Jean Kittrell, First Lady of Jazz

PAT ARANA (trombone - OSLLB) Pat began playing professionally at age 14 when he discovered that getting paid for playing music on happy occasions was like having a license to steal. With a Master's in Music Education (Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville) Pat taught at an elementary school in St. Louis County for 30 years. He inspired a group of 15-20 kids to meet him voluntarily each morning at seven--before school started--to learn to play jazz. Pat has played trombone in just about every type of instrumental group but specializes in playing melody lead in the OLD ST. LOUIS LEVEE BAND formed in 1978. Now retired from school teaching, Pat has added a challenging new dimension to his skills, playing tailgate trombone in Steve Lilley's ST. LOUIS STOMPERS.
BOBBY GRIMM (tenor banjo - JAZZ INCREDIBLES, RIVERMEN, OSLLB) Trained at age 13 on the violin, Bobby taught himself to play banjo at age 25 and has been in constant demand ever since. In 1965 he played in St. Louis's famed Gaslite Square, followed by a lengthy engagement on the River Queen, the authentic river boat on which "Show Boat" was filmed. Retired from the parts department of a Ford dealership, Bobby knows how to put all the engine parts together to achieve as smooth a running sound as the harmonies that flow from his banjo strings. He remains an essential member of all three bands on this web site.

NOEL KALETSKY (clarinet, soprano sax - JAZZ INCREDIBLES, RIVERMEN, POWERHOUSE FIVE) Hailing from Clinton, Connecticut, Noel with his hot jazz clarinet and sometimes yearning, sometimes fierce, soprano sax has played and recorded with Wild Bill Davison, George Lewis, Kid Thomas, Conrad Janis. He has two CDs with his own quartets: "It's About Time" and "Noel Kaletsky, Ham on Rye"
JEAN KITTRELL (piano, vocals - JAZZ INCREDIBLES, RIVERMEN, OSLLB) An untypical Southern belle from Birmingham, Alabama, Jean grew up playing piano in the Southern Baptist Church. At Blue Mountain College, Mississippi, she majored in music theory, valuable knowledge for jazz which she began playing at age 30 in 1957 in Norfolk, Virginia, where she and then-husband cornetist, Dr. Ed Kittrell, organized the CHESAPEAKE BAY JASS BAND. Moving to Chicago in 1958, this husband-wife duo joined the CHICAGO STOMPERS and took them to Germany in 1959. In 1967 Jean began a two-year SRO solo engagement on the St. Louis waterfront at the Old Levee House on Laclede's Landing. After completing her Ph.D. in Modern British Literature (1973) at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, she joined the English faculty at SIU-Edwardsville and the MISSISSIPPI MUDCATS JAZZ BAND of Dr. Dan Havens, a fellow literature professor at SIUE and also leader of the BOLL WEEVIL JASS BAND. Jean recorded with both of these bands. Eventually she served four years as Chair of the English Department while playing jazz in St. Louis on weekends aboard the Lt. Robert E. Lee with two groups: a trio on Fridays (the BLUES EMPORIUM for four years, then the JAZZ INCREDIBLES), and on Saturdays the five-piece OLD ST. LOUIS LEVEE BAND. These last two bands and the seven-piece ST. LOUIS RIVERMEN keep Jean busy organizing concerts, festivals, cruises, throughout the U.S., Canada, the Mediterranean, and the Caribbean. In 1998 the Directors of the Sun Valley Swing'n'Dixie Jazz Jamboree chose Jean to receive a "Great Ladies of Jazz" award, an award given each year to one contemporary musician and one from the past. Bessie Smith was the honoree from the past. The award reads: Jean Kittrell is a unique performing personality. She is part college professor and part red-hot mama, with elements of Bessie Smith, James P. Johnson, Fats Waller, and Jelly Roll Morton thrown in for good measure. Her good-natured approach to the music we all love has intellectual overtones that come from a thorough knowledge of the history of the music she is playing. As a band leader, pianist, and vocalist, she is most deserving of a place among the "Great Ladies of Jazz." Jean pounds out a unique barrel-house piano, sings lusty Bessie Smith songs and humorous ballads, and shows the world that old age is a great time to have fun. She has recorded with jazz stars Tony Parenti, Doc Souchon, Charlie Borneman; and played in concerts with Emile Christian, Johnny Wiggs, Danny Barker, Big Jim Robinson and the PRESERVATION HALL JAZZ BAND, George Brunies, Doc Evans, Barrett Deems, and Spiegle Willcox.

At age 81, as of July 21, 2008, Jean retired as pianist and leader of the three jazz bands listed in this web site.
DAVID "RED" LEHR (sousaphone - JAZZ INCREDIBLES, RIVERMEN, OSLLB, POWERHOUSE FIVE, Bob Ceccarini's RIVER CITY RAMBLERS) A farmer, butcher with his own meat processing plant and market, real estate entrepreneur, and world-class sharp-shooter, Red is also an astounding virtuoso of the sousaphone, combining unique technique with showmanship. At five years old he stood on an orange crate to play his daddy's trombone. In grade school, as the strongest and tallest kid, he began to play the big sousaphone with which he has intrigued audiences ever since. His professional musical career began in St. Louis's Gaslite Square at Your Father's Mustache in 1963. St. Louis Cardinal baseball fans will appreciate the sentimental value of Red's playing at the very last baseball game in Sportsman's Park and also at the grand opening first ballgame in the new Busch Stadium.

In 1965 Red moved to the Banjo Palace with the OLD ST. LOUIS LEVEE BAND, followed by two years at The Sting. In 1978 he joined Jean Kittrell on the Lt. Robert E. Lee, bringing his OSLLB. They played to SRO crowds every Saturday nite for 13 years (1978-1990). In 1979 Red joined the JAZZ INCREDIBLES to play every Friday nite on the Lee; and in 1982 he joined the newly formed ST. LOUIS RIVERMEN. Red was hand-picked for an all-star 7-piece International Band at the 1994 Sacramento Jazz Jubilee. He was selected by readers of The American Rag in a national survey in 2000 as their favorite of all jazz sousaphonists. Admired by classical as well as jazz musicians, Red has been starred in regional and national conferences of brass instruments (Champaign IL, 1973; Lexington KY, 1990; Bloomington IL, 2005). He has appeared in concert with Billy Butterfield, Jack Maheu, Barrett Deems, Ernie Carson, Jerry Fuller, and Pee Wee Mateese.

In July 2008 Red took on the demanding and yet rewarding leadership of the three bands listed in this web site and the POWERHOUSE FIVE. And he also remains the essential incredible sousaphonist of these groups.
STEVE LILLEY (cornet, trumpet - RIVERMEN, OLD ST LOUIS LEVEE BAND, POWERHOUSE FIVE, ST LOUIS STOMPERS) Steve, a public high school history teacher for 30 years with three published books on American history, joined the RIVERMEN, much to the satisfaction of Jean Kittrell, in 1999. His hot horn and authoritative melodic lead reveal his long-time study of the music of Louis Armstrong, Fats Waller, Bix Beiderbecke, Bobby Hackett, Bunny Berigan, and the Dukes of Dixieland. Steve formed his first jazz band at age 15 to play in dance halls in Lincoln County, Missouri. A master of spontaneous arrangements on stage with the RIVERMEN, he is also the leader of his own classic jazz band, the ST. LOUIS STOMPERS, who play tightly arranged, always interesting classic jazz. (See for their festival schedule and CDs.)

As of 2006 Steve's authoritative hot horn was added to the OLD ST. LOUIS LEVEE BAND and, in 2008, to the POWERHOUSE FIVE.
JIM MAIHACK (piano, tuba, trombone - TURK MURPHY JAZZ BAND, ROSIE O'GRADY'S GOOD TIME JAZZ, RIVERMEN) Jim hails from the Midwest (born in Rock Island, IL). The first of many musical instruments he mastered was the accordion when he was six. In the late '50s, playing banjo, Jim joined the DIXIE LADS JAZZ BAND with Bill Allred, Stan Black, and Don O'Dette (who later directed the Bix Beiderbecke Fest in Davenport, IA). By this time Jim also played piano, trombone, and tuba, and for the next ten years he played with many groups on both piano and trombone, including Clyde McCoy and Smokey Stover. Late in 1969 Jim moved to San Francisco to join the TURK MURPHY JAZZ BAND playing tuba. Leaving San Francisco in 1975 for Florida, Jim joined ROSIE O'GRADY'S GOOD TIME JAZZ BAND, playing piano, banjo, trombone, and tuba. For a few years he also led that band. In 1986 Jim rejoined the TURK MURPHY JB, this time playing piano. During this second stint Jim played Turk's Carnegie Hall concert in 1987. Showcasing Jim's amazing mastery of musical instruments is his tour de force, "Never Mind, I'll Do It Myself," a CD on which he plays every instrument and sings with himself in three-part harmony. Jim joined the RIVERMEN permanently for festivals and cruises after their amazing success on a January 2004 Caribbean cruise.
ERIC SAGER (clarinet, soprano sax - RIVERMEN) Inspired by jazz bands of the 1950s--the FIREHOUSE FIVE, DUKES OF DIXIELAND, and TURK MURPHY'S JAZZ BAND--Eric began studying clarinet with legitimate teachers at the age of thirteen. He had his first professional musical jobs in high school. Then he attended the St. Louis Institute of Music and Washington University. For many years Eric played saxophone in Rock'n Roll and Rhythm and Blues groups before the opportunity came to play his real love--jazz. Some of the bands Eric has appeared with are the ST. LOUIS RAGTIMERS, CITY LIGHTS, TONY BARRON ORCHESTRA, STAN FORNESZEWSKI ORCHESTRA, Bob Ceccarini's RIVER CITY RAMBLERS. Eric joined JEAN KITTRELL & THE ST. LOUIS RIVERMEN in 2002 to play all their local jobs.
RICK SCHAUMBURGER(drums - OSLLD) Rick puts his Master's in Music (Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville) to work as a businessman and as a musician. He is president of Audio Duplication & Services, Inc., with skills as a producer/editor of recording sessions, cassettes, CDs, and videos. He is the producer of all OLD ST. LOUIS LEVEE BAND recordings. His past professional experience includes being principal percussionist with the ST. LOUIS MUNICIPAL OPERA, extra percussionist with the ST. LOUIS SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, and drummer with numerous jazz bands in the St. Louis area. Rick is the designated driver when the OSLLB is on the road. His uncanny internal compass never lets him take a wrong turn.
DON SCHROEDER (drums - JAZZ INCREDIBLES QUINTET, RIVERMEN, POWERHOUSE FIVE) Don, teacher, composer, arranger, played skins first in a high school band, then in a military band in the 1950s. He was on the road with CLYDE McCOY, TEX BENEKE, and CARL SAND in the late 50s. In the 60s he played in the house band at the Chase Hotel, St. Louis. From 1965-70 he had his own club, followed by a stint at Marty Bronson's "Make Believe Ballroom" at the Chase (1970-76) and at the Missouri Athletic Club (1975-83). Don led his band, the HAPPY GO LUCKIES, for many years and now leads his FOXFIRE band. He is in demand in St. Louis by big bands, traditional and modern jazz groups, by small combos, and for commercials. Don joined JEAN KITTRELL & THE ST. LOUIS RIVERMEN in 1988. He is also a member of the JAZZ INCREDIBLES QUINTET since 2002. Don provides an excellent variety of rhythmic ideas for ensembles, occasionally highlighted by puckish humor, and adapts adroitly to each soloist's lead.
BRETT STAMPS (trombone - RIVERMEN) Professor of Music and Director of Jazz Studies at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, Brett has performed and composed professionally for the U.S.Army Field Band (the JAZZ AMBASSADORS), the STAN KENTON ORCHESTRA, the UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI CONCERT JAZZ BAND, and various ensembles in the St. Louis metropolitan area including the KIM PORTNOY BIG BAND, HORNS IN THE HOUSE, the FOX THEATER ORCHESTRA, the MUNY ORCHESTRA, LEGACY, and HAYDON/STAMPS JAZZ ENSEMBLE, the LEE HYDE ORCHESTRA, the EDDIE FRITZ QUARTET, the JACK ENGLER ORCHESTRA, the GARY DAMMER BIG BAND, GALAXY, and the JIM WIDNER BIG BAND. He teaches jazz improvisation, jazz arranging, jazz brass, jazz education, jazz history, and has directed both the MISSOURI and ILLINOIS HONORS ALL-STATE JAZZ BANDS. He remains active nationally as a clinician. He joined JEAN KITTRELL & THE ST. LOUIS RIVERMEN in 1998, and now plays all local and some festival gigs with them. In 2005 Brett began playing with the CORNET CHOP SUEY JAZZ BAND, one of the hottest and most popular bands on the traditional jazz festival circuit today.
Brett adds an exciting, unique voice to a band's front line with brilliant technique and gutsy tailgate slides.
JACK TARTAR (drums - ST LOUIS STOMPERS, RIVERMEN) Jack grew up, as he says, running around in the woods of Southcentral Missouri with his father, a half-Indian State Conservation Agent for the Missouri Department of Conservation. Jack was an eagle scout, then worked for five years as the Waterfront Director of a Boy Scout summer camp, teaching all aquatic skills. He has completed National Red Cross certification for advanced water safety instructor and life-saving. And when, following in his Dad's footsteps, he worked for the Missouri Department of Conservation for seven years in the law enforcement section, he taught survival swimming and small craft safety to new employees. A man of many talents and interests, he has also worked at the St. Louis Zoo, driven Laclede cabs, run a jack-hammer.

His grandpa bought him a set of drums when he was in High School, and he's been playing in bands ever since. He graduated from the U.S. Naval School of Music in Washington, DC in 1962. As a Vietnam veteran (musician), he spent five years as a disc jockey on KOSO (Modesto CA) and KXTR (Kansas City MO) while he continued playing drums with local groups. He played with Steve Allen, backed the INK SPOTS and FOUR ACES in concert, and toured with the SAMMY KAYE SWING AND SWAY ORCHESTRA for over three years throughout the U.S.A. With this group he was required to spend at least four weeks of each year in Hawaii (how terrible!). Settling in St. Louis he drummed in the MERAMEC JAZZ LAB BAND for 10 years.

Jack retired from the ST LOUIS RIVERMEN in 2008. Currently he is the rhythmic anchor of Steve Lilley's ST. LOUIS STOMPERS (Jack's an original member). Audiences are intrigued by his complete immersion in and enjoyment of the swinging drums he plays.

Jack's love of jazz is balanced by his love of the outdoors--biking, canoeing, kayaking, or quietly enjoying the beauty of butterflies, flowers, birds, wild animals.