High Sierra Jazz Band
The High Sierra Jazz Band is the host band for Jazzaffair for the thirty-nineth year. The Band was formed in Three Rivers in late 1976, succeeding its predecessor, The Jazzberry Jam Band. Out of that Band, Earl McKee, Sousaphone and vocalist, Charlie Castro, drummer, Bruce Huddleston, piano, the late Vic Kimsey, trombone, Al Smith, cornet, formed the High Sierra Jazz Band; Stan Huddleston, banjo, joined the group to complete this original six-man ensemble. Come October of this year, the Band will celebrate its fortieth birthday; The Present day front line of cornet, trombone and reeds is made up of Marc Caparone, Howard Miyata and our leader, Pieter Meijers.
To give a brief explanation of the history of The High Sierra Jazz Band would be like trying to explain the success of Tony Bennett in one hundred words or less. From the very beginning, the Band "hit the road running" and became a favorite at every jazz club meeting, ocean cruise, river cruise, land tours and concerts in world class auditoriums around the world. The only continent the Band never played was Africa.
Its overall style has been described as Dixieland or Traditional Jazz with an emphasis on "west coast style", mimicking, at times, the great Turk Murphy, Lou Waters and Bob Scobey. An American Rag reader's poll recently pronounced the High Sierra Jazz Band the second most popular traditional band ever, just behind the Turk Murphy Band and ahead of the Duke Ellington Orchestra.