PACIFIC JAZZ BAND
(Los Angeles, 1979-1995:)
From its formation in
1979 to its disbanding in 1995, the GREAT PACIFIC JAZZ BAND was Southern
California's most exciting traditional jazz band. Led by banjoist/pianist
BOB RINGWALD, the GPJB boasted some of the world's finest musicians who
blended their talents to create a polished, powerful and expressive jazz
sound. Trumpet man ZEKE ZARCHY was one of the most recorded jazz artists of
all time, while trombonist BOB HAVENS is widely regarded as the greatest
living classic jazz performer on that instrument.
The group's repertoire
was drawn from all styles of traditional jazz. The band's library of
arrangements included the music of LOUIS ARMSTRONG, BIX BEIDERBECKE, BOB
CROSBY's BOBCATS, RED NICHOLS and DUKE ELLINGTON, among many others. The
band also played brand new original compositions by reed-man DON NELSON.
The GPJB was featured
at the SACRAMENTO JAZZ JUBILEE for 14 consecutive years, and at the LOS
ANGELES CLASSIC JAZZ FESTIVAL almost every year since the festival's
inception in 1984. The band headlined at many other major jazz festivals
including those in Reno NV, Friday Harbor and Ocean Shores WA, Fresno, Palm
Springs, Pismo Beach, Costa Mesa, Three Rivers and San Diego CA.
In addition, the GREAT
PACIFIC JAZZ BAND enjoyed long and successful engagements at Los Angeles'
premiere Dixieland jazz night-spots, including Stevie G's in Studio City,
Tracton's Restaurant in Encino, 2 years at the Money Tree in Toluca Lake, 2
years at the Beef n' Barrel Company Restaurant in Los Angeles, 2 years at My
Brothers' Place in Northridge and their final engagement at LGT Vegas in
Mission Hills, CA.
In 1988 the GREAT PACIFIC
JAZZ BAND recorded "The Music Of Louis Armstrong." It was one of the very
first recordings by a contemporary classic jazz band to be issued on compact
disc as well as on conventional stereo LP records and cassettes. The CD has
recently been re-released on the Mountain Gold Recordings Label, MGR-004.
LPs and cassettes are also available. The album can be purchased
In 1979, shortly after
Ringwald's relocation to the Los Angeles area, he was invited by trumpeter
PETE DAILY to attend the twice-weekly jam sessions at Disney Studios in
Burbank. There he became acquainted with some of the areas finest
traditional jazz musicians. He formed the GREAT PACIFIC JAZZ BAND which
quickly became one of the West Coast's leading Classic Jazz bands. RINGWALD
led the GPJB until he disbanded it in 1995 to move back to the Sacramento
One of the greatest
lead trumpet players ever to emerge in the swing era, Zeke led the front
line of the GREAT PACIFIC JAZZ BAND with authority and taste. At one time or
another, Zeke's brilliant trumpet sound has sparked almost every major Swing
orchestra since BENNY GOODMAN.
Louis Armstrong and Zeke
He joined the JOE
HAYMES ORCHESTRA in 1934, then went with GOODMAN in '36 and ARTIE SHAW in
'37. From 1937 to 1942, he worked and recorded with the big bands of RED
NORVO, BOB CROSBY, MILDRED BAILEY, FRANK SINATRA, HELEN WARD, JUDY GARLAND,
TOMMY DORSEY and ELLA FITZGERALD.
Zeke's trumpet can be
heard on such classic original recordings as BENNY GOODMAN'S "BUGLE
CALL RAG," GLENN MILLER'S "MOONLIGHT COCKTAILS," and BOB
CROSBY'S much-imitated "SOUTH RAMPART STREET PARADE," to name a
When WW-II broke out
he was the first man chosen by GLENN MILLER for what was to become his
famous ARMY AIR FORCE BAND -- (Army designation 418th Army Band) -- in which
he played lead trumpet and was Master (First) Sergeant from 1942 to
After the war Zeke was
brought to Los Angeles by FRANK SINATRA. He settled there and became a much
sought after studio musician, backing up hundreds of vocalists from LOUIS
ARMSTRONG to TONY BENNETT to DINAH SHORE to THE MILLS BROTHERS. He played
for the greatest Hollywood soundtracks including "WEST SIDE
STORY", "DR. ZHIVAGO" and the 1953 Universal feature film
"THE GLENN MILLER STORY". He has been a member of the NBC Staff
Orchestra in both Los Angeles and New York, including 9 consecutive years in
His travels have
included many tours to Europe, South America, and Australia along with
thirty-two trips to Japan. Zeke passed away on April 12, 2009 at the age of
93 years & 10 months. To see Zeke talking about his fabulous career, go
BOB HAVENS is
unanimously acclaimed as one of the world's greatest Dixieland jazz
trombonists - The leading exponent of the JACK TEAGARDEN style. His powerful
delivery and smooth phrasing have made him much in demand at jazz festivals
and concerts throughout the world.
Bob was born to a
musical family in 1930 in Quincy, Illinois. He began studying violin and
trombone at age 7 and played both instruments throughout his school years.
He landed his first professional job with a local dance band at age 12. By
the age of 16, his talent as a trombonist was recognized with a scholarship
from the Interlochen Music Camp in Michigan and Bob held the first trombone
chair in the school's 250 piece concert band. He later held the first
trombone chair in the Quincy Symphony while also playing in many popular
dance groups in Illinois.
He left Quincy in 1955
to tour with the RALPH FLANAGAN ORCHESTRA. In 1956, he joined GEORGE
GIRARD's Dixieland Band at the FAMOUS DOOR in New Orleans. There, he met his
idol, JACK TEAGARDEN.
In 1957, Bob joined AL
HIRT at Dan's Pier 600 on Bourbon Street when HIRT formed his very first
band. The front line consisted of HIRT, HAVENS and PETE FOUNTAIN. This band
recorded four memorable albums, all but one are still in print.
Bob stayed with this
group until 1960 when he was persuaded to move to the West Coast and join
the LAWRENCE WELK ORCHESTRA as a featured soloist on their weekly TV series.
His brilliant tenure with this show lasted 22 years.
Bob has recorded
several albums as leader and scores as a sideman with the world's top jazz
groups. He continues to record and appear at jazz festivals and concerts
throughout the world.
- DON NELSON soprano
Don was a professional
musician while still in high-school and played tenor sax in brother OZZIE
NELSON's band at age 16. He began to specialize in classic jazz at age 22,
frequently sitting in with PETE DAILY's CHICAGOANS during their residency at
Los Angeles' Hangover Club. Later Don played in the U.S. Navy Band and in
numerous radio orchestras.
Don has recorded in
various contexts including a fine jazz vocal album entitled "THE
WIND" (Mode Records LP-116) on which he is backed up by JIMMY ROWLES on
piano and LEROY VINNEGAR on bass. His 1986 solo album is entitled "SITTIN'
IN" (Too Cool TC-1085) and features pianist JOHNNY VARRO.
Many of Don's
compositions have been recorded by top jazz and pop artists and some were
among the most requested numbers in the GREAT PACIFIC JAZZ BAND's
For many years Don
maintained a career as a screenwriter and film producer. He wrote scripts
for the "Ozzie And Harriet Show" on radio and television for 16
years. He co-wrote several TV series for Fox Studios ("The Ghost And
Mrs. Muir," "Nannie And The Professor"), co-wrote and
produced 4 feature films for Disney Studios including "Gus" and
"Herbie And The Love Bug," as well as several television and
feature films for Universal Studios.
The musical Nelson
family boasts some other famous names besides Don, like brother OZZIE and
Born Jan 20, 1927 in Hackensack NJ died September 10, 2013 in Studio City,
CA at the age of 86.
- JIM TURNER
JIM TURNER joined the
GREAT PACIFIC JAZZ BAND in 1982 as pianist and arranger.
He first became
interested in traditional jazz and stride piano while earning a degree in
music composition from the University of California at Santa Barbara. He
later studied jazz piano and arranging with jazz greats JOHNNY GUARNIERI and
Turner has been
featured at jazz festivals throughout the United States including four
appearances at the SCOTT JOPLIN RAGTIME FESTIVAL in Sedalia, Missouri. For
25 years, he was a featured soloist at the OLD TOWN MUSIC HALL RAGTIME
FESTIVALS in Los Angeles.
Jim has recorded three
solo albums, a tribute to JAMES P. JOHNSON entitled "OLD FASHIONED
LOVE" (Euphonic Sounds ESR-1222), "POET AND PEASANT"
(Sacramento Jazz Records SJS-32) and his latest "THE DAZZLER" (Klavier
Records 77016). On the latter CD, he is joined by jazz pianist DICK HYMAN in
a duet performance.
Turner is has been a
free-lance recording producer for numerous jazz and classical record labels.
His producing credits include OSCAR PETERSON, TEDDY WILSON, STEVE ALLEN,
FLOYD CRAMER and DICK CARY's TUESDAY NIGHT FRIENDS. Link http://home.pacbell.net/jnt2/dickcary/
In 2003, Jim joined the Jim Cullum Jazz band in San Antonio, Texas. He may
be heard frequently on their weekly radio show, "Riverwalk, Live From The
- JACK WADSWORTH bass
JACK WADSWORTH is now
retired from Disney Studios where for many years he was the head of the
music editing department. While there, he had long been a part of the noon
jam session tradition instituted by THE FIREHOUSE FIVE + TWO. He is equally
proficient on banjo, guitar, piano, string bass and all of the saxes. He
also wrote many of the arrangements for the GREAT PACIFIC JAZZ BAND.
Through the years Jack
worked with many traditional jazz bands in the Southern California area,
including a stint with PETE DAILY's CHICAGOANS. His astounding soloing
technique on the bass sax made him an audience favorite, especially on his
show-stoppers, "SAXOPHOBIA" and "THE WILD CAT
Jack has a seemingly
endless list of credits as a music editor and music supervisor for
television and film productions beginning with the original ZORRO TV shows
from 1957 to 1959, and including 14 years with the TV series, "THE
WONDERFUL WORLD OF DISNEY".
Jack now divides his
time between Hawaii, Washington state and Los Angeles. He is currently
playing with local groups in eastern Washington state and plays Dixieland
jazz festivals from Montana to California.
RAY TEMPLIN hails from
Chicago where he played in many jazz, comedy and show bands including The
RIVERBOAT RAMBLERS of Milwaukee which also featured BOB SCHULZ on trumpet.
In 1979 he moved to Los Angeles and became a favorite at local jazz clubs
playing both piano and drums. He joined the GREAT PACIFIC JAZZ BAND, shortly
after its formation, in 1980.
Ray is featured on
both drums and piano on many recordings including "PIANO MAN" (Subrosa
1003), "Crazy 'Bout Fats" (Subrosa 1004) and the latest, an album
of original tunes (by and with) the late STEVE ALLEN.
He is a member of the
Screen Actors Guild and may be seen often in reruns of NBC's long-running TV
series "MATLOCK" with ANDY GRIFFITH. His voice can also be heard
on many "MARRIED...WITH CHILDREN" episodes.
Before retiring, Ray
appeared regularly for 26 years at Disneyland, playing piano in New
Orleans Square and alternating between piano and drums with the park's
various show bands. Ray now lives in Tucson AZ and appears often with Bob
Schulz's Frisco Jazz Band of San Francisco and is a regular member of The
Original Wildcat Jass Band of Tucson.
From the GREAT PACIFIC
JAZZ BAND's formation in 1979 to its disbanding in 1995, MOLLY RINGWALD was
its "Girl Singer."
Molly began singing
Jazz with the FULTON STREET JAZZ BAND in Sacramento, California at the age
of 3 1/2. She recorded her first LP record "I WANNA BE LOVED BY YOU,
MOLLY SINGS" at the age of six.
When the Ringwald
family moved to Los Angeles and her dad formed the GREAT PACIFIC JAZZ BAND,
Molly became the girl vocalist. While her busy movie and television career
did not always permit her to make all of the band's performances, she
appeared with them whenever possible.
Molly was a featured guest
star at the SACRAMENTO JAZZ JUBILEE in 1973, 1974, 1979, 1980 and 1993. She
is currently starring in the hit series, "The Secret Life of the American
Teenager" on the ABC Family TV Network. She can also be heard on the Fulton
Street Jazz Band's latest CD, "Bob Ringwald's Fulton Street Jazz Band with
special guest Molly Ringwald," Mountain Gold Recordings MGR-004.
- DICK CARY piano/alto
(peck) horn. (1916-1994)
RICHARD DURANT CARY
was a child prodigy, performing on violin as a soloist with the Hartford
Symphony at the age of 11. He earned a bachelor's degree in music from
Wesleyan University in 1938 and immediately began to work as a full-time
musician around New York and Connecticut.
In 1941, at age 25,
Cary landed full-time work at Nick's in Greenwich Village, and became a
fixture on the New York jazz scene. He performed with and recorded scores of
albums with the genre's top artists of the 40's and 50's including EDDIE
CONDON, BOBBY HACKETT, WILD BILL DAVIDSON, BILLY BUTTERFIELD, BUD FREEMAN,
JIMMY MCPARTLAND and MUGSY SPANIER.
In 1943, he enjoyed an
assignment as a staff arranger for BENNY GOODMAN and played with GLEN GRAY's
CASA LOMA JAZZ BAND.
Cary served 3 years in
the Army as a musician from 1944 to 1946. He was stationed at Camp Shanks
near Nyack, New York. This was not far from New York City--about an hour
hitch-hiking -- so Cary continued to perform in jazz clubs during his tour
During his Army stint,
Cary took up the alto horn, or so-called "peckhorn," a rare
instrument, especially in jazz. This instrument was to become a Cary
In 1947, he gained
worldwide recognition when he was selected by LOUIS ARMSTRONG as the first
pianist in LOUIS ARMSTRONG's ALL STARS. This jazz band has come to be
recognized as one of the greatest of all time. It included JACK TEAGARDEN,
BARNEY BIGARD, ARVELL SHAW, CID CATLETT and vocalist VELMA MIDDLETON. Many
live concert recordings of this band are currently available on CD.
In 1959, Cary moved to
California. Although he continued to work frequently with CONDON, BOB CROSBY
and PEE WEE RUSSELL, he found more time to devote to his main avocation
writing and arranging.
himself "retired" after the age of 65. However, he continued to
accept engagements as a guest star at many U.S. and foreign jazz festivals.
In 1987 he was honored by the SACRAMENTO JAZZ JUBILEE as "EMPEROR OF
JAZZ." He joined the GREAT PACIFIC JAZZ BAND in 1991 replacing pianist
JIM TURNER, playing both piano and peckhorn with the band until his passing
ROY BREWER was the
original trombonist for the GREAT PACIFIC JAZZ BAND in 1979 when BOB
RINGWALD formed the band. As with JACK WADSWORTH, DON NELSON and ZEKE ZARCHY,
RINGWALD met him at the regular noon jam sessions at Disney Studios in
Burbank. These jam sessions were a tradition from the days when the
FIREHOUSE 5 PLUS 2 used to rehearse on the lot. In 1954 while working as a
film editor and watching these rehearsals, Roy was inspired to rejuvenate
his grammar school trombone playing.
Before joining the
GPJB, Roy worked with JOE DARENSBOURG'S DIXIE FLYERS, VINCE SAUNDERS' SOUTH
FRISCO JAZZ BAND and others in the Los Angeles area, while leading his own
band, the TAILGATE RAMBLERS.
Roy left the GPJB on
June 16th of 1985, in order to devote more time to his Bible activities as a
Jehovah's Witness. He was replaced by trombonist BOB HAVENS.
- BURR MIDDLETON
BURR MIDDLETON has
maintained two successful careers as musician and actor. Before joining the
GREAT PACIFIC JAZZ BAND in 1986, Burr worked with many bands throughout the
Southern California area including stints with PETE DAILY, JACK TEAGARDEN,
MATTY MATLOCK AND ART PEPPER.
As an actor, Burr has
followed in the footsteps of his famous grandfather actor Charles Middleton,
(Ming the Merciless in the Flash Gordon serials).
Burr's radio, movie,
and stage credits are too numerous to list in their entirety here. They
include: "Matlock", "Hunter", "The Twilight
Zone", "Hill Street Blues", "Happy Days", and
Burr was featured as
the voices of Captain Marvel and Billy Batson in the television series,
"Shazam". He also narrated Oliver Stone's prestigious film,
His voice has been
heard on commercials for Toyota, Mattel Toys, Saver Filters, Beneficial
Finance, Union Chemicals, Pizza Inn's, The Carnation Company, and
Baskin-Robbins, to name a few.
In a series of
hilarious sketch comedy segments, Burr portrayed prosecutor Kenneth Starr
during multiple appearances on Jay Leno's, "Tonight Show".
Burr continues to be
active in the Los Angeles Jazz scene, leading his own modern vocal group,
GREAT PACIFIC JAZZ
BAND, Time Line
Roy Brewer (trombone)
Dick Cary (piano/alto horn) 1991-1994.
Bob Havens (trombone) 1985-1995.
Burr Middleton (drums/vocals) 1986-1992.
Don Nelson (soprano sax/vocals) 1979-1995
Ray Templin (drums/vocals) 1980-1986
Jim Turner (piano/arranger) 1982-1991
Bob Ringwald (leader/banjo/piano/vocals) 1979-1995
Molly Ringwald (vocals) 1979-1995
Jack Wadsworth (bass sax/arranger) 1979-1995.
Zeke Zarchy (trumpet) 1979-1995.
The CRITICS speak
about THE GREAT PACIFIC JAZZ BAND
"The GPJB has
attained a quality of unison that can only be achieved by diligent
rehearsals, a continuity of performances, and a deep dedication to their
music. Today, they rank as one of the world's leading purveyors of
-Floyd Levin, L.A. JAZZ
Bach could be resurrected, he would probably sit in (if he could find a
harpsichord available) with The Great Pacific Jazz Band. They could probably
teach Johann a thing or two about swing. But it is doubtful whether J.S.
could teach the GPJB anything about counterpoint."
-Harvey Siders, JAZZ
FORUM (published in Poland)
"The basic joy in
this musical form can still be conveyed when it is performed with the
authenticity brought to it by such veterans as Zeke Zarchy."
-Leonard Feather, LOS
fashioned jazz... that's what they play."
-Jack Hawn, LOS ANGELES
[GREAT PACIFIC JAZZ BAND: THE MUSIC OF LOUIS ARMSTRONG] is so excellent on
so many levels that it is hard for me to know where to begin! The
musicianship, the performance, the sound, the faithfulness to the original
inspiration, the freshness of the improvisation, the repertoire, the spirit,
the love and respect for the music, even the liner notes, all add up to a
really worthwhile and valuable album."
-Bill Spilka, THE BRASS