Dan Barrett's Blue Swing, Featuring Rebecca Kilgore
Blue Swing features eight of the United States top jazz players, and the vocal stylings of Ms. Rebecca Kilgore. Ms. Kilgore is known for her jazz party and festival appearances, her recordings for Arbors Records and other labels, and for her acclaimed performances on the National Public Radio show, Fresh Air. She lives in Portland, Oregon, and can often be heard there between stints with Blue Swing. The other band members include:
Jon-Erik Kellso, trumpet: Now in his thirties, Jon-Erik is one of the most in-demand horn men in New York City. Like most professional jazz musicians, he travels extensively, and has led his own groups at festivals and on his own recordings for Arbors Records. The great cornetist Ruby Braff paid Jon-Erik the compliment of including him in Rubys tribute to Louis Armstrong, the Arbors CD, Being with You.
Scott Robinson, clarinet and tenor saxophone: Blue Swing,
and indeed the jazz world, was saddened by the sudden loss of its
friend and colossal contributor, saxophonist and clarinetist Brian
Ogilvie. Brian was a long-time personal friend of Dan Barrett's--they
had met in 1974--and the members of Blue Swing held Brian close to
their hearts. He died in August of 2004 while on tour in Scotland,
playing the music he loved. His good humor, kindness, generosity
and warmth (both musically and personally) will not be forgotten.
Brian's chair in Blue Swing has been taken by another of his colleagues,
who also respected Brian's considerable talent.
Eddie Erickson, guitar and banjo: "Fast Eddie" is another musician whose instrumental and vocal talents have been heard in many places around the world. He was featured for several years in the now-legendary "Class of 27" show at Disneyland. They finally let him graduate, and hes continued playing and recording with everyone from Big Mama Sue to the Abalone Stompers. He too has recorded for Arbors Records, both as a leader and sideman (with, among others, friends Jackie Coon, Dan Barrett, and the late Rick Fay). His terrific rhythm and solo playing, and charismatic vocals (including several entertaining duets with Ms. Kilgore), make him an invaluable addition to Blue Swings rhythm section.
Joel Forbes, bass: Joel and Dan met many years ago, on a bandstand outside of New York City. Dan made it a point to remember Joel and his superlative acoustic bass work. Though he stays busy in the Big Apple, Joel has found time to perform with Blue Swing at Hollands Breda Jazz Festival; the March of Jazz in Clearwater, Florida; and at the Summit Jazz Party in Denver, Colorado. His travels include trips to England, Japan, France, and indeed all over the world. Joels solid bass work can be heard on several Arbors releases.
Jeff Hamilton, drums: Although at least two fine drummers share the name, this particular Jeff Hamilton has been a close friend of Dan Barretts since their teens. They met in southern California through their interest in jazz, and while Dan was playing with veteran New Orleans musicians in Los Angeles, Jeff had moved to New Orleans to play there, and to learn. He studied with the legendary drum master, CiE Frazier, and Jeff really gets to the heart of New Orleans and swing drumming. His musical studies include a background in classical piano. In fact, Jeff has worked many gigs as a jazz piano player, as well as a drummer.
Ray Sherman, piano: This gentleman is the true "veteran" of
the band. Fifty-plus years of professional experience havent
taken the edge off of Mr. Shermans swinging, Chicago-styled
piano playing. After working with many groups during the Big Band
era, Ray played with Ben Pollack at his "Pick-a-Rib" club
in Hollywood, and was one of the central figures in the Hollywood
and Los Angeles jazz scene of the late 40s and 50s. Ray
is featured both on the screen and the soundtrack of the classic
jazz film, Pete Kellys Blues, and played piano for the Warner
Brothers television series of the same name. Ray later kept busy
in the LA recording studios. When Time-Life produced their Swing
Era series of recordings (recreations of several hundred big band
classics), Ray was called to faithfully recreate the styles of dozens
of individual virtuoso pianists! That he came through with flying
colors is an understatement. The original pianists extant had high
praise for Rays "take" on their work, including the
great Teddy Wilson. When he heard Ray playing a solo of his from
thirty years before, Mr. Wilson smiled and said, "I couldnt
have played it any better myself." Ray doesnt have to
work quite as hard, though, with Blue Swing. Dan and the band like
it just fine when Ray Sherman plays like himself!
So here then is Blue Swing, featuring Rebecca Kilgore; a new group that respects and plays in the classic jazz tradition without being bound by it. Its a band that performs at the highest artistic level, but hasnt forgotten that jazz should be fun, too. They could be the most exciting and entertaining group appearing at your next party or jazz event.