NGJB Biography



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 exciting.”

            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. 


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ATTENTION 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.