The San Francisco based Natural Gas Jazz Band has been
delighting its audiences since 1970.
This surprising longevity of 41 years is the result of a singularly
stable band lineup, a musical book of broad appeal, and gifted musicians who
enjoy creating jazz together.
The NGJB is strongly imprinted with
the influences of its late San Francisco friends, jazz legends Lu Watters and
Turk Murphy. Former Murphy and Watters
sidemen have been longtime NGJB players as well as frequent substitutes. Its
book is also rich with the music of Jelly Roll Morton, Bix
Beiderbecke, Fats Waller, and others.
The listener can expect to hear stomps, blues, rags, marches,
spirituals, and dances of all moods and tempos.
Riding on the popularity of its
music, the NGJB members have become internationally known ambassadors of
jazz. Their travels have taken them from
coast to coast and border to border in the U.S.
In addition to cruise ship gigs in Mexican and Caribbean waters, the
band has played in Alaska, Canada, Mexico, Scotland, England, Holland, Japan,
Hong Kong, and Australia. Making history in a 1989 post-glasnost tour of the
USSR, Natural Gas JB was the first American jazz band to play in Siberia. France and Germany with its Oktoberfest in
Munich joined the list in 1997. The
Guinness Cork Jazz Festival was the international highlight of a 1998 Ireland
tour, and in 1999 the NGJB brand of jazz was showcased at the Shanghai
International Jazz Festival in China. New Zealand and Tasmania heard the jazz
of the Gassers in 2001, and in April 2002, they were featured at Germany's
prestigious Dresden International Dixieland Festival. That jazz tour also included Prague, Vienna,
and Budapest. The Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival hosted the band in
August, 2003. This event was followed by
a two-week jazz tour of England. Switzerland and Italy hosted the Gassers in
2005. Scandinavia, including the Gothenburg Festival, was visited in 2007. In
2009 the band made their 3rd visit to Australia and April, 2011 saw
them on tour in Spain.
Jazz festival appearances include
repeated visits to most of the country’s major events, including Sacramento,
Monterey, Pismo Beach, San Diego, to name a few of the California venues. The Bix Fest in
Davenport, Iowa, has featured the NGJB repeatedly, as has the Swing'n'Dixie Jazz Jamboree in Sun Valley and the Arizona
Classic Jazz Festival. Lat year’s Sacramento
appearance markeds the band’s 36th
consecutive year at the event.
One reviewer said of the band, “Everything
about their performance sparkled: the virtuosity of the individual musicians,
the variety of tunes and complete mastery of different styles, great
arrangements and the band’s incredible tight execution. After 39 years, they still sound fresh and
With the GAS since
the early '70s are cornetist Phil Crumley (retired periodontist),), drummer Warren Perry (lawyer), and soprano saxophonist Bob Murphy (music student, teacher, and performer). Trombonist Bill Carson (retired
physician) has brought his many years of experience with the popular Professor
Plum's Jazz into the Gassers' organization. Pianist Rich Owens
(hazardous materials professional) brought his high-energy improvisations to
the group and has created some outstanding musical inter-actions in the
ensemble. Banjoist Carl Lunsford,
formerly with the Turk Murphy Jazz Band and tuba player Jim Brennan, with many
years experience with many bands, round out the personnel.
Web site: www.ngjb.com
Program and Publicity Committees:
Please list the band's name as NATURAL GAS JAZZ BAND, not Natural Gas. Also, please list the band as coming from San
Francisco, not San Anselmo. Thanks.