Rat Pack Round Up

News updates have been few and far between around here lately, mainly due to the fact that I’ve been so busy playing the show in different corners of the planet! Here’s a little round up of what I’ve missed out on passing along….

St Louis

Following our opening week in Atlanta, the Rat Pack – Live At The Sands US tour made it’s next stop in St Louis, Missouri. We had a great time during our two weeks there with a really good band. A big thankyou goes out to Andy Tichenor, Dan Smith (Andy’s emergency sub!) and Bob Ceccarini – trumpets, for a great time playing the show. Bob also contracted the rest of the band which was amongst the best we’ve had in the US since Oct 2006!

While in St Louis, I also had the chance to meet, and sit in with, the folks of the Sessions Big Band during their Monday residency at BB’s Jazz Blues and Soups! It was particularly nice to meet trumpeter Steve Shankmann, who also happened to have been Manager to the late, great Maynard Ferguson for the last several years of his life.
Later that week I also had a chance to go and hear, and sit in with, the extraordinary Jim Manley during his Friday night gig at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. If you don’t know who Jim is, you are REALLY missing out – he’s quite simply the most remarkable jazz/high-note trumpet player I’ve ever heard!!!

San Diego

Mid-November saw us returning to the US for our six week run which takes us to the end of the year. It was great to visit the wonderful city of San Diego. The local musicians we encountered were not only fine players but some of the nicest people we’ve met thus far. My thanks, as ever, go to Frank Glassen and Jack Houghton who joined me in the Trumpet section.
Another great pleasure in San Diego was the chance to catch up with my good friend Allie Laurie. Allie played Sammy Davis Jr on the European Rat Pack Tour for almost 2 years until an ankle injury forced him home. He’s been living with his partner down in San Diego for a little over a year now. It was great to see him again!


Tucson, Arizona, was our next stop on the tour. It was one of the more bizarre weeks we’ve had in the States as we were in the desert and it rained for most of the week!! Most odd. Thanks go to trumpeters Kenny Smukal and Michael Harrison for their hard work and fine playing. It was a pleasure to meet Ken – a name I was familiar with from his tenure as Lead Trumpet with the Airmen of Note, the premiere US Air Force Big Band. A wonderful player and true gentleman. I also had a great time with Michael Harrison who was kind enough to let me sit in on his late-night gig on the Saturday evening with Salsa-engue. It’s been far too long since I’ve had the chance to play any Salsa music which has long been one of my favourite styles! Thanks Mike!

Los Angeles

We’re currently, at time of writing, halfway through our first of 2 weeks in LA. The band here, as you might expect given the thriving Studio scene, is just astonishing. Can I say more than to say that joining me on Trumpets are none other than Rick Baptist and Dan Fornero!! Wow!!

I’ll be back with more LA news as it occurs. Exciting times indeed!!