About the Musicians
Guerry has been a professional piano player for more than fifty years. He plays ragtime, Dixieland jazz, the old standards, and humorous songs. He and his wife Jana play Oktoberfest music the tenth month of every year. Guerry is a talented musician. He is the piano player for the Naples Dixieland Jazz Band.
Jana is a tuba player with Sounds Of Yesteryear. She has played with Dooly’s Dixie Five, The Ron Bill Show, Palm City Jazz, and subs in occasionally at Erin’s Isle, Naples Dixieland Jazz Band and The Jazzaster’s. She has been a street musician in New Orleans, played at the Sarasota Jazz Festival and played extended past engagements at The Fun cruise,The Gas Light, The Witch’s Brew, The Jacaranda, Ballard’s Inn Block Island, Cypress Garden’s and performed Civil War reenactment and theme events. She also performs Oktoberfest. She is a retired registered nurse and worked for NCH.
Mike Currao played and taught banjo, guitar, ukulele and mandolin. His musical career of 60 years includes theater, recordings, radio, TV, concerts and philharmonic performances. In September 2014 Mike was inducted into the American Banjo Hall of Fame in OKC. He was the lead player for the Gulf Coast Banjo Society in Venice FL. He also performed regularly with the Naples Jazz Masters, the Marco Island Strummers, the Memory Makers big band and dixieland combos, and many other ensembles and theater groups throughout Southwest Florida. He actively taught tenor banjo via the Internet using Skype. To learn more about Mike, and to enjoy sound and video bytes, please visit his website at www.flbanjo.com. It is with a deep sadness that we advise you of Mike Currao’s passing on February 7th, 2022. We will miss his warm friendship and his great musicianship.
In about 1950, at the age of 15, Wes began to develop an interest in playing the banjo, influenced no doubt by hearing his father play a beautifully decorated Weyman banjo that he had played in the Greymont Garden Orchestra in Berlin, Germany, in the late 1920’s. Wes learned the rudiments of playing tenor banjo from his father, and by his second year in college, he knew enough to play in a square dance band at the University of Maine, the same school where his father had first heard his classmate Rudy Vallee perform. After many years of amateur playing at neighborhood parties, Wes formed a banjo band in Portland, Maine. He decided to switch to plectrum banjo and took lessons for a year and a half from one of Maine’s best banjo players, Don Nichols. He played in various Dixieland bands in the State of Maine for 20 years, formed his second band (the Penobscot Banjo Company) in Bangor, Maine, then moved to Florida where in 1999 he organized his third band, the Marco Island Strummers. He has been the Director of the Marco Island Strummers since 1999. He is a member of the Naples Dixieland Jazz Band and the Naples Jazzmasters.
Marc is a Retired Civil Engineer/Builder from Mount Kisco, NY now living in Naples. He took piano and music theory lessons as a young boy and determined he could only play one note at a time. He then discovered Benny Goodman and at age eleven took up the clarinet. His father, who was a dentist, noticed that the clarinet was pushing his front teeth forward. In a successful attempt to avoid orthodontia, his father told him to switch to trumpet which he did at age thirteen.
At Lawrence High School Marc played trumpet in the marching band, symphonic band and the Top Hats, a four piece combo. At Cornell University Marc played in the Big Red Marching Band, the Pep Band and the Symphonic Band as well as a Dixieland Band. He is a member of the Naples Jazzmasters, Marco Island Strummers, Naples Swing Band, The Entertainers Dance Band, and the Flamingo All Stars. He plays all the old jazz standards & swing tunes from the 30’s – 40’s and loves to play Dixieland. He is Vice President and Treasurer of the Naples Jazz Society, Inc.
Jim is the leader of our bands. The extent of his devotion and effort to make our kind of music in Naples is unequaled by anyone else. Jim is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. He served with the United States Air Force. He is a retired dentist, expert musician on tuba, trombone, piano and harmonica and Civil War history lecturer. Simply put, Jim makes the music happen here in Naples. He was the President of the Naples Jazz Society, Inc. until April 2021.
During his college years at the University of Illinois, Jim played in a Hot Dixieland Band on RUSH Street, in downtown Chicago, at Bourbon Street and in the Music Room of Mr. Kelly’s. He also played in a “classic “1960’s rock and roll Band that toured and recorded rock and roll records. After college he moved to St. Louis and played with some of the top Dixieland Bands of the time in the Music Room of the Robert E Lee Riverboat and under the St. Louis Arch. He participated in the creation and management of the Mississippi River Festival at Southern Illinois University. Jim moved to Naples in 2000 and became the drummer for the Naples Dixieland Jazz Band.
Lois grew up in North Dakota where at age 15, she entertained weekly at the local U.S. Air Force Base in the Officers’ Club and NCO Clubs. Throughout high school and college, she sang with a jazz band and entertained regularly in a popular supper club. After moving to Chicago in 1965 she worked in a law office during the day while entertaining periodically in the evenings at The Italian Village, a well-known Chicago restaurant, as well as at private parties in the Hilton and Blackstone Hotels, and other venues.
In 1972, Lois moved to Minneapolis where she spent the next 22 years working for a large law firm, retiring as the Director of Administration in 1994, when she and husband Terry started spending half the year in Naples. They became Florida residents in 2001. Shortly thereafter she started playing piano and singing with a few other local musicians just for fun. Then, in 2016, she was asked to sub for another musician and her professional music career was essentially reborn. She currently entertains regularly at many Naples venues. She is the President and Secretary of the Naples Jazz Society.
John learned Piano as a boy. He grew up in Idaho listening to hymns, Gospel music and old favorites. His aspirations and talents were put on hold through an active business career as an electrical contractor. When he retired, he joined the Marco Island Strummers and his talent and aspirations were finally met. John plays with several musical groups in Southwest Florida focusing primarily on Dixieland Jazz and Ragtime. With his wife Jacki he founded “The Keystones” which provides fun time sing-a-longs for senior citizens living in assisted living facilities.
Dave began to play the clarinet at age 14. His neighbor in Manchester, New Hampshire, a well-known musician, had convinced him to take up the clarinet. While Dave was in high school, he played the clarinet with a professional concert and marching band in Manchester. Also, while in college, and in law school he played clarinet and saxophone in dance bands and concert bands and he played regularly with the 39th Army band in New Hampshire.
While in his second year of law school, he transferred from the Army Band to the New Hampshire Air National Guard in the legal office where he became a Judge Advocate General officer for the Air Force assigned to the New Hampshire Air National Guard.
He continued to actively practice law primarily in New Hampshire for a total of 48 years while maintaining various military positions in active and mostly inactive duty capacities until his retirement from the military in 1996.
Over the years he continued to play music mostly with several Dixieland style bands in New Hampshire and in the Naples Florida area.
In 2011 he was honored by the New Hampshire bar Association with the designation of Honorary member for the rest of his life. In the interview for the NH Bar Journal at the time of receiving the above honor he told of his intent to move permanently to Florida and still go to court every day, “but this time it is the tennis court” ….and that he intended to continue playing in Dixieland bands “for as long as I can.” Now at 85 years of age he continues to play music in mostly Dixieland style bands in the Naples area.
Marty’s participation in the Marching Band, Concert Band and “straight-ahead” Jazz combo at the University of Wisconsin-Madison convinced Marty that the trumpet was to be an important part of his life. When not playing trumpet, Marty operated a printing company. He continued playing his trumpet by performing with national headliners including Jay Leno, Isaac Hayes, Johnny Mathis, Maureen McGovern, Glen Campbell and Lou Rawls. Marty played with the Beale Street Jazz Band every Friday night for ten years at the Red Mill in Brookfield, Wisconsin. World class clarinetist Chuck Hedges was part of the group. During those years he was also a member of the Basin Street Saloon Band which performed at the Sacramento Jazz Festival and other International Jazz Festivals. Now in Naples, Marty was a member of the Naples Jazz Orchestra and is presently playing trumpet with the Naples Dixieland Jazz Band and the Naples Swing Band.
Bob started on the trumpet in the 4th grade, continuing to play in the school band and orchestra and then in the U.S.Army Band. Today he brings a wonderful tone tempered by years of experience and knowledge not only to the Naples Dixieland Jazz Band but also to The New Liberty Jazz Band and to many other groups in the Boston area playing everything from classical to swing as well as traditional jazz. Bob has an MA in education. He brought his 15 years as a skilled Precision Toolmaker/Machinist as well as his teaching abilities to Shawsheen Regional Vocational High School in Massachusetts from which he recently retired. He resides in Billerica, Mass and Naples, Florida. .
Jean often delights audiences with what could be termed an overture from the Broadway show Cabaret ending the overture with the song “Cabaret” itself. Before and after her association with Cabaret on the Broadway stage with Joel Gray, she studied piano under Hall Overton at a studio known as “The Loft” on 6th Ave in New York City. During the years in New York she mingled with many piano and jazz music greats like Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, and Dave McKenna as the The Loft became the place where jazz musicians met regularly and played late into the night, swapping ideas and developing jazz styles. Following these years of training she had regular jobs playing at prestigious hotels like the Waldorf Astoria and later eleven years at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Michigan. Jean is a skilled soloist and accompanist. It is no wonder that she was in such demand here in Naples. Jean has recently relocated to her home state of California to be close to family.
Clarence “Bud” Pike
When he was nine years old, his father brought home a clarinet for him and a trumpet for his older brother. This was the beginning of his love of music. He played through elementary, middle and high school.
Upon graduation from high school Bud enlisted in the U. S. Air Force where he received comprehensive training in electronic technology.
After serving four years in the military Bud was offered a position in the Field Engineering division of IBM corporation. He made a decision then, that this would be the best career choice for him. This proved to be a good decision as he remained with IBM until retirement. Throughout his career with IBM he remained active in music as an avocation.
Bud and his family moved more than fourteen times during this period, East coast to West coast and spots in between. This kaleidoscope of venues resulted in well rounded musical experiences. He played with big bands, small bands, jazz bands , even a polka band in Minnesota and a mariachi
band in Kansas. While teaching at the IBM Education Center at Rochester, Minn. He played with the Rochester Concert Band under Harold Cooke. He played in pit bands for “Kiss Me Kate”; “The Music Man”; “ Holliday On Ice” and backed up the Chordettes. Bud has had no formal music education. Just listen to him play.
Renald is a professional trumpet player, arranger, and lyricist. He started his career in New Orleans, his home town, toured with many groups including Guitar Slim, Ivory Joe Hunter, and did studio work with Little Richard and other artists. He also was an area representative for Atlantic Records.
He joined the “new” Ray Charles Band in 1954 and was Ray’s first Band Leader and Solo Trumpet. The group toured all over the South and West, and he and Ray wrote “I Got a Woman” sitting in the back seat of the car on the way to a gig. It became Ray’s first Number One hit and put him on the map. Renald has many other tunes that have been recorded by Joe Turner, Guitar Slim, Louis Prima, the Beatles, Elvis Presley, the Rolling Stones, Ricky Nelson, and other artists around the world. Of course, he was delighted when Kanye West used his tune, “I Got A Woman” as the basis for his hit “Gold Digger”, which was number one in the world for sixteen weeks, and at the top of several Billboard Charts, 2006-2007.
Renald has taught in private and public schools in Louisiana and New York for over 30 years and retired in 1991. He moved to Marco Island, Florida, in 2007 with his wife, Lesley, a fellow musician and French Horn player, who he met while teaching at a summer music clinic in New York.
Renald is often called upon to give talks, clinics, and concerts, and in 2012 was honored by the Berkeley School of Music in Boston for his work in Jazz.
We are saddened to report that Renald passed away on November 29, 2021 at age 96.
Corbin A. Wyant played trombone and was student conductor of the Kittanning, PA, High School Boy’s Band in the ’40s and ’50s. He was principal trombone in the Chautauqua, NY, student symphony the summer of 1953, studying with Edward Herman, principal trombone of the New York Philharmonic. Playing in dance bands in high school and college, Wyant played in the Bucknell University marching and symphonic bands.He played second trombone for the first six season of the Naples Philharmonic and for the two following seasons with the Southwest Florida Symphony in Fort Myers. He is one of three of the original members of the Naples Traditional Jazz Band still with the group and has played 38 years with the Naples Concert Band. He has performed with the Temptations, the Four Tops and the Fifth Dimension. Wyant is the retired publisher of the Naples Daily News. He and his wife of 52 years, Donna, have three children and families including six grandchildren, all living in Naples or Englewood.