MARCH 6 - 8, 2015
At the Portola Hotel & Spa and Monterey Conference Center
Welcome to Monterey Bay, where we’ve been presenting the best in early jazz, big band, swing, ragtime, blues, zydeco and gypsy jazz for 35 years!
Big Mama Sue Quintet
with Jim Buchmann
Big Mama Sue Kroninger, the warbling washboard thumper and Musician of the Year in 2005, also sings vintage blues and novelty tunes along with red-hot mama specialties. She is known for planning lively sets that feature her fabulous band members and lots of audience interaction.
Joining Sue is Goofy Gary Ryan, Musician of the Year 2006, with his blazing banjo and usual sillies. The esteemed leader of Ryan’s Raiders, and a master at banjo hijinks, he’s well known to Monterey audiences for his many years at the notorious Warehouse on Cannery Row.
Big Mama Sue’s group wouldn’t be complete without Mr. Excitement, Chris Calabrese, on piano. Chris earned his moniker "Mr. Excitement" by always being the most vibrantly exciting person on the bandstand at all times. Well-seasoned after three tours of duty at Disney Japan (on the bicycle piano on Main Street) he plays an exciting blend of blistering rag and stride solos, as well as soulfully beautiful ballads.
Rounding out the qroup with his big round sound, solid swing, and zany humor is Westy Westenhofer, who is a veteran of too many stellar bands to list, a Disney alumnus, and on everybody's short list of the finest bass/sousaphone players on the circuit.
Adding to the lineup once again is Jim Buchmann on reeds, commonly known as "Gentleman Jim" (for accurate reasons). Jim has appeared in previous years with Big Mama Sue's various groups — fans will love the close mind-meld work he does with Chris Calabrese. He is renowned for his work with, among many others, the Black Dogs, the Reynolds Brothers Rhythm Rascals and Titan Hot Seven.
Sue Kroninger – leader, washboard, vocals
Chris Calabrese – piano
Gary Ryan – banjo
Lee "Westy" Westenhofer – sousaphone, vocals
Jim Buchmann – reeds