Meet Brass Rewind!

 

It’s all about that brass – so let’s start with…

Trumpets

LEE WATKINS

trumpet

A veteran player in the style of classic horn bands, Lee brings a big sound in the style of east coast show bands like Dallas Pike, and Robinson Pike with Kevin Mahogany. Lee began music instruction in a most traditional fashion at age ten in public school. He sees himself as a kid who chose not to grow up, and mostly approaches music with the freshness of a student carrying his instruments waiting for the bus to arrive. (That’s the Alzheimer’s kicking in…)

In his earliest years, he began playing with local bands Blackwater Junction, Solar Eclipse and Goodtime Rebellion, that emulated the Motown sound and jazz rock groups like Chicago and Blood, Sweat and Tears. He studied at the Conservatory of Music with renowned teacher Bill Trumbauer, before taking his skills on the road to Nashville and the east coast and has been a long time principle player with the Northstar Community Band. Of late, Lee has performed with Platinum express, One Night Stand, The 51% Blues Band, JJ and the Old School Players, The Jammin’ Jan Band, Resonation, KC Galaxy, Love x 2 and Pastense.

KELVIN GUNN

trumpet

Has a B.A. degree in music education from Graceland College in Lamoni, Iowa. He plays in several local Big Bands and combos that play music from the 1920’s – 1940’s. He has been tuning pianos for a living since 1982. He is also choir/music director at his church.

Trombone

MIKE EATON

trombone

Mike is a native of Kansas City. He attended UMKC where he finished his degree work in 1976. His degrees were music performance and music education. After college he set out on the road with the Stan Kenton Orchestra and wound up living in Las Vegas for two years where he played behind all the big acts. Mike came home, settled in Independence, married his wife of now 40 years, has two daughters and four grandchildren and is now teaching special education in the Independence School District.

Saxophone

MAX LEVY

tenor saxophone

Max Levy leads his own straight-ahead jazz group and has been featured throughout the United States from the east coast to the Midwest. Max can also be seen playing with other prominent ensembles including The Sextet, Hard@Play, Son Venezuela, musical pit orchestras, and countless others. He currently resides in Kansas City, Missouri where he works throughout the region performing at various music venues. He has studied and worked with such legendary saxophonists as Bobby Watson, Dan Thomas, Dr. Frank Bongiorno, Benton Hill, and Rob Holmes of the Navy Jazz Commodores.

TATE BERRY

alto saxophone, bari saxophone

Tate is a junior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, taking on a double-Major in Jazz Studies and Business Administration. He grew up in Lansing and Leavenworth Kansas. He plays eight different woodwinds, but specializes on the Baritone saxophone. He is also the Student President of the business school at UMKC, and enjoys many liberties and luxuries because of it. He plays in a few different groups, and one day hopes to run a rock-based 18-piece big band.

Vocals

BROTHER JOHN ANDERSON

lead vocals, background vocals

Not only is John “Br. John” Anderson a professional workshop leader of literacy empowerment skills and cultural history, but for 25 years he has also been a motivational storyteller. His avid, lifelong love of music (particularly the early sounds of Motown, Soul, Classic Rock and Pop have brought him to be an enthusiastic, vocal complement to the Brass Rewind. Br. John says, “It’s a grand honor and a dream come true to keep that great music alive and have great fun.”

MICHELLE COX

lead vocals, background vocals

Michelle is not only half of our great vocal duo – she is the spark that energizes the band and the audience at performances.

Rhythm Section

JERRY HOOPER

keyboards, band leader

Jerry is our leader, co-founder and keyboards player. He’s a native of the Kansas City area, attended Raytown South High School where he played in the much-awarded Jazz Lab Band and studied under Dr. Carroll C. Lewis.

He first attended Central MO State University where he played piano in the college jazz band, left to attend UMKC and subsequently left academia to begin a career in banking. He always had a piano and played for his own entertainment, while also following Joe Cartwright and his KC-area gigs. Jerry first retired in January 2015, acquired a Yamaha Motif and spent the next two years practicing. He studied with Dr Bob Lawrence (Dallas School of Music),

Rob Mullins (Los Angeles), James Dering (McKinney, TX) and Mr. Cartwright of Kansas City. Between his jazz work (solo, trio, quartet,etc) and the work of Brass Rewind he’s truly living his dream.

TRACY SMITH

electric guitar, vocals

Tracy retired from teaching in 2019. He was a band director for 28 years at Cass Midway Schools south of KC. While there he started a horn band with his high school students that performed extensively in addition to the normal band ensembles. A number of these students have gone on to perform professionally in KC and nationally.

He has a BA in Jazz/Commercial Music and an MA in Tuba Performance. Tracy has been performing in various ensembles and bands since before he started teaching including; The Independence Brass Quintet, The Skip Hawkins Big Band and Combo, Currently Dixie and The KC Chiefs Tailgate Band, The White Rose Band, The No Cash Value Band, and also as a solo performer and occasional Irish music gig.

He also performs folk music at historical reenactments and has an album of folk songs called “Taverns and Tall Ships” available on Amazon, Itunes, Spotify and Pandora.

BRIAN WIGTON

bass

Brian lays down the harmonic foundation, and together with the drummer,  is the engine that drives the band.

 

 

MARK OLSON

drums, media assistant/webmaster

Mark is a native of the Cleveland, Ohio area, where he started playing drums in 6th grade. By the time he graduated with a Music Education degree from Bowling Green State University in 1984, he had decided that he was not cut out to be a band director!

Moving to KC in 1984, he started gigging with some UMKC students and profs – and soon became the drummer for Paul Gray in the house jazz band at the newly-opened Vista Hotel (now Marriot). Mark taught drum lessons at The Musique company in Red Bridge for 5 years, while going back to school for teaching certification in math and computer studies. Mark started teaching high school math/computers in 1989 – for 14 years at Louisburg HS, and then Web design at Olathe Northwest High School for another 15 years before retiring in 2018.

During this time, he spent several years each as drummer for various jazz bands, Shining Light (variety – Tom Pender & Lori Tucker), Blackwater (country/southern rock), Retro(classic rock), JT & The Beercookies (indie originals & 90’s rock), and Reviver (variety). Mark is drumming for Brass Rewind and is helping out with the Brass Rewind website and other band media.

Sound

CHRIS MILLER

sound – performance and recording, webhost

Chris’ interest in Sound took off in 1993 when he attended a 15-week course for Studio Recording at UMKC.  An analog 48-channel board and 2-inch reel-to-reel tape is where it all began.  From there, he worked with several local reggae bands.  In 1998, he became soundman for an all-girl band.  And he spent the better part of 10 years working with a rock-n-roll band, honing his “live recording” skill.

My goal in recording live, is to capture those unrepeatable, spectacular performances that would otherwise only be a memory.”   C. Miller 7/2020

 

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