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Bios

Dennis Hubert

Band Leader, Guitar and Vocals

Dennis Hubert has played professionally in the Napa Valley - Santa Rosa area for more than thirty-five years. He has a wide vocal range and enjoys singing all types of music.


Al Cognata

Trumpet and Fluegelhorn

Born in and a long time resident of San Francisco, Al Cognata began playing trumpet in 1945 and played trumpet in the school bands and later professionally in San Francisco.

He earned a BA from San Francisco State University in Music and played with several well known Bay Area Band leaders such as: Del Courtney, Chic Ochoa, Alvino Rey, George De Quattro, Juan Gallegos, Henry Busse, Phil Bovero and the 49er Band.

After moving to Sonoma County, he has played with Bob Lucas, Hal Blain, Andre Kater, George Van Epps, Michael Boliver, Wayne De la Cruz, Dan Shea, Terry Henry, Verell Anders, George Vicente, Ed Kelly and "Flip" Nunez.


Dick Shuster

Tenor Sax, Soprano Sax, Clarinet

A Pennsylvania native, Dick started playing clarinet in 1949 and began his professional playing in 1952 playing tenor sax at age 16 with a quartet appearing in several resorts in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.

At age 18, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy's music program and attended the Navy School of Music in Washington D.C. After one year at school he spent the last three years of his enlistment in San Diego.

While attending San Francisco State University, he played with the Del Courtney, Anson Weeks and Ray Hackett orchestras backing well known entertainers such as Milton Berle, Bob Hope, Jack Jones, and Mel Torme. He moved to Calistoga in 1970 and became music director for the Calistoga school district where he served for 27 years.

Since moving to Calistoga, Dick has played in several local bands and was leader of his own jazz quartet playing at the Mt. View Hotel on Sundays in the 1980s. He has been playing with and doing most of the arranging for Swing 7 since its inception in 1996.


Gene Isaeff

Trombone, Baritone, Piano

Gene has been playing and conducting for over fifty years with various well known bands and orchestras. The impressive list goes like this:

Golden Gate Thearer Orchestra (San Francisco), Henry Kiing Orchestra (2 years), Henry Busse Orchestra (2 years), Ralph Martirie Orchestra (2 years), Reno, Nevada, Show Orchestras: (Harold's Club, Harrah's Riverside Hotel) Harrah's Lake Tahoe (12 years), Brian Farnon Orchestra, minneapolis Symphony, Antal Dorati, Conductor, attended Juilliard School of Music, N.Y., Chicago Musical College, University of Nevada Jazz Band for fifteen years. He has also played with the "Natural Gas Jazz Band for three years and the Jazz Salvation Company for three years.


Soren Bloch

Drums

Born in Copenhagen, Denmark, and began playing the drums at age 15 after attending a Louis Armstrong All Stars concert there. Immigrated to the U.S. seven years later and moved to the Bay Area after a short stint in Hollywood. he played for three years with several bands on San Francisco based cruise ships and then the Big Jets world wide. Napa Valley has been home since 1980, playing between flights with bands in ports-of-call and locally, since 2001 mainly with Swing Seven. The Big Jets are now little ones, allowing for a home life with musical commitments as well as tending to grape growing and wine making.


Christopher Amberger

Bass

His musical education consists of Merritt College in Oakland, Berklee College in Boston, Cowling Institute in England, and Cal State, Los Angeles.

Chris has made several tours around the United States and Europe with The George Shearing Quintet and Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and has also made tours with Rosemary Clooney in South America, to mention just a few.

He has worked with Helen Forrest, Vaughn Monroe, Bobby McFerrin, Helen O'Connell, Dionne Warwick, Nancy Wilson, Maria Muldaur, Jimmy Witherspoon, Red Garland, Stan Kenton, Art Pepper, Joe Henderson, Dexter Gordon, Sonny Stitt, Donald Byrd, Freddie Hubbard, Kenny Dorham, Herb Ellis, and many other outstanding performers.

Some of the musicians that Chris has recorded with include:

Red Garland, Art Blakey, Noel Jewkes, and Rosemary Clooney. He has also performed with the Buffalo Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, and the Milwaukee Symphony.

His credits go on and on. Needless to say, Chris Amberger is a great bass player.


Graham Bruce

Piano and Bass

With the music genes of his father, a semi-pro pianist, Graham played drums as a child ( in Maine) until he inherited his moms fathers trumpet. Through various embouchure difficulties he kept with it through Berklee and several breakthrough experiences: playing with giants like George Coleman, Kurt Lightsy, and (on a couple S.F. gigs) Joe Henderson; seven nights a week with Jules Broussard; and fronting his own Bay Area bands- BOPTEK, OCTAGON, and PALINDROME (with Chris Amberger).

Graham picked up the acoustic bass in 1990 and was quickly doubling on that. As a writer/arranger, Graham gradually developed his keyboard abilities enough to allow his acceptance into SWING 7 as pianist.

With his collection of arrangements and tunes (only 832 of which appear in his book THINK OF ONE), Graham plans to contribute regularly to the SWING 7 library.


Russell Van Dewark

Piano/Arranger

A native of Sacramento began studying jazz piano at the age of fourteen with Carl Steppan and later with Jerry Murphy. Began playing piano professionally at 18 with various combos featuring society swing and Latin music in combos and big bands. Earned a BA in Music at Sacramento State University and served as percussionist with Sacramento Symphony and Sacramento Municipal Band for three years.

In 1962 began teaching music in the public schools at the elementary level and retired from teaching music at the college level in 1999.

Moved to the Bay Area in 1965 and played piano professionally throughout the bay area in society - swing - salsa groups. Earned a Masters in Music from San Francisco State University in Concert Band Arranging. Served as tympanist with Richmond Symphony, Pippins Pocket Opera, and Holy Names University Orchestra.

Served as director of the Contra Costa College Jazz ensemble for six years winning 1st and 2nd place trophies at the Pacific Coast Jazz Festival at U.C. Berkeley in 1972 and 1973 respectively. Directed the CCC Jazz ensemble featuring the following soloists: Joe Henderson- Tenor Sax, Bobby Bryant- Trumpet, Eddie Duran- Guitar, Herbie Steward- Soprano Sax, Frank Rhyhak- Trombone, and Bennet Friedman- Tenor Sax. Studied jazz piano with Bill Bell, Bob Soder and Wilbert Baranco and trombone with Wil Sudmeier and performed in concert a number of his trombone ensemble arrangements.

Studied jazz arranging for big band with Herb Harrison Sacramento State University, Wes Hensel and Billy Byers at National Stage Band Camp, Hank Levy at Stan Kenton Jazz Camp, and Bennet Friedman at San Francisco State University.

Earned a Certificate in Music with Kodaly Emphasis at the Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, Hungary in 1978-79 and completed a Masters Degree in Music with Kodaly Emphasis at Holy Names College-Oakland- CA in 1991.

Recently, came out of retirement to play with the Swing 7.




Jack Tatum

Baritone Sax and Vocals

Jack Tatum embarked on his professional musical career at the age of 14 as guitarist with Ted Foyle western-pop orchestra working out of Alameda, California. His interest soon changed to jazz, in its basic form of Dixieland he took up the banjo and toured with Ralph Hannen and the Dixiecats.

Playing the banjo was not enough, so he started playing both the clarinet and saxophone. At age 17 he began working at the El Ray burlesque theater as a musician. Gaining popularity he also appeared as a vocalist on the Del Courtney TV show in San Francisco.

At age 18 he joined the Air Force and became a member of the band. Recognizing his talent he was assigned to the NORAD Band where he assumed a prominent position in the Commanders Orchestra as saxophone soloist and vocalist.

During, before and after serving for over 20 years in the Air Force, Jack has performed with such musical greats as Mel Torme, the Ames Brothers, Linda Darnell, the Mary Kay Trio and Steve Lawrence. He's played with many of the big bands such as Jimmy Dorsey, Les Elgart, Gene Krupa, Alvino Ray and Russ Morgan. His vocal talents have been heard at Carnegie Hall, the Hollywood Bowl and on the Johnny Carson Tonight Show. During a tour in Alabama he worked as the featured soloist in Montgomery at the famed Keyhole Club.

Jack still performs regularly in small groups following his never ending pursuit of music and now flying. At his Clearlake, California residence he takes to the sky weekly (at least his planes do since Jack stays on the ground flying his radio controlled models).