Born: March 5, 1927 Primary Instrument: Sax, soprano
Soprano-saxophonist George Probert (who doubles on alto for this lively set) is best-known as an alumnus of the Firehouse Five Plus Two but he has been a fixture at traditional jazz festivals for decades. As a largely self-taught soprano saxophonist and occasional clarinetist, George Probert was one of the younger players in the Dixieland revival bands of the 1950's. Probert had important associations with Bob Scobey (1950-53), Kid Ory (1954) and particularly the Firehouse Five Plus Two (from 1954 until their final record in 1969). Probert became musical director of the Walt Disney Studio in 1955. During the past three decades, the outspoken Probert (a forceful and colorful soprano saxophonist) has been part of a countless number of jazz festivals, but has only recorded a few dates as a leader for Fat Cat's Jazz and, more recently, Jazz Crusade.
Probert is no stranger to recording studios. Aural evidence of his evolving career dates back almost half a century to records he made with Bob Scobey's Jazz Band in San Francisco. He later played and recorded with Kid Ory's Creole Jazz Band and then with the Firehouse Five Plus 2 from 1954 to 1969. Since then, a wide trail of recordings has documented Probert's bands on the West Coast and in Europe. Jazz fans throughout the world are aware of the very significant role he has played in the traditional jazz scene.
The stellar band George recently assembled for the Double D Stompers recording session reflects Probert's steadfast dedication to younger artists and his desire to encourage their participation in the music he loves. The brilliant youthful vocalists showcased here are, or have been, members of bands that benefited from the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee's Youth Program.
Brady McKay sings with Bob Williams's very successful Wooden Nickel Jass Band. The Swing Syndicate, a group of eleven swinging youngsters, led by Jason Wanner, features vocalist Emily Stuart. String bassist Jason Jurcak was formerly the leader of the Fresno youth band Raisin Babies (and Emily Stuart was then the vocalist). Sherri Colby adds her vocal charm to Dave Ruffner's Blue Street Jazz Band, now a favorite on the festival circuit.
The Double D Stompers represent a cross section of several popular groups. Lance McLain, playing banjo and guitar, and pianist-vocalist Paul Reid, colleagues in Chet Jaeger's Night Blooming Jazzmen, are both former members of the Hot Frogs Jumping Jazz Band. Charlie Castro, at the drums, has propelled the famed High Sierra Jazz Band for almost two decades. Trombonist-educator Dave Ruffner, who launched the Blue Street Jazz Band in Fresno sixteen years ago, energetically adds his Kid Ory- inspired sliphorn to the proceedings.