Violinist RANGER SCIACCA
“At the heart of their sound is Ranger Sciacca's sweet violin playing… his sense of melody and daring improvisations”. World Rhythm Webzine, August 2007
Ranger began playing violin at the age of six. Through most of his teens, he divided his studies between fiddle tunes with renowned Seattle fiddler Stuart Williams and classical improvisation with Alice Kanack, an internationally-known violinist and author on the subject.
A chance encounter with a CD of violin jazz ignited Ranger’s interest in the playing of Joe Venuti, Stuff Smith and Stephane Grappelli. Gradually Ranger, with his dad Michael Sciacca on rhythm guitar, built a repertoire of rags, blues, and swing jazz classics, which they played often through the 1990’s at schools, dances, craft fairs and garden events. A few of Ranger’s originals were always part of the play list.
Ranger’s playing draws from all the genres he has studied, and, according to one reviewer, “features frantic staccato runs, pizzicato plucking that keeps one on the edge and an overall sense of tone that reveals many shades and moods.”
Ranger and Michael Sciacca formed the “Re-Arrangers” in 2005 when they recorded a debut CD with session musicians Korum and Jherek Biscoff on drums and bass. The current live performance band was formed a year later after Ranger and Michael returned from the Django Reinhardt festival in France and a musical pilgrimage to Belgium to play with Lollo Meier, one of the world’s top Gypsy jazz guitarists.
Bassist TODD HOUGHTON began performing, teaching, and producing music in the early 1960’s in Colorado. He has played guitar, bass and keyboards in jazz, folk, rock and C&W groups since then. He has composed for commercials, films and live theater. In addition to his private students and independent studio work, Todd has hosted an “open mic” on Bainbridge Island, Washington since 1993. Blind since the age of seven, Todd is currently an advisor to Jack Straw Production’s Blind Youth Audio Project.
Percussionist JEFFERY MOOSE has a 30 year career in both music and fine art. His collaborations and band projects include work with Joined at the Head, Heliotroupe, Dog Superior, Stiff Kitty, The Todd Houghton Band, Atoke, Zayah=2 0Emmanuel, and Sam Andrews, founder of Big Brother and the Holding Company. Born in Mexico and raised in West Africa and Arlington, Virginia, he is currently director of Jeffrey Moose Gallery in Seattle.
Mandolinist DAVE STEWART began his musical studies in Tacoma, Washington playing classical piano. Since discovering the mandolin four years ago, Dave has played ceaselessly, studying with Mike Marshall at the annual Mandolin Symposium. Dave is an accomplished illustrator and animation artist with a Seattle film and video company.
Rhythm Guitarist MICHAEL SCIACCA is Ranger's father, and has been backing up Ranger on guitar for over 10 years. Ranger and Michael are descended from Sicilian immigrants, who played jazz in New York at the start of the 20th century.