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!!

November 2007

Much of the early part of November sees Bryan taking a well deserved break before rejoining The Rat Pack – Live At The Sands US National tour. The show opens in San Diego, CA on November 19th and then plays in Tucson, AZ to finish out the month. December will see trips to Los Angeles, CA and Toronto. Check the schedule for details.

While on his travels, Bryan is always available for Private Lessons or Clinics. If you’re interested, check the dates for each city and then get in touch.

Overdue Site Updates

The last couple of days have seen several pages of the site updated. Amongst these have been updates to the About page, Schedule, Current Activities and even some new Sound Clips! These updates, many of which are quite overdue, are the first in a series of changes which will be implemented before the end of the year, by which time we are hoping to have a new and improved site design ready.

Most importantly, we have finally been able to update all of the dates for the Rat Pack US Tour which continues into the early part of 2008. It promises to be a busy time for Bryan as he goes directly between the US Tour and European dates in Austria and Germany without a break! He will be visiting Graz, Hannover, Bremen and Essen in January. Please come and see the show and then come and say hello afterwards! Lessons are, as always, available so please contact Bryan if you are interested.

October/November 2007

October started out with the Rat Pack show‘s 2 week run in St Louis, MO. Bryan was also to be found sitting in with the Sessions Big Band, at BB’s Jazz, Blues & Soups, and with the extraordinary Jim Manley.

Before, returning to the Rat Pack UK Tour at the end of October in Birmingham, Bryan will also be playing with Jim Corry’s A Tribute to Atlantic Records, as well as subbing with Merengada and The Magic of Motown.

November sees the continuation of the US Tour. Check the schedule for details.

Rat Pack – Atlanta

We had a great start to this year’s Rat Pack – Live At The Sands US Tour in the fine city of Atlanta, GA. It was a pleasure to meet and play with all the local musicians, in particular the brass players. My thanks go to ‘Lee’ King and Andy Hagans (trumpets), and Eric, Jason Altieri and Lee Watts (trombones) for making the first week back so easy for me. We had a great time hanging out after the show too!!

One particular thrill for me was the chance to go and help Lee Watts out with coaching the Trumpets at the Wheeler High School band program. Mark Hoskins runs a great program over at Wheeler and we had a great time working with the concert band section. All fine young players whom I look forward to hearing again in the future!

It was also great to have a chance to catch up with some returning Rat Packers. Alonzo Saunders rejoined us for a brief stint as Sammy cover and we even had a visit from Henry Prego; who returned as an emergency Frank cover at the end of the week. Great to see the guys again.

The next leg of the tour took us to St. Louis, MO. More about that shortly…