Warren Lovell fronts Big Time Operator. "We would play four to five nights a week," he says of the years 1997 - 1999, when the band played Croce's, the Cannibal Bar, and Tio Leo's. "A lot of the swing dancers who would show up would only drink water. [Live swing] wasn't profitable for the bars. The dancers killed it."
Though Lovell became a police officer in 2000, he and BTO have been doing private corporate gigs since the dropoff in swing's popularity.
"You pretty much have to have a side job [as a member of the SDPD] to make ends meet. The city doesn't pay its cops well.... Most cops I know don't live in San Diego because they can't afford it. They have to commute from Temecula or Alpine."
Lovell and his wife have three children. His 18-month-old son was killed in a May 2004 auto accident.
"I took a month off from [SDPD] work. I needed to get grounded. Two days after he died, I had a gig. The event company said, 'You don't have to do this show.' But I put on a different face and did the show. That's part of being a professional. The police department taught me a lot about that."
Asked if he thinks there will be another swing revival, he replies "I think the only thing that would do that would be a movie that would incorporate a big band. Royal Crown Revue started the whole thing. The movie Mask broke them.... We want to give people an alternative to the crap that is being put out today." By "crap," Lovell means "...anything that doesn't take a lot of talent to play. It's a matter of education. You don't see a lot of educated people listening to hip-hop."
As Shapes' secret weapon, he shows remarkable command of both chromatic and blues harmonicas while also contributing vocals and compositions to the group. He has performed and or toured with Michael McDonald, Don Henley, Kenny Loggins, Jewel, Seal, Desiree, Ambrosia, Sheena Easton, Chet Atkins and Tanya Tucker.
He has also recorded solos on albums for artists such as Brian McKnight, Al Jarreau, Natalie Cole, Bebe Winans, Dave Grusin, Earth, Wind & Fire, Christopher Cross, Billy Idol, Gino Vanelli, Melissa Manchester, Will Downing, Brenda Russell, John Tesh and the all girl rock group, Antigone Rising. He has appeared on a few episodes of The Drew Carey Show as well as having played theme music for ABC's Good Morning America.
He also played the harmonica on the soundtrack for the popular 90's show Northern Exposure. Tollak released his first solo cd, Walk The Earth, just before moving to Holland in May of 2004. Burn says of Ollestad, "He and I met on a silly little wedding gig, back in the days when I still did drum gigs. But, it wasn't until about five years later that we really started to get to know each other. I marvel at Tollak's talent and what's really scary is, in addition to being one of the main composers for Shapes, that he's also a hell of a good piano player as well as a great singer, too. He's the perfect guy for this band and I love working with him!".
The driving rhythm in zydeco music has earned it a reputation as a dance music able to instantly create a party atmosphere. Despite the music’s appeal, zydeco music has lacked a true crossover artist - one who is able to carry the genre into the mainstream. Terrance Simien is well primed to become that first artist. Not only a zydeco master (he can rock a groove as hard as any contemporary zydeco performer), Terrance’s soulful singing allows him to rise above the crowd as a world class vocalist.
Terrance Simien is not only a zydeco master, but a soulful crooner with an emotional spirit based deep in the rural Louisiana Creole culture. He sets himself apart from most zydeco artists by writing original music instead of interpreting standards. A hit at festivals and performances around the world, Simien's band rocks with a driving rhythm full of energy ...sure to get a crowd dancing!
Simien grew up in Mallet, Louisiana, where his church introduced him to the spiritual power of making music. Just down the street was one of the region's wildest roadhouses and, as a teenager, Simien discovered its low-down, tail-shaking party music: zydeco. The musical style born of the Creole culture which mixed African, French, Spanish and Indian heritages into hot food and music. Simien picked up an accordian, put a band together and started playing at the roadhouse.
Soon, Terrance Simien and his Mallet Playboys knew they had to leave the poor backwoods. At 17, Simien hit the highway with his squeezebox. Fifteen years later, he and his band travel the world performing at more than 35 festivals a year, including an annual appearance at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Add club shows, recordings, and a movie (1987's "The Big Easy") and you have one of today's hottest zydeco artists.
For one thing, Simien's voice is just terrific. At times it has a Sam Cooke type quality as in the song "Paradise" on the Beadhead album and other times, an Aaron Neville sound as in the song, "This Old Road." These were the singers who first caught Simien's attention as a kid. Then when he was in his teens, his bricklayer dad took him to a dance hall in Opelousas. Simien liked what he saw and heard, especially from the accordion player. After that memorable introduction, Simien bought an accordion, began taping songs on the radio and as he put it, "picked up what he could."
While his music is homegrown roots music straight from the Louisiana bayou—Mallet, Louisiana about 75 miles from Baton Rouge, to be exact, Simien freely incorporates influences from many other musical genres. This collaboration—which some term a Zydeco blend—is giving Simien's Zydeco music a long and healthy life, enabling Simien to break out of the regional box that might imprison other roots-bound artists. Simien has not forsaken his roots—the French Creole music of Louisiana. Just listen to the traditional French Creole tune, "Jolie Blonde" on Positively Beadhead. But at the same time, Simien's not letting his roots put him in a choke hold either. Because of the blend of his music, everybody seems to be claiming a piece of Simien—the blues world is claiming Simien as a blues artist; others hear the Caribbean influence and relate his music to Island music.
Still others see him as an R & B artist; others feel a jazz beat in his music. This makes for lots of CD sales, more air time, and most importantly to Simien, more fans across the globe. One of the things Simien likes most is to get concert fans out on the dance floor—after all, getting up and dancing to the music is as rooted in Creole culture as any aspect of his music. To get hesitant fans off their fannies, Simien throws strings of beads into the audience—beads like those thrown at Mardi gras. Thus, the name of his new album, Positively Beadhead, refers to those party goers who collect Mardi gras beads. In performance, Simien is as much to be seen as heard—sweating and dancing, tossing his head from side to side, with his long hair streaming behind. He's wild! And the more the public sees of him, the wilder they get for Simien and his brand of Zydeco music. Simien's career started in 1981 when he formed The Mallet Playboys and began playing regionally in Louisiana. He paid his dues on the regional circuit and made his first U.S. and Canada tour in 1985. People and critics across the country really started listening to the fresh talent of this young budding star who introduced them to what was then a relatively new music style, Zydeco.
of this young budding star who introduced them to what was then a relatively new music style, Zydeco.
Not much is known about piano sideman and occasional vocalist, Tennyson Stephens. He maybe hailed from the Bay Area and found his way to Oahu, playing gigs here and there, for favored singers and the tourists in Waikiki.
Stephens paired up with guitarist Phil Upchurch back in the ‘70s for a seminal jazz-soul album entitled, “Upchurch/Tennyson.” Much has been made of Upchurch’s rise as a busy Chicago session player who managed to produce his own sound throughout the works of John Lee Hooker, B.B. King, Ramsey Lewis, the Staple Singers, Muddy Waters, Jimmy Reed, as well as come out with his own 1960s hit single, “You Can’t Sit Down.” Upchurch kept it going on for various record labels and still tours with several bands, including his own, today.
But Stephens – known by fellow musicians simply as Tennyson – pursued a more laidback, Hawaiian lifestyle, away from the hustle and bustle—and renowned unfortunately—of the Mainland. It didn’t mean he retired from jazz.
Early on, Tennyson made the rounds, from recording projects, to regular gigs. He slowed down some, because of health problems, like gout, which would flare up now and then. By the ‘90s, his appearances were few and far between.
So, when you saw him at, say, Duc’s Bistro in downtown Honolulu, accompanying Azure McCall, or at Halekulani’s Lewers Lounge with bassist Bruce Hamada, it was a real treat—for him and those he played with.
Tennyson gained a cult following for many reasons. He was exciting and mysterious. He could block chords in odd harmonies like nobody’s business. He enjoyed arranging and composing as he played his solos. And he made those he performed with work a little harder, play a little better.
Teddy Andreadis is a highly esteemed and accredited multi-instrumentalist and singer. His talent and versatility have earned him recognition, not only in the United States, but around the world as well.
Having shared the stage with a potpourri of diversified and celebrated names like Carole King, Guns n Roses, Alice Cooper, Billy Bob Thornton, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, B.B. King and the Bruce Willis & The Accelerators, Teddy Andreadis has - and continues to - successfully garner the backing and enthusiasm of his peers and audiences alike.
Through the years, Teddy has gained a reputation as a rock-solid keyboardist, a wailing harmonica player, a soulful singer, B3 player and an insightful musical arranger. In addition to his own album, INNOCENT LOSER, Teddy has contributed his talents to the albums of Thornton, Lee Oskar, Nikki Sixx, Duff McKagan and Slash's Snakepit.
His video work includes: Michael Jackson's GIVE IN TO ME, Guns 'n' Roses NOVEMBER RAIN, YESTERDAYS, GARDEN OF EDEN and ESTRANGED, and Carole King's IN CONCERT. He also appears on the Guns 'n' Roses USE YOUR ILLUSION Live 2-DVD set.
Teddy has appeared in TV shows including FULL HOUSE, THREE SISTERS and TRADING SPACES.
Teddy's work can also be heard on many movie soundtracks, as well. Be sure to catch him in Tabitha Stevens' new film, THE SHAMAN.
Steve is the anchor of the DelGado Brothers behind the drums. Whether it's a shuffle, or blues riff - Steve's right on top of it. And not only that, but he's also the lead vocalist!
SHELBY FLINT Former Warner Bros. recording artist, wrote hits Angel On My Shoulder and I Keep It To Myself; performed with Chick Corea and her own band at Monterey Jazz Festival; numerous title tracks for films/TV; teaches in arts program for Children at Risk in Long Beach City Schools.
Shea Chambers is a multi-talented vocalist, songwriter, and dancer, currently living in Los Angeles, CA. Shea's vocal stylings and songwriting skills cover all genres of music, including jazz, R & B, funk, smooth jazz, pop, rock, and theatrical. Shea has graced the stages and studios around the world, and over the years has built up a loyal, devoted fan base.
Shea may have been born in Kentucky, but her sultry, soulful voice has the familiar overtones of some of Motown’s legendary artists. It’s not surprising that she spent her formative years in none other than Detroit, Michigan. The Motor City would prove to be the perfect playground for a young girl drawn to the performing arts.
Her years of hard work studying dance, voice and acting would pay off with tours in various dance troops, as well as musical and repertory theatre companies. However, it would be Shea’s extraordinary vocal ability that would lead her down a road paved with gold.
The music industry stopped to take notice as Shea was a featured vocalist on songs written by such artists as, Brenda Russell, Bryan Adams and Barry White. Her performance on the title track, “Endless Love," written and produced by Lionel Ritchie, gave her national acclaim in the recording industry.
Shea has performed, recorded, and toured internationally with some of the top legendary performers in the entertainment industry and is considered one of the busiest and top vocalists in Southern California. Her list of performing and recording credits include, Mariah Carey, Elton John, Chaka Khan, Kenny G, Brian McKnight, Michael Bolton, Julian Lennon, and Ellis Hall.
Shea Chambers is no stranger to the “small screen” either. Shea has appeared on numerous TV shows, including, The Arsenio Hall Show, Entertainment Tonight, Inside Edition, Showtime, Dharma & Greg, and 7th Heaven.
Currently Shea is busy with live performances and recording sessions, and is rapidly being sought after as a private vocal and dance coach for upcoming young talent in the industry, where she is helping to mold and prepare talented young performers in Los Angeles for the challenge of the professional entertainment industry.
Shea has just completed a recording project with artist, producer, Alan Hewitt, titled, "noche de Pasion'," which will be available in stores sometime in April, 2004. Shea is a featured vocalist on this CD, along with a long list of superstars in the recording industry.
Local vocalist/instrumentalist Sean Holt is indeed a hidden gem. In a town where the music circuit is vast and the talent pool deep, Holt's incredible voice, charisma and musical abilities have branded him as a performer of the highest caliber, destined for the top...
With a musical style that is a potent mixture of R&B, jazz, rock and world beat, Holt blazed through three smoking sets of original and choice cover tunes that were flawlessly performed by he and his backing band, comprised of some of the hottest session players in town. The instrumental and four-part vocal interplay of Holt and his band is reminiscent at times of such legendary acts as Earth, Wind and Fire, Eagles, Average White Band, Ohio Players and Bobby Caldwell.
Still, Holt is unique enough in his modern sound and persona to carve his own niche. Without a doubt, Holt is one of the best vocalists on the scene today and he delivers on every song.
Scott Whitfield (trombonist, composer, arranger, and vocalist) is rapidly gaining international recognition for his work with contemporary big bands, including the Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra and the new edition of Johnny Griffin's Big Soul Band, as well as his own Scott Whitfield Jazz Orchestra, the Manhattan Vocal Project, and the Pied Pipers, with whom Scott sings bass and serves as Musical Director. His arrangements have been performed and recorded by such artists as Diva, Maurice Hines, The Pied Pipers, Bill Allred's Classic Jazz Band, and Pete Petersen's 23-strong Collection Jazz Orchestra. The discography of Scott Whitfield includes 5 albums as leader or musical director and more than 50 recordings with other artists.
A frequent clinician and guest artist for Bach Stradivarius trombones, Whitfield has appeared throughout the world, from Australia to Zurich, sharing his expertise on trombone technique, improvisation, composition, arranging, and jazz history. His "The J.J. Johnson Collection" (published by Hal Leonard) has inspired many trombonists, young and old. He is currently at work on "The Steve Turre Collection."
Upon settling in New York in 1993, Scott became a member of the Nat Adderley Sextet, which also included Jimmy Cobb, Walter Booker, Vincent Herring and Rob Bargad. The group's engagements at Sweet Basil led to fruitful associations with Nnenna Freelon, Frank Wess, and Steve Turre, among others.
From 1998 to 2002, Whitfield served on the jazz faculty at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, teaching trombone, composition and arranging, and improvisation, while also coordinating the school's combo program.
The Scott Whitfield Jazz Orchestra (first founded in 1986, while Scott was pursuing his Master's degree at North Texas State University) now has TWO incarnations: the SWJO East, based in New York; and the SWJO West, based in Whitfield's new home of Los Angeles. Both of these aggregations feature some of the top players in the business. Plans are in the works for a large project featuring the combined, bi-coastal orchestra.
For more than a year, the Scott Whitfield Jazz Orchestra East was in residence at New York's Birdland, the Jazz Corner of the World, culminating in an exciting live album, to be released later this year.
Although Scott now makes his home in Los Angeles, he continues to commute to New York for appearances. His writing has been compared to that of some of his biggest influences, including Thad Jones, Sammy Nestico, Bill Holman, Gerald Wilson, Rob McConnell, and Ernie Wilkins.