Chris as he appeared in about late 2003

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[I'm experimenting with SPGM gallery -- just click "music gallery" . . .maybe soon I'll have many more gig photos . . .I've got hundreds. . .sorry some of these are fuzzy. . .they look a little like the way Dean Martin would have seen them]

I've played tenor trombone since 1971.    I originally strove to become a Hollywood "studio musician".  Because any style could be required of this type of performer, I've tried to play in every situation I could accept.  I've performed in symphony orchestras, as section player and as a soloist, in big bands in all capacities, in Top 40 bands and R&B bands as the only trombonist, in dixieland bands, in "casual" groups playing for weddings and corporate parties, in trombone ensembles and in brass ensembles.

My improvising is steadily improving and that way I can contribute to a small jazz group setting.  I am contually learning more and more standard pieces and I have splendid "fake book" sets available so I can function in a loose setting. I play in these big bands regularly:

Jack Lantz Orchestra

North Los Angeles Jazz  Ensemble (aka Bob Couto's Thurs. night band)

John Peace Super Band (lately become less active)

EQUIPMENT:

I usually perform on either a King 2B (heavily modified by L.A. area brass repair guy Chris Gonzales), a Bach 16M (purchased at Zeps out of the same lot where that Dick Nash got his--I'm told I took the 2nd that Dick decided just was not "quite" as good as the other).  I now have a Bach 42B which I'd use in a symphony situation, and I also have horns I don't generally use - a 1979 Conn 6H and a 1950's vintage Martin Committee Model

I use the Giddings and Webster "Chocolatero" model mouthpiece (original design) for small bore and a Faxx 6 1/2 AL for large bore symphonic. 

GIGS:

Of course one really fun job is to play with the various Rat Pack groups.  The Sinatra, Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr. team was a great one, and always is sure to entertain.

Here are links to  a couple of groups I work with regularly (I will be updating this stuff and adding more as more occurs):

 Direct From Vegas, The Rat Pack -- This group is essentially a reproduction of the original show with Dino, The Chairman and Smokey.  I have had the pleasure of touring with this show and it's a hoot!

Another is the Rat Pack with Nick DeGidio and his Dry Martini Orchestra.  This is more of an adaptation of or the essence of the Rat Pack for use as a corporate show.  These guys know how to  adapt their show to your corporate event.  They even use a Marilyn Monroe or a Lucille Ball depending upon the corporate client's needs. Here is a review from a happy "corporate" client.  The gig was with the AFSA, an association of Fire Sprinkler Contractors and Engineers (these guys and gals had a HELL of a good time at the convention:

The Rat Pack Martini Lounge /Awards Ceremony
Tuesday, 9/14/04
7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m
Springs Patio at the JW Marriott Desert Springs

Tonight, we recreate the glamour, the sights and the sounds of that historical time as you enjoy AFSA's very own "Rat Pack" party! The Rat Pack was the hippest, coolest bunch of guys on either coast. The evening begins with a martini in hand listening to the Dry Martini Orchestra entertain during the cocktail reception and dinner. This great 12-piece band provides traditional standards of the forties, from Glen Miller and Frank Sinatra to the latest hits. After dinner the nightclub will come alive with music and entertainment. You will be both amazed and delighted with the talent this "Rat Pack troupe will display. Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr. performers will bear uncanny resemblance to the original performers and have vocals that will blow you away. You will feel as though you have stepped back in time, as you are entertained with humorous antics, fabulous music and tales of the times.

Click Here for a Calendar of my Current Gigs

MP3 of my trombone playing:

Ave Maria (Shubert) Trombone, synth guitar and synth bass guitar; based upon an Urbie Green version

Quadrabones

As originally done by Urbie Green on "Bein' Green" - this hearks back to the early days of Quadrophonic recording
Girl from Ipanema Me, with Jamey Aebersold group doing this Bossa standard

Nowadays and Yesterdays:

Lately, I've been asked to perform jazz and big band jazz often. I've developed the proper style to sound like a Tommy Dorsey on a tune such as "Marie" or "I'm Gettin' Sentimental Over You". I owe this and whatever else I can do musically to my training. I've been lucky enough to have excellent training as a developing trombone player. I studied with Harold Diner, Karl Raschkes, Norman Fleming, and Terry Cravens.   In High School I had Jim Snodgrass and Frakie Nobert as instuctors.  Frankie was a great theory and piano teacher and sang with the Roger Wagner Chorale.  Later, I was lucky enough to play in LA Valley and LA City College bands with Dick Carlson and with Woody James.

Each of these teachers were very helpful and very fine persons. I feel lucky to have been their student.

Harold Diner and Jim Pankow circa 1971Here is Harold Diner, and Chicago trombonist Jim Pankow;  they were both at the same studio that day (circa 1971).  Sombody had a camera.  They both are holding King 2B trombones.  Pankow has a Schilke mouthpiece and Hal had his trusty Almont. Harold was known as one of the true "studio musicians" in the classic sense of that name.  He was under contract to Paramount Studios while the studio system was working.  This meant every day rehearsal and recording.  This era really began in the 1920's and continued until the early 1960's.  By the beginning of the sixties a more purely "freelance" system was established, so trombonists were not under contract to MGM (as was Hoyt Bohannon) or Paramount (Hal Diner). 

While at Paramount, Hal was usually found in the trombone section next to Abe Lincoln.  Abe was known as a phenomenal Dixieland player (he's available on CD next to Jack Teagarden. . .also trading eights with Mr. T. . .Lincoln was a STUNNING jazz soloist).  What is NOT generally known is that Abe Lincoln made a very good living working in the Hollywood studios.  I've got a picture here where Lincoln, Diner and bass-trombonist Louis Castelano are playing in the back of a large studio orchestra conducted by Sigmund Romberg, a well-known composer of operettas.

Performing

In 1979 I was trombonist with "We the People", a Top-40 group in Glendale, CA.  This was excellent experience.  I thank David Vasquez and his group for a fine experience.  I then spent several years (1975-1979)studying to play symphonic tenor trombone, primarily in the "principal" or 1st Trombone spot. As time went on, I found that I was asked to play 1st Trombone in Swing Era-type big bands. For a while I was a regular with the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra. Presently I play with the "Jack Lantz Band", Bob Couto's "North San Fernando Valley Jazz Ensemble", and the "Dave Johnson Band" regularly. Trumpeter, Jean-Pierre Michelou is also fronting a big band which does concerts and events on an occasional basis. The band is quite good. Pierce College Jazz Band is also quite the "hot" college band, and I'm lucky to do that one. I also am asked to play in other bands occasionally (The Southern California Jazz Company and Jay Wimmer Band are examples). Also, recently I've been fortunate to play with some of the "Rat Pack" groups currently working [ Will hook in links here when available].  These are fun gigs with fun people.  I sure wish I had been there to see Frank, Dean and Sammy in person.   The schtick is FUNNNY!!  Take a look at the gigs calendar.  I hope to keep that up to date, since many people ask me where I will be playing.  This should allow them to come out and hang with the band. . .


Personal Areas-Links

  This site will be changing quite a bit, so please return often and let me know what you think.

Also, see my opinions on various fine beers as I tour the world's greatest brews. I have been sampling fine beers now for about six months and have found some fabulous beers. Perhaps my favorite is Xingu from Brazil. Another close behind is MacKeson Triple Stout. Click here for beer stuff.

Links to othe URL's of Interest

Ferguson Music - Brass Instruments
Trombones Online
Jazz Improvisation Magazine