The Rhythm Roustabouts:
The Rhythm Roustabouts are a group of musicians working with the knowledge that your Jazz should be hot and your Swing should be hard hitting. The Roustabouts are ready to rally with enough power to keep the party going all night & enough soul to sing your blues through to morning. Celebrating the pulsing Swing music of the 1920s & 30s, the fiery sound that came out of the cauldron of New Orleans and taught a nation to dance its own dances, The Roustabouts know what it means to Swing Out! Whether playing the Risqué Ribaldry of Hot Jass or the Stompin’ Swing of Harlem, The Rhythm Roustabouts are in your employ as the right band for the job.
The Rich Jazz Trio:
In a race to save Jazz from itself, the Rich Jazz Trio seeks to return entertainment and fun to the performance of early 20th-century music. Rich & Co. explore the full breadth of the American Songbook with both famous selections, as well as worthy material obscure to even the most knowledgeable aficionados. Helmed by a historian of the Jazz tradition, the RJT brings to life songs of once-popular and now forgotten artists such as Cliff “Ukulele Ike” Edwards, as well as lesser known works of legends like Thomas “Fats” Waller. Just as Jazz evolved from New Orleans brothels to the social soirees of Gatsby’s high society, the RJT’s selections can vary from the genteel to the risqué depending on venue and circumstance. While adept at playing background music for dining and drinks, the trio specialize in creating a unique experience with every show by actively engaging their audience. In doing so, the RJT present an array of timeless lyrical themes to which our modern society can easily relate as well as dance.
Rich Werden is a musician with a Master’s Degree in Jazz Studies from Indiana University. While this doesn’t really mean a whole pile of beans in the grand scheme of the universe, it does mean he gets to sound “all high falootin`” when talking about music and dance. As a vocalist and guitarist, he participates in a diverse array of music projects throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and is the leader of The Rhythm Roustabouts, which specializes in music of the 1920’s-30’s, the more electric rawkin’ Knickerbocker Blues Band, as well as the EDM influenced live-looping act know as The Midden Hessage.
First learning to dance “The Swing” in 1998, Rich got his first exposure to Balboa and Collegiate Shag in 2003. Neither dancing nor music have come easily, and it is only with focused effort and constant self-examination that he has come to advanced levels of proficiency in both arts. By working against his natural deficiencies for so long, he has earned the ability to analyze and explain the theory & mechanics of both Jazz-Music and Jazz-Dance. Rich is passionate about teaching dancers, aspiring musicians, and working with other performers on the improvisational art of Jazz. It is his hope in performing and teaching to impart to others his love and joy for all things that swing. More information, schedule, samples, and blog can be found at http://www.richjazz.com
Eric Kuehnl – Bass:
Eric Kuehnl is a bassist, composer, sound designer, and educator. Previously, Eric was an Audio Training Strategist in the Avid Education Department, and a Senior House Engineer for Sony Computer Entertainment America. He holds a Master’s degree from California Institute of the Arts, a Bachelor’s degree from Oberlin Conservatory, and studied composition at the Centre Iannis Xenakis in Paris.
Brian Lassiter – Woodwinds:
Brian Einstein Lassiter is a musical jack-of-all-trades–composer, arranger, bandleader, saxophonist, clarinetist, and flutist. Although he regularly performs in a multitude of styles, playing swing for dancers has always been a favorite of his. During his time in Michigan, Brian led Rampage Swing, a band specializing in delighting lindy hoppers. In addition to his time with The Roustabouts, Brian also leads Einsteinium Quartet, a sax quartet which plays everything from Mozart to Super Mario. You can find his website at http://belassiter.com
Emily Zisman – Female Vocals:
Emily Zisman is a singer born and raised in the San Francisco Bay area. When asked what she loves about performing, Emily replies, “I love the energy shared between an audience and a performer. When it’s there, the interplay between the listeners and performers can create an experience unique to a given space and time. It’s hard not to get carried away in the moment.” She sings of our vulnerabilities and fears, love and fight, crafting lyrics into song with her soulfully-folk voice evocative of Emmylou Harris. In addition to her role in The Roustabouts and performing throughout California as a folk-Americana singer-songwriter, Emily is also part of a violin-electronica project with her longtime collaborator Ryan Avery in the duo Chance’s End.
Ryan Avery – Violin:
Ryan Avery has been performing and playing violin for over 25 years, with musical influences that extend from blues and jazz, all the way to electronica and rock. He has taken the stage at many festivals around the United States,performing with various groups as well as part of his own electronica project Chance’s End. Ryan is thrilled to stretch out his swing and jazz muscles as part of The Rhythm Roustabouts.