My earliest music memories were listening to Mom (classical and church organ) and Dad (Fake books and boogie woogie piano and organ) while falling asleep at night. I was a trumpet player in grade and high school, but I also returned to playing piano from age 13 on.
I didn't even know about Jazz until well into college when I found a teacher in the music department! My first memorable concert performance was with my college Chamber Music group playing Schubert's Trout Quintet. My first paid gig, which happened when I was in grad school, was playing ragtime piano at a fraternity poker party (no, I was not a member of that fraternity). My next paid gig was serving 2 years as accompanist for Davis High School Madrigals and Jazz Choir, 1994-96.
I consider myself a "late starter" as my first "garage band" experience was at age 40. Current music interests include piano, organ, accordion, wood flute, penny whistle, Irish Traditional, a bit of lap steel and composing... and I bring all of these influences to the music that I compose for the Sherpas... so yup, you guessed it... jack of all trades, master of none.
I started playing clarinet at age 10 and soon added Alto Saxophone. I joined the Northern California Demolay Show & Band in 1963. During my high school years, I played in Gillette & the Blades, (yes it was a real sharp band). Next, I was a session player at Harmony House Recording Studio and then performances with James House.
After a three year stint in the Navy, I joined acoustic jazz group Phylo. I worked with the UCD Health System, as an Information Technology Manager and retired in 2009. I joined the Urban Sherpas in 2007 and have enjoyed many successes playing with this band through the years. My influences include Stan Getz, Cannonball Adderley, Paul Desmond and Freddie Hubbard.
Dave began playing drums in his early teens. Growing up in the 70's/80's his influences ranged from John Bonham, Artimus Pyle and Nick Mason to Buddy Rich, Billy Cobham and Danny Gottlieb. He played in various bands in Davis and eventually joined Game Theory.
He started a studio with Dave Millington called Samurai Sound Lab, recording 3 Game theory records and engineering early recordings by Whin White Rope, 37th Day, True West and Camper Van Beethoven. A cherished memory was recording with former members of Game Theory in honor of it's late founder Scott Miller.
Starting the Urban Sherpas 10+ years ago has led to wonderful time of musical growth and expression. "I love this band!" "The guys are great and we all contribute to the sound and writing process."
I think I've always been destined to play improvisational music - be it jazz or otherwise. My maternal grandfather was a professional jazz musician for several decades in Chicago, he gave me my first clarinet at 9. At 14, I discovered ELP, and pestered my parents successively for a Moog synth, a set of drums, and finally got a Yamaha acoustic guitar for Christmas that year.
Lessons with a local jazz guitar teacher who taught me to read chord charts followed, and I got good enough to play in Jazz Band I all through high school and in jazz bands my first two years of college.
Grad school, marriage(s), career and kids followed. Playing languished except for the Four Walls Band. After escaping grad school and my native Iowa in 1987, I hopscotched all over the US in my transportation planning day job and eventually landed in Sacramento in 2007, and discovered the local jazz community here, and becoming a fixture at jams.
In 2012, I was encouraged to pick up bass and was astonished to find that it fit my musical skills much better than 30+ years of the guitar did. When I play guitar, I feel like I'm wrestling a greased pig - and losing, but on bass its a potter's wheel and things are *magical*.
I listen to everything. I have always loved rock, but I don't play it well. If we are name dropping, John McLaughlin, DiMeola, Holdsworth on guitar, on bass, Christian McBride, Jaco (of course!), Etienne Mbappe, Stanley Clarke, Paul Jackson, John Patitucci, Hadrien Feraud, other flavors of the week.
I am the newest Sherpa, joining in May 2018. This is a really fun band of extremely kind, grounded and talented human beings who are awesome people. Its fun and I really enjoy setting back and seeing where our music goes as our chemistry grows.
When I was around 8 years old, I asked my parents for a drum kit - and they bought me a $10 guitar. Thus began my musical adventure.
Early on, my musical influences came in the form of the records my parents owned: Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and the incomparable Chet Atkins. I was, at best, an average guitarist until my mom sat with me in my bedroom and spoke about the importance of practice and discipline. The gift of a Hohner electric guitar at age 11 propelled my influences in the direction of guitar gods Brian May, Jimmy Page and Steve Morse.
In sixth grade, a friend and I started a band. By the age of 15, I was playing (illegally) in clubs and bars in the San Jose area. Throughout all the time I've been playing music, my involvement in music at my local church reminded me that my ability was as much a gift as it was a well-practiced discipline.
I became an Urban Sherpa in 2005, and have grown to relish the comraderie nd musical freedom that my Sherpa brethren share with me.