We wanted to capture the excitement and spirit of a live performance and we can’t thank John Ascuaga’s Nugget enough to host our recording in their Celebrity Showroom. I moved to Reno in 1979 to play in the showrooms and had the pleasure to work all the great acts appearing here, many on the very stage we recorded this cd, so the Celebrity Showroom was the perfect venue.
The RJO is comprised of the some of the most talented musicians in our area, but we are only a part of a very talented jazz community. With that in mind I felt it important to share the stage with some good friends. I have had the pleasure of working with Cami Thompson and Tony Savage throughout my career. Both grew up right here and have given our community countless memorable performances. I succeeded Tony as RJO Music Director and it was great to have him come back for a visit. Larry Engstrom is not only a gifted instrumentalist, but educator as well. He joined the UNR faculty in the 1980s and created a robust jazz performance program at UNR. Peter Epstein was recruited by Larry to teach at UNR and you will agree Larry picked well! Leonard Neidhold is not only a great jazz trombonist but is also the Reno Philharmonic Principal Trombonist and teaches music at Billinghurst Middle School. Though not featured as a soloist, Ron Legg joined us on Roger Hogan’s Blues Ballad and it was a joy to share the stage with Ron on the stage he first graced as a section saxophonist and then leader of the Nugget band. In the audience Friday night were two standard bearers of the jazz community. Jerry Genurio and Bob Barnes defined not only the sound of jazz, but showed those of us coming up not only how to play but how be musicians. True gentlemen of jazz! The jazz community also has some promising young talent and with the generosity of Tom Gordon, the Reno Youth Jazz Orchestra recorded on the Nugget stage Friday (2/17) afternoon prior to the evening RJO performance.
I am very proud of the RJO’s performance on this CD. It was an honor bringing the jazz community together for this project and the two performances that comprise this CD are two evenings I will always treasure. Jazz is alive in Reno Nevada and this CD is the proof.
Chuck Reider- RJO Music Director