The big bands are here alright
The big band era died when the Beatles arrived, everyone thought, but such groups are thriving all over town, notably at Vitello’s, Vibrato, the Baked Potato and Catalina’s, staffed by the proverbial fast guys from the studios.
“There's Ron Jones' band,” says young bandleader John Daversa, ticking off his elder rivals. “There's Ron King's big band that used to be (Stan Kenton star) Buddy Childers’ band; there’s Clayton Brothers-Jeff Hamilton; (tenor sax stalwart) Bob Mintzer's big band now that he's out here in L.A.; Kim Richmond's band; we just lost Bob Florence; and Bill Holman’s band; Pete Christleib's small big band." And he could have mentioned the groups of Jack Sheldon, Gordon Goodwin, Bill Cunliffe, Wayne Bergeron, Gerald Wilson or Arturo Sandoval.
Says Jones: “I pay my players double what the normal rate is, and even that doesn't quite cover it. I take a loss myself, because I just wanted to take these players that are always in this insulated environment at Fox or wherever and bring them out as a group to play before live audiences.”
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-- Tony Gieske
Photo: From left, Chuck Findley, Charlie Davis, Gary Grant on trumpets and Bob McChesney on trombone add punch to Ron Jones' band. Credit: Tony Gieske