 at the Follow the Flag show in Azle.
Another band that often calls me when their regular drummer has a conflict is Crosswind. Led by trumpeter Brian Bass, Crosswind plays an interesting mix of Christian music and standard big band charts, and is always a fun and challenging gig.
More recently I've played with the Lone Star Jazz Band, led by Jeff Taylor, at Texas Motor Speedway, again subbing for an absent drummer. It's a swinging band, and a pleasure to work with. I've also worked with Jeff's pop group, Frontline.
Besides these big bands, I've also performed or rehearsed with Celebration, Joshua, Jazz INC, and the Les Elgart Orchestra. Big bands are alive and well in Dallas, and that suits me to a 'T'.
On the small group jazz front, I've frequently played with the Arthur Riddles Trio at the Balcony Club, one of Dallas's finest jazz venues. I've also had the pleasure of working there with Blue in Jazz, who have been performing Thursday through Saturday for several years.
It was great fun playing with Subtle Vibes, an outstanding piano/vibes duo featuring Dana Sudborough and Mike Garvey that occasionally expands for selected performances.
Small jazz groups tend to be temporary things usually put together for specific performances. While I definitely like being part of a permanent group, these situations have given me the chance to work with some of the outstanding jazz musicians in Dallas/Fort Worth, including Kent Ellingson, Dan Pitzer, Sam Ezzeldin, Chris McGuire, Tony and Tina Palos, Claude Hardrick, Drew Phelps, Freddie Jones, and many others. In addition, both in my capacity as house drummer for the Maple Point jams and as a frequent visitor to other jazz and blues jams, I've gotten to play with many other respected D/FW performers.
Although my major focus the last few years has been on jazz, I love playing rock, too, and always enjoy the opportunity to do so. Revival is my current band, but I've played with several good groups over the years. Among the other rock, blues, and country bands I've gigged with have been Jon Griffin, Jackpot, The Bombers, The Fanatix, Southbound, The Day Job Refugees, and the Up All Night Blues Band.
Thanks, everyone, for many great nights on stage. Here's hoping for many more of the same.