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“Chicago Jazz” ~ The Kris Tokarski Trio featuring Authentic 1920’s-style Cornetist Andy Schumm & Legendary New Orleans Percussionist Hal Smith
January 20 @ 8:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Kris Tokarski was born and raised just outside of New York City, in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Growing up in a Hungarian – American household, he was raised on classical music and Hungarian folk music.
Kris attended and completed his bachelor’s degree at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. While there, he would make the regular pilgrimage back to New York to study at Barry Harris’ workshops.
In 2012, Kris moved to New Orleans to pursue a master’s degree at the University of New Orleans. Currently, he is on the jazz studies faculty at UNO and is thriving as an in demand jazz pianist performing throughout the city. Most recently, Kris recorded an album with an all star cast of New Orleans musicians, which can be purchased on his site.
Andy Schumm is willing to do whatever it takes to play the good stuff.
Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Andy began taking piano lessons when he was 6 years old. He dabbled as a trumpet player in grade school and high school until he found his true passion for jazz while studying with Mike Plog, a well-known modern jazz trumpeter. At the University of Illinois, Andy studied trumpet and cornet with Tito Carrillo and began arranging under the tutelage of program director Chip McNeill.
His fate as a ’20s musician was sealed one night after hearing Bix Beiderbecke’s transcendent recording of “At the Jazz Band Ball” on an authentic Victor horn machine. Andy started sitting in with Dixieland bands and, ironically, discovered that he could get more work as a ’20s musician than a modern player – yeah, man! While he is heavily influenced by Bix, Andy draws inspiration from a variety of musicians including Red Nichols, Jelly Roll Morton, King Oliver, Jabbo Smith and Tommy Dorsey (especially in his covert recordings as a trumpeter!). He also enjoys listening to Johnny Dodds and Herb Morand.
Andy is currently a full-time musician traveling the world and touring with various groups. One such group is the Archipelago Project which is a non-profit educational outreach group advocating musical arts for young students and their teachers through performance, residency and consultation.
Never content to play just one instrument, he has taken various jobs on piano, trombone, bass sax, clarinet, banjo, baritone and drums. He also plays a mean melodica and a fractured frumpet (it exists; look it up). In his spare time, Andy enjoys arranging new charts and collecting junk, including old instruments and 78 r.p.m. records.
During his brief moments outside of the world of music, he also enjoys camping and kayaking in the key of Db. In addition he frequently revels in the humor of the Marx Brothers.
Hal Smith took up drumming in 1963. He listened to classic jazz drummers such as Ben Pollack, Nick Fatool, Wayne Jones, and Fred Higuera in person and later took lessons from Jake Hanna. Hal has also been inspired by the recordings of Dave Tough, Big Sid Catlett, Zutty Singleton, Jo Jones, Vic Berton, Andrew Hillaire, Ray Bauduc, Gene Krupa, George Wettling, Kaiser Marshall, Stan King, Harry Dial, Minor Hall, Wally Bishop, Morey Feld and Johnny Wells. “Chicago Style Jazz” is his favorite type of music, but Hal also enjoys listening to and playing “New Orleans,” “New York” and “Kansas City” styles.
He has played in many well-known bands, such as the Dukes of Dixieland, New Black Eagle Jazz Band, Jim Cullum Jazz Band, Butch Thompson Trio, Banu Gibson and New Orleans Hot Jazz, South Frisco Jazz Band, Chicago Six, Yerba Buena Stompers, Climax Jazz Band, Jonathan Stout’s Campus Five, West End Jazz Band and the Hall Brothers Jazz Band. Hal’s own groups have included the Roadrunners (with Bobby Gordon and Rebecca Kilgore), Hal’s Angels (with Anita Thomas and Katie Cavera), the New El Dorado Jazz Band, Jazz Chihuahuas, Down Home Jazz Band and the California Swing Cats. He has also played blues with James Harman, Nathan James, Ben Hernandez, Billy Watson and Blue Largo, Western Swing with Dave Stuckey and the Hi-Lo Playboys and Rockabilly with the Cash Kings, Gino and the Lone Gunmen, Big Rig Deluxe and his own Hayriders. Hal has made over 200 recordings and has appeared on numerous televisions and radio broadcasts. In February, 2014 he returned to freelancing as a professional musician.