Thursday, September 19, 2013 / 10:51 AM
Once a month, Kirkwood Station Brewing Company is filled with the sounds of Count Basie, Woody Herman and Thad Jones, as the Dave Dickey Big Band (DDBB) takes the stage in its main dining area. The DDBB plays from 6–9 p.m. on the fourth Sunday of each month and on September 22, trumpet player Roger Ingram will join the band.
Roger Ingram is one of the most prolific trumpet players of his time; he went on the road with Louie Bellson in the summer of 1974 while still in high school. He spent 36 years touring as a sideman for acts like Tom Jones, Ray Charles and Harry Connick Jr., all while performing on Broadway and recording for film, television, commercials and albums. He retired from the road in February of 2010 after 20 years as the lead trumpet for Connick’s band.
Ingram now makes his living not only through his playing, but also through teaching, and writing, as well as other musical endeavors, and he finds that to be a much nicer arrangement. “Now my ‘on the road’ time consists of my own tours,” Ingram says. “After the concert, I will be staying in St Louis an extra day to present clinics and lessons at Ritenour High school and Jefferson College. In October, I’ll be touring parts of Canada and the upper East Coast, giving masterclasses and lessons with a few major performances in Maine, Connecticut, and Delaware.”
This is Ingram’s second appearance with DDBB, and he is glad to be returning to St. Louis. “I always enjoy coming to St Louis,” Ingram says. “I'm looking forward to my performance with the Dave Dickey Big Band, as well as presenting clinics and giving private lessons to the high school and college students the next day. Dave Dickey’s band is a fine group of musicians, and it's great to be able to perform in a professional big band setting. The last time I came down I got to see a lot of old friends and there was a good time had by all.”
Dave Dickey is currently the Director of Bands at St. Charles community College and teaches Jazz Trombone at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. He first formed DDBB in Champaign, Illinois in 2007 while working on his doctorate. He moved to St. Louis in the summer of 2010, and by January of 2012, he had reformed the band.
“I just wanted to have a really good-sounding big band, and then also have a band that high school kids could check out,” Dickey says. During the intermission of each performance, a Missouri school band will perform for the DDBB audience. Previously, the intermission band has always been a local high school, but for September’s performance, The University of Missouri Concert Jazz Band will be performing and celebrating the release of their latest CD, Home. “I wanted to give the kids the chance to play,” Dickey says. “It also gives them a chance to play in front of their parents and the professors in my band. It’s also kind of a cool thing for the guys in my band. It’s kind of a cool recruiting tool for them to see who some of the good young players are.
“Also, where I grew up in Des Moines, Iowa, we had the Des Moines Big Band, lead by Jim Oates, who used to play trumpet for Stan Kenton,” Dickey continues. “That was a big part of my education growing up in Des Moines, going every Monday night to see the Des Moines Big Band play. So, it’s a lot of fun for me to see the kids come listen to the guys in my band.”
Due to budgeting, DDBB doesn’t often bring in guest artists, but it’s something they would like to do more of, and they’re glad to have Ingram returning. “I’ve been a big fan of his playing for years,” says Dickey. “I think the very first recordings I heard of him was when I was in high school, on Woody’s 50th anniversary. You’d hear him on lead trumpet, and then I’d listen a lot to Harry Connick Jr. recordings, of course, and you hear him a lot more on Harry’s recordings. I also knew that he used to come to St. Louis to help out at UMSL, and that made me even more excited about him possibly sitting in with my band, so it’s just kind of worked out.”
As a teacher himself, Ingram is glad to be a part of a performance that is so aware of budding musicians. “I picked up the trumpet because I love music and I love playing it,” Ingram says. “Being a musician has set me on a life-long journey. I never think about being influential. Every time I play, I do the best job that I can. If it's a positive experience for the other musicians and the audience, I'm glad. The goal of any performer should be to touch the souls of the listener. Music is a form of communication. I always try to communicate positively. It's just another form of teaching by example, I suppose.”
Kirkwood Station Brewing Company is located at 105 E. Jefferson. For more information, go to davedickeybigband.net.
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