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Calendar - updated 29 January 2002
Sacramento, CA 22-25 May 1998 -- Sacramento Traditional Jazz Festival, the biggest in the world; tel 916-372-3479
Olympia, WA 3-5 July 1998 -- "America's Festival", produced by the Greater Olympia Dixieland Jazz Society; tel Charlotte Dickison 360-943-9123 or Edna Klein 360-754-1940
Rohnert Park, CA 21-23 August 1998 -- Sonoma County Dixie Jazz Festival; tel Billie Dellepiane 707-539-3494
Alaska Cruise 23-30 September 1998, "14th Annual Dixieland Jazz Festival at Sea" from Anchorage AK to Vancouver BC. Another merry jazz party at sea with Bill Blythe. Contact Blithe Experience, 307 World Trade Center, San Francisco, CA 94111; tel 1-800-528-1460 or 415-788-7517
Sun Valley, ID 15-18 October 1998 -- "Ninth Annual Swing 'n Dixie Jazz Jamboree"; tel Tom Hazzard 208-344-3768 or Betty Black 208-375-1671
San Diego, CA 27-29 November 1998 -- San Diego Traditional Jazz Festival; tel 619-297-5277
Costa Mesa, CA 2-4 August
2001 -- "Costa Mesa-Orange County Jazz Festival", tel.: 714-438-4922
or 888-215-6222 email: <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
Central City, CO 17-19 August
2001 -- "Central City-Blackhawk Dixieland Jazz Festival", presented by
Gilpin County Historical Society, tel.: (303) 582-5253, email <email@example.com>,
Costa Mesa, CA 2-4 August 2002 -- "Costa Mesa-Orange County Jazz Festival", presented by Orange County Classic Jazz Festival, Inc, http://www.oc-classicjazz.org/. Recorded information tel. 714-438-4922, fax 714-972-2664, tel.: 888-215-6222, email: John Dieball <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Contact for Engagements:
Contact to purchase recordings:
The South Frisco Jazz Band is an eight piece traditional jazz band featuring the two-cornet sound of King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band of 1923 and Lu Watters' Yerba Buena Jazz Band of the 40's. The band was formed in 1956 by banjoist Vince Saunders, and performed in Southern California (way south of San Francisco) at the Honeybucket in Costa Mesa in the early sixties, and played regularly at the Pizza Palace in Huntington Beach for over five and a half years. The last seventeen years have seen few changes in personnel enabling the band to add many new tunes to its vast repertoire.
The band specializes in the tunes recorded and written by King Oliver and Lu Watters, and also includes the compositions of Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, Clarence Williams, and Turk Murphy. Their most recent recordings have been released on compact disc and cassette. Also available is a live music video with the Fenix Jazz Band from Argentina, as well as a cassette only recording live from the Monterey Classic Jazz Festival.
Recent releases include a re-issue on cassette of an out-of-print album, "Live at Earthquake McGoon's", including an additional four tunes not previously released. New CD's include a combination of out-of-print studio recorded albums, "Captured" with "These Cats are Diggin' Us", and "Sage Hen Strut" with "Jones Law Blues", including previously unreleased tunes. A CD of a live 1968 performance featuring Ray Ronnei is also available.
The band is fortunate to be invited to most of the major jazz festivals in the United States, with thirteen appearances at the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Festival, and has had the opportunity to participate in some very special events throughout its 40 year history. Highlights have been appearing at the Edinburgh International Festival in 1982 along with playing jazz clubs in Germany, France, and The Netherlands. In 1986 the band played a 10-day cruise in the Caribbean, and in 1988 was invited back for a 17-day tour of The Netherlands. (Hear guest Pieter Meijers sing "Ice Cream" in Dutch: luisa.mp3 , 242 kb.)
In 1990 the band traveled to Japan for 10 days to play at the Osaka Festival, and in 1991 went to France for the week-long Marciac Jazz Festival, playing on the same program with Wynton Marsalis, Stephane Grapelli, The Modern Jazz Quartet, Gerry Mulligan, and others. An 18-day tour of Germany with Pat Yankee was the highlight of the 1994 season.
For 1995, the band will perform at various jazz activities including festivals in Seaside, Del Mar, Sacramento, Spokane, Santa Rosa, Los Angeles, and a 9 day cruise from Seattle to Acapulco, Mexico plus the annual San Diego Thanksgiving weekend jazz festival.
The individual members of the South Frisco Jazz Band are professional musicians, but earn their living during the daytime in other endeavors:
LEON OAKLEY, cornet, lives near San Francisco, California, and works as an electrical engineer for the Bay Area Rapid Transit System (BART). He has been with the SFJB since 1979, and previously was with the Turk Murphy San Francisco Band for 11 years. He can be heard on 8 LP's with Turk, and on several recordings under his own leadership.
DAN COMINS, cornet, hails from Burbank, California, and has been with the SFJB for over 25 years. He was previously from the Boston area where he played with many jazz bands there. He then moved to Pittsburgh where he played for several years at the "Stolen Base", a club owned by baseball great, Maury Wills. Dan owns his own business where he is a money manager and tax consultant for entertainers and other professionals.
MIKE BAIRD, clarinet & saxophone, is from Pasadena and has been with the band for over 35 years. He is a composer of many jazz and ragtime songs, and has written film scores and TV commercials. Mike has played with many bands in the Southern California area including the Eldorado, Jelly Roll, Dawn of the Century Ragtime Orchestra, and Back Bay jazz Bands. He is recently retired from a social service job with the County of Los Angeles, and can be heard on numerous recordings of the mentioned bands.
JIM SNYDER, trombone, has been with the band since 1978, and resides near Chicago, Illinois. Jim played with the Salty Dogs at Purdue University in the 50's, and more recently has recorded with a number of bands including the State Street Aces and several others. Jim is one of the foremost purveyors of the Turk Murphy style of trombone playing. When not playing trombone, Jim works as an Information Systems Manager for CNA Insurance company in Chicago.
ROBBIE RHODES, piano, lives in Etiwanda, California (near Ontario and San Bernardino), and is an electronics engineer for Lockheed Aircraft Company. Robbie has been a member of the SFJB almost from the start, and began his jazz career at the tender age of 17 with the Newport Harbor Jazz Band at the Honeybucket in Costa Mesa. Robbie is a ragtime virtuoso, and even cuts his own piano rolls by hand! He has also developed modern methods of producing piano rolls using computers and digital recording techniques.
LLOYD BYASSEE, drums, the newest of the group, is from Lancaster, California. He was an original member of the famed Bay City Jazz Band, and recorded with them in 1956 and 1957. He played several years with the Great Pacific Jazz Band, and was a member of Turk Murphy's Jazz Band when Earthquake McGoon's opened on Clay Street in San Francisco. Lloyd left the music world in 1974 for what he says was the excitement, terror, and nightmares of entrepreneurship. He re-entered the music world in 1993 because he wanted to bring a little sense (cents?) to his life during his "golden years".
BOB RANN, tuba, Huntington Beach, California, has been a member of the band since 1966. He was previously also a member of the Salty Dogs, and played with the Turk Murphy Jazz Band. Bob recently retired from his consumer electronics retailing business, and acts as our international booking manager and resident travel agent. He is responsible for all overseas jobs, and for getting all the band members, including their instruments, to the various international venues in one piece.
VINCE SAUNDERS, banjo & leader, Costa Mesa, California, founded the South Frisco Jazz Band over 39 years ago when he was right out of high school, starting with a job at a local coffee house called the Rouge et Noire in Seal Beach, California. Coffee houses and the "beat" generation were right in style in the late 50's. Not the ideal place for the perpetuation of early jazz, but a place to start. The band played the Honeybucket next. The year 1979 brought Leon Oakley to the band to join Dan Comins in the front line to form the two cornet sound that Vince had always wanted so that the compositions of King Oliver and Lu Watters could be performed. He is an engineer for a Swiss firm located in Southern California, and designs valves and piping systems. Vince lives in Costa Mesa, California, which is where the band is headquartered.
by Bob Rann, 21 July 1995
"The view from behind Robbie Rhodes at the
Great Connecticut Traditional Jazz Festival - 1993"
Cartoon by Stomp Off illustrator Joe Mathieu, August 1993.
Click here for big image (110 kbyte)
rev. 22 December 2002
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