Detailed Pismo Jazz Jubilee Preview

Pat Yankee
Pat Yankee

A Salute to the ’90s

This June, we celebrated the 75th anniversary of D Day. Those who lived during World War II were touched by it in some way. Everyone was a participant, at home and abroad.

This is especially true for our citizens in their 90’s. These men and women participated in and supported the war effort in some way. They were fighting overseas or supporting manufacturing here at home or transporting aircraft around the world or rationing goods or buying war bonds. No matter the task, the war effort was a national priority and we worked in unison.

Chet Jaeger WWII Uniform Photo
Chet Jaeger in uniform.

This year, our Jubilee Committee has decided to honor those among us who lived through these perilous times and dedicate our festival to the most senior among us- the nonagenarians (those people in their 90s).

We will be featuring our most famous nonagenarians- Chet Jaeger and Pat Yankee, during our “Salute to the 90’s” sets. Please enjoy these sets showcasing some of our best and most experienced performers.

Chet Jaeger
Still blowin’ at 94!

In keeping with the World War II theme, we will have two “USO” dances, one on Friday evening starting at 4:40 p.m. and one on Saturday afternoon and evening starting at 2:00 p.m. The featured bands for the Friday dance include the Cuesta College Jazz Band, the Cal Poly Jazz Band and two sets of the Starlight Dreamband. The line up on Saturday includes two sets of local favorite Riptide Big Band, the Santa Ynez High School jazz band, the Sue Palmer Motel Swing Band, a Midiri Brothers Artie Shaw tribute and Professor Cunningham and his Old School doing a Count Basie tribute. All participants are invited to come in their uniforms or other period attire. All nonagenarians should wear their buttons and the rest of us should “ask them about their lives”.


Theme Blocks

We will have several “theme blocks” of sets, scheduled throughout the festival. Our USO dances create two of our theme blocks.

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Pete Fountain at the unveiling and dedication of his statue in New Orleans’ Musical Legends Park in 2003. (photo by Ken Arnold)

Another one will be the “New Orleans” block at the Veteran’s Memorial Building on Saturday afternoon and evening from 11:20 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. We will start the set with Bob Draga playing “A Tribute to Pete Fountain”. Pete Fountain, the famed clarinetist, was born and raised in New Orleans. He earned fame on the Lawrence Welk Show and later returned to his birthplace and owned and operated a famous jazz club, The French Quarter Inn, for many years.

We continue with New Orleans native Larry Scala with a Larry, Dawn and Friends set. This is followed by the Creole Syncopators playing a New Orleans set with guest artist Bob Schulz. Next are the all; female New Orleans based Shake ‘Em Up Jazz Band, and our featured band this year, Tuba Skinny. Our New Orleans set continues with Blue Street playing a Hot Club set. Our final Louisiana set of the night will finish off with the very energetic Gator Nation.

Tuba Skinny on Royal Street
Tuba Skinny on Royal Street in New Orleans

The New Orleans set ties into our “Salute to the 90’s” theme because the Higgins landing craft were built there. The World War II museum in New Orleans has an excellent display dedicated to this very crucial element of Operation Overlord on D-Day. This year is the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the seaborne invasion that changed the world.


On Friday night, we will have a “Nightclub” block, at the Skyroom starting at 6:00. The first band of the event will be Larry, Dawn and Friends with Dan Tobias and Jim Lawlor. They are followed by the Creole Syncopators with Carl Leyland on piano. The evening wraps up with the great Pat Yankee joined by Mike Greensil, Darryl Fernandez, Danny Coots, Bob Draga and Bob Schultz. Enjoy the music and the sparkling repartee between these veteran musicians. We encourage everyone to bring their own drinks to this event.

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Bob Schulz is a veteran of Turk Murphy’s Jazz Band.
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Tom Rigney and Flambeau cleanse the jazz palate with lively American roots music.

There will be a “Louisiana” block on Friday at Addie Street, starting at 4:40 with the Shake Em Up Jazz Band. Next is Sue Palmer playing a Mardi Gras set followed by Tom Rigney and Flambeau and finally, Gator Nation with guest Washboard Steve.

Our last block is two “Aussie” sets, on Saturday, starting at 12:40 at Addie Street. First, we will have “The Australian Jazz Connection” performing “Aussie Songs” with special guest artist Washboard Steve. This will be followed by Professor Cunningham and His Old School. The Professor also hails from Australia.

Special Sets and Feature Sets

Special Sets” are the sets put together by prior Festival Director George Smith, bringing top musicians from different groups together to create an unscripted and memorable event. There are several lined up to create memorable pairings unlikely to be duplicated including a band with three guitars and another with three clarinets.


Feature Sets” are proposed by the bands to highlight music styles or other musicians that they connect strongly with. We have asked the bands that have proposed Feature Sets to send us a description of their sets. Here are the responses we have received to date:

Feature Sets

The Shake Em’ Up Jazz Band: Women Composers The Shake Em’ Up Jazz Band celebrates some of the talented women who left their enduring mark on the genre, reminding us that women have, since jazz’s earliest days, been deeply involved in both the music’s performance and composition. Woman musicians at Jazz Jubilee by the Sea comprise 22% of the total of the professional musicians scheduled. That is arguably the highest percentage of female musicians at any U.S. trad jazz festival. 

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The Shake ’Em Up Jazz Band performs at the Maison on Frenchmen St., with Marla Dixon (tp) Chloe Feoranzo (cl) Haruka Kikuchi (tb) Molly Reeves (g) Julie Schexnayder (bs). (photo by Ken Arnold)

Creole Syncopators– Gospel, Women of the Blues, New Orleans

1) Gospel set; For 35 years the Syncopators have always done a Sunday morning Gospel set, playing the Old Time Hymns that were taught to us by the original New Orleans Jazzmen, who played around the Big Easy on Friday & Saturday nights during the 1920’s, and then at their respective Churches on Sunday Mornings. Valerie does a spectacular job, there’s never a dry seat in the house!

2) Women of the Blues set: Valerie’s specialty is singing the greatest selections of Bessie Smith and her mentor Gertrude “Ma” Rainey in their authentic style, as well as some of the lesser known Blues artists of the Roaring ’20s. We love doing a set featuring the songs that made these women famous.

3) New Orleans set; The Early Jazzmen of the Crescent City were a major influence on the band, especially leader Jeff Beaumont who learned to play in the style from some of the original musicians who played with Johnny Dodds, Kid Ory, King Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton, even Buddy Bolden and Sam Morgan. The band does numbers from all of them on a regular basis, but concentrates these into a specialty set when they are asked to do a New Orleans feature.


Paul Ingle- Australian Tunes: Australia, among other countries worldwide, was introduced to jazz following the musical sensation created in New York in 1917-18 by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band and the band that followed. News of this new music quickly reached Australia via the entertainment press and the vaudeville artists appearing on the popular theatre circuits. Australia’s first known jazz group appeared at Fuller’s National Theatre in June 1918.

Other jazz bands were formed in response to the new craze and, with the boom in social dancing, it quickly invaded the dance halls and ballrooms and, despite prudish and predictable opposition, became an Australian post-war phenomenon. Although Australia had embraced the much-celebrated Jazz Age, there was limited manuscripts of the American jazz tunes available, so as a result many bush or outback tunes were played in the new jazz style.

As time passed intrigued musicians and enthusiasts soon discovered the real jazz hidden within the commercial record catalogs of Tin Pan Alley tunes when the Australian record industry emerged in the late 1920s and genuine US jazz records, featuring black and white groups, became readily available. The Australian Jazz Connection will introduce you to those early tunes along with songs written during the second world war, often about romance between the USA soldiers and innocent Australian girls in their home towns. No doubt their selection will include the popular Waltzing Matilda and more recent numbers that you will know.Pismo Web ad url e1562378479679 - Detailed Pismo Jazz Jubilee Preview

Jeff Barnhart- Fats Waller Rent Party: It’s Saturday night and the rent is due Monday. We have invited all of our friends over to contribute to the cause. Our evening starts off with Jeff Barnhart and Washboard Steve playing a Fats Waller set. Fats was often asked to be a rent party performer. He sings about the rent party experience with his famous hit, “The Joint is Jumping.” Jeff has been called the 21st century Fats and promises to get the evening started in grand, hedonistic style!!

Jeff’s performance will be followed by a set from the Shake Em Up Jazz Band and then a set by Larry, Dawn and Friends with guest artists Danny Coots, Marc Caparone and Katie Cavera.

Please bring a bottle of wine or perhaps something a little stronger to drink and share (especially with Jeff…HE told us to include this bit!!). If you want to bring a dish, we will set up a table for you to put it on. Some plates and napkins will be provided.

A donation jar will be out on the table, any rent donations made that night will go to the Basin Street Regulars Scholarship fund.

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Pianist Jeff Barnhart

Hot Club: On October 26, 1939 in Paris France the great gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt went missing before an important performance. Members of The Blue Street Jazz Band, always at the ready, were asked to fill in for the evening. That is how The Hot Club du Rue Bleu began. On rare occasions, they pop into existence at festivals and events around the States. Catch them when you can. You never know where they will be next, what with the weird time-travel thing and all.


Dave Ruffner – Chromatic Harmonica, Sam Rocha – Bass Fiddle, Rick Canfield – Guitar, Matt Bottel – Resonator Guitar

Special guest stars: Nate Ketner – Reeds, Forrest Helmick – Trumpet, Sherri Colby-Bottel Vocals, Jason Wanner – PianoPismo Web ad url e1562378479679 - Detailed Pismo Jazz Jubilee Preview

Sue Palmer- Mardi Gras, Swing, Boogie Woogie: San Diego is home to the Gator by the Bay Festival, at which the Motel Swing Band has been a fixture for over 10 years. The band has supported many of the national acts that come through for this festival as well. They have a solid set of Carnival material!

Swing: The Motel Swing Orchestra can play swing favorites of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Gershwin, and many others, in their own inimitable Motel Swing style.

Boogie Woogie: Sue Palmer is known far and wide as the Queen of Boogie Woogie and has performed all over the world in her reign, often with the best known specialists, including Sonny Leyland, Hadda Brooks, and Marcia Ball. The band backs her up with enthusiasm!!

Ivory&Gold® Gospel: We deliberately scheduled this set after the other Gospel sets as you’re likely to hear some different material from our husband-and-wife duo act! Selections by Bessie Smith and the Boswell Sisters will weave in between real rockin’ and rollin’ spirituals. No hymnals, no preaching, no proselytizing: just raising your voice in joyful celebration with songs that are easy to learn and hard to forget!!

Bobby Darin- a countdown of his greatest hits: The Professor and His Old School will bring you through Bobby Darin’s Billboard chart topping hits, from #100 all the way to #1!

Count Basie Tribute– no band could swing harder than Basie’s. Come celebrate some of Swing’s greatest anthems with Professor and His Old School.

Night Blooming Jazzmen
The Night Blooming Jazzmen

HOW DID I GET HERE? Tom Rigney Finally Tells His Story: In this hour-long solo performance, Tom Rigney finally tells the story of his long and unlikely career in music, beginning with his first encounter with a violin at the age of 24. Along the way you will hear strange and remarkable stories, and encounter many memorable and unusual characters, some well-known, some (happily) obscure. Mr. Rigney will have his violin on hand, of course. And he will also include a few tales from his father’s great career in Major League Baseball. All in a vain attempt to answer the timeless question: “How did I get here?”

Night Blooming Jazzmen- Hymn A Long: When we arrived in Sacramento in 1976 there was no Church Service Sunday morning. So I called Bill Borcher and offered to do one. They did a huge thing in 1977 with us and another band. Same in 1978. The other bands wanted to do it. So in 1979 we started doing Hymn-a-longs. and have been doing them ever since. I started telling amusing (hopefully) church stories. I forget why.

Pat Yankee sings Armstrong: Pat will sing and tell stories about how she first met Louis with the help of the great cornet playing of Bob Schulz and Mike Greensill’s version of Louis’ composition Jubilee. Pat considers Louis Armstrong not only the first but the best of the early jazz singers.

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Even More Special sets, details pending

Cornet Chop Suey- Tribute to Louis Armstrong, Nothing But the Blues

Bob Draga- Pete Fountain Tribute

Midiri Brothers- Tribute to Benny Goodman, Tribute to Artie Shaw, Gospel

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