Jeff has performed with many of the world’s top artists. The audio tracks on this page feature Jeff Lisk on drums and/or percussion!
Betty Everett - Singer (1939 - 2001)
Betty Everett recorded for the Vee-jay and United Artists labels from the early 60s to the late 70s and had a major hit with “You’re No Good” (1964), rerecorded by Linda Ronstadt in the 70s, who repopularized the tune into a classic standard. Betty Everett’s other major hit, “The Schoop Schoop Song (It’s In His Kiss),” was rerecorded in the 80s by Cher for a major motion picture. Betty’s musical background began in the church singing gospel, gradually becoming one of the queens of pop soul, up in the ranks of Diana Ross, but never quite achieved that level of popularity. Nonetheless she remains one of the era’s top vocalists.
Recorded at the Rush Street in Rockford, Illinois – February 10th, 1990 – during a brief comeback tour. Backed by The Bobby James Band, with Jeff on drums.
You're No Good (4:07)
I'm Your Friend (4:31)
Johnny Desmond - Singer (1919 - 1985)
Johnny Desmond was a popular big band vocalist, having recorded with the Glenn Miller Orchestra and also was a regular on The Breakfast Club radio show out of Chicago, Illinois. He was part of Glenn Miller’s Army Air Forces Orchestra from '43 to '44. Some of Johnny’s top hits include “Because of You,” “Guilty,” “Don’t You Remember Me?” and “Tangerine.” He was also a feature vocalist in 1941 with famous drummer Gene Krupa’s orchestra, and remains one of the big band era’s most beloved vocalists.
Recorded at the Sabre Room in 1982, backed up by the Jan Garber Orchestra, under the direction of Dick Wickman with Jeff on drums, during a weeklong engagement. Introduction by Dick Wickman.
Mack the Knife (3:13)
Alvaro Torres - Singer (1957 - )
Steve Hashimoto (bassist/ composer/ band leader of Mothra and other groups) was contacted to provide a backup band for international touring artist from El Salvador, singer-songwriter Alvero Torres. Everybody in the band had worked together in one capacity or another in the Chicago jobbing scene, and we also performed a lot of jazz and original music in Steve’s band, Mothra, and various projects with John Roothaan – featuring the late Ron Cooper on vocals, at times. The rehearsals were interesting due to the language barrier between Alvaro and the band, but once again the language of music somewhat prevailed. The gig itself was a five-band bill at the AragonBallroom in Chicago, featuring a variety of Latino bands from places like Guatemala, Mexico, El Salvador, etc. At the time, many Aragon shows were being promoted by Latino owners, and they were doing a lot of Hispanic concerts and dances during the late seventies until 1991. This was one of those shows.
When we hit the stage, I think we were the second band, we were greeted by screaming female fans of Alvaro Torres, and the screaming continued for most of the show. It was an interesting experience playing at a historic venue such as the Aragon Ballroom. There was always a cool vibe about that place! A lot of great big bands performed there, such as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Bennie Goodman, Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich, and Louis Armstrong – featuring Barrett Deems on drums – one of my mentors and friends. Many great rock groups have performed on that stage, as well (Jimi Hendrix, Grateful Dead, The Byrds, Bob Dylan, The Doobie Brothers, etc.). Back to Alvaro, he was a pleasure to work with and the band tried to keep a relaxed atmosphere for him, as he seemed a bit nervous at the time.
All things considered, the show went very well, and Alvaro even came back to do a few club-dates the following year with the very same band. Thank you, Alvaro!!
Track 1 (4:04)
Track 2 (5:08)
Recorded at the Aragon Ballroom
Chicago Illinois, USA — 1986
Alvaro Torres – vocals
Steve Hashimoto – bass & band leader
John Roothaan – keyboards
Jeff Lisk – drums
Pat – guitar
Chicago Dixie Ramblers (1978 - 1997)
Jeff Lisk – drums/ Leader
Tim Barton – piano
Mike Delaney – clarinet
Mike Phillippe – trumpet
Jesse Stamm – trombone
Mike Steron – double bass
Dennis Roe – trumpet in absentia
The Chicago Dixie Ramblers were assembled in Chicago in 1978 by trumpeter Dennis Roe. Dennis, a native of London England, performed with many top big bands including Tommy Dorsey under Buddy Morrow, Ted Heath, Jan Garber, and also the Montovani Orchestra, where his muted horn can be heard on the hit record Charmaine.
Drummer Jeff Lisk took over leadership in 1981 and led the band till 1997. He was heavily influenced by drummer Barrett Deems – former ‘Louie Armstrong drummer’ (1952 to 1958) – and met him at the age of thirteen at the Quincy Court Concerts in downtown Chicago, becoming fast friends for years to come. The group performed at countless music festivals, fairs, & nightclubs; they were regulars at many events around Chicago, mainly the Park West Antiques Fair, where they appeared fourteen years in a row! The band performs what they consider to be a Chicago-style Dixieland, a more swinging style of Dixie.
The band always featured top notch players, such as trombonist Jesse Stamm, and clarinetist Mike Delaney, who also contributed to the leadership of the band and arrangements of the songs. The band will be remembered for their showmanship, brilliant clarinet solos and explosive drumming. The group had a fantastic run!!
Sweet Georgia Brown (4:07)
Back Home In Indiana (3:00)
Left - Fello' drummers Barrett Deems and Jeff Lisk - Chicago - 1977
Right - Barrett Deems and Jeff Lisk Twenty Years Later at the Madison Jazz Society - Wisconsin - 1998
The Stems (1991 - 1995)
Jeff Bashaw – lead guitar, vocals
Doug Tangwall – rhythm guitar, vocals
Fred Matt – bass guitar
Jeff Lisk – drums, percussion
The Stems began in Madison, Wisconsin, in 1992 as an acoustic duo featuring singer/ songwriter/ guitarists Jeff Bashaw and Doug Tangwall. The two performed live and recorded together, but soon felt the need to electrify their sound – enter bassist Fred Matt and a handful of wayward drummers and they began to rehearse as a band.
Several months later, drummer/ percussionist Jeff Lisk moved to the Madison area from Chicago. He began answering the musicians’ classifieds and eventually hooked up with Jeff Bashaw who persuaded him to join. Lisk came over to rehearse and realized that even in its raw form, something was happening – the band was playing virtually all original music and the songs had something to say. So the group pushed onward and eventually hit the Madison college club scene to develop their sound.
The diversity of the band members works well together, both musically and personally. In addition to his prolific songwriting, Jeff Bashaw brings a strong rock guitar style with just a bit of a blues mentality. Doug Tangwall’s folkrock influenced acoustic rhythm adds a counterpoint to the electric sound that is reminiscent of the late sixties. Jeff Lisk is an extremely versatile drummer who blends rock, R&B, funk, blues, jazz and Latin influences to provide the right rhythm, energy and intent for each song, and Fred Matt’s melodic blues approach to the bass perfectly melds the other elements of the band together.
There are thousands of bands in the world, and with all the dog-eag-dog competition, the Stems are just glad to turn you on to their sound.
Nowhere To Roam (2:13)
Needles and Pins (4:00)
Now She's Your Wife (3:17)
The Stems at the Anchor Inn
Doug Tangwall, Fred Matt, & Jeff Bashaw
(from left to right)
Photo by the drummer, jeff Lisk
Madison, Wisconsin - 1994
Bill McFarland Sextet (1992) featuring The Chicago Horns
Bill McFarland – trombone
Hank Ford – tenor saxophone
Kenny Anderson – trumpet & flugelhorn
Sam Soda – piano
Mike Steron – acoustic bass
Jeff Lisk – drums
Larry Talks 1 (0:59)
Hank's Pranks (3:27)
Larry Talks 2 (0:25)
Larry Talks 3 (0:25)
Larry Talks 4 (0:20)
Harold the Great (14:25)
Maddrum Sonando (1993 - 1995)
The piano weaves and darts throughout the percussive tapestry of colorful timbale cracks and moving conga grooves, while the deep pulsing bass and pulsing sound of cowbells & shakers ride the rhythmic current. It sounds like a recipe for a hot Latin Caribbean band, such as Maddrum Soñando, assembled in August 1993 by a consortium of musicians – led by drummer/ percussionist Jeff Lisk – very much in touch with the Latin beat. They have performed at countless events and festivals, doing their part to help perpetuate the awareness of Latin/ Caribbean music. Maddrum Soñando’s appearances at festivals and other live music venues have excited many Latin music fans and initiated many new fans to this rich, diverse and important music & culture.
The two cuts featured are from the band’s sole release, Expresiones Caribeñas, which has garnered some comments on CD Baby.
Larry Talk Larry (1:11)
Groovy Samba (cha-cha-cha) (7:01)
Jeff Lisk – timbales
Johnny Ricco – congas
Martin Shadd – bongos, guiro, maracas
Joe Schlesinger – keyboard
Ken Fitzsimmons – bass
Brazilian Beat (5:14)
Jeff Lisk – drumset
Alejo Poveda – congas, timbales, shakers
Doug White – keyboards
Wes Gould – bass
Drum Circle and Percussion Demonstration (Summer 2002)
Jeff Lisk – cowbells, timbales, djembe
Johnny Ricco – congas
Joe Pollock – bombo & percussion
and a host of many other fine percussionists
you know who you are!
Drum Circle and Percussion Demonstration at the Midwest Renewable Energy Fair
hosted by Jeff Lisk
Amherst, Wisconsin — Summer 2002
Jeff relates the following...
This event was a favorite of mine and my ex-wife Louanne who took me to my first fair in 1998. They promote green living and renewable energy sources. Since I had moved to the area I decided to get involved in 2001, thus the first Drum Circle at the Fair. Featured in the drum circle and conguera, Johnny Ricco, who performed with me for years in Maddrum Soñando, the Latin-Caribbean I led. Also featured are good friend from Amherst, Joe Pollock, on percussion and drums, whom I met when I moved there in 2001.
We had many good times jamming at his trailer and talking drums. Joe is a fine percussionist who guested with Maddrum Soñando at some of our many appearances at the Great Dane Pub, in Madison, Wisconsin. He also hosted a great world beat program on the University of Steven’s Point radio station (which actually had a good radius for a college radio station – about 110 miles).
Special thanks to the folks who organize and attend the annual Midwest Renewable Energy Fair, and to Joe Pollock and Becky, for having me as a guest at the trailer in Amherst. Good Times! And to Johnny Ricco for good energy and inspiration.
Live Drum Circle - Track 1 (9:19)
Live Drum Circle - Track 2 (4:29)
TJoe Pollack and Jeff Lisk jamming at the trailer
Amherst - 2001
Jeff behind Joe’s vintage ’70s Ludwig kit
Sam Lay (1999)
Mr. Blues and I had many good times doing this show. We always aired a broad cross section of blues and even blues-inspired concert pieces by the likes of the Don Ellis Orchestra (“Blues in Elf”) to B.B. King with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Jazz Crusaders – a remarkable combination. One of the highlights was the Sam Lay Interview (drummer/ vocalist for such bands as Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Bob Dylan, Howlin’ Wolf, Jimmy Reed). I had the privilege of doing a number of shows with Sam and West Side Heat backing him up. We would open the show and then Sam would take over the drumkit and sing. I remember playing his drumkit and cymbals, which were the same ones he had played with so many of the greats. It was very inspirational!
Sam’s always been one of my favorites and I thank him for agreeing to do the interview. Sam was and is a driving and influential force in blues music history, and should not be overlooked. Check out some of the Sam Lay recordings that are available. Happy listening, says Jeff Lisk.
Homesick James Williamson with
Jeff Lisk – drums
Steve Arvey – guitar
John Baker – bass
Mark Hoekstra – harmonica, in absentia
B.L.U.E.S. on Halsted
Chicago - 1986
Drummers Jeff Lisk & Sam Lay at a blues benefit performance
Wausau, Wisconson - 2002
West Side Heat
Steve Arvey – guitar and Intro
John Baker – bass
Mark Hoekstra – harmonica
Jeff Lisk – drums
West Side Heat, led by guitarist Steve Arvey, were a backup band for Homesick James Williamson (1910 – 2006) on several occasions. This particular occasion took place at the University of Wisconson, Madison. Homesick & the band all drove up together in Steve’s van and listened to Homesick tell stories and hilariously criticize other bluesmen mostly in fun. We arrived in Madison early, and went to a house where various students from the university had prepared a reception and a spaghetti dinner. The house was filled with young blues enthusiasts and that set the tone for a great gig and memorable weekend.
Homesick James Williamson was born in Somerville, Tennessee, April 30th, 1910. He has performed with such artists as Yank Rachelle, Sleepy John Estes, Blind Boy Fuller, and his younger cousin Elmore James from 1955 to 1963. In the early 1930s he formed the Dusters, that included Snooky Pryor. He first recorded for RCA Victor in 1937. Some of his classic songs include “Dust My Broom,” “Lonesome Old Train,” and “Gotta Move” also recorded by Elmore James and Fleetwood Mac.
West Side Heat was on the road in the southern U.S. in 1988 and were passing through Atlanta, Georgia, where Homesick James was living at the time. We stopped in at the club he was playing at, sat in and performed a smokin’ set. We then went back to Homesick’s apartment to hang back and relax. Homesick was playing some records for us. He played some jazz and blues when all of a sudden we hear the beginning of “Jive Talkin’” by the Bee Gees. Homesick shouted, “I like this!!!” and grooved on it. It cracked us up, we weren’t expecting that …!
Tawl Paul Frederick was born in Chicago and resides just a stone’s throw from St. Louis in the southern Illinois town of Carbondale. Since the early 1980s, Paul has graced the southern Illinois and Missouri music scene, performing with a variety of bands including Slappin’ Henry Blue. He has been a recipient of various music awards and has a handful of CD releases to his name, two of which are Watchin’ That Train and Tawl Tales – both released on the Pachanga record label. Paul knows how to deliver a song to an audience with conviction and integrity.
He really believes what he is singing. His stage presence and deep husky vocals make him the most unique and prominent voice in the area. Tawl Paul is a good hearted, modest man, who tends to shy away from his legend status; others know better. Okay, back in 1985 I was back on the road with Chicago Daily Blues Band, with Glen Davis. Our stops included Carbondale where I first met and heard Tawl Paul. He stopped in the club we were playing and sat in with us; I believe the club was PK’s. I was struck by the incredible presence, and vocal conviction he displayed. Ever since that time I thought about producing a record with him, and finally in 2001 harmonica player Mr. Blues and I hit the road down south, & proceeded to produce the first Tawl Paul-Pachanga release, Watchin’ That Train.
Both CDs were recorded in Murphysboro, Illinois, at Misunderstudio in the capable hands of engineer Mike Lescelius. Tawl Paul remains one of my favorite vocalists and is currently performing at various clubs and festivals in the southern region of the United States. I hope someday to record with him again, something from another angle possibly. Thank you, Tawl Paul for participating in these recordings. Jeff
Highway 49 (2:23)
Walkin' Blues (4:11)
Jeff Lisk – drums
Greg Balk – bass
Nate Silkwood – guitar “Walkin’ Blues”
Cliff Fredericksen – guitar “Highway 49”
Mr. Blues – harmonica
Tawl Paul – vocals
Sixteen Tons (4:24)
Jeff Lisk – drums
Bruce Camden – guitar
John Michaels – guitar
Chris DiBiasi – bass
Tawl Paul – vocals
Tawl Paul and Jeff Lisk outside Paul’s home
Carbondale, Illinois — 2002
Texas Johnny Brown
Graham Guest – organ and piano
Chris Brzezicki – bass
Dave Babcock – tenor & baritone sax
Don Berner – tenor sax
Jeff Lisk – drums
featuring Texas Johnny Brown – guitar & vocals
This gifted guitarist/ singer/ songwriter was a mainstay of the rhythm & blues scene in the southern United States during the 1950s and '60s. He was bandleader for both Junior Parker and Bobby Blue Bland and consequently wrote one of Bobby’s top hits, “Two Steps from the Blues,” which is included on Brown’s recent CD. Since the early 1990s he has made a steady comeback, releasing two albums and doing some minor touring. The tunes featured here are from his first major Canadian appearance in decades.
Brown was born in Ackerman, Mississippi, despite his Texas moniker. He lived in New Orleans and Los Angeles before settling in Houston, Texas, thirty years ago. Very early in his career, around 1949, Brown was in his early twenties playing for Amos Milburn’s band and recording his own tune, “There Go the Blues.” Texas Johnny’s style is rooted in blues and R&B but he has a very melodic style that also borrows from jazz influences. He has been nominated for a W.C. Handy Award and has recorded two fine disks, Nothin’ But the Truth(1999) and Blues Defender (2001).
Johnny is currently recording and touring in the southern United States. The traks above were recorded at the Yardbird Suite, June 4th, 2004, backed by the Graham Guest Band with Jeff Lisk on drums. Portions of the same show were featured on Holger Petersen’s“Saturday Night Blues” on CBC radio.
In the Dark (5:44)
Headin' South (6:19)
Jeff Lisk & Texas Johnny Brown, at the Yardbird Suite
Edmonton - June 2004
Jimmy Burns was born on the Hilliard cotton plantation on Feb 24th, 1943, near the Delta town of Dublin, Mississippi. His older brother, Eddie Burns, would later become legendary in his own right as a Detroit bluesman and as an early cohort of John Lee Hooker. Jimmy’s early influences include his father and an obscure guitarist, Son ‘Slick’ Black. Jimmy moved to Chicago in 1955 and performed in a variety of musical situations including gospel and doo-wap, and in the early 60s ventured into R&B and soul. Jimmy had a few singles as a soul singer. One of his songs “I Really Love You” is an obscure classic, ranked 189thin the Northern Soul Top 500 book.
He eventually got back into blues full time in 1978, performing at many festivals and the hardcore Chicago blues nightclub scene, as well as occasional trips to Europe and most recently to Canada. Back in the 1980s, Jimmy fronted several groups, including those led by guitarist Glen Davis and dummer Jeff Lisk, under the Chicago Daily Blues Band. The ‘Chicago Daily Blues’ name was first used by Glen Davis, and was graciously granted Jeff for use by Glen after he changed to ‘Glen Davis and Straightshooter.’ In the early to mid 90s Jimmy ran his own barbecue restaurant called Smokedaddy Barbecue on the north side of Chicago. He performed with his own bank regularly at the restaurant, and this is where he garnered the attention of Delmark Records’ owner, Bob Koester, which resulted in several releases on the Delmark label.
It’s been nearly 50 years since Jimmy Burns moved to the windy City of Chicago and is still performing regularly to this day.
Jeff Lisk relates, Back in the mid nineteen-eighties, I ran a group called the Chicago Daily Blues that provided backup to many fine blues artists, one of my favorites was Jimmy Burns. I felt that Jimmy was one of these musicians whose vocals complimented their guitar playing, and vice versa. When Jimmy sings the blues he sings in the manner of a soul singer, with a sleek-sounding voice, but with an edge. Hard to explain you just have to hear it. Jimmy was a pleasure to work with and a very professional performer. I was very pleased when he recently visited Edmonton, Alberta, in 2005 to perform at the Commercial Hotel, Blues on Whyte. I quickly organized a recording session at the Electric Chair – featuring some of Edmonton’s finest blues players, and invited Jimmy Burns to participate. The results can be heard on “The Smell of Trouble.” The other trak, “I’ll Play the Blues For You,” was from my other recording session with Jimmy, recorded in Chicago, 1984, backed by the Chicago Daily Blues.
I’m glad we got a chance to do another recording together!
I’ll Play the Blues for You (4:07)
Jimmy Burns – guitar & vocal
Jeff Lisk – drums
Fred Zimmerman – organ
Steve Tchaikowsky – bass
The Smell of Trouble (8:45)
Jimmy Burns – guitar & vocal
Jeff Lisk – drums
Graham Guest – piano
Barry Campbell – guitar
Humbert Medeiros – bass
mixed by nDog
recorded @ the Lectric Chair
Jimmy Burns live
in the early ’80s
Jeff Lisk & Jimmy Burns at the Commercial Hotel
Edmonton - 2005
Mitch Dunning and Jeff Lisk
Drummers Mitch Dunning and Jeff Lisk perform regularly with Soul Beat Revival, one of Edmonton's foremost reggae/ Afrobreat groups. As an additional project to Soul Beat Revival, Mitch & Jeff decided to record some solo and duo drum-pieces for an upcoming CD release, Percussive Dialogs. Presented here are mere portions of various drum improvisations and semi-compositions. Some of the instruments incorporated include djembe, timbales, various shakers, berimbau, congas, bongo box, cajon, trapset, chimes, darabuku, rainstick, ocean drum, surdo, claves, slit drum, and more.
Drummer/ percussionist Mitch Dunning hails from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. He is part of the new breed of outstanding young musicians coming out of western Canada. Drumming from the age of fourteen, he is mostly self-taught, but has recently been studying a bit with Jeff Lisk. Together they are the percussion section for Soul Beat Revival, Edmonton's own reggae/ Afrobeat group. They are both sharing duties between percussion and drumset. Mitch’s influences include John Bonham, Mitch Mitchell, Chris Layton, Buddy Rich, Tito Puente, Bob Marley and the Wailers with drummer Carlton Barrett, and percussionist Alvin ‘Seeco’ Patterson. Mitch has a passion for the drumming and music of the 60s and 70s, an era he very much appreciates, mostly because music performance contained a lot more integrity in live and recorded situations than what we are currently experiencing.
Mitch has recently expanded into Afro-caribbean percussion and rhythms. He is incorporating timbales and congas into his drumkit as Jeff suggested. Besides Soul Beat Revival Mitch is also performing with his brother, fantastic guitarist/ vocalist Jordan Dunning. They are recording their debut CD release, Yesterday’s News, at Barry Allen’sHomestead Recorders in Edmonton. The release date is December 21st, 2007. For an update and a look into this outstanding band, check outMyspace.com/theJordonDunningband. Mitch is currently performing on a five-piece Pearl drumkit, LP timbales, Sabian cymbals, and grooves with a comfortable pair of Los Cabos 3A’s – woodtipped. Mitch is a drummer to keep an eye on!!
Zed Dialog'z - The Drum Duo
5 tracks play (26:14)
Seg 1 (7:45) maracas, congas, timbales – Jeff Lisk | drumset – Mitch Dunning
Seg 2 (3:59) drumset - Jeff Lisk
Seg 3 (2:37) timbales, cowbells – Jeff Lisk | drumset – Mitch Dunning
Seg 4 (4:45) timbales – Jeff Lisk | drumset – Mitch Dunning
Seg 5 (7:05) timbales, cowbells – Jeff Lisk | drumset – Mitch Dunning
A fun and rhythmically entertaining evening by two percussive drummers, embarked on trapset and assorted percussion — recorded at the Electric Chair with kevL’s & these two fine, musically creative artists.
Ian McArthur and Mac Alley Studios - They're just simply wonderful
I met Ian McArthur in early 2004, through Trace Jordan, a fine guitarist, vocalist, and bassist. Ian needed a session drummer for various projects including his own original project, songs of which are featured here. Since that time I have been the studio-house drummer performing on numerous projects, in many genres such as blues, jazz, afro-beat, reggae, Latin, rock, soundtraks, etc. Ian is a fine musician exhibiting skills as a songwriter, arranger, guitarist, and producer, as well as studio engineer. Ian has also started his own independent record label, Dig It All, with three current releases to date and more forthcoming.
The studio, located in the heart of Edmonton’s Chinatown, has five acoustically designed rooms offering excellent sight-lines and great isolation for ‘live off the floor’ recording, if you desire. The studio ensures great recordings by offering forty-eight traks of Radar and unlimited traks of digital mixing capabilities, mixed down to stereo or surround sound. Also offered is high-tech software solutions includingPro Tools, Nuendo, Final Cut Pro, Cubase, and Logic. Various inhouse instruments include a beautiful cherry red Ayotte 6-piece drumkit, a set of three conga drums, an organ, and ‘plug & play’ bass and guitar amps. Other equipment available on request.
Tribute to Stevie Ray (2:13)
Ian McArthur – guitars
Jeff Lisk – trapset
Rich Stenson – bass
Say You Don't (3:08)
Trace Jordan – vocals
Ian McArthur – guitars & keyboards
Jeff Lisk – trapset, congas, timbales, guiro, maracas
Rich Stenson – bass
Latin Dancer (3:53)
Ian McArthur – guitar
Jeff Lisk – drums, congas, timbales, maracas, bongos
Rich Stenson – bass
Myron Floren (1919 - 2005)
Accordionist Myron Floren in performance at the Sabre Room in Hickory Hills, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, during a weeklong engagement backed up by the Tony Barron Orchestra, with Jeff Lisk on drums. Myron was an integral member on the Lawrence Welk Show for 32 years, starting in 1950. He is heralded as one of the world’s greatest accordionists, comfortable in many styles of music. Virtuoso is a word reserved for musicians in Myron’s class. Thank you …
Tico Tico (2:16) - Recorded by Jeff's mother, Catherine Lisk
The new Jan Garber Orchestra under Dick Wickman presents the music of America's Golden Age of ballroom dancing at its greatest. These are contemporary performances of the authentic, immortal Garber favorites -- the Garber tempos, style, orchestration and melodies superbly recorded utilizing the advanced technological equipment available today.
In the heyday of network radio and clear channel 50,000-watt broadcasting, America came to love Jan Garber for his broadcasts from the famed Trianon Ballroom in Chicago and from Catalina Island off the California coast. Garter's unique style catapulted his orchestra into the ranks of the most sought after ballroom bands. Garber died at 82 in 1977, just a few weeks before the death of another ballroom orchestra immortal. Guy Lombardo.
Dick Wickman brings fresh enthusiasm and uncompromising understanding to the Garber sound with the new Jan Gather Orchestra, along with new melodies and great vocalists. A native Midwesterner with a background in high-rated television musical programs. Wickman vas chosen by Mr. Garber's widow, Dorothy. and daughter, Janis, to carry on the Garber tradition. The orchestra uses the extensive Garber library of arrangements rendered anew by outstanding musicians of the Eighties, faithfully re creating the exact tempos and sounds of the exuberantly appealing, forever danceable Garber melodies, and adding new selections presented perfectly with the smooth Garber sound.
The new Jan Garber Orchestra at once became a smash success, delighting dancers across the nation in leading ballrooms, and featured in top resorts of America's sunbelt from California to Florida including the famed Cloister on Sea Island off the Georgia coast. The Cloister, named by Harper's Bazaar one of the world's 10 greatest resort hotels, chose the new Garber Orchestra to headline its popular winter Dancetime holidays.
The outstanding Garber instrumentation normally includes 14 musicians, all picked for superlative musicianship —four reeds (four saxophones, two altos, tenor and baritone, all doubling on clarinet), three trumpets. two trombones, piano, drums, bass, vocalist and Mr. Wickman on accordion. The rich baritone voice of Ron Miller adds a contemporary touch. Also featuring 19 year old Jeff 'JJ' Lisk on drums - 1981-1983.
Wickman's Garber music is perfect for listening and dancing, the tempos changing, melodies appealing, each song smoothly bright and alive. Enjoy yourself!
One O'Clock Jump (2:09)
You Made Me Love You (2:48)
Barrett Deems/Jazz Drummer - A Story
Directly across the street from the Sherman Hotel in Chicago's Loop, immediately after World War II, stood Randolph Square, billing itself as "The World's Busiest Nite Life Corner." Directly underneath the sign were the words, "Barrett Deems-World's Fastest Drummer."
Deems was born in Springfield, Illinois in 1913. His first professional job was with famed jazz violinist Joe Venuti, who discovered Deems in Springfield and offered him the job with his band. "I joined him in New York in 1937 and stayed until 1945," says Deems. "Kay Starr was on the band-great singer."
A versatile player firmly rooted in the traditional Chicago style of drumming, Deems achieved national acclaim through his performances with the Louis Armstrong All Stars between 1953 and '61. He recorded and toured with Jack Teagarden and Mugsy Spanier, worked the Chicago area with Bill Reinhardt between 1966 and '70, and performed with Joe Kelly's Gaslight Band. Deems also recorded with Art Hodes and made periodic appearances with The World's Greatest Jazz Band. For years he traveled the globe, appearing at many of the world's major all-star jazz festivals. In 1976, Deems toured Europe with Benny Goodman and continues to appear in Europe nearly every year. Early in '86 he spent six weeks touring Europe for the filming of a two-hour video called The Wonderful World Of Louis Armstrong. And during 1986 he appeared with Eddie Miller, Milt Hinton, Art Hodes, and Jimmy McPartland at the Newport Jazz Festival in New York.
Throughout a career that has spanned over five decades, Barrett Deems has been acknowledged as a superb player with a clean, effortless swing and outstanding technical ability in the tradition of Chick Webb, Gene Krupa, and Buddy Rich. Excellent examples of his work with Louis Armstrong can be heard on the Columbia Contemporary Masters Collection, Louis Armstrong: Chicago Concert (Col CZ 36426). *
Barrett Deems was a friend and mentor to drummer Jeff Lisk. They met when he was 13 years old at an outdoor concert in downtown Chicago, “Quincy Court Free Summer Jazz Concerts”.
A Couple of Fun Stories
Barrett having been with Slingerland for many years signed up again with Ludwig drums in 1976. Jeff was on hand at a concert and at Barrett’s request had Jeff tune up his new Ludwig snare drum with Bill Ludwig standing over him. Barrett was pleased with the tuning and took it on stage, with Mr. Ludwig smiling as he was happy to have Barrett back in the Ludwig family once again and that the kid had tuned the drum correctly.
Jeff relates the story:” I was hanging out with Barrett one day and I mentioned I was going to see Buddy Rich the following night. Barrett reached into his wallet and pulled out a business card that said ‘Barrett Deems, The World’s Fastest Drummer’ and said give this card to Buddy Rich when you see him. The following night I met Buddy after the show for his informal after show ‘hang and autograph time’ (for which I had already attended many). Well I gave him the card and he looked quizzical and grinned, glancing at his road manager and showed him the card. Everyone laughed for they knew it was all in good fun.
I left the card with Buddy and found out later that he showed up at one of Barrett‘s big band gigs in Chicago and flashed the card at him in good fun and joked later about me bringing the card to him. Friendship and camaraderie among drummers like Barrett and Buddy, not competition. Later in good fun to Buddy’s friendly confrontation, Barrett changed his card to read ‘World’s greatest drummer’, once again having fun. Whether Barrett was the fastest or the greatest doesn’t matter, he was an incredible player who could swing like mad. He was a very popular and historical figure in Chicago and abroad.
* Reprinted from “The Great Jazz Drummers” Copyright 1992 by Modern Drummer Publications Inc.
Joe Kelley & The Blue Shadow Band - by Jeff 'JJ' Lisk
Guitarist, vocalist, songwriter Joe Kelley began his career as a Chicago bluesman. In 1965 he joined up with Chicago band The Shadows of Knight, who scored a big hit with a cover of Van Morrison's "Gloria". After The Shadows he began performing blues exclusively. Performing with the likes of Sam Lay, Buddy Miles, Allman Brothers, Willy Dixon, Freddie King, and The Outsiders. Enjoying success as a sideman he soon formed his own group, Joe Kelley & The Blue Shadow Band, performing throughout the US and Canada. Eventually holding down a steady gig for almost a decade at the famous Kingston Mines Blues Club in Chicago. Joe eventually moved to Texas and passed away in September 2013. This excerpt is from the Silver Cloud Saloon in Grand Rapids, Michigan, October 1986. The band performed originals by Joe and many great blues standards and obscurities. This excerpt features the more hard edged blues/rock that Joe would get into occassionaly. Also on bass is a good friend Dave Kaye, who has played with a whos who of the blues, including Bo Diddley. We had many spirited times on the road with Joe and later West Side Heat. We also performed together with his brother Greg Kaye in the Kaye Brothers Band. Greg was always an excellent practitioner of rock and roll song writing and performance. I always liked Greg's upbeat spirit towards music.
Dave Kaye and Jeff Lisk with Joe Kelley, opening for Luther Allison at The Colosseum Ballroom, Davenport, Iowa.
March 26th, 1988.
Dave Kaye on the bass performing with Bo Diddley at Biddy Mulligans, Chicago, IL.
January 3rd, 1988