Born: March 19, 1946 Primary Instrument: Saxophone
California native, Jack Schaeffer's natural ability with the clarinet early on lead him to organize his dixieland band, The Gages Rages. Then following he played the baritone sax with Phil Moore's big band touring the country, playing in a spin off German band group where with Jack's intuitive nature and sense of humor added just the right amount of Bavarian oomph-papa to round out the polkas in the classic styling on his clarinet.
In the early 60's Jack on the tenor sax, joined with the popular surf band The Royale Monarchs which were regulars on the television show The Cinnamon Cinder. Producer Gary Usher discovered the musicians and singed Jack's newly reformed group, The Forte'Four to a recording contract at MCA/Universal and released several singles on the Decca Records label. Guitarist Glen Campbell joined as session man on their recording dates. Elvis Presley liked the groups new song The Climb, and used their recording on the soundtrack of the MGM film, Viva Las Vegas.
In the late 1960's Schaeffer showcased on the Las Vegas strip as musical director in Frederick Apcar's production, The Sands Playmate Review, featuring Jack's seven piece band, The Enterprise. I always felt bad for the poor drummer, he recalled,who had to kick that bassdrum, accenting each step those Showgirls made on stage. Ah showbiz, but this was Vegas! and I was now a Show-Kid as they referred to us.
Jack was a founding member with lead singer Chuck Girard, keyboard player Dave Ingram and drummer Ernie Earnshaw (later of The Wackers) in the rock band Love Song, playing extended dates on stage at Disneyland's, Tomorrowland. Popular playing the mid-60's Orange County hot spot Harvey's Gold Street. Shortly after Schaeffer moved on Love Song with Girard became founding group of California's premier Christian record company, Maranatha Music.
After settling in the Bay area in the ealry 70's, Jack Schaeffer was a primary musician, arranger and co- founder of the Chicago style big jazz band sound of the group named Marin. The large ensemble of brass horns, built it's large jazz sound around the Hammond organ blend. Opening one Tuesday night at San Francisco's Winterland, recieved a standing command encore. In a review gave the big jazz band high marks, Nobody gets encores on a Tuesday!. Marin played concert dates on the square at UC Berkeley campus, where one professor dubbed their sound the Musical answer to Technocracy.
Schaeffer next helped form and musically arrange an acoustical group around the sultry voice of blues singer Patty Parsons. AnExchange became popular playing San Francisco's famous coffeehouse the Coal Yard, Marin counties, Mill Valley Sweetwater Inn (featured grand-opening night), Sausalito's famous Gatsby's and Hollywood's legendary Doug Weston's Troubadour. AnExchange opened for Ike and Tina Turner, the Everly Brothers in San Francisco and Joan Baez at the Edmonton International Pop Festival in Canada.
Jack was notorious for playing five different horns, wearing leather shorts and thigh high boots, playing electric bass and singing vocals and harmonies. Schaeffer's tenor sax was the main feature in quartet's sound. His solos were mezmerizing and sensually spellbinding, his musical instincts were always so perfectly fitting.
As a session musician he recorded several albums with The Wackers, toured with Love Song, The Bob Simmons Band, Dan Anthony, Roadhouse, Hot House and Ron Butler. He was Producer and Arranger on Patty Parson's first solo album, Why Can't I? as well on Ron Butler and the Saxist; Go Figure!.
Schaeffer has played clarinet for many years in the Mill Valley based ensemble, Hot House Swing Band. Appearing with Mose Allison, Michael McDonald, Dave Mason, Mark Murphy, Spencer Davis and comedians Harry Anderson and Tom Smothers. Hot House was originally formed around the Django Reinhart (Le Hot Club, Paris, France) style, just adding sax/clarinet to that mix. They put up an ad at College of Marin for a Fiddle Player, Schaeffer called, saying anything a fiddle player could do, I can do on my Soprano Sax, and can see you, raise you a Tennor Sax, and Clarinet! Sat in once..... played with 'em ever since (1982).
Hot House expanded the sound, adding a female singer(Elizabeth Hersey) and including traditional and unique lesser known tunes in Swing/Jazz. When asked what kind of Swing/Jazz they do? Answer is, Nothing after 1949.
Schaeffer is the inventor and designer of a stringed instrument, Strumbola. Jack explains the really important thing that makes a Strumbola out of a Tiple, or ANY strumable stringed instrument with FOUR COURSES of strings, is the TUNING..... which is a diminished chord. Strumbola derives from the open tuning of minor thirds and utilizing four bouts of strings, three per bout tuned in octaves, an enhancing rhythm section strumming.
Where tuning differs, every chord being played are in barre chords, the melodic movement on the inside of the chord. It is the tuning which can make any stringed instrument, other styles of Tiples, Lutes strumbola- ized, physical design or specific shape of the body not the determining factor.
Open tuning forms close chord Jazz harmony as it is played up the neck. The minor thirds, or referred to chordally, full diminished, are ISOMETRIC chord fingerings, repeating themselves up/down the neck in three positions -- repositioned one string away (up/down) for each position.
Got Rhythm ?
Viva Las Vegas, Original Soundtrack
Let's Go Trippin'
The Royale Monarchs
Great Balls of Fire
The Teen Sceen
The Roayle Monarchs
As Album Producer/ Arranger
Why Can't I?
Ron Butler and the Saxist: Go Figure !
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Jack prefers and plays Yamaha saxes. His Bb Clarinet is a '62 Leblanc. Eb Alto Clarinet is just a funky ol' Student Model Bundy. Baritone was a '63 Conn. Bass was reconditioned '62 Buscher. "Oh yeah, my Jazz mouthpieces are Runyon, the ones with sympathetic reed baffles, also Earnie Northway for more beefy (rock) sounds."