Born: January 18, 1945 Primary Instrument: Drums
Born in a Northside Chicago hospital in January of 1945 when WWII was still raging on both fronts, son of Robert William Hoffmann, and Mother Margret Anna; Keith started taking 'instrumental training' in the Chicago Elementary School system and it was determined that he had considerable talent/rhythm on drums/percussion. At age 9, came out to 'Sunny' Southern California, with his Grandparents, and Mother. His Father, and Executive with Shell Oil Co; Great Lakes, stayed back in the 'Windy City' to run his empire, 2 Bars, 2,4-Bay Shell Gas Station(s), and Executive V. P. of Public Relations, Shell Oil; Great Lakes Region.
Keth relocated to Glendale, CA; in 1954; and quickly 'took root' in the Richardson D. White Elementary School system music dept; then Woodrow Wilson Jr. High School, and Glendale Senior High School Music Departments. He also enrolled at Dick Charles Music Co; taking private lessons out of the store from store instructor Spencer Dryden (later Jefferson Airplane fame). Dick Charles himself, an accomplished Clarinetist, and alto sax musician, music Arranger, and band leader; after hearing Keith in lessons; invited Keith to become his drummer with the Dick Charles Big Band (17pc). Along with the Charles Big Band, Keith received more Big Band experience with the W.W. Wilson Jr. High, and Glendale Senior High Big Bands, sight reading Jazz music from the Great 1940s Swing Era. Mr. Bud Baltzer, Band Director, Jazz Pianist, Bari-Sax performer, music arranger, and participant with some of L.A.s finest Jazz Ensambles, exposed Keith to the works of Mr. Neil Hefty, Jazz Music Composer. Mr. Hefty actually coached the GHS Jazz Band prior to the 1962 'Battle Of The Bands' held every year in the '60s of area Jazz Bands, and Jr. College Jazz Bands. Of course, that year, Glendale won 1st Place!
1963 posed a hard decision for Keith! There was talk of a possible Military Conflict in someplace called Vietnam, and Keith had to register for the then manatory DRAFT! On the other side of the board so to speak, Keith's Grandparents, and Mother wanted him 'out of the house' when he graduated H.S., he was engaged to 'the love of his life' Ms Dianne Thompson of La Cresenta, CA; and through 'contacts' made through 'Bud' Baltzer, GHS Band Director, Dick Charles Music; Keith had a permanent 'gig' already in place after he graduated high school. A last ditch effert to become part of one of the Military Bands in Wash. D. C. failed, because Keith's parents, and relatives, did not want to pay for the 'out of pocket' costs to travel to Wash. D. C. to audition for one of the five Military Service Bands. That is how it was done in those days. Out of fear of getting DRAFTED, and possibly ending up in the infatry, Keith chose to ENLIST in the U.S.A.F. Air Police. The Recruiter in Glendale, CA told Keith, he could request transfer to the Band Unit, once enlisted. Well, it didn't work quite like that. Keith was told by his NCO at Lackland A.F.B. during 'Boot Camp' 'We need SOLDIERS Boy, not musicians' IS THAT CLEAR MAGGOT!!!! So, the Air Force, after graduating Boot Camp, sent Keith to Kelly A.F.B. to Air Police Training School, 12 weeks of grueling Federal Law Enforcement Training. Then, after graduation, his Squadron was required to go to Ft. Bragg, N.C. to Combat School; run by the U. S. Army Ranger Instructors. 1st Assignment after graduation, TanSaNute A.F.B. South Vietnam. And, 'it was on'....Air Force Rangers. The only music Keith was able to get in until after the War; was an occasional 'sit in' with appearing dance bands on the base at the NCO Club, or the O-Club. Upon Honorable Disharge, Keith went back to Chicago, IL; to meet up with his Father. He quickly connected with the American Federation Of Musicians, Local 10-208, Chicago, IL; and was auditioned by a famous Jazz drummer at the time, Jim Chapin, who happened to be on the Board, at the time of Keith's audition into the AFM in Chicago.
From there it was Club, after Club, including a'stint' with Gerry Mulligan's Sextet in the early 1970s. Then a stint with famous Jazz Gutirist Vy Rigo's Sextet, and some Big Band work through the Union. Chuck White's Quintet did a tour in NY, and Keith was fortunate to 'be in the right place at the right time.' Keith also entered the Univ. Of Illinois Busness Administration/Finance program, and graduated with a Batchelor of Arts Degree. In 1978, due to Keith's Mother's severe illness, (Cancer) Keith returned to Los Angeles, CA; and obtained employment with McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Co. in Long Beach, CA; and performed the duties of a Staff Administrator by day, and found Jazz Trio, and Quortet work on the weekends. In 1986 he became Al Senata's drummer, Big Band in Downey, CA; and also performed with Jazz Pianist Joe Cetani at the Embassy Suites Hotel, Gregory's Lounge in Downey, CA until 1990. In 1988, Keith formed 'All That Jazz' band, a Jazz Trio, or 7 pc Be-Bop Jazz ensamble, sometimes featuring trumpeter Ron Stout, formerly the lead solo trumpet with the Buddy Rich Big Band Machine. Keith recorded is only 4 song album, 'Thing's Ain't What They Used To Be' at Studio 47 in Hollywood, CA; which to this date is recorded but un produced due to lack of funds due to treatment(s) for Cancer(s). Hopefully in 2012-13 he will able to get the album finished, and on the market for distribution.
Keith's primary influence's are Buddy Rich, Louie Belleson, Spencer Dryden, and Gene Krupa.
Awards:Most talented, and technial percussionist - 1962, GHS, Glendale, CA.
Nov. 1962 - Glendale News Press - Photo Article......
The Continentals RR/Pop Band, featuring GHS's drummer Keith Hoffmann appared live on 'Wink' Martinendales' Dance Party, along with the 'Temtations' singing group, and the 'Beach Boys'; KTLA Channel 5 airing live from Pickwick Stables in Burbank, CA. Also a live/taped episode of Dick Clark's American Bandstand, KTLA 5.