Meet Brass Rewind!

Brass Rewind Outstanding in their Field

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

Trumpets

LARRY FITZPATRICK

trumpet

I started playing trumpet in 5th grade following in my father’s footsteps. In high school I was heavily involved in music, playing in marching band, symphonic band, jazz band, and school musical productions. I continued playing through my sophomore year at Kansas State University when I decided I needed to focus on my studies.

Some 25 years later, I wanted to get back to playing music but didn’t really have an outlet to get started when my son (percussion) and daughter (trumpet) challenged me to get back into music. I was urging them to play in the local community summer band when they said “We will if you will!” That was over 10 years ago!

I currently play in a local big band, The Overtones of Kansas City where I’m also music director, my church orchestra, community summer band (still!), as well as several local school and community theater musical productions. I’m really excited to be involved in Brass Rewind and look forward to what the future holds for this great group of musicians!

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

ALEX RUTKOWSKI

alto/bari saxophones

Alex grew up in Overland Park and is a junior Music Education major at the University of Kansas. She is a multi-sax player, but bari is her favorite. Her love of music comes from her grandparents.

ZACH GARLAND-FOSTER

tenor saxophone

Zach Garland-Foster, 22, is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, and teacher. He was born into a musical home where he frequently heard his father perform jazz and pop standards at local restaurants. By the age of 14, Zach had begun regularly performing with his father at these venues. While performing professionally on saxophone, Zach would also frequently sing and play guitar and begin to incorporate these skills into many of his performances. In High School he earned numerous awards and well respected seating positions around the area while also frequently playing an extremely wide variety of instruments in his school’s musicals. While in UMKC Zach has played at many of the flagship jazz venues around KC (Green Lady Lounge, the Black Dolphin), played in the pit orchestra of Ain’t Misbehavin’ (2018) and Starlight Express (2019) while also paving his own unique path performing with and being the head/co songwriter of numerous jazz, rock, pop, funk, and avant garde bands in the area. Zach plans to continue taking his musicianship/writing to the next level and one day perform on even bigger stages.

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.

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 and 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 and 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.

RYAN SMITH

drums

Ryan Smith is a musician located in the Greater Kansas City area. Currently working on an M.A. in Music at UMKC’s Conservatory of Music and Dance, Ryan enjoys learning from and being a part of the vibrant KC music scene. He currently plays with Brass Rewind, dreamachine, and freelances in the area.

Prior to moving to KC, Ryan lived in Iowa City where he completed a B.B.A. in Management and performed with legendary musicians such as Francisco Mora Catlett, Rufus Ried, Clay Jenkins, and Roberto Miranda. In addition to performing all over Iowa, Ryan was also the jazz and marching percussion instructor at West Branch High School.

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 when Ryan is not available, 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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