The High Sierra Jazz Band and the Sierra Traditional Jazz Club are inextricably connected through the forty years of the Band’s life. The Jazz Club began in 1973 in Three Rivers as a vehicle for Traditional Jazz bands to visit and perform on designated Saturday nights. At first, one of the founders, Leuder Ohlwein, of the Sierra Traditional Jazz Club, who had moved to Three Rivers from Ireland earlier and formed a jazz band to perform at this new Jazz Club (the Celebrated Jazzberry Jam Jazz Band), which usually met once a month, provided the Jazz Club with a house band. After about three and a half years, this musician wanted to form a travelling band to go to Europe and tour. All of the remaining members of the Jazzberry Jam Band did not want to travel, each having full time jobs. The remaining musicians, all from the Three Rivers, Exeter, Visalia and Woodlake environs, decided to form a new band to perform at the monthly Sierra Traditional Jazz Club (this was in October, 1976).
This new Band was called the High Sierra Jazz Band and because of their obvious professional musicianship and willingness to perform monthly, became the new house band and has taken this responsibility seriously, thus remaining until the present. The Jazz Band, along with the Jazz Club, all through the years, have invited other bands from around the United States to share the Three Rivers Veterans Memorial stage, whether at a Monthly Club Meeting or at the Dixieland world renowned Jazzaffair in April of each year (43 years and counting).
Almost immediately upon being formed, the High Sierra Jazz Band has been invited to other jazz clubs near and far and to numerous festivals and river/ocean cruises, not to mention many land tours around the world. In the relatively small world of Dixieland Jazz, the High Sierra Jazz Band has become world renowned and ranks within the top five Dixieland Jazz Bands in the world.
Presently, Club meetings are held on the second Saturday afternoon, one o’clock until five o’clock, during the months of January, March, June, September and December. Also presently, The High Sierra Jazz Band plays as a single Band at each of these performances …….. All are invited! ( Just because it’s called a Club does not mean it’s meant for an exclusive group.)…….Come one, come all!