I was born May 14, 1940 at the Paradise Valley Hospital about 500 ft outside of San Diego. My earliest memories are little snippits of moments in time. I remember my best friends first birthday. He had a birthday cake sitting on the tray of his high-chair and they were just getting ready to blow out the candles. Before they could do that, he reached over and grabbed frosting with his hand and it ended up all over his face. Another memory is laying in my mother’s hands in the living room and she’s trying to sing me to sleep. It seems like maybe I was feeling ill and probably couldn’t sleep.
I lived in this small one-bedroom, craftsman style home. I suspect it was built by the original owner because there was many small things that had been done wrong. Back then, they didn’t have that many inspectors and houses were not always up to spec. My brother Gary and I, shared the back porch as our bedroom. We had bunk beds and a small chest with two small drawers and three big drawers. Mine were the bottom small drawer and the bottom big drawer. There was a small child’s desk also in the room with a little tiny chair. That was for me.

I attended John Adams elementary school. It was two blocks from our home. I remember that the first day, my mother walked with me to school, then met me after school and walked with me back home. When we got home, she said, “Now, you know how to get there, tomorrow you can walk by yourself’, which I did.
After six grades, I was promoted to Junior High School, Woodrow Wilson Junior High School. It was further away and every morning, we would meet the bus in front of the elementary school. I remember walking by the history room and they had these big maps hanging on tripods. I went in and asked if I could look at the maps. Those maps were so wonderful. I started to enjoy and learn about maps and history. They had European maps, world maps and North American maps.
I attended Hoover High School starting around 1956. After the first year, I asked if I could play in the band. The teacher ask what instrument I played and I said accordion. He said that they didn’t use accordion, so I asked what instrument they had, he said Sousaphone. He let me borrow a Sousaphone and try to play it in summer school band. By the beginning of the school year I ended up second chair out of four.

I attended San Diego State University starting in 1959 with a scholarship in mathematics. Of course, I decided to major in music. I joined the marching band because the band got pre-registration, and anyone who’s ever been in college knows how hard it is to get the classes you need for the first two years. We played for all of the football games, but unfortunately, the band was much better than the football team.
I did learn that it is possible for kickers to miss the extra point. I met a lot of great friends at college and even a bit about music. I wrote a report about Haydn were I misspelled his name throughout the report and received an ‘F’. Since I wasn’t interested in teaching, I was a performance major. After two years, they established a composition major and I switched to that. Being a music major in college is a mixed bag. There were interesting courses, and one’s that seemed to have very little purpose. I took conducting, but it didn’t really teach me conducting. Over the years, I’ve realized that no one else seems to have learned how to conduct either. I’m guessing that conducting has to be learned in real world situations.
About this time, I met Carol Wright, another music major. She was a very attractive and intelligent woman and played the french horn. We hit it off and soon we were together all the time. Her brother, Roger, became, and still is a great friend. I left school without graduating because unfortunately, they had no system for doing a composition majors senior recital so it was 5-6 years later while in the Army that I submitted my senior recital via recordings and finally received my BA in music composition.I married Carol in 1963 and we were together for five years. We lived a simple life as college students with very little social life but spent a lot of time with our next door neighbors Oscar and Janie Arias. Janie taught us how to cook Mexican food and Oscar impressed us with his piano playing. Oscar later introduced me to many of his Mexican musician friends and over time I played in many of their bands. They also invited us to go with them ‘back home’ during Christmas seasons. We were treated to wonderful homemade Mexican Christmas food, tamales, radishes and cerveza.
Back than, I often played piano on gigs. One night, I started playing the piano and it was 1/2 tone flat. Then I realized that starting two notes below ‘middle ‘C’, it was 1 whole step low. The band had no bass, so I had to play my right hand 1/2 step higher and my left hand 1 whole step higher.
Thank goodness, it was simple dance band music, but that still was the last time I ever played piano on a gig.
I played in various bands at this time, including a stint in a ‘Las Vegas’ style night club where they had girls swinging on swings above the audience, a ricky-tick piano playing during our breaks, 5 cent ham or turkey sandwiches and floor show with a comedian and a stripper.

During this time, I was drafted and joined the U.S. Army and was assigned to the Norad Band in Colorado Springs. By this time, We had a son, Kevin, born October 3, 1966. He’s now a ‘luthier’ and builds and repairs guitars. He plays with a band called Nemesis and plays piano in a club for an act called ‘shattered piano’.
At the end of 1968, I left the Army and my married life behind. After leaving the Army, I applied for unemployment but got a job playing in the band at the Mexican Village near San Diego so never received a check. I was earning about $20/week more than the unemployment but it was a good band and I made some great friends. Ohhh…… we also got free Mexican food, lol. Later, I joined the ‘Bill Green Orchestra and played in the band for quite a few years. I had a wonderful working relationship with Bill and did almost all the arranging for his band. Every year we would play at the ‘Del Mar fair’. It was an interesting job because each night we’d play a short concert then back the visiting entertainer. At one point Bill allowed me to play in the pit orchestra for the ‘San Diego Starlight’ musicals each year. I played there for 20 years.

In the middle seventies, I was hired by ‘Tuesday Productions’ to write music for TV and radio. I probably wrote 800 jingles in this time. We recorded every two week and probably put out around twelve jingles every two weeks. There’s a section in ‘Audio’ with some of the jingles I wrote. Later we started a music library called ‘The Network Music Library’ and was the producer for that company. I also hired the musicians composed and wrote tunes and brought in other writers.
Much of hat music is still being used today. After I left Tuesday Productions, I started working for ‘Roger Tallman Productions’, a national jingle producer. I have a page in this site of music that I did for this company from this time. Among other things, Roger and I created music for Cadillac called ‘Best of all, it’s a Cadillac’ and we won a ‘Cleo Award’ (the ‘Academy Awards’ of the jingle industry) for it.
I also freelanced in writing and playing with many bands and well as playing in a big band that we all called the Saturday Afternoon Jazz Band.

Around this time, I met Debbie Kyle, who’s been my friend and companion most of the time since. When I met her, I wasn’t interested in a relationship because she’s 24 years younger than I. She didn’t mind that and she can be very determined when she makes up her mind to do something. We settled into a very good life and found we had many things in common. The one small problem is that she’s about the same age as my son Kevin, so that was a bit of a problem. In 1994, she and I moved to Colorado. I decided that a good way to musically introduce myself would be to put together a musical group and play a concert. I chose a sixteen piece chamber orchestra to do a Gershwin program including ‘American in Paris’ and the ‘Rhapsody in Blue’. A concert pianist had moved close to Glenwood Springs and she agreed to play the Rhapsody. I set up a rehearsal of a group of musicians from the symphony and we were preparing for the concert and for many years, I had conducted left-handed and it wasn’t a problem when conducting jazz or recording musicians, but all of a sudden, I realized that these were symphony musicians who expect a right handed conductor, and right up front on first chair cello was the conductor of the symphony. That day, I conducted right-handed and hopefully no one realized how uncomfortable I was. Most of the concert is in the ‘AUDIO’ section of this site. I played with the Grand Junction Symphony for the next six years as well as playing with jazz groups, dixieland, brass quintets, trombone groups and formed a band called the Swing City Express. The band had great success in the western Colorado area. We played for big events, weddings and for all the local dancing clubs. I met many people in Grand Junction who became wonderful friends and still are to this day.

The beginning of 2001 we returned to San Diego, where Debbie and I separated and after a time, I found myself in a wonderful relationship with Noreen Rios for about a year. She remains a friend and I have fond memories of our time together. In San Diego, I was approached by a long time friend, Rachel Drexler, to reform my Swing City Express. We played for 3-4 years at the Viejas Casino for Sunday swing dances as well as dances and concerts. Debbie and I then renewed our relationship. During my stay in San Diego, I played with two rehearsal bands, one playing only Duke Ellington music and the other playing the music of Dave Pell. After a time, the band played more and more of my music. Both bands are still in existance and there’s examples of their music in the AUDIO section.

In 2009, we chose to return to Colorado, where we ended up in Colorado Springs, where I again formed the Swing City Express, this time strictly as a jazz band playing the music of the big bands. I’ve posted music from a live concert of this band. The players were all excellent musicians on the level of any that I’ve had the pleasure of working with. In 2011, we returned to Grand Junction, where I’m currently playing in my fourth Swing City Express, writing music and enjoying the Colorado Avalanche when I have the opportunity. I’m continuing to write assignments for the Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra on an ongoing basis.