The following guest artists performed in 2017
Clarinetist Bob Draga is arguably one of the most popular and talented jazz musicians in the country. A consummate entertainer, he has mastered the art of pleasing an audience with his classy appearance, his seemingly unending list of jokes, and his superb musical talent. He intuitively understands what an audience wants to hear and provides it, whether hard and driving or exquisitely beautiful and soulful. In addition, Bob is a friend to young jazz musicians everywhere, taking time to coach and encourage whenever asked.
A true jazz clarinetist, Bob’s musical style is equally at home with both traditional jazz and swing. He even sounds great with a zydeco band! All of which easily explains why he has become a staple at jazz festivals and cruises everywhere.
2018 Guest Artists to be announced soon
Chloe Feoranzo is a 24 year old clarinetist, saxophonist and vocalist who has been performing professionally since the age of 15. She grew up playing in youth orchestras, musical pits, along with swing, dixieland bands and guest artist at festivals of the Southern California area. She just completed a three year tour with Pokey LaFarge. The band toured all over the world and appeared on various shows like, The Late Show with David Letterman, Prairie Home Companion and the Grand Ole Opry. She now resides in New Orleans, LA as a freelance musician and playing with such all star New Orleans bands as Meschiya Lake & The Little Big Horns, Shotgun Jazz Band, World's Finest Apples, and others.
TV and Radio Shows:
American Epic Documentary 2016, The Late Show with David Letterman 2014
A Prairie Home Companion 2013 & 2014 , Marty Stewart Show 2014
The Late Late Show in Ireland 2014, Good Morning New Zealand 2014
Internationally renowned, Grammy Award-Winner Danny Coots is a versatile percussionist who marches to the beat of his own drums! One of the most sought after performers on the jazz festival circuit, he captures your attention on stage as he radiates equal rhythm throughout his whole body and into his drums. Coots’ style is fluid and fun. It’s easy to “hear” his passion for music transferred into melodic beats of Traditional Jazz. Danny helped found the Titan Hot Seven, has performed in 100 countries across the globe and has played drums on over 90 recordings with an array of talented artists.
Dennis Lichtman is a multi-instrumentalist (clarinet, violin, mandolin) deeply entrenched in the worlds of traditional jazz, western swing, and bluegrass. In June 2011, he was featured in the Wall Street Journal as the leader of Mona's traditional jazz jam session in Manhattan, which was described as “ground zero for an emerging late-night scene of young swing and traditional jazz players.” Dennis has performed at Carnegie Hall, Symphony Space, Lincoln Center, and at Severance Hall in Cleveland following the Cleveland Orchestra; he has toured throughout the nation, in Europe, China, and Hawaii; played at major jazz, bluegrass and world music festivals; and has recorded on over two dozen albums on his clarinet, violin, and mandolin. Recently, Dennis released a CD from his western swing band, the Brain Cloud, and has been touring the world.
“A critic’s favorite” – so proclaims author and music writer for The Wall Street Journal Will Friedwald in reference to Molly Ryan. He goes on to say, “Molly swings the melody – as well as the words – without affectation of any kind. She brings a straight-ahead innocence and total believability to the music that refuses to admit that sixty or seventy years of distractions have ever happened. She sounds worldly wise beyond her years, wonderfully gentle and lyrical.” Indeed, Molly’s silvery voice and lush, elegant vocal style evoke the big band singers of the 1930s and breathe new life into familiar old standards.
Since moving to New York City from Roseville, CA in 2003, she has become one of the most sought-after vocalists on the New York jazz scene. She has performed at such prestigious Manhattan venues as the Café Carlyle, The Town Hall, The Waldorf Astoria, Rainbow Room, Birdland, Iridium, The New York Historical Society Museum and The Player’s Club
Jason Wanner took an interest in the piano at the age of four. From that point he began classical training and at the same time became interested in ragtime and jazz piano. At the age of 12 he attended the Sacramento Trad Jazz Camp for one week where he studied with Johnny Varro and K.O. Eckland. Immediately following the camp, he received opportunities to perform with many different established bands.
Jason attended the University of Southern California with a major in jazz studies. Having attended the Sacramento Jazz Camp since age 12, he graduated to become one of the camp's teachers of piano that same year. He has also taught at jazz camps in Mammoth Lakes, CA, and Helena, MT. Jason will be performing with Bob Draga & Friends, The Au Brothers and guest appearances.
An American jazz, blues and swing musician who specializes in the vibraphone and piano as well as drums. His primary influences on vibes are Lionel Hampton and Red Norvo, while his piano playing is influenced by piano greats from both the jazz and blues worlds.
John has been a member of Big Joe & the Dynaflows as well as The Big Three Trio with Big Joe Maher and John Previti in Washington, D.C. John will be performing with his quartet, Cocuzzis & Coots Courtet, as well as a guest with other bands in the festival.
Multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Kristy Reed Cocuzzi has a sultry voice that has thrilled audiences everywhere and was featured on vocals, sax and clarinet with Big Tiny Little for almost 10 years. She has toured as lead alto, clarinet, and vocalist with the “Live Lawrence Welk Show” throughout the United States and Canada, as well as being a member of the “Champagne Music Makers” at the Welk Resort in Branson, Missouri. She has worked with the Temptations, Franki Valli, the Russ Morgan Orchestra, the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, the Cab Callaway orchestra, the Drifters, and has appeared alongside great musicians including Dave Bennett, Arthur Duncan, Sandor Benko, Jack Imel, and Anacani.
Howard began playing jazz with the Royal Society Jazz Orchestra and the Monterey Bay Classic Jazz Band. As a junior high school band teacher during the day, Howard has an opportunity to spread his love and enthusiasm for music to his students.
Howard has a BA in music from San Jose State University. Also an accomplished tuba player, he can be heard performing with many of the top West coast bands.
Howard joined the High Sierra in 1989 when Vic Kimzey retired. Turk Murphy and Jim Snyder have been major influences to Howard’s playing style. The slight gruff sound and the tasty plunger solos can be heard throughout the High Sierra recordings. Howard’s vocals are always fun and light-hearted and his fans love his on-stage enthusiasm.
Emmy Award winner for his musical direction in the production "Liquid Roads" and leader of one of the most popular jazz bands in the country, Cornet Chop Suey, Brian Casserly is one of the most sought after musicians on the Jazz Festival circuit. Casserly, who also goes by the name "Big B," plays trumpet, trombone and is also a vocalist. 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.