Way Down Yonder in New Orleans
With a focus on Dixieland, swing, and traditional jazz, The Jazz Express was founded in April of 1982. Since it's beginnings, The Jazz Express has played many weddings, anniversaries, reunions, dances, parties, concerts, arts and jazz festivals in the New England area and beyond. They have played in such places as the Discover Jazz Festival of Burlington, VT, the Colonial Theatre of Keene, NH and the Big E, Eastern States Exposition, New England's Great State Fair of W. Springfield, MA. The band draws it's inspiration from some of the all-time great jazz legends including Bix Beiderbecke, Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, who were some of the great founders of improvisation and style. The Jazz Express Pat Franklin, Manager Drums At four years old, Pat Franklin began playing the drums while listening to records. With his brothers, Mike and John, Pat began playing professionally while still in high school with their own Dixieland jazz band. He won the Instrumentalist of the Year Award in High School. He played two years with the Keene State College Jazz Ensemble. Pat had the opportunity to sit in with various bands at several traditional jazz festivals including concerts at the Pines Hotel in South Fallsburg, NY with the New Black Eagle Jazz Band, Blue Chip Jazz Band and Climax Jazz Band. Pat also enjoyed sitting in with The Big Easy Jazz Band in New Orleans, LA. Mike Franklin, Leader Cornet, trumpet, flugelhorn and vocals Mike Franklin began playing the cornet when he was ten years old. In high school, he won the Louis Armstrong Jazz Award. He played two years with the Keene State College Jazz Ensemble. He has sat in with the Dukes of Dixieland and the Bayou Jazz Band in New Orleans, LA, the Emperors of Jazz in Minneapolis, MN, Blue Chip Jazz Band, Climax Jazz Band and the New Black Eagle Jazz Band at the Pines Hotel in South Fallsburg, NY. Dick Hurlburt Clarinet, saxophone, and vocals Seasoned jazz player, Dick Hurlburt brings years of experience to The Jazz Express. Dick opened for Louis Armstrong and has played with such greats as Lionel Hampton, Bobby Hackett, Billy Butterfield, George Wettling, Jimmy McPartland, Tony Spargo (who was the drummer of the Original Dixieland Band) and many others. He has played at New York City jazz clubs of such well known fame as Eddie Condon's, Nick's in The Village, and Jimmy Ryan's. He also played on CBS TV and radio on the Arthur Godfrey show. Dick plays a variety of instruments including, clarinet, tenor sax, alto sax, soprano sax, baritone sax, and flute. Gene Clark Piano At the piano, Gene Clark provides that ragtime, swing feel with incredible ease! Gene was an accompanist for a young Frank Sinatra. He played during the big band era for Lester Lanin and Meyer Davis units in the North New Jersey area. Gene also did a stint with the Jack Teagarden band while his wife was the vocalist. As a radio broadcasting engineer and piano player in the New York/ New Jersey area, Gene saw his musical career from both sides of the microphone. He was once acclaimed by DOWNBEAT magazine as outstanding radio dance remote engineer. His involvement in the production and mixing of The Jazz Express, Way Down Yonder in New Orleans, recording is greatly appreciated. Whitney Cronin String Bass Leader and bass player of his own swing band, Whitney Cronin began his professional career right out of high school, touring the country. Arranger and bass player for the Buddy Morrow Band, Whitney toured the United States and beyond. Whitney also taught music and one of his students went on to arrange music for the Duke Ellington Band. Whitney played with countless greats, including Dizzy Gillespie, Billy Butterfield, Claude Thornhill, Tex Beneke, Warren Corington, Tommy Tucker, Tony Pastor, Tony Bennett, Anita Bryant, The Supremes, Jack Jones, Joni James, Hi-Jo's, Mills Brothers and many others. He has recorded with RCA Victor Records and Capitol Records.