Musicians

Joe Hopkins- Clarinet
Joe has been playing jazz clarinet since the 9th grade .  He played with many groups in the Fort Worth , Dallas area where he grew up.  He had his own jazz band while at Reed College in Portland. He joined IBM in 1962 and retired in 1993. He continued to play while employed by IBM. He worked with the Churchill Street Jazz Band in Northern California for ten years (1980's) and played most of the Jazz Festivals on the west coast. After moving to Arizona in 1990 he immediately began to play jazz in the Phoenix area. He was a member of the Desert City Six for 13 years. In the last 10 years he has also played with the Off the Wall Over the Hill Gang, Dr. Sasparilla and his Red Hot Jazz Band, Cat's n' Jammers, Cell Block Seven from Lodi, California and the BoonDockers from Northern California. He currently leads three bands of his own: The Joe Hopkins Quartet  and the 52nd Street Jazz Band which plays Chicago/New York Style Jazz ala Eddie Condon groups. In addition Joe leads the Moldy Fig Jazz Band which plays authentic New Orleans style Dixieland.  Joe is currently Director on the board of the American Federation of Jazz Societies and a member of the American Federation of Musicians, local 586 in addition to being the Vice-President and musical director of the AZ Classic Jazz Society

(480) 396-6798  Cell Phone: 602-810-5888   Email: jazzclarinet@cox.net  

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Doc Chaney - valve trombone, vocals
Played with Benny Goodman -1980, Wayne King band,  Jim Nabors and many others.  Leader of the Crazy Ed's band for 5 years,  With the Mike Dunham Quintet in Laughland, Nev.,  Kay Star voc.,  Many dates with the Army band,  Mini fest at San Marcos with Mike Vax,  The 52nd st.Revival Dixieland Band, Fantasy Jive Band,  Wolf Chokers at Nick Fink's,  Jed Nolan's,  Desert City Six for many years.  He has lead The Fantasy Jive Jazz Band for 10 years.

Gary Church - cornet, piano, trombone and guitar (Click Here for Gary's web page) (Click here for Gary's "MYSPACE" page)
Gary started his musical career in Phoenix and after 25 years has returned. He has performed at countless jazz festivals and clubs. He was with the Silver dollar Jazz Band, Boondockers, Desert City Six, Fulton Street, and many others. Although jazz is his main love, Gary performed and recorded with such Country greats as Roger Miller, Willie Nelson, Mel Tillis and Merle Haggard. He is currently on tour with the Mel Tillis Show.  In 2002 Gary was the 23rd musician elected to the Western Swing Hall of Fame.
His career has taken theses twists and turns.
1970-1974- Jeff Woodhouse Dixieland Band, Desert City Six, The Barehanded Wolf Chokers Oldtime Dixieland Band Inc.
1974-1976-  Walt Disney World -Orlando Florida, Bill Allred's Reedy Creek Jazz Band, Sammy Gardner's Dixieland Band at Rosy O'Grady's in Pensacola Florida, Central Florida Hot Jazz All Stars with Jim Maihack, ( backing up Bobby Hackett in Orlando).
1975-  Worked as a replacement trombonist in Jim Cullum's Happy Jazz Band in San Antonio, Tx.
1976-  Crazy Ed's Place in Deer Valley with Igor, George Rock, Bruce Leeland and The Desert City Six and Igor’s Jazz Cowboys.
1977-1979 Went on the road with the Freddy Powers Show from Nevada, while with Freddy got to work with, Al Hirt, Peanuts Hucko, Milton Quackenbush, Wild Bill Davison, Tiny Moore, Jimmy Ivers, Roger MIller and Willie Nelson.
1980-Walt Disney World in Orlando Florida worked with the Pearly Band and The Banjo Kings, with Lee Floyd, Eddie Erickson, Randy Morris.
1981 - was in the house band at Willie Nelson's Jazz club in Austin Texas called DJANGOS with Ray Benson's Band "Asleep At The Wheel".
1982-1991- traveled with Merle Haggard's Strangers playing Western Swing and the Sac Jubilee each year with Jimmy Rivers, also subbed in the Fulton Street Jazz Band and Jan Sutherland and Custer’s Last Band.
1991-2000 worked with Mel Tillis and The Statesiders in Branson Mo. and with The Creole Jazz Band from Springfield Mo.
2001- Joined the Boondockers in Sacramento Ca, returned to Phoenix and worked with his own groups , The Desert City Six, The Joe Hopkins Quartet, The 52nd Street Jazz Band Band, Bob Wardlaw’s Swingtime and others.
2004- returned to the Mel Tillis Band.
He has recorded with;Larry Joiner And the Mavericks,,The Desert City Six, Freddy Powers, Bill Allred, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, The Joe Hopkins Quartet.

Be sure to read "The Autobiography of a Nobody: The life and times of a sideman" by Gary Church

"There have been many books written by and about musicians.  What sets this book apart from most of them is that I am not a famous man.  I am what is know in the music business as a sideman.  Although this is the story of my life, it could also be the story of many others that do the same this as I do for a living.  You probably don't know our names, but you see us everyday on your TV sets and you hear us every day on your radios.  Without us, the singers that you love to listen to would be reciting poetry, because there would be no music behind them.  We are like the offensive linemen on a football team.  We never score the winning touchdown in the Super Bowl, yet the game could not be played without us".  Excerpt from the book

To order, call (480)895-2765


 

Madelyn Roberts - guitar, banjo
The eldest child of late jazz and studio guitarist
Howard Roberts, Madelyn Roberts began her musical career in childhood as a violinist. Having played with the Michigan Youth Symphony, she became popular in the Detroit area as a "ringer": someone who performs for hire in the string sections of community orchestras to help them sound more professional at their public concerts. Following a rotator cuff injury to her bowing arm, Madelyn took up the guitar in her early 20s but shortly thereafter put music aside to pursue a career in professional billiards.  In the 1970s, she was one of the top competitors in the U.S., appeared on "Wide World of Sports" and performed billiards exhibitions with legendary players Minnesota Fats and Willie Mosconi. IN 1975, Madelyn founded and became the first executive director of the Women's Professional Billiards Association (WPBA), a group still playing matches that are regularly televised on ESPN.In the late '70s, Madelyn moved to Arizona, gave up billiards and re-discovered the guitar. Her first professional job as a guitarist was in a Western Swing band, "The Bar 7 Bunch". In order to continue to learn and to improve her guitar skills, Madelyn formed "Desert Seminars", an educational program that allowed guitarists from all over the U.S. and Canada to come to Arizona and study in a group with jazz guitar greats such as her dad, Barney Kessel and Herb Ellis. In 1981, Madelyn joined a full-time professional trio and went on the road.  It was in this group that she met her partner and husband, drummer Caesar Rob. The trio later morphed into "KANDU", a variety band that toured the U.S. for 10 years. In the early '90s, Madelyn and Caesar returned to Phoenix and began performing at various private clubs and functions as a varity band. In 1996, Madelyn was elected President of American Federation of Musicians Local 586, Arizona's professional labor union, an office she currently holds. In 1994, she returned to billiards as an amateur player and in 2000 won the North American Senior Women's title, was a member of the winning North American Women's Open Team and was inducted into the WPBA Hall of Fame as its founder. Currently, Madelyn continues to play guitar as a member of  bands such as "52nd Street Jazz Band", "KANDU" and "The Robs".

Caesar E. Rob - drums
Caesar was born into a musical family in Santa Barbara, California.  His father was a dance band drummer and prior to that had been in the United Army Band.  His mother and older brother were also drummers filling in when Dad was overloaded with gigs. By the age of 13, Caesar was already performing professionally while studying music with Henry Brubeck, brother of Dave. Following high school graduation, Caesar then moved to Washington, D.C. in order to further his studies with Jack Dennett of the National Symphony Orchestra. While living in D.C., Caesar played with the Barnee’-Lowe Shoreham Hotel Orchestra, Meyer Davis, and other society orchestras in that area.  After a few years Caesar decided to return to Santa Barbara to study business and accounting, while continuing to play music.  He worked with the I. Newton Perry Orchestra, of Santa Barbara, playing throughout Southern California, Chicago, and on occasion at Yale University in New Haven, CT.  He backed George Shearing and Mel Torme’ on various occasions, and also played for gospel singer Thelma Huston and other national acts.  Caesar was a member of an Air Force Band, and for a number of seasons was a percussionist with the Santa Barbara Symphony.  He also lead the “9 to 5 life” for a number of years while working  in accounting for the City of Santa Barbara and serving as its Purchasing Director.  He was also a partner in a music store as well as a band booking service.  After that Caesar decided to go into music full time and became part of the vocal-instrumental group “The Happy Sounds” , playing 12 successful seasons at Camelback Inn and other Marriott properties throughout the U.S.: The Broadmoor Hotel (Colorado Springs, CO); La Costa Resort (San Diego area), and other top quality engagements.  In 1982 with wife-partner Madelyn Roberts, Caesar formed the contemporary group KANDU, originally a quartet that included two of his sons, Rod (keyboards and flugelhorn) and Mitch (drums and bass). For 10 years, and in varying configurations of size and instrumentation, KANDU traveled the continental United States. Playing hotels, clubs, and fine resorts and performing a great variety of music and musical styles to suit the tastes of widely divergent audiences was an adventure and important learning experience. Returning to the Phoenix area in 1992 and until 2005, Caesar became a  licensed Private Investigator, doing extensive work for the State of Arizona Risk Management Department as well as a number of high profile cases.  Today, Caesar is a regular member of Joe Hopkins’ “52nd Street Jazz Band”.  KANDU stays actively engaged in the Phoenix area, along with Caesar and Madelyn’s duo, “The Robs”.  Both musicians are members of the Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Praise Team Ensemble, performing at contemporary 11 AM Sunday services.  Caesar is proud father of three sons, Rod, Mitch and Chris, and grandfather of 5. He is also proudly a Life Member of the American Federation of Musicians, and holds membership in both the Santa Barbara and Arizona Locals.

Danny Shannon - bass guitar (Click here for Danny's QWIK ™ SEAT web site)
Danny has been a key member of the Phoenix jazz scene for many years. He has also toured and appeared with Honky Tonk Pianist Big Tiny Little, Jazz Guitarist Mundell Lowe, and was even a member of the Grand Old Opry with country music legend Dottie West.  Danny has also played at 2 president's inaugurations, 10 USO shows, 5 jazz cruises, 2 European tours, 2 movies, 2 TV shows, 5 commercials, and 5 major recordings.
Eddie Fisher USO Show , Japan 1950
Famous "Make Believers" Phoenix 61-62
The Max Dan Trio 63-64
Owned "The Bucket Club" with live radio broadcasts 6 nights a week with "The Four More" 1964-66
Lloyd Eliss Quartet 1965-69
Merril Moor Trio at the Del Webb Townhouse in Phoenix 75-78
The Desert City Six 80s - 90. Played Sacramento Jazzz Fest. 9 years in a row.
Mike Dunham Quintet (Scopus Out) 80s
Steel Guitar International Festival with Terry Bethel & Milt Quackenbush
Gary Church - 2005
Dick Contino (Accordian) Trio Phoenix - 2003
Al Monty (Pres. of the Accordian Assoc.) 2002-2005
Gene Mason Trio - 50s
Ted Newman - 2002-2005
Blue Notes Dance Band (Bob Waters) - 80s
Parker Lund Band and Miss Pat Yankee in Iceland & Greenland - 1967
Phil Kirk, Bob Havens, Tommy Loy, Mike Vax.
Titan Hot Seven, Joe Ashworth, plus many more.

Cheryl Thurston - Piano
Cheryl began playing stride piano professionally at age 14 in Canton Ohio.  She got influenced by her father John Lewis who played cornet in various Dixieland bands around the Cleveland/Akron area. She starting playing piano in her Dad’s band, the Rainbow Ramblers until he passed away in 1981. At age 16, she toured Europe playing the trumpet with the American Youth Symphony. While living in Ohio, she was a member of the New Orleans Stompers and got recognized as one of Cleveland’s most interesting people. She has played with the Earlville Jass Band, Rubber City Retreads, Ted Witt Trio, Dixie Ramblers, Eagle Jazz Band, Preservation Hall Jazz Band and performed at the EARLYJAZZ Jazz Festival. She moved to the Phoenix area in 1990, and was a member of the Sun Lakes Stompers Sun Lakes Dixieland Band and Sun Lakes Big Band. Currently, she plays at L.J.’s Pizza weekly and has her own group the Mardi Gras Jazz Band.   She is also a member of Music Al Carte. She has played the Tucson Jazz Festval and Arizona Classic Jazz Festival.

Ernie Landes - Trombone
Ernie Landes took up the trombone in high school and began jamming with neighborhood musicians. While attending Stanford University, he heard the bands of Bob Scobey and Turk Murphy, and spent many Friday afternoons playing for free beer in college hangouts.  He helped form a band named "South Bay Seven" which was popular in the San Jose area in the sixties.
In 1973 he was recruited by Frank Goulette to join the "Monterey Bay Classic Jass Band" of Santa Cruz, CA. With this band he attended most of the West Coast jazz festivals and enjoyed an eight-year run of Sunday afternoon gigs at the Dream Inn in Santa Cruz.
Retiring to Washington State in 1995, Ernie joined the "Dukes of Dabob" which played for twelve years at the Valley Tavern near Dabob Bay. He has since moved to Peoria, AZ, where he helped form the "Sun City Stomperz" in 2006. This band has many loyal fans, and has enjoyed several long runs at local restaurants, currently playing twice a month at the "Sunset Bistro at the Lakes" in Peoria.

Chuck Stewart - Tuba
   Chuck has been a professional Traditional Jazz (Dixieland) tuba player since 1960 and has played at over 120 major jazz festivals, 14 jazz cruises, and several tours throughout The USA, Canada and South America.
   He is the leader of The Crackerjack Jazz Band and is the tuba player for The Buck Creek Jazz Band.
   He appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, The Jess Cain Show and The Al Capp Show and in October of 2011 he appeared at Carnegie Hall with "Your Father's Mustache" 
   He can be heard performing on over 18 recordings including Tex Wyndham's Rent Party Revellers; Ray Smith's Paramount Jazz Band; Billy Butterfield, Johnny Mince, Banu Gibson; The Arizona Classic Jazz Band; Banjoist, Mike Hashem; and Dick Shooshan's Golden Eagle Jazz Band.
   He has also played with The Treme Brass Band, Bob Schulz Frisco Jazz Band, Scott Anthony's Golden Gate Rhythm Machine, The Golden Eagle Jazz Band, Vince Saunder's South Frisco Jazz Band, Burt Barr's Uptown Lowdown Jazz Band, The Happy Feet Jazz Orchestra, The Monte Carlo Jazz Ensemble and The Desert City Six.

KAREN VIZZARD AND DABNEY HOPKINS

As two of the most decorated dancers in Arizona, Dabney and Karen have combined experience of OVER 20 years dancing, teaching, competing in, and performing the dances from the Swing Era. Dabney served for years on the board of the Arizona Swing Network, a 501c3 non-profit group dedicated to the AZ swing community, and was the secretary of the Arizona Classic Jazz Society, a 501c3 non-profit group dedicated to the preservation of classic jazz and swing music. Dabs and Karen have placed in more national competitions in Lindy Hop, Balboa, Charleston, and Collegiate Shag than anyone in Arizona from such prestigious dance camps as Camp Hollywood, American Lindy Hop Championships, Camp Jitterbug, Monsters of Swing, Swing By The Sea, Lindy On The Rocks, Rhythm is Jumpin', SF Bal Fest, etc, etc. Dabney (along with Tracie Jones) was the first recipient of the 'Golden Budgie', the most coveted ROCK THE HOUSE award ever given at Camp Hollywood in Los Angeles. Karen has been a featured dancer on an episode of 'Cold Case' and in a Katy Perry music video. She is also the current reigning Fast Feet Champion of Los Angeles and was nominated for the California Swing Dance Hall of Fame in 2010 and again in 2012. Dabney is proud to have made the finals of EVERY dance contest he has ever entered, and was personally invited to participate in the invitation only Champions Jack & Jill at the first Lindy on the Rocks weekend in Colorado. Karen performs regularly with the Hollywood Hotshots, a performance troupe out of Los Angeles. Dabney and Karen have taught workshops (separate and together) on Carnival Cruise Lines, and in California, Florida, Utah, Nevada, Mexico, Colorado, New Mexico, Australia, Montana, and all over Arizona. They have both made several television appearances and perform regularly with the 52nd St. Jazz Band, performing at jazz festivals all over the country (including Montana and New Orleans) and locally for everyone from street fairs to elementary schools. They organize the Phoenix Lindy Exchange every fall, which for 11 years has been the largest annual swing dance event in Arizona. They also run BadAZ Balboa Weekend every spring and SWINGdepenDANCE Weekend in the summer.
They organize the largest and longest running swing dance in Arizona, The Kats Korner, and are considered to be among the best dance instructors around.

Cheryl Stephens - Vocals
Born in New York, Cheryl's first stage performances were at age 3, singing at casual dance recitals and churches in and around Yonkers.  After moving to Arizona, she later teamed up with several country-western groups before working her way into the contemporary and, eventually, jazz modes.  In 1976, she did 6-month nightly engagements at Scottsdale's Sunburst Hotel, performing with the Jerry Howard Trio in the Brass Pony Lounge.  Within that same time period, Cheryl was introduced to Phoenix clarinetist, Jeff Woodhouse, leader of the Jeff Woodhouse Dixieland Jazz Band.  It was with his band that she began her interest in Dixieland music, working periodically with his band for nearly 30 years. Through Jeff, she met and, for 7 years, sang with Arizona trombonist, Dick Knutson and the Desert City Six, playing the West Coast festivals, jazz cruises and tours that included concerts in the Netherlands, Germany, and Brussels, Belgium.  After these initial introductions to Dixieland jazz, Cheryl was contracted with the Delta Queen Steamboat Company, working on the Mississippi Queen out of St. Louis, MO.  She then continued following the festival and cruise circuit, working with Big Tiny Little, Jimmy Rivers, the Pieter Meijers Quartet, he own Cheryl Stephens Vintage Jazz Band, Chicago Six, The Nightblooming Jazzmen, Coyote Hills and Igor's Jazz Cowboys.  Included in her recordings are sessions with several of the above bands.

 

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Last modified: 04/19/2014 11:37 AM