March, 2017

By the middle of February, I had completed two recording sessions - one in Chicago with Swing Central and a second in New Orleans with Tim Laughlin and David Boeddinghaus. While in New Orleans I also got to play duets with Kris Tokarski and a trio gig with Tim and David at the Bombay Club, plus a private party at Tim's magnificent French Quarter residence.

At the end of the month, I flew to Oregon, to play at the Seaside Jazz Festival with the Memphis Speed Kings. Speed Kings guitarist Gino Meregillano piloted our rental van through a lot of blowing snow and ice, but we made it to Seaside without incident. As usual, the audiences loved the Speed Kings' high-energy performances. I also got to play a "Tribute to Benny Goodman" with Dave Bennett and Jeff Barnhart, and sat in on a couple of sets by the High Sierra Jazz Band, filling in for Charlie Castro. It was fun to play San Francisco style drums alongside the great Paul Hagglund on tuba (he was substituting for Earl McKee).

tim party

Hal, David and Tim
Photo credit: Juliet Laughlin

March promises to be even busier, including a marathon of gigs starting in Texas and winding up in South Carolina! First, I will return to Oregon - this time, to North Bend - to play the Clambake Jazz Festival with the Memphis Speed Kings. The North Bend/Coos Bay area is one of my favorite places to be, and I am eagerly awaiting the opportunity to spend a few days there.

Next, I will be drumming at Lindyfest in Houston with both the Jonathan Doyle Swingtet and Brooks Prumo's Orchestra (which debuted at the Hot Rhythm Holiday in Austin last January).

Brooks Prumo Orchestra

From Houston, I will head for New Orleans and a performance that promises to be memorable...On Feb. 26, 1917, the Original Dixieland Jass Band made the first commercially-issued Jazz record. In 2017, many groups are celebrating the Centennial of Recorded Jazz by playing concerts dedicated to the "ODJB." On Mar. 19, Kris Tokarski's handpicked quintet (Andy Schumm, cornet; Colin Myers, trombone; Tim Laughlin, clarinet; Kris, piano; and me on drums) will perform a concert entitled "100 Years of Recorded Jazz" at the renowned Snug Harbor nightclub in New Orleans. Kris has also set up a house party and a performance at the New Orleans Jazz Museum for the Schutt-Tokarski-Smith trio called Hot Classicism. I love playing Classic Jazz with Andy and Kris. There are many moments when it sounds like one person playing all three instruments, as on this clip recorded last September by Michael Steinman:

To wind up the month of March I will play at the Redwood Coast Music Festival in Eureka, CA with a quintet led by Kris Tokarski that includes Chloe Feoranzo, reeds; Jamey Cummins, guitar; Steve Pikal, bass; and numerous guests. I will also play sets with Dennis Lichtman and Molly Ryan, and Gino's All-Star Tribute to Johnny Cash featuring the fearless Rockabilly guitarist/vocalist and daredevil rental van driver Gino Meregillano! The whole weekend sounds like it will be a lot of fun!


Photo credit: Alex Matthews

I will be spending quite a bit of time in New Orleans during April, and will post the details when this website is updated next month. The new recording by Tim Laughlin, David Boeddinghaus and yours truly is due to be released in time for the French Quarter Festival. I am hoping that the Swing Central CD will also be available.

***NEWS FLASH*** I just booked some engagements in Chicago with my favorite Jazz band: The Fat Babies! Can't wait to work with them again at the Green Mill and the Honky Tonk BBQ. I am especially interested in the Green Mill since one of its frequent patrons was a large gentleman of Italian descent who wore brightly-colored suits, a cream-colored fedora and bore large scars on the left side of his face...

fat babies

Fat Babies with Hal at the Green Mill - 2016

***ANOTHER NEWS FLASH*** My band, Swing Central, has just been added to the lineup of the 2017 Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival in Davenport, Iowa! I love drumming with this group - Jon Doyle, clarinet; Dan Walton, piano/vocals; Jamey Cummins, guitar; Steve Pikal, bass. We will be playing at a new venue for the Festival: The Rhythm City Casino. Check the Bix Society website (www.bixsociety.org) for details!

swing central

Swing Central

Meanwhile, Alex has taken possession of the box which held the new Yamaha bass drum pedal (replacing the one that was ruined in the accident last November).





Mittens continues to look for new places to perch, especially when she will be the center of attention.

That's all I have for now. Please check back at the beginning of April for the latest news regarding my musical adventures!