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CELL BLOCK 7 Jazz Band
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A bunch of jailbirds, to be sure...
Bob Romans – leader
Bob Romans is a classically trained musician and is accomplished in all styles. He was always interested in playing Dixieland jazz but didn't actually start doing it until 1981 with the formation of the Cell Block 7 Jazz Band. His love for jazz has really blossomed through working with this band, and continues undiminished.
After graduating from Chattanooga, Tennessee's Southern College with a BS in Music Education, he moved to California where he taught instrumental music in 4th through 12th grades for over 30 years. He's now retired, but still teaches brass to private students and spends as much time as possible with his lovely wife, Carol, who is also a musician, and often joins the band to do specialty numbers on flute.
Bob is one of America's greatest proponents of youth bands and has been working with younger players since 1988, when he became involved with youth bands sponsored by the San Joaquin Dixieland Jazz Society. He started and coached various youth jazz bands, like the Riverboat Rascals, the Hot 'n Tots, the Alley Cats, and the Barkin' Dawg jazz bands, and there's been much fun along the way. The youth bands have played at various jazz festivals in places as far flung as Connecticut, Chilliwack (Canada), Friday Harbor (Washington), Bradenton (Florida), Whidbey Island (Washington), and the biggest one of them all, the Sacramento Jubilee in California.
Another of Bob's youth projects is a promising young band that is modeled after Lu Watters' Yerba Buena Jazz Band and is called the Alligator Stomperz. Its enthusiastic members range in age from 6th to 8th grade students.
Jim Maihack is a multi-instrumentalist who began playing Dixieland and swing with Clyde McCoy, trumpeter Smokey Stover and his own Tappers (aka San Francisco Brass). But he proved himself to be a first-rate San Francisco tubaist during his stay with the Turk Murphy Jazz Band (1969-72). Maihack, though aware of the traditions of Lammi, Girsback, Short and others, did not imitate any of them. His original style fit perfectly with the Murphy band and he made some excellent recordings with the band. After leaving Murphy, Maihack worked with Rosy O'Grady's Good Time Jazz Band in Florida, then returned to the West Coast where he has played several different instruments with the Bob Schulz Frisco Jazz Band, the Hot Frogs, Golden Gate Rhythm Machine, and others.
Jack Convery won the 1973 United Artists "Best Banjoist of Northern California" contest, having performed and worked with such music legends as Bing Crosby and Perry Como. Jack was band director of the San Francisco 49ers band (starting in 1987), and he has been
hailed as "the best banjoist in the NFL." A singer and guitarist, his repertoire of lively material includes timeless jazz classics, novelty show stoppers, as well as country, pop, and bluegrass standards arranged for the banjo.
Jack has worked with legendary entertainers such as Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Arthur Godfrey, Willie Nelson, The Temptations, and many more. Born in 1954 in Witchita, KS, Jack spent his childhood in Fresno, CA, learning the banjo at age 12. In 2007, Jack started the "Banjo Snow Train," and in 2009, started the Summer Jazz Banjo Festival. Jack has numerous CDs to his credit, and in addition to his work with Cell Block 7, he performs at banjo and jazz festivals, city concerts, and at venues in Northern California.
Coleman Sholl is a very experienced, fine professional percussionist who joined Cell Block 7 in mid-2007.
He is a music educator in Lodi public schools, and is also the full-time tympanist in the Stockton Symphony Orchestra - a position which he has held for over twenty years! His expertise and driving rhythmic sense has added much to the sound of the Cell Block 7 Jazz Band.
Bob Sakoi started his musical career playing in the Dixieland band at the Great America theme park, later working his way through college playing Latin music in clubs and on the radio. He has studied trumpet with Bobby Shew, and Claude Gordon — two of the best in the world!
In 1977, he moved to Las Vegas and performed with headliners including Tony Bennett and Sammy Davis, Jr., The Cab Calloway Show, as well as with Little Anthony and The Imperials in Reno.
After an 18-year "retirement" from professional music, Bob became involved in the Northern California traditional Jazz scene working with many local groups, like Jass City, The Boondockers, Igor's Jazz Cowboys, 10th Avenue, Catsnjammer Jazz Band, Fulton Street Jazz Band, and Cell Block 7.
Another multi-talented musician, Pete Main is borrowed from the great Devil Mountain Jazz Band. He, too, is a retired music educator, and taught at the Navy Music School, as well as playing in the Santa Clara Philharmonic Orchestra and performing in a Stockton Renaissance Music Group for many years.
In his retirement Pete loves to goes fishing and also spends his time at the duck hunting club - hence the duck call permanently hanging round his neck. He also plays regularly with Tom Barnebey's Beyond Salvation & Ted Shafer's Jelly Roll Jazz Band.
Tom Downs has a very solid grounding in tuba playing in all styles: nine years with a military band, and being a veteran of Emperor Norton, South Bay Seven and Black Diamond Jazz Bands. He has actually been a tuba player since the early '50s, when he took up the instrument in San Leandro (CA) where he played in school, church and various youth bands. From 1959 to 1968 Tom played in a military concert band in Alameda (CA), during which time he managed to play with both the South Bay Seven Dixieland Jazz Band (1962–1980) and the Emperor Norton Jazz Band (1962–1965). In 1982, Tom took on the tuba chair of the Black Diamond Jazz Band, staying with them until 1991 and joining the Cell Block Seven Jazz Band in 1992. He retired from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory after spending 26 years there as an Electronics Coordinator in various accelerator and fusion programs.
Tom says that, "For the last two years, I've been devoting a lot of my time, with my wife Virginia, developing our e-Commerce website, Natural Pet Source, which offers carefully selected natural, organic dog and cat products to help keep your pets as happy, healthy, and
comfortable as they deserve to be."
In his spare time he enjoys his hobbies of auto repair / restoration and home improvement work - with his other major interests being brew pubbing and traveling around the back roads of the U.S.
Daryl Hosick is a retired satellite engineer, and a consummate technician on the keyboard. As a youngster, Daryl was fascinated by a very large collection of antique Nickelodeons at Sutro's Baths on the beach in San Francisco. These fabulous machines could
mechanically play anything from Bach to Jazz - some terrible stuff and some really good stuff - and all for 25 cents. The Ragtime Jazz churned out here apparently had a significant impact on Daryl's young impressionable mind and he spent many hours feeding in quarters to watch the wheels turn and listen to the Jazz. Later on, Daryl was sent to a ritual piano teacher, who just didn't dig the Jazz at Sutros, but he did teach Daryl how to play piano. By the age of 12, Daryl was driving his parents nuts with his endless playing of Scott Joplin's piano rags. He also frequented antique stores buying old 78 records to feed his growing addiction. In high school Daryl discovered Dixieland jazz, particularly the Firehouse Five and the San Francisco-style bands including Lu Watters and Turk Murphy. His attempts to join a Dixieland band at school came to naught though, as the other high school students were much more interested in the new sounds of Rock and Roll in the 1950s era. In college, Daryl majored in electronics engineering, but in his leisure time there found an organization known as a "Greek Social Fraternity" that had numerous music majors who were also interested in playing Dixieland jazz. The jazz flowed forth through the frat house nightly, and on weekends, the group would travel north to Turk Murphy's Earthquake McGoon's to learn from the pros. After college life, Daryl went off to set the world on fire as an Aerospace engineer, but it didn't take long to find and join a working Dixieland jazz band, the South Bay 7 - Daryl played piano with this group for over 25 years! Eventually, Daryl joined up with the Cell Block 7 Jazz Band and is now known as the band nerd. Besides playing great piano, he keeps the band supplied with pencils from his pocket protector and provides techno geek guidance on stuff like running audio recorders. Daryl presently lives in the mountains outside Santa Cruz, CA (a true artist's colony) with his wife, daughter, grandson and son. His son is a software engineer who also carries pencils in his pocket protector and composes 'techno-music' (terrible stuff says Daryl).