Cornet Chop Suey
Redwood Coast Music Festival 2020 Performing Artist
Cornet Chop Suey has enjoyed a rapid rise since 2001 when they performed for the first time at the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee. The seven piece band plays dixie to bop as well as pop tunes in a show style. The band is named after an obscure Louis Armstrong composition and performs a Louis Armstrong set at most festivals. They are best known for a wide variety of styles.
This well-traveled band has toured across the country playing over 17 various festivals in one year alone as well as performances in Europe, South America, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and Germany among others.
The band's unique front line with Brian Casserly on trumpet, Tom Tucker on cornet, Jerry Epperson on reeds and Brett Stamps on trombone is driven by a powerful rhythm section consisting of Richard Zelle on piano, Jay Hungerford on bass and Dick Maley on drums. Many of the musicians in the band are educators as well as performers and have performed with other popular festival bands prior to forming into one of America's hottest jazz bands.
Chop Suey applies its own exciting style to traditional jazz, swing, blues and "big production" numbers. Every performance by Cornet Chop Suey is a high-energy presentation and is always a memorable experience for the audience.
Brian Casserly, who also goes by the name "Big B", plays trumpet, trombone and is also a vocalist with the band. A professional musician since the age of 14, Brian has played for many greats in the music business, including Tony Bennett, Tex Beneke, Stan Kenton, Chuck Berry and even Tiny Tim. He has also played the prestigious Monterey Pops Festival for several years. An in-demand session musician, Brian has performed in many commercials, recordings and musicals in the U.S. and Canada and is the past musical director for the S.S. Admiral, a riverboat on the St. Louis riverfront. After touring the U.S. and Europe for several years with his own jazz band and a St. Louis-based blues band, he decided to devote his musical talents entirely to traditional jazz, playing concerts and festivals as well as recording with several St. Louis bands.
Tom Tucker began playing trumpet at age 11 under a retired Marine bandmaster who Tommy says "still thought he was in the Marines." He played in high school and college, did a 4-year tour in the Navy, then went into the finance and auto dealership business for 25 years. After Tommy sold the dealership in 1987 and retired, he decided to get back into the music scene. He started a band called "All That Jazz" and progressed from there, becoming a fixture in the St. Louis traditional jazz scene.
Jerry Epperson's professional career began in 1959 performing in local dance bands, and continued at Truman State University playing in Dixieland and jazz bands. He was fortunate enough to have the chance to meet Louis Armstrong at this time. Trained in classical music, Jerry was a music educator for several years, and was active in several area jazz bands. During the late '60s, Jerry was aided by local legend Buddy Moreno in getting established in the St. Louis area. During the past few years, he has performed with The Dixieland Rhythm Kings, Bob Havens, New Orleans' Wes Mix, and many others. Jerry makes frequent appearances at jazz festivals, and performs regularly in the St. Louis area.
Brett Stamps has been the Director of Jazz Activities at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville since he initiated the Jazz Performance Degree in 1979. He obtained his BA in Music from the College of William and Mary (1970) and his MM in Studio Music and Jazz Pedagogy from the University of Miami (1975). He currently holds the rank of Professor of Music. Brett performed, recorded and arranged for the United States Army Field Band Jazz Ambassadors (1970-1973), the Stan Kenton Orchestra (1973-1974), and the University of Miami Concert Jazz Band (1974-1978) before accepting a teaching position at Miami-Dade Community College New World Center (1978-1979). Brett remains active as a composer/arranger and clinician.
Jay Hungerford received his degree in Music Education from SIU-C. He performs at jazz festivals and clinics across the country. He has taught at the University of Missouri - St. Louis, Fontbonne College, Meramac College, Missouri Baptist University and has been a member of the Webster University Jazz Faculty in St. Louis, MO for over two decades. Jay was acknowledged as "Best Local Bassist" by the Riverfront Times, Jay is also a member of the St. Louis "Fox Orchestra" and has performed with over 23 national tours. He has over 60 recordings to his credit including 26 Integrity Worship recordings. Jay co-wrote, singing legend Patti Page's last top 100 hit song, "My Man Friday". Using the exact methods and lesson plans found in his book, Walking Jazz Lines For Bass, Jay has produced a variety of proteges who have since gone on to acclaim and notoriety, not limited to Avishai Cohen (Chick Corea, International Vamp Band), Neil Caine (Harry Connick, Jr.), and Justin Corgan (Devon Allman Project).
Dick "Spanky" Maley - Drums & Vocals, our newest member, was born in Washington, D.C. He attended Shenandoah College and Conservatory of Music in Winchester, VA. After college Dick performed in the pit orchestra at Kings Dominion” amusement park in Doswell, VA., and “Kings Island” amusement park in Cincinnatti, OH. Dick moved to New Orleans, LA in 1978 at the ripe old age of 22, where he performed in many notable night clubs on Bourbon Street with the “New Dixie Zing Kings” Dixieland show band. 1980 saw Dick move to Clearwater, Florida where he started honing in on his jazz skills under the tutelage of many great jazz artists such as Al Hirt, Pete Fountain, Bill Allred, Tom Saunders, Chuck Hedges, Henry Cuesta, John Davidson, Pieter Meijer Quartet, Bob Draga, Mike Vax, Bob Havens, Johnnie Varro, The Guy Lombardo Orchestra, The Peter Graves Orchestra and Ms. Connie Haines, to name a few. Dick “Spanky” Maley presently resides in Lakeland, FL just outside Orlando where he performed for the Walt Disney Company, as well as performing in many local and international jazz Festivals with “Wally’s Warehouse Waifs” from Michigan.
VENUE DAY START
Cornet Chop Suey:
Brian Casserly - Trumpet, vocals
Tom Tucker - Trumpet
Jerry Epperson - Reeds
Brett Stamps - Trombone
Jay Hungerford - Bass
Dick Maley - drums
Rick Zelle - Piano