Dennis Lichtman is a multi-instrumentalist (mainly clarinet, fiddle, and mandolin) who is deeply entrenched in early- to mid-1900’s American music, from traditional jazz and swing to bluegrass and western swing. His elegant voice carries through on all his instruments, lending a thread that weaves together the various genres he navigates.
Originally from Boston, MA, Lichtman has been living in New York City since 2002.
In August 2018, Lichtman released Just Cross the River, celebrating with two sold-out shows at Dizzy’s Club at Jazz
At Lincoln Center hosted by the New York Hot Jazz Festival. The album features nine original compositions inspired by the migration of jazz legends into the borough of Queens, NY beginning in the 1920’s. The project was instigated by a grant from the Queens Council on the Arts. Since 2007, Dennis has been the clarinetist and bandleader of the famed Tuesday night traditional-jazz jam session at Mona’s in downtown New York, which was profiled in the New York Times, and has been described by the Wall Street Journal as “ground zero for an emerging late-night scene of young swing and traditional jazz players.”
December 2012 saw the release of Tuesdays At Mona’s, a 19-minute documentary about the Mona’s session produced by Hi-Tide Films, accompanied by a live CD of Mona’s Hot Four with 19 guest musicians. Dennis switches deftly between fiddle, clarinet, and mandolin while leading his western swing sextet, The Brain Cloud, through a broad array of American music including original compositions and new arrangements of old songs. The Brain Cloud, featuring vocalist Tamar Korn, has held a Monday night residency at the prestigious-yet-intimate Brooklyn venue Barbés since 2011. The band’s third full-length release, Live At Barbés, was released in April 2017.
Lichtman has performed at Carnegie Hall, major festivals throughout the United States, and on stages in Europe, Brazil, and China. He is on the faculty of the Welbourne Traditional Jazz Camp in Middleburg, VA, and has led college master classes and inner-city school workshops through the Midori Foundation, Lincoln Center’s Meet The Artist Series, and Beijing’s Ping-Pong Productions. He has performed and recorded as a regular member of Ghost Train Orchestra, Pokey LaFarge Band, Nation Beat, Jim Kweskin Band, and many more.
Multi-award-winning instrumentalist/vocalist/bandleader Cynthia Sayer is acclaimed by musicians, critics, and fans alike as one of the top 4-string banjoist in the world today. Praised for her “drive and virtuosity” by the New York Times, Cynthia enchants audiences with her electrifying, swing-based performances and captivating stage presence wherever she appears.
In 2018, Cynthia garnered cheering crowds and her usual standing ovation at the Newport Jazz Festival. Other recent USA festival appearances include headlining at the 2017 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage festival the 2017 Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, and numerous others. Multiple international jazz festivals have honored Cynthia as “Festival Favorite” and readers polls have named her “Favorite Living Banjo Player,” “First-Choice Headliner,” and “Best Banjo Player” and she is an inductee into The American Banjo Hall of Fame. Cynthia has appeared as a guest and performer on CBS, FOX & ABC network television shows, including Good Morning America and The Morning Show, as well as on NPR’sPiano Jazz, BBC Radio, and elsewhere. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, DownBeat, Fretboard Journal, International Musician, People Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and countless other local, trade, and foreign media outlets.
Sayer first rose to international prominence as a founding member of Woody Allen’s New Orleans Jazz Band, all the while exploring her wider musical interests and playing with such legendary jazz, popular, and roots music artists as Bucky Pizzarelli, Dick Hyman, Andy Statman, Les Paul, Marvin Hamlisch, Wynton Marsalis, Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox, Charlie Giordano (with Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band), John McEuen (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band) ), as well as leading jazz contemporaries such as Wycliffe Gordon, Vince Giordano, Anat Cohen, Bria Skonberg, and many others.
Her feature CD’s, nine in all, have received rave reviews and multiple “Best of” nominations and awards in various categories, including two Jazz Journalists Association best pick lists. Sayer has played for two U.S. Presidents (once at The White House), performed with several symphony orchestras including The New York Philharmonic, was the official banjoist for The New York Yankees, and is proud to be the subject of a Trivial Pursuit game question.
Sayer is also an avid educator, presenting clinics, programs, and lecture/demonstrations at schools, colleges, and cultural organizations. Cynthia lives in New York City and endorses Ome Banjos, GHS Strings, Blue Chip Picks, and The Realist Banjo Pickups by David Gage.
Baker started playing clarinet in 1980. His first school band director needed trombonists and quickly switched Clint to trombone. Baker is an autodidact and in the years that followed he would learn additional instruments including tuba, tenor banjo, and drums. In 1984 he organized and led his first traditional jazz band: “Greasy Kid Stuff” (1984–1989). In 1988 this band appeared at the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Jubilee with Baker leading the band on cornet. Baker has performed at the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Jubilee (now called the “Sacramento Music Festival”) every year since 1988.
After high school Baker began working full-time as a freelance musician. In 1990 he created Clint Baker’s New Orleans Jazz Band (1990–2000). In October 1990 Clint Baker’s New Orleans Jazz Band began performing on Friday nights at Cafe Borrone in Menlo Park, California. He has been leading his band there (now called the “Cafe Borrone All-Stars”) for the past 19 years. Clarinetist Bob Helm (Yerba Buena Jazz Band) worked there regularly with the band up until his death in 2003. Trumpeter Leon Oakley (who also worked with Turk Murphy) has played there regularly since 2000.
Clint produced his first record in 1991: “Clint Baker’s New Orleans Jazz Band Featuring Jim Klippert”. Since then, he has produced 8 recordings including: “In The Groove” (1992), “Going Huge” (1998), “Tears” (2002), and “Who’s Foolin’ Who?” (2008).
Clint Baker’s New Orleans Jazz Band appeared at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in 1992 and at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 1999. The band toured festivals in the US and Canada extensively and was voted one of the top five Favorite New (Emerging) Jazz Bands in the 1998 Mississippi Rag Trad Jazz and Ragtime Poll. (In the same poll Baker was voted one of the top three Favorite New (Emerging) Musicians.)
As well as leading his own band, Baker has worked as a freelance musician playing drums with Big Bill Bissonnette’s International Jazz Band which included Tuba Fats Lacen and George Probert on reeds (1997). He also played the Kobe Jazz Street Festival in Japan (bass and trumpet) with the New Orleans Rascals and Tom Sharpsteen (1997). He returned to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival (trombone) with the Boilermaker Jazz Band (1998). In 2007 he returned to the Monterey Jazz Festival for a second time with the Gypsy jazz band, the Hot Club of San Francisco (bass).
Baker has appeared with the Jim Cullum Jazz Band on Riverwalk Jazz, and has been featured on other radio programs including Sunday Night Suites, Morning Cup Of Jazz, Talk Show Live, The Annals of Jazz, and Back On Basin Street (which he engineered and co-hosted with radio personality Mal Sharpe).
In 2008 Woody Allen licensed the song “Salty Bubble” from the CD “Tom Sharpsteen and his Orlandos” to be used in his film “Whatever Works“. Baker can be heard in the film and on the motion picture soundtrack playing drums. In 2009 Gerard Bielderman published a discography detailing the bands, instruments, and over 100 recordings Baker has made.
Currently Baker performs regularly with: The Yerba Buena Stompers (tuba), The Delta Stompers (guitar/banjo), Hot Club of San Francisco (bass), The Cafe Borrone All-Stars (misc.), The Reynolds Brothers Rhythm Rascals (clarinet, trombone, and bass), The Ray Skjelbred Quartet/Ray Skjelbred and His Cubs (bass), The Grand Dominion Jazz Band (trumpet) and Usonia Jazz (misc.).
Baker is also a noted jazz educator. He taught on staff with the Jim Cullum Jazz Band at the Stanford Jazz Workshop in California. He frequently guest lectures at San Mateo Community College and the Community School of Music and Arts at Finn Center. He has taught music to elementary school children at the East Palo Alto Academy. And for the past 12 years he has been a faculty instructor at the AFCDJS Adult Jazz Camps teaching trumpet (1997, 2008–2009), banjo and guitar (1998–2000) string bass and tuba (2001–2007), and trombone (2010–2011). He is currently the Staff Archivist for the San Francisco Traditional Jazz Foundation and a life member of the Stanford University Music Library.
At 18, Riley Baker is already a seasoned professional musician, having started is career at the age of 12.
Riley began playing drums when he was 6 years old, in junior high school he took up the tuba, after that he picked up trombone and string bass.
Riley keeps busy playing professionally around the San Francisco Bay Area, he plays both Jazz and Classical music with equal skill and enthusiasm.
His resume is already very diverse, from Young Orchestras such as Young Person’s Symphony Orchestra to the Jazz Mafia Brass Band to Clint Baker’s New Orleans Jazz Band.
Riley is currently studying music in college and continues to play music as much as possible with as many people as possible.
Originally from Moscow, Russia, Ian (Yahn) Frenkel is currently active as a composer, arranger, educator, organist and pianist in the New England area. Equally adept in all jazz styles, he especially approaches Stride, Swing and Bebop with extraordinary spirit and raw authenticity. Ian has performed all over the United States, Japan and Europe in many different musical situations, and has written music for everything from jazz duos to orchestras. He received his Bachelor of Music Degree from the esteemed Manhattan School of Music, and quickly has become a much sought after sideman, band leader and soloist in Traditional Jazz genre nationwide.
Ian has since collaborated with dozens of phenomenal musicians over the past 20 years, including B.B. King, Bobby Watson, Scott Hamilton, Chuck Riggs, Don Pippen, Debbie Gravitte, Ron Raines, Rob Garcia, Robert Evan, Dan Levinson, Lee Metcalf, Kevin Dorn, Brad Leali, Randy Sandke, Makoto Ozone, Rich Goldstein, Behn Gillece, Dave Dana, Satoshi Inoue, David Ambrosio, Boris Kozlov, Gene Pritsker, Arthur Sadowsky, Andy Sherwood and “The New Orleans Connection”, “The East Coast Rockers”, Sugar Ray Norcia and “The Blue Tones”, Greg Piccolo and “The Heavy Juice”. A virtuoso Dixieland clarinetist Andrew Sherwood featured Ian on several of his CD releases, including critically acclaimed 1998 release “While We Danced at the Mardi Gras”.
Ian was a jazz organist on a critically acclaimed commercial 1999 Japanese CD release “T.V. Jazz USA”, and has appeared with renowned saxophonist Bobby Watson. His Hammond Organ mastery will soon be heard on a recently recorded project entitled “Gratitude Ensemble”, led by a New England jazz guitar legend and a Hartt School of Music professor Rich Goldstein, featuring emerging vibraphone rising star Behn Gillece, as well as several creative arrangements by Ian.
Ian’s prolific writer’s portfolio consists of over 50 arrangements, transcriptions and original compositions for Wind Ensemble/Concert Band, works for Orchestra and Jazz Band, chamber works, and various incidental music, including numerous arrangements and orchestrations for such highly acclaimed artists as Placido Domingo, Martha Reeves, and Lorrie Morgan. He has often been commissioned by the New York-based new music group The Absolute Ensemble. Ian’s critically acclaimed arrangements of Leonard Bernstein songs were performed by renowned soprano Ljuba Kazarnovskaja of the Metropolitan Opera at the 1995 Morris International Music Festival in Morristown, New Jersey and subsequently recorded.
Currently Ian holds the position of the Director of Cadet Instrumental Music and Bands at the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. He is also an adjunct instructor of jazz piano at Connecticut College, co-directs combined USCG Academy-Conn College Jazz Band and Wind Ensemble, and serves as Director of Music at St. Marks Lutheran Church in Norwich, Connecticut.
Jim Fryer began his professional career playing traditional jazz in the Boston area during the 1970’s.
He has played gigs in many disparate genres, including Broadway, Salsa, Big Band,
Classical, and many others. He has performed at Festivals the world over, including the Newport Jazz Festival, the Edinburgh Jazz Festival, and the Turner Classic Film Festival in Hollywood.
As a longstanding member of Vince Giordano’s Nighthawks, Fryer recorded on the grammy-winning sound track compilation for the HBO series “Boardwalk Empire”.
Mr. Fryer is active in a variety of educational settings, continuing 35 years of school performances and workshops (currently on the roster of CT Arts For Learning), recent work at PS228 in Queens via the Louis Armstrong House Museum, and the Hot Jazz Camp NYC.
Fryer is a resident of the Inwood neighborhood in Northern Manhattan.
Craig Grant was born in Washington, D.C. in 1943 while his dad was in the navy, but moved to Denver when he was fours years old, and spent most of his youth there, graduating from high school in 1961 and heading east to college. In retrospect, he had the great fortune to have a father who loved listening to Louis Armstrong, Jack Teagarden, and Bobby Hackett, so in the fourth grade when it was time to start learning an instrument, Craig was encouraged to pick the trombone – a choice he’s never regretted. After playing in school, all-city, all-state, and jazz/swing bands and orchestras through high school, Craig was prompted to audition for a newly forming Dixieland band only a few weeks after beginning his freshman year at Harvard. This was a fortuitous start, because he met Joel Schiavone, a banjo player and recent Harvard Business School graduate, who was also auditioning for the band. Thus began both a 58-year friendship and Craig’s first immersion into Dixieland playing.
Though Craig’s experience playing in a half dozen Your Father’s Mustache clubs and participating in multiple special Mustache shows are among his most memorable “happenings” and helped him pay his way through college and grad school, his most exciting musical performances have included working weekends for six months with the immortal Bobby Hackett, and playing gigs with Wild Bill Davidson, Jimmy and Marian McPartland, Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry, and even Urbie Green.
During the early years of Craig’s 25-year career with IBM, he lived in Ridgefield and began playing as one of the Galvanized Jazz Band’s guest trombonists. Upon his return to New York from Pittsburgh in 1979, he resumed that association, which thankfully continues to this day. He’s also played with the Bearcats for the last twenty years, and regards members of both bands as treasured friends.
He and his wife Marcia recently celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary, and upon Craig’s retirement in mid-2014, are thoroughly enjoying winter vacations and world travel. As always, he’s looking forward to performing with the top-flight musicians convening for this event.
Art was an original member of the Galvanized Jazz Band (and the Galvanized Washboard Band before that) Art has been active in traditional jazz for more than 56 years. He grew up in Riverhead, NY, where he started tuba lessons with his father at the age of 10 and played tuba in every organization that would have him. As a student at Yale back in the early 1960s he discovered traditional jazz and managed to stay active through graduate school and 35 years as a high school physics teacher. He also recorded and produced most of the Galvanized Jazz Band’s CDs, cassettes, and LPs, and is responsible for the Galvanized Jazz Band’s website. Before the Millpond Taverne was discovered Art worked for a summer of Sundays with Wild Bill Davison at the Terra Mar in Old Saybrook. With the GJB Art had the privilege of working with and learning from a very long list of professionals, including Louis Nelson, George Masso, Bobby Hackett, Woody Allen, and Teddy Wilson. Art was principal tubist with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra for ten years and currently performs with the Connecticut Symphonic Winds and the Civic Orchestra of New Haven. As a jazz educator Art has organized many youth bands over the years, specializing in traditional jazz and ragtime. Art also coaches traditional jazz and ragtime ensembles at New Haven’s Neighborhood Music School, and tours occasionally with with Roy Rubinstein’s Chicago Hot Six and Sarah Spencer’s International Jazz Band.
Dave Kosmyna, cornet, hails from Toledo, OH. He is Professor of Music at Ohio Northern University. He’s a long-time member of both the Climax Jazz Band of Toronto, Canada and Ray Heitger’s Cakewalkin’ Jass Band of Toledo. He currently works with the Rock Island Roustabouts and leads the Centennial Dixieland Jass Band. On piano, Kosmyna leads the New Orleans Party Asylum and a duo called Creole Jazz.
Drummer Tom Palinko is so in demand there should be TWO of him! Playing scores of gigs a month, Tom lays down the beat with an effortless swing and is first call for uncountable bands throughout New England.
Around home, Tom has worked with bands of all sizes. You would find him in large ensembles such as the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Skitch Henderson, the Sonny Costanzo Big Band and the Hartford Jazz Orchestra, conducted by Chick Cicchetti, or in smaller bands such as The Bill’s Seafood Jazz All-Stars and The Freight Train Five.
Tom has also toured with entertainers such as Rodney Dangerfield and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. His two years on the road with the Tommy Dorsey Band showed him the world but made him long for his native CT, and we are all better for it!
Currently you’ll see him playing with The Stanley Street Big Band, The Thomaston Jazz Orchestra, and the Bob Hughes Big Band, and you can still find him playing with the Bill’s Seafood Jazz All-Stars and The Freight Train Five.
Tom Palinko has been with us since the very first House Party and he always puts on a good show. A big guy with a huge heart and a mainstay at Jeff and Joel’s, the music is always better with Tommy on the drums!
“Ridenhour is a talented player. I’ll be seeing him again. If you’d like to be transported back in time to hear piano music from a bygone — but still very fresh and alive — age, you should see him, too.” — Jason Crane, The Jazz Session
“Ridenhour’s stride chops take a back seat to no one …” — Jack Rummel, Ragtime America
Dalton Ridenhour, a Missouri native, has been a student of the ragtime and stride piano tradition since the age of 8 and has been featured at many ragtime and early jazz festivals including The Scott Joplin International Ragtime Festival, The West Coast Ragtime Festival, The Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival, and The Blind Boone Ragtime and Early Jazz Festival. Dalton has degrees from the Berklee College of Music and The Eastman School of Music where he studied with Harold Danko, Joanne Brackeen, Danilo Perez, Joe Lovano and Hal Crook. Dalton performs locally and internationally with various groups including Vince Giordano and The Nighthawks, Dan Levinson’s Roof Garden Jass Band, Naomi and Her Handsome Devils, Mike Davis and The New Wonders, Goodbye Picasso, and Mona’s Hot Four. He has a solo album, “Eccentricity,” on the Rivermont Records label
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Jeff and Joe’s House Party wouldn’t be the same without Noel!!! The unbelievable Noel Kaletsky and his wailing clarinet will join Pete and Will Anderson for an additional surprise session on Sunday afternoon, October 12. You never know what to expect with the combinations of musicians directed by Jeff Barnhart, but this trio should be especially creative and fun.
Noel is a “reedman extrodinaire” and has played with the Bearcats, Galvanized Jazz Band,
Heartbeat Jazz Band, Titan Hot Seven to name a few and is well known at Traditional Jazz Festivals from coast to coast. He plays saxophone and clarinet with a passionate intensity right “from the heart” — a true traditional jazz musician.