The Jazzcat

Dave Ameele and Friends at the LAX Westin

by on Oct.31, 2004, under News

Additional Photos

This is a tight sounding band. Dave Ameele (pronounced like

family) brought out some nice sounding cats to the LAX Westin last week. Larry

Koonse, the melodic specialist is a key element to the beautiful sound. The

front line of Ron Stout on trumpet, Rob Lockhart on tenor and Bruce Babad on

alto blend together like they have been playing together for years but,

individually lay down some real tasteful and delicious solos. I especially like

their sound on the ballads. You should have heard when the line switched to two

alto flutes and flugelhorn, absolutely marvelous!

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Dave keeps the time nice and even giving the guys plenty of

room to stretch, breathe and create some beautiful voicing in their tunes.

Dave, brave soul that he is, has just recovered from eye surgery and is right

back up in the saddle swing the sticks and leading his group through some great

tunes. Everything from “Dolphin Dance” to Sergio Mendez’s, “Too Many Stars”.

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The band originally scheduled as a quartet morphs from

quartet to sextet as Dave sees fit. Everyone plays together so well and the

solos are fantastic. Jeff DeAngelo is a joy to listen to on bass and he and

Dave are solid in the simplicity of the rhythm.

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During the break the USC students are back and this time

lead by their musical director Bruce Eskovitz. Bruce played tenor with Matt Rubin on trumpet, Perry Smith on guitar, JP Maramba on

bass and Zach Harmon on the drums. They proceeded to play a couple of short but

sweet sets of standards and ballads. USC is pumping out some excellent

musicians. All of the students who have come to play show up with phenomenal

skills and a level of professional comfort like that of old pros!

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Dave comes back for the second set

and opens with a Wayne Shorter classic, “One by One” recorded by Art Blakey and

the cats back in the day. Anyone who chooses to play a Wayne Shorter tune for

their set is all right with me! He invited Celia La to come up and sing a few

tunes. She is from San Diego

and went to the Berkley School of Music. She not only has a sweet voice but,

also plays piano and has studied with Bill Cunliff and Tamir Hendelman. On the

very next day, she took off to NYC to hang with Danny Grisett and to get

immersed in the jazz scene in NYC, a pilgrimage that all serious jazz musicians

should endure in their musical lifetime. You can check out what is happening

with her and her jazz adventures at



Dave used to be roommates with

Bill Cunliff when he first came to Los

Angeles. I’m sure that they made great music together.

He now spends his time teaching high school players and gigin’. He has a new

disc out appropriately titled, “Good Stuff”. Check it out because I am sure

that it is!


LeRoy Downs


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