Riff Raff, jazz and vintage swing band is Southern California's hot acoustic swing quintet, performing a lively mix of vintage (30s and 40s) jazz and swing tunes. Swingin' Strings showcases the band's unique acoustic sound and contains plenty of variety and crowd-pleasing material. If you collect Hot Club swing and gypsy jazz Reinhardt/Grappelli style - this Riff Raff jazz CD belongs in your collection. The wonderful harmonica stylings of Bill McHolm add a bluesy dimension to this nostalgic, toe-tappin' blend of vocals and jazzy instrumentals. The lovely, soulful jazz vocalist on Summertime is Sascha Nichols. Swingin' Strings is an acoustic recording with a warm tone from start to finish and a nostalgic 'sweet and lowdown' sound. This is the perfect CD to create an uplifting party ambiance. John Mapson, Bill McHolm, Eric Nichols and Abby Kahn met while attending a guitar building class in Southern California and now have been giging for almost a decade. The musicians share an affinity for acoustic string music. In 1999 these luthiers teamed up with impovisational jazz violinist, Steve Marsh - the Riff Raff band was established. Fourth generation native Californian, John Mapson's interest in music dates back to the early sixties when he was exposed to the music of his four older siblings. 'The house was filled with records from big band to folk, as well as jazz, blues, and rock n' roll.' John began trying to figure out how to duplicate the sounds he heard on records, and began to play the guitar by ear. By the early eighties, John was gigging in bands that played everything from rockabilly to punk- rock, as well as the blues. John grew tired of the electric guitar scene in the 90s, and found himself delving into the acoustic guitar roots of the blues. While attending a guitar building class, he met musicians that shared his affinity for the rich and complex acoustic guitar sound. Soon, these musicians began gigging together. John started to discover his love of acoustic swing rhythm guitar By the time he completed his first hand-carved archtop jazz guitar, John was fully immersed in the hot jazz scene that was quickly developing in Southern California. This year finds John continuing to study the music of the great jazz guitarists, as well as building guitars - an essential part of his love for jazz and swing. A multi-talented musician, Bill McHolm is an excellent vocalist and harmonica player. He has always been fascinated with simple musical instruments he could teach himself to play. Starting at age seven with his first instrument, (a treasured jaw harp, which he still has and plays), Bill went on to spoons, washboard, jug, washtub bass, and then to his ever present harmonica. Barbershop harmony, with it's unaccompanied singing, has played a prominent part in his musical life. Bill sang for a decade with the Scrap Iron Four and from there got involved with jug band music, playing in such elite groups as the Sophisticats and years later Second Hand Smoke. Bill loves to play blues, jazz, folk and most anything in between. When not performing with Riff Raff, he may be found sitting in with Jim Long and Mary's hot band, the First Class Band, or playing wash tub with Gail Chasin, one of his favorite female singers, or joining a group Busking On The Street. His motto is 'If it ain't fun, it ain't music.' Renowned luthier (guitar maker) Eric Nichols plays six-string, resophonic, and lap-steel guitars. Eric has been an instrumentalist/vocalist in an assortment of groups that go back to his days in junior high school, through high school and college. After getting a job, raising a family and going back to finish college he started playing in musical groups again, including The Metropolitan String Band, (an acoustic swing group), and until recently, Secondhand Smoke. Steve Marsh grew up in the Chicago area. He has been playing violin since the age of nine. After moving to California in the mid-sixties. Steve taught himself how to play the guitar and then the mandolin. He played lead electric guitar in a rock group in high school. During his college years as an art student at UC Santa Barbara became interested in bluegrass, blues, and bebop jazz. In 1980 Steve purchased his signature Barcus-Berry electric blue violin. Steve has been performing thoughout the Orange County area on a regular basis for the past ten years and has played with a variety of bands. Prior to forming Riff Raff with Eric and John, Steve was the fiddler in a country band and a mandolin player in a folk-rock group. Local venues Steve has performed at include, Steamers Cafe in Fullerton, CA, the Coach House, The world famous Crazy Horse Saloon and Restaurant . Formerly with The Metropolitan String Band, Abby now plays upright bass for Riff Raff. Abby Kahn was born in South Africa and came to the USA in 1986 at age 28. He picked up the guitar at age 22 and has performed on the upright bass for the past 5 years. When the Metropolitan String Band disbanded Abby joined up with his guitarist friends, and Riff Raff was born. 'The rest is history.' Swingin' Strings was professionally recorded in Glendale, California in 2002 It was digitally mixed and mastered by Wayne Cook. Arranged and Produced by Wayne Cook and the Riff Raff vintage swing quintet. Total running time is just over 45 minutes. We would like to thank radio personality, Isabelle Alonso of Paris for playing Riff Raff's version of Sweet Georgia Brown thoughout Europe on Radio Station Euro #1 ! Thanks for reading-- now enjoy the music of Riff Raff on Swingin' Strings, Volume 1.