PLAYER BIOS
 

 

 

Tom Shove      PIANO

 

Tom’s background is wide and varied. Everything from big band to combos to playing a calliope on the back  of a pickup truck to advertise a pizza parlor he owned in the San Francisco bay area.

 

Born in southern California into a family where his mother and grandmother and just about everyone on that side of the family played piano, it was inevitable that Tom would end up playing . He has recollections of, at an early age, playing duets with "Uncle Tom."

His early jazz experiences started with weekly attendance at the Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach, a Sunday afternoon legend, jam session  with all the jazz greats of the 40s and 50s.

At first he attended just to listen but eventually was asked to "sit in" and soon became a regular.

With this as a start, Tom has spent decades in the better music circles of L.A. and the Bay Area. He just recently ended a ten year engagement at one of San Francisco’s most popular entertainment centers – the Gold Dust Lounge in downtown San Francisco.

Brad Hammett     TROMBONE  

BRAD GREW UP IN A TOTAL MUSICAL ENVIRONMENT. HIS MOTHER, A POPULAR S.F. BAY AREA BIG BAND, RADIO AND TELEVISION SINGER AND HIS FATHER PLAYING TROMBONE AND LEADING ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR BANDS IN THE SAN FRANCISCO AREA.  BRAD STUDIED AND OBTAINED A DEGREE IN ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING BUT HIS MUSICAL TALENT WON OUT AFTER A FEW YEARS AND HE TURNED TO PLAYING TROMBONE ON A FULL TIME BASIS.

AFTER A NUMBER OF PRODUCTIVE YEARS IN THE LOS ANGELES AND LAS VEGAS AREAS WITH VARIOUS SHOW BANDS AND WHILE STILL IN HIS 40s, BRAD RETIRED TO THE FOOTHILLS CLOSE TO SACRAMENTO WHERE HE HAS COMBINED HIS MUSICAL TALENTS WITH HIS ELECTRICAL DEGREE. HE NOW RUNS A SUCCESSFUL RECORDING STUDIO, "THE SOUNDWORKS" AND FOR THE PAST FIFTEEN YEARS HAS BEEN THE TROMBONE PLAYER WITH THE MARDI GRAS BAND.

Take a look at his website

http://www.soundwks.com/

Charlie Robinson    GUITAR    

Born in Missouri but raised in California, Charlie picked up a guitar at about six years old and at the age of 12 was playing in a band. Since that beginning of his professional career, he's played just about every venue that a guitarist can play (shows, bands, festivals, solo, duos, trios, big bands, recitals, concerts). He has backed numerous popular acts over the years and has done extensive studio work including cutting several albums of his own.

Charlie has taught for the last 30 years and his methods of teaching music theory and fretboard theory have influenced not only guitar players but also players of other instruments. His teaching experience includes private lessons, high school, college and clinics.

Liking all kinds of music, Charlie grew up playing the old standards, blues, and the big bands. Then he moved into western swing and country, rock and roll, jazz, and Latin. After he began teaching he developed a strong interest in classical and flamenco music. Currently Charlie is still pursuing jazz, flamenco and classical.

Charlie is now playing and recording with Dick Johnson's Mardi Gras Band with Claudette Stone, cutting more of his own albums at The SoundWorks Studio and Casaro Records Studio and teaching privately in northern California at Herreid Music and Charvel Music.

 

GEORGE BALLANTYNE          DRUMS

 George Ballantyne grew up in Northern California in a home surrounded by music. His mother taught piano and his father was a well known singer and professional drummer.  Music was a part of his daily life. His own musical career began when, in High School, his parents bought him a trumpet. This brought him into  the world of making music but he soon realized that, like his dad, his real talent was in being a drummer 

Even before he had time to develop the great technique he now has, it was obvious that he had the one thing a great drummer has to be born with:  an innate sense of time. Even when not wearing a watch, George can tell you instantly whether it’s AM or PM.

 

After High School he enrolled at San Jose State College And pursued his musical career playing club dates and working with both the San Jose Symphony and the Santa Clara Philharmonic orchestras.

Finally, it was time to join the Army.

 

The Army being what it is, furthered George’s musical education by sending him to the Navel School of Music. Later, when someone noticed that he was not a sailor, probably the uniform gave him away, he was sent back to the Bay Area and the Sixth Army Band at the Presidio.

 

Since leaving the Army, George has continued life as a professional musician. Working with Big Bands, Combos, Road Shows, Television, numerous name jazz artists, and even at one point, Phyllis Diller. George claims he’s only as good as his last gig and his fondest memories are of seven years working with a little known band that went by the name of “String of Pearls”  George has been there and done it all. And done it well.