The Jazz Spectrum Vocal Quartet has been performing since 1993 in the Chicagoland area. All arrangements are by Bob Zaun, leader, and piano.
PEGGY CONIFF, soprano...While attending Lawrence University in Appleton, WI she received extensive coaching in musical theater. Shortly after moving to Chicagoland in 1991, she joined a community chorus. Immediately she became a featured soloist and had Bob Zaun as her arranger and accompanist. One evening, the regular Jazz Spectrum's soprano couldn't make a rehearsal and Peggy was pressed into service. The lesson here is, "don't leave your space!" That singer missed one too many rehearsals and was history and Peggy hit the Big Time, a member of the Jazz Spectrum! She is married, has one married daughter and is a surgical assistant to a local veterinarian.
STACY EIFERT, alto... Not only is she a fine singer, she's also a talented percussionist as evidenced by her drum solo on her father's ivory piano keys at age two causing irreparable damage! After that auspicious beginning she became one of only two girls ever to play snare drum in the history of the Marching Illini. No small feat, since at a mere 5', the weight of the drum and harness was more than 20% of her body weight. She's married to John, Jazz Spectrum's drummer, and is a grade school teacher. Stacy recently completed her Masters Degree in Education. They have two kids. She's also Bob Zaun's daughter.
DAN MAHER, tenor...He began organized singing at age 10. Fortunately for us, his singing voice never changed. He can hit those really high notes, so critical in creating the wide, rich sound associated with the Jazz Spectrum. Dan is an electrical engineer at Underwriters Laboratories. He was also "discovered" in the same community chorus as Peggy and Dale. Dan and his wife have a teenaged daughter and a son in the US Navy who recently gave them a grandson! Their youngest son, Sean, was a Marine who lost his life defending Iraq's right to establish a democracy. We all share in their grief!
DALE TUBAUGH, baritone...He joined Choral Dynamics in 1994,the community chorus that Peggy and Dan had joined a few years before. His first season he auditioned for a solo. Stacy and Bob were judges. Their reaction was "Somehow we've got to fit him into the Jazz Spectrum!" Days later JS's bass singer quit because his old car burned too much gas and oil...he couldn't afford to rehearse! In those days they were developing a "book" and had few performances. Dale's audition consisted of answering, "How old is your car?" He is married with two kids and 3 grandkids. Regrettably, after 9 years with Jazz Spectrum, numerous performances and two CD's to his credit, he had to relocate to Florida in March, 2004. His replacement is Tim Laud. Information on Tim can be found on www.jazzspectrum.com
THE SWINGIN' BAND
BOB ZAUN, arranger, piano.....At age 14 he quit piano lessons after four painful years. In college he met a real piano player and asked if he played in a group. "No, but I'd like to. What do you play?" he asked. Without a hitch, Bob replied, "Bass." That evening he called his father and said that he decided to minor in music and needed to get a string bass as a second instrument. His Dad answered, "That's interesting, I didn't know you had a first!" And so birth was given to his first group, The Bob Fiasco Trio! Bob does all the arrangements for The Jazz Spectrum, plus writes the vocalese lyrics. He is married with two children. Stacy sings the alto part and Greg is a big contributor with his perfect pitch and ability to transcribe almost anything he hears. Bob is retired from Chase Manhattan Mortgage as a Regional Manager and is an avid golfer and bridge player.
JOHN EIFERT, drums...formal lessons were started at age 4 and he played his first professional gig at age 11. John played 5 summers at Marriott's Great America and was section leader for the nationally acclaimed John Phillip Sousa Honor Band, performing in Washington, DC. At the University of Illinois he successfully crammed four years into six. It was there he met Stacy as they marched together in the snare line of the Marching Illini. John is a branch manager and loan officer for Chase Manhattan Mortgage.
TOM SIEVERS, bass...He started out as a sax player in 4th grade. His interest in bass developed while playing in his first group, The Vibratos. It was a hot band featuring a clarinet, a Gene Autry guitar, drums and Tom on ukulele. Their first big job was playing for the American Legion Fish Fry in Morton Grove, IL. The ukulele led to a 6 string electric guitar, on which he began to play bass lines. The Vibratos evolved into Khazad-Doom and they cut one record. The group disbanded in 1972, but the record lived on, becoming a collectors item selling for as much as $1,000 in Europe. Tom has a Masters degree in Library Science and lives with his son in Vernon Hills. Shortly after completing the recording of "It's Christmas," Tom retired from Jazz Spectrum because of family commitments. His replacement is Bill Zielinski. More on Bill below.
CRAIG BURGESS, saxes...One of the "founders" of the Jazz Spectrum together with Bob Zaun in 1980. They met while playing in a lame wedding band. The band's arrangements were from the "Little Individual Books for Boring Players Playing Boring Songs with Boring Arrangements" series. Craig was just a kid, barely out of high school, but he could really wail. From those humble beginnings came the Jazz Spectrum. Craig recently relocated from Illinois to Wisconsin and works for an instrument manufacturer in Elkhorn, WI He has 4 kids and two grandchildren.
BOB VALE, guitar/vibes....
His guitar playing kept him out of KP while in the Army. He was stationed in Virginia from 1947-49 and played with the Army Band throughout the Washington DC area. Off and on Bob tried to make it on music alone, but unfortunately he had to eat! Perhaps you caught his TV show in 1955 on station WBAY in Green Bay, WI. While on the road in the late 50's one of the band members needed some cash so Bob loaned him the money and took his vibes as collateral. The guy took off for Phoenix and Bob has been a vibes player ever since! He is married and a retired Patternmaker.
GUEST ARTISTS ON "IT'S CHRISTMAS!":
LARRY BOISEN, composer, alto and tenor sax, flute, clarinet, harmonica, melodica...a very talented writer and musician who speaks 7 languages! He has written 2 musicals, a methods book for the jobbing musician, numerous plays and hundreds of songs. We asked Larry to write a song for this album. Two days later he presented "Sleigh Bells Ringing Merry Christmas." A week later he said he was so inspired that he wrote another one, "It's Christmas!" The melody, harmony and unusual approach to the subject of Christmas qualified it for our title tune. Larry also was a guest artist on Jazz Spectrum's first CD, "The Song Is You." Since Craig's recent relocation to Wisconsin, Larry has become Jazz Spectrum's primary instrumentalist.
BUDDY COLE, baritone sax...this is the second Jazz Spectrum CD which features Buddy and his wonderful big horn with the fat sound. His bouncy, fading exit on "Parade Of The Wooden Soldiers" is just plain fun as evidenced by the singers' short ad lib as the tune ends.
ERIC NIESSNER, vibes...such a talented high school senior! Not only is Eric accomplished on the vibraharp, he is also an outstanding jazz piano player and drummer. He was awarded a scholarship to Berkley School of Music in Boston where he enrolled as a freshman for the Fall, 2004 term.
BILL ZIELINSKI, acoustic bass...although Bill plays on only one tune, "Winter Wonderland," his rich, natural, strings-on-wood sound perfectly sets the layed-back mood, along with Eric on vibes, which compliments the Jazz Spectrum's rich harmonies. After this recording session, Bill became our regular bassist.
DERRICK LORD, JOHN TOMASSONE, DON MARTIN, JEFFREY LORD, trumpets... together these guys formed a wonderful, Basie-like trumpet section, which added greatly to many of our arrangements. They sounded so good in rehearsal that Bob Zaun wrote the Holiday Medley just to showcase them and the sax section. Thanks to Derrick, too, for his solo on "Let It Snow."
THE FIVE PIECE SAX SECTION OF CRAIG, LARRY AND BUDDY...created by Craig & Larry overdubbing the 2nd alto & 2nd tenor parts. They're old hands at this having done the same on our first CD.
PAIGE AND RYAN EIFERT, commentators...almost 5 year old Paige and 7 1/2 year old Ryan make their recording debut on "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus." From what they said, we believe that they really did see him!
SPECIAL THANKS TO KARSTEN TOPELMANN, artist...upon hearing our first CD and learning that we were working on a Christmas album, Karsten volunteered to provide the art work for the cover. This was quite an honor since he is internationally known and has, along with his artist wife, Ellen, owned and operated Hanseatic Art Gallery in Ephriam, Wisconsin for over 30 years. Karsten provided four pieces of original art from which to choose. They were all so good and unique, we couldn't choose, so we used three out of the four. The painted "it's Christmas" in a hot red against a midnight sky, the four singers with their matching painted hats all dotted with snowflakes became the cover. The back cover of the jewel case is a stylized Christmas tree made up only of multi-colored, ball-like dots. It is so vibrant. Open the jewel case to access the CD and a singing Santa is looking right at you with our musical credits printed on his snowy white beard. Opposite Santa is the CD itself with the same hot lettering, "it's Christmas." Not only is the CD fun to hear, it great to look at too!