Stan McDonald’s Blue Horizon Jazz Band at Primavera Ristorante August 3, 2017

7 pc trad jazz band

Stan McDonald’s Blue Horizon Jazz Band

Stan McDonald soprano sax, Gerry Gagnon trombone, Phil Person trumpet, Jack Soref guitar, Stu Gunn double bass, Richard Malcolm drums

The Blue Horizon Jazz Band was eager to play following a two-month hiatus at Primavera Ristorante.  They played many of our Traditional Jazz Favorites;  Gerry Gagnon, Stan McDonald and Phil Person carried the melody on front  line.  In Trad Jazz, somebody always plays the melody.

trombone, soprano sax, trumpet

Front Line: Gerry Gagnon, Stan McDonald, Phil Person

They were backed by rhythm section: Jack Soref on guitar, Rich Malcolm drums, and Stu Gunn acoustic double bass.  The front line played great ensemble backed by exemplary rhythm on Spreading Joy.

Stan on soprano sax

Stan McDonald, leader




Leader Stan McDonald was featured on Bechet’s Fantasy, and singing All By Myself.





Phil Person




Phil Person adds his own unique voice on trumpet with beautifully simple phrasing.



Rich tapping sticks attached to bass drum

Rich Malcolm



Rich Malcolm maintains that important Trad Beat with unique improvisations.  It’s a joy to watch his antics!






Jack on Django style guitar

Jack Soref



Jack’s D-hole guitar was specially built for him by a friend in Worcester, combining  several designs from various French guitars – sounding very much like Gypsy Jazz.





Stu Gun on acoustic double bass

Stu Gun on acoustic double bass





Stu Gunn also maintains the beat, in sync with the drum.  His solo on Memphis Blues expressed flawless intonation.





Gerry’s instrument is a 1946 Olds Super Trombone with wide tone band and hand engraved details.  He is equally adept on tuba and fills in when Stu can’t make it.

Gerry on trombone

Gerry Gagnon

Hand engraved trombone

Stan took a break after the second set.  The rhythm boys were featured on I Remember When.

drums, gita, bass

The Rhythm Boys: Rich Malcolm, Jack Soref, Stu Gunn

Then the 5-piece band took off with Sweet Sue, Chinatown, My Blue Heaven, Strutting with Some Barbecue, and Gerry singing The Sheikh of Araby.  They closed the evening with Coquette.

5 pc band, no sax

My Blue Heaven


Coquette – video by Ellen McDonald

Stan McDonald’s Blue Horizon Jazz Band plays at Primavera on the first Thursday of every month; they will return September 7th.   Join us!

Got Rhythm
Blue Turning Gray Over You
My Gal Sal
Some Sweet Day
Bechet’s Fantasy
Spreading Joy
Lotus Blossom
Memphis Blues
All By Myself
I Remember When
Sweet Sue
Strutting with Some Barbecue
The Sheikh of Araby
My Blue Heaven

Blue Horizon Jazz Band at Primavera Ristorante May 4, 2017

Stan McDonald soprano sax, Phil Person trumpet, John Kafalas trombone, Gerry Gagnon tuba, Jack Soref guitar, Rich Malcolm drums.

The Blue Horizon Jazz Band played fine Classic Traditional Jazz at Primavera Ristorante on May 4th.  Stan McDonald dug into his massive collection of Traditional Jazz and provided charts for the musicians, bringing us great tunes the band hasn’t played in a long time.

McDonald in front playing soprano sax, Gagnon behind him with huge tuba

Stan McDonald and Gerry Gagnon


Stan McDonald led on soprano sax, Stan plays with the taste and inflection and inspiration of Bechet.  Gerry Gagnon’s  turbo-charged tuba played booming bass lines.  Gerry is the longest continuous band member, 23 years.  Initially he played tuba, later switched to trombone.  A master of both instruments, he plays tuba when bass player Stu Gunn is away and the band has a reunion with John Kafalas on trombone.





Kafalas with trombone extended almost to floor

John Kafalas



John Kafalas’s trombone improvised counterpoint harmony lines to the sax and trumpet.  John remembered the intro to “Farewell to Storeyville” perfectly from when he was a full-time member of the band years ago.  It was good to hear that tune again!  The band was glad when John moved back to New England.




Two Videos of Blue Horizon Jazz Band with John Kafalas by the late George Borgman:
Featured in this video are band leader Stan McDonald, the leader switches between the soprano saxophone and the clarinet, longtime member Walter Miller on trumpet, Hans Brack on bass, John Kafalas on trombone & double-bell euphonium, John Rayworth on banjo, Stu Grover on drums and Phil Hower on the piano. – Recorded at the July Fourth “Jazz Picnic” 1989.

My Creole Belle

You Do Something To Me

Back to 2017………..

Phil Person blowing trumpet

Phil Person




Phil Person’s purity of tone reinforced the melody and lifted the whole band.  He gave us a moving solo on “I Remember When.”





Rich with both sticks on snare drum

Rich Malcolm



Rich Malcolm’s drums maintained the Classic New Orleans Street Beat that is so essential to Traditional Jazz.  He played for the Sox at Fenway the night before!  He was well warmed up for tonight!





Jack looking at chart playing guitar

Jack Soref



Jack Soref played two solos.  First a Django inspired “It Had To Be You.”  Second a spellbinding “Dark Eyes.   Youngest member of the band, he appreciates Stan McDonald’s depth and knowledge about the musicians of the 20’s and 30’s.




A special request altered the second set.  “Marjorie” was celebrating her 89th birthday in the dining room and kept peeking in on the music.  Finally she came into the music room with her daughter, son-in-law and 2 grandsons.  The band played a lively version of “Margie” as a birthday present.  The entire family danced energetically with Marjorie to everybody’s enjoyment

The whole band played a memorable, hard-driving  performance!  There are only a few bands still playing New Orleans Traditional Jazz;  Stan McDonald’s Blue Horizon Jazz Band perseveres at Primavera on the first Thursday of every month.  Please join us at 7pm on June 1st  at 20 Pleasant St. Millis MA?

Tunes this evening were:  June Night, Four or Five Times, All of Me, I’ll Never Be The Same, Rosetta, Running Wild, My Gal Rocks Me, Some of  These Days, Blues in the Air, When I Leave the World Behind, Roaming,  Rose of the Rio Grande, I Remember When, After You’ve Gone, Farewell to Storyville, Margie.

Blue Horizon Jazz Band at Primavera January 5, 2017

6 piece Trad Jazz, no piano

Blue Horizon

Stan McDonald soprano sax, Phil Person trumpet, John Kafalas trombone, Jack Soref guitar and banjo, Stu Gunn double string bass, Rich Malcolm drums.

Stan McDonald’s Blue Horizon Jazz Band enthusiastically opened the 2017 Thursday Jazz Season raring to play Traditional Jazz after a two month hiatus.

Stan on sop sax, Stu double bass

Stan McDonald, leader
with Stu Gunn behind him



Stan kicked off many of the tunes on sax starting with Roses of Picardy.  Phil Person took the lead with Stan playing counterpoint on many tunes for an evening of fine Traditional Jazz.





Phil on trumpet, white hair with short pony tail

Phil Person



Phil Person adds his own unique voice on trumpet with beautifully simple phrasing, understanding this Trad Jazz that isn’t often heard at Berklee, where he teaches all levels of Ear Training.  Listening is vital to improvising great jazz.




John with long stretch on trombone

John Kafalas

Hot rhythm intro to Gee Baby, Ain’t I Good To You, Stan and Phil playing riffs on Kafalas’ trombone solo.

John Kafalas has been a member of the band in the past and fills in for the few times Gerry Gagnon is away.
(Check out his 1988 Jimmy Mazzy Podcasts on



When I Leave The World Behind was dedicated to my cousin, Donald Fleuette, who died at two o’clock that afternoon in a Providence Hospice.  Thank you!  It’s been a tough three months.

Blues in the Air started with a guitar intro, great solos by front line, ending with Stan soprano sax cadenza.  They played great ensemble on Memphis Blues.

trombone, soprano sax, trumpet

Front Line, John Kafalas, Stan McDonald, Phil Person

Jack Soref was featured solo on a banjo/guitar with Sunny Side of The Street, backed by fine string bass and drum.  He says the banjo/guitar was Django Rheinhardt’s original instrument.  It’s a banjo with a guitar neck.   Swing That Music was WILD!  He also played Georgia Cabin on banjo.

banjo with guitar neck Soref on guitar


Stu on acoustic double bass

Stu Gunn



Stu ensures they have the proper chords.  He’s always listening,  filling in any holes that might suddenly appear.  He played fine slap bass on Everybody Loves My Baby. 
He is first call on string bass and also plays symphonic classical music in several orchestras.  Knows his stuff!




Malcolm tapping on snare drum


Rich Malcolm uses many subtle tricks keeping the Trad Jazz Beat – you need to watch him carefully to catch them.   On Marchand de Poisson he turned the drum sticks around and played them with the backside giving it more emphasis.  Instead of rim-tapping or using a wood block, he taps on a couple of sticks wired between the drums.

sticks used backwords

Backward sticks

right stick taps sticks placed across two drums

Tapping on sticks instead of rim

Dardanella started with a 4-bar rhythm vamp, Stan playing fine chorus on soprano sax, and ending with a band stinger!

They closed with Louis’s Sleepy Time Down South.

The Blue Horizon Jazz Band will be playing the first Thursday of every month at Primavera Ristorante.  Check out the Primavera Schedule.  Thank you, Ellen McDonald!

Blue Horizon Jazz Band at Primavera September 1, 2016

6-pc Trad Jazz Band, no piano

Stan McDonald’s Blue Horizon Jazz Band

Stan McDonald soprano sax, Phil Person trumpet, Gerry Gagnon trombone, Jack Soref guitar, Stu Gunn double bass, Rich Malcolm drums

The Blue Horizon Jazz Band played uplifting and foot-tapping Traditional Jazz Thursday night at Primavera Ristaurant, with Stan and Phil taking turns on the melody or improvising around it, Gerry’s smooth (or growling) trombone, Jack’s marvelous gypsy guitar, Stu’s artful string bass supporting Rich’s one-beat drum-rolls behind the fine solos.

They played many of our favorite tunes:
Set 1
I Can’t Believe That You’re In Love With Me
Georgia On My Mind
Blue Turning Gray Over You
My Gal Sal

Set 2
Some Sweet Day
Bechet’s Fantasy
Spreading Joy
Lotus Blossom
Out of Nowhere
All By Myself in the Morning

Set 3
Dear Old Southland
When I Leave The World Behind
I Remember When
After You’ve Gone
Le Marchand de Poisson

Stan on sop sax

Stan McDonald

Phil on trumpet

Phil Person

Gerry on trombone

Gerry Gagnon

Stu on acoustic string bass

Stu Gunn

Rich on Trad Jazz drum set

Rich Malcolm

Jack on same guitar that Django used

Jack Soref

both leaning back playing their instruments

Stan McDonald and Phil Person

The Blue Horizon Jazz Band will return on the next first Thursday of the month, October 6th.

Thank you Stan and Ellen McDonald for keeping this art form alive!

Blue Horizon Jazz Band opens Primavera’s 2016 Thursday Jazz

5-pc Trad Jazz Band, no drum

Blue Horizon Jazz Band at Primavera Ristorante, January 7, 2016

Stan McDonald leader/soprano sax, Phil Person trumpet, John Kefalas trombone, Jack Soref guitar, and Gerry Gagnon tuba.

Stan sitting back, relaxed, playing soprano sax

Stan McDonald anxious to play!




Stan McDonald was raring to go after a two-month hiatus from Jazz, and immediately led the band into a dynamic Rosetta.  What Is This Thing Called Love, It Had To Be You.  He sang My Gal Sal with passion.



A vital sparkplug, Gerry Gagnon’s booming tuba keeps the band in time, reinforced by Jack Soref’s guitar.

Wild Man Blues was a hot tune!  Trumpet leading, sax taking the breaks, guitarist Jack Soref in a dazzling gypsy-flavored solo with tuba backup.  Phil Person’s muted trumpet played from the heart, followed by Stan’s formidable sax.  Embellishing the tune was Gerry’s roaring tuba solo.

Gerry with huge tuba

Gerry Gagnon on monster tuba




Gerry Gagnon doesn’t get the recognition he deserves.  With constant motion, he keeps the band in time, and softly backs solos.

They followed with a soft, sublime melody, Roaming, nice soprano sax.



John with soaring trombone

John Kafalas




John Kafalas’ mellow trombone tugs at your heart strings, playing warm melodic lines.





An unusual guitar/tuba intro to Running Wild really energized the audience, followed by an equally captivating Tijuana.  Moving to inspiring ensemble, Stan was pleased with Soref’s guitar on Blues My Naughty Sweety Gives To Me.

Stan turns towards Soref, playing soprano sax

Stan McDonald joins Jack Soref on Sweet Sue

Jack plays the same gently arched Selmer guitar as Django Rheinhardt.

Jack plays the same gently arched Selmer guitar as Django Rheinhardt.


Jack  was featured with a roaring takeoff solo on Sweet Sue backed by tuba.

He will present a Gypsy Jazz Trio for the first time at Primavera on February 25 and March 17.  For anyone who hasn’t heard this yet, it will be an initiation to Django Rheinhardt!

Phil on trumpet

Phil Person, marvelous musician




Phil Person’s trumpet, so beautiful and moving, resonated on Rose Of The Rio Grande, inducing tuba and guitar into a fiery rhythms.




Irving Berlin’s Blues In The Night – a twelve bar blues, announced the approaching end of the evening.  The Band closed with Bechet’s Marchand de Poisson, beginning and ending with a feisty Habanera.

The Blue Horizon Jazz Band will return to Primavera on February 4th with another presentation of early 20’s and 30’s Hot Jazz.  Hope to see you here!

(My apologies for the poor quality of the photos.  
My main Nikon camera has been sent back to the
company for three weeks for repairs. Marce)

Tunes played tonight:
What Is This Thing Called Love
It Had To Be You
My Gal Sal
Wild Man Blues
Running Wild
Blues My Naughty Sweety Gives To Me
My Gal Rocks Me (With one Steady Roll)
Sweet Sue
Rose of The Rio Grande
Black and Blue
When I Leave The World Behind
Blues In The Night
Marchand de Poisson

Blue Horizon Jazz Band at Primavera Ristorante November 5, 2015

6-pc band with no piano

Stan McDonald’s Blue Horizon Jazz Band

Phil Person trumpet, Stan McDonald soprano sax and clarinet, John Kafalas trombone, Gerry Gagnon tuba, Jack Soref guitar, Steve Taddeo drums

Stan began on soprano sax with I Can’t Believe That You’re In Love With Me, guitar intro to What Is This Thing Called Love; an old chestnut rarely done, It Had To  Be You. 

Stan moved to clarinet for My Gal Sal, taking the vocal.
Tijuana was HOT!

Taddeo on Slingerland drums

Steve Taddeo plays softly too!



Baby, Ain’t I Good To You.. Taddeo was playing like Baby Dodds, varying his drum patterns with accents and flourishes; keeping the beat with the bass drum while playing buzz rolls on the snare.





Phil on trumpet

Phil Person, Berklee College of Music


Rose of Rio Grande, melody was established by Phil’s marvelous trumpet.  We’re fortunate to have him.  He is friendly and easygoing, humorous, a straight ahead trumpeter.

He’s played with the Artie Shaw Orchestra, White Heat Swing Orchestra, Swing Legacy, and Duke Belaire Jazz Orchestra. Phil teaches ear training at Berklee.


trombone and tuba

John Kafalas trombone and Gerry Gagnon Tuba



An upbeat Lover Come Back To Me, with Phil starting on muted trumpet was incredible, with Gerry Gagnon playing that monstrous tuba in double time!

John Kafalas played trombone with feeling and skill making this truly a tour de force.




Jack on guitar like Django's

Jack Soref, Django-style guitarist



Our favorite Gypsy Jazz guitarist, Jack Soref, provided an expert rhythm beat along with drum and tuba.

At breaktime, Jack played Django Rheinhardt’s Nuage, softly backed by tuba, then joined by Stan McDonald on soprano sax.  Beautiful!




Stan on soprano sax

Stan McDonald does Bechet on soprano sax



Leader Stan McDonald’s forte has always been Sidney Bechet.  He played a genuinely heartfelt Si Tu Vois Ma Mere with warm melodic lines.




They wrapped the evening up with a fascinating Dardanella, at one point with the tuba backed only by guitar, and ended it with a joyous romp.

These musicians are a treasure; we hope they’ll all return with The Blue Horizon Jazz Band in 2016.  Many thanks to Ellen McDonald, who has provided us with fantastic jazz every week for the last 20 years!

Blue Horizon Jazz Band with Phil Person at Primavera August 6, 2015

Blue Horizon Jazz Band

Blue Horizon Jazz Band: Dave Didriksen, Stu Gunn, Gerry Gagnon, Phil Person, Jack Soref, Leader Stan McDonald

The Blue Horizon Jazz Band had a perfect mix of musicians this Thursday at Primavera with Phil Person leading on trumpet and Jack Soref on guitar.  Phil brought along his sense of humor, tossing quips as they played, and everyone had fun.   The whole band played a memorable, hard-driving performance!

The combined talents of the front line sharing ideas enlivened the evening.

trombone, trmpet, clarinet, string bass in back

Front Line

Phil Person, white hair, pulled back in long tail, with muted trumpet

Phil Person



Phil Person is leader of the Phil Person Sextet, Quintet, and Quartet, and teaches all levels of Ear Training at Berklee.  In the summertime, he teaches classes of teens.  He kept this evening light with his good humor, adding jokes for the musicians.  They obviously enjoyed playing together, and it reflected on the audience.



They kicked it in with ensemble playing I Can’t Believe That You’re in Love With Me.   What Is This Thing Called Love?

Gerry Gagnon is a ? on that trombone.

Gerry Gagnon is a intense on that trombone.




All by Myself in The Evening – guitar played front line solo, Stan singing, tune has a nice bounce, with Gerry playing killer muted trombone!



Soref with Django style guitar

Jack Soref on domed guitar



Soref’s guitar played rhythm and also became part of the front line.   Jack soloed on It Had To Be You, playing  gypsy flavored ‘jazz manouche’ with swing articulation.

Note the Selmer guitar favored by Django Reinhardt.  The top of the guitar is gently arched or domed—a feature achieved by bending a flat piece of wood rather than by the violin-style carving used in archtop guitars.

Jack brings an added flair to the band.


Found A New Baby – Stan plays the verse on soprano sax,  I Would Do Anything For You, Baby Ain’t I Good To You –  great trumpet, clarinet comping, fine string bass behind them.


Dave with big smile on gold colored Ludwig drums

Dave Didriksen



Rose of the Rio Grande started with energized ensemble with Dave’s great timekeeping skills behind them.   Dave Didriksen plays great Traditional Jazz, playing hi hat softly behind solos, brushes on snare drum.  He lets the soloists shine.  He let loose on one of the tunes showing he can romp with the best of them!



They played My Gal Sal in in marvelous  fluid rhythm. They recalled that on the Jacky Gleason show, Gleason would be found wiping down the bar, singing the end of “My Gal, Sal” in his wonderful howl.

Stu concentrating on bass, hands just a blurr

Stu Gunn



Stu’s magical string bass took the intro to W. C. Handy’s Ole Miss.  Stu plays many styles of string bass, listening carefully, playing just the right cords.

Phil took the lead on trumpet with beautifully placed phrases, with Stan comping on soprano sax. Marvelous!  Stan sang the vocal.  Jack played a dazzling Django guitar solo.



Stan on soprano sax

Stan McDonald


Sidney Bechet’s Le Marchand de Poisson started with a 4-bar rhythm Habanera intro, Dave’s foot heavy on bass drum.   Phil wasn’t familiar with it so Stan took the lead and played a fabulous first chorus on sop sax.  Phil picked it up quickly.   They played a fantastic Habanera ending with horns stinger taking it out.





Stan’s sax took a wild intro into Wild Man Blues, with two bar breaks on solos, Phil playing wa wa trumpet.  Soref’s guitar began a wild finale, China Boy.

6-pc Dixieland band

Fine musicians shared flow of ideas, playing in sync.  It was a fine evening.

These fine musicians  combined talents to play New Orleans old time jazz with new time energy and the fans took part with foot-tapping and head-nodding.  The Jazz was fabulous, and we all had a good time!

Blue Horizon Jazz Band at Primavera, April 2, 2015

7 pc Trad Jazz Band, with guitar

John Kafalas, Steve Taddeo, Mike Peipman, George Gagnon, Jack Soref, Stan McDonald

Stan McDonald kicked off this evening with a low-register clarinet intro to Meet Me Tonight in Dreamland,  introducing the music that embodies a joyful, timeless spirit, with marvelous improvised solos and intricate polyphonic jazz.

Jack Soref took the intro to Sugar on acoustic guitar backed by the rhythm section, followed by Kafalas’s fine trombone solo, with sax and trumpet together playing counterpoint.  Jack is the latest member of the band and we welcome him and his Gypsy Jazz guitar.  He has a unique talent.

Mike’s trumpet took the lead on Ole Miss with embellishments by Stan’s soprano sax, counter point support from trombone, backed by rhythm section.  They are all improvising, yet each  horn leaves space for the others; marks of professional musicians.  Gerry’s tuba took the first solo into Jelly Roll Morton’s Tijuana, with drum/guitar back up, and the band following with fine solos and polyphonic jazz.

Gerry on huge tuba

Gerry Gagnon, tuba and trombone player


Mike’s trumpet and Stan’s sax took the intro to Irving Berlin’s When I Leave the World Behind.  Stan sang it with Gerry Gagnon softly backing him on tuba.

Gerry can be quite relaxed, or highly flamboyant on that monstrous instrument!  He is a fine trombone player, but his tuba is so explicit, it just flows.


We had the pleasure of special guests here tonight, Henry & Jane Fischer from Orleans in Cape Cod.

McDonald standing between Jane and Henry

Henry and Jane Fischer of Cape Cod with Stan McDonald

Jane and Henry feature early jazz and pop music on Dixieland Jazz, etc. every 1st, 3rd and 5th Sunday of the month from 9am to noon on,  Their emphasis is on melody and traditional harmonies, whether played by original artists such as Louis Armstrong and Django Reinhardt or The New Black Eagle Jazz Band or Vince Giordano.  They play older popular hits, boogie-woogie, ragtime and swing; music from the heart and soul of New Orleans to the inventive West Coast masters Gerry Mulligan and Paul Desmond.

They enjoyed meeting and having conversations with the musicians.  Join Henry and Jane on  for a fun filled three hours’ Jazz Brunch on Sunday mornings — you’ll have a hard time sitting still.

 The Blue Horizon continued with Memphis Blues, Steve using wire brushes on top hat and choke cymbal.  Great front line, backed by guitar, with drum and tuba playing closely in sync.

Stan playing soprano sax next toopen case with BHJB flyer on it

Stan McDonald, leader of the Blue Horizon Jazz Band



Stan took first chorus on soprano sax for Rose of The Rio Grand, with tuba playing every 4/4 beat. Extraordinary!




Jack Soref thrilled the crowd with his mastery on Old Fashioned Love, followed by fantastic trumpet and trombone solos with Gagnon’s tuba carrying dialogue/counterpoint, and Steve tapping upside down on bass drum.
Steve started Lotus Blossom with a four bar rhythm intro, followed by intricate ensemble by the band, and Stan taking the vocal.  He closed it with a sultry cadenza on soprano sax.

Kafalas is a fine trombonist

John Kafalas swings on trombone




Lover Come Back to Me emphasized Kefala’s supple fingers on trombone.  He was backed by Taddeo using splash cymbal for emphasis.

Jack on guitar

Gypsy Jazz guitarist Jack Soref plays all genres of Jazz





Jack was featured on I Can’t Give You Anything But Love  displaying his fantastic energy, chromatic ornamentation.   Finally, in a Trio with only drum and tuba, he let loose in a lush arrangement of Django Rhinehart’s Minor Swing. (Jack lived in Paris for half a year and had the honor of jamming with the old masters like Boulou Ferré and Romanian violin maestro Florin Niculescu.)


Mike grimacing as he pushes out notes on trumpet

Mike Peipman, from Australia



Mike Peipman was featured on Dardanella, playing hot trumpet with passionate intensity.  We are so lucky to have him here!  (Thank you, Australia!)  He’s been recruited by many local bands.




Stan McDonald took the first 32 bars with guitar back-up on Bechet’s Si Tu Vois Ma Mere with the band playing mellifluously behind him.

Steve Taddo beaming, on his antique Swingland drum set

Steve Taddeo on his antique 1939 Slingerland drum set



Taddeo’s drum beats kicked off Swing That Music, pushing the band into their free-wheeling jazz, flourishing and intensifying into a hot barn burner!

Steve exuded energy all evening, while not setting the dynamic level too loud.  He was great!

That should have concluded the evening, but there was still time left.



They finished softly with What Is This Thing Called Love, dazzling trombone solo, lyrical and seemingly effortless, like the Teagarden gate, with drum cross sticking.  It was a serene ending to another evening of jazz at Primavera Ristorante.

The Blue Horizon Jazz Band will be here with more energetic, timeless Traditional Jazz on May 7th.  Hope to see you here???  Bring some friends!

Blue Horizon Jazz Band at Primavera Ritorante March 5, 2015

Blue Horizon Jazz Band with Jack Soref and Mike Peipman

Blue Horizon Jazz Band with Jack Soref, Mike Peipman, and Dave Didriksen

Stan McDonald soprano sax/vocals, Mike Peipman trumpet, Gerry Gagnon trombone, Jack Soref guitar, Stu Gunn string bass, Dave Didriksen drums.

Stan McDonald was listed as one of the top five soprano saxophone players in the world in a 1985 Mississippi Rag poll. He has played with the likes of Ralph SuttonTommy BenfordBuzzy DrootinRoss PetotSammy PriceBenny WatersDoc CheathamDick WetmoreMarty Grosz and Scott Hamilton.

Stan sitting, playing soprano sax

Stan McDonald, soprano sax

Stan was interviewed by Dave Radlauer on Jazz Rhythm, where the Bechet-style soprano saxophone master recalled his half-century musical career.   The set of 3 one-hour programs are available here

McDonald always picks the cream of the crop musicians from this area for his Blue Horizon Jazz Band; tonight was no exception.

Mike grimacing and blowing trumpet

Mike Peipman raises the roof with West End Blues

Mike Peipman’s fiery  trumpet  can be delicate and powerful.  Mike generally plays modern, contemporary jazz, but displayed his aptitude for classic jazz with an impeccable rendition of  Louis Armstrong’s West End Blues.  Spectacular!

Combining the careers of lead trumpet player and Jazz soloist, he has toured with numerous groups such as the Artie Shaw Orchestra and the Woody Herman Orchestra.



trombone in front, sb in back

Gerry Gagnon trombone, Stu Gunn string bass

Gerry Gagnon, veteran BHJB member, anchored the band tonight with his fabulous ‘Jack Teagarden’ trombone.  Gerry normally plays with the Boilermaker Jazz Band, all over the U.S. Canada and Europe.

Stu Gunn has a masters degree from the Boston Conservatory.  He covers the total range of music from classical to theater to jazz on both tuba and string bass.  We remember him with Bob Connor’s Yankee Rhythm Kings.  Now he’s with the Boston Symphony and Cape Cod Symphony Orchestras. His solid bass line keeps him on-call with many Trad Jazz bands.



Dave on drums

Dave Didriksen


Dave Didriksen filled in for Steve Taddeo with some solid drumming that kept the band on time; essential in Traditional Jazz.

He was followed by the band playing organ-type chorus on Baby, Ain’t I Good To You.  Nice!

Dave is drummer for the Wolverine Jazz Band and drummer and Manager for Swing Times Five.
He also owns Willow Books in Acton MA.


Full view of Mollie with scarf down to her knees and big fur hat almost covering her face

Mollie Malone




Chanteuse Mollie Malone was in the audience and stepped up for a fine vocal on Django’s Nuage, in French, backed by Stu Gunn, steadfast on string bass and Stan’s soprano sax




Jack Soref plays high quality Jazz, Gypsy Swing.  He introduced many of the tunes on guitar. His interpretation of Django Reinhardt’s romantic Russian tune, Ochi chyornye  (Dark Eyes) even surprised the members of the band, and had everyone on the edge of their seats.  Jack plays regularly with the Gypsy Swing Band AmeranoucheJack Soref plays Gypsy Jazz!

We missed Ross Petot’s piano, keeping it all together.  But Ross teaches on Thursday evenings, so many bands have had to improvise.

The Blue Horizon Jazz Band will be at Primavera Ristorante on the first Thursday of every month; next will be April 2nd, 7pm.
Our grateful THANKS to Ellen McDonald, who has patiently kept these Traditional Jazz Bands playing LIVE JAZZ for over 20 years!

We hope to see you here next month?

Blue Horizon Jazz Band at Primavera Ristorante, January 15, 2015

Band at far end of room, tables and fans in foreground

Jazz Room, Primavera Ristorante

A new era began as the Blue Horizon Jazz Band launched Thursday Jazz at the Primavera Ristorante in Millis, Massachusetts.  Primavera is an excellent new venue for Traditional and Dixieland Jazz.  It is a quality restaurant with a lovely atmosphere.  It offers great service at an affordable price and makes you feel like you are dining in Italy.

The band  plays in a separate function room with good sound and balance, but it doesn’t have a piano – yet.  Stan McDonald had to rearrange some personnel.  Dave MacMillan substituted for pianist Ross Petot, with banjo, vocals, and smiles.

trombone, trumpet, sax, banjoStan McDonald soprano sax, Jeff Stout trumpet, John Kafalas trombone, Dave MacMillan banjo/vocals, Gerry Gagnon tuba, George Darrah drums

25-yr-old drummer

George Darrah filled in for Steve Taddeo.  He is a bright young drummer from Beverly.  At age 16, he was rehearsing with the Dave Whitney Big Band.   He’s become a fine musician and will be one of the keepers of the Classic Jazz flame.

Along with Gerry’s tuba, George provided sure-footed rhythm with his creative drumming.



Dave MacMillan kicked off the evening with banjo intro and vocals on I Can’t Believe That You’re In Love With Me.

Trombonist John Kafalas interjected the blues feeling in Wabash Blues.  He has a Bach 42 trombone with a large bell that is generally used in a symphony, but works very well in this room.



Smiling tubist with huge tuba



Gerry Gagnon is a virtuoso bassist on tuba, and showed it on his solo on Rose of The Rio Grande.  




Stan on soprano sax



Stan said he believes  All By Myself  is one of the greatest melodies of all time, an “organic whole”.

Old Fashioned Love featured Stan on soprano sax.   They alternated with a Latin beat on St. Louis Blues, fortified by Jeff Stout’s powerful trumpet.


Trumpet and saxophone took a stirring, synchronized intro into When I Leave The World Behind, backed only by tuba. The ensemble worked together, playing for each other as well as the listening audience, on Sugar, Swing That Music, .

Some Of These Days was a barn-buster that had fans tapping their toes.   Stout’s trumpet took a slow intro into Sunny Side of The Street with just the rhythm section behind him.  Nice.

Smiling Dave on banjo


Since these musicians have never played together as a band,  Back Home Again in Indiana was preceded by a big discussion. The result was inspired solos and ensemble, ending with Dave MacMillan, with a big smile, embellishing the vocals.



Jeff on trumpet


Jeff took the lead on Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives To Me with Stan playing counterpoint.

Black and Blue was fresh and different, played with alternating tempos.




Darrah took a drum-pummeling four-bar break on the closure, After You’ve Gone.

Primavera will be a perfect venue for Traditional and Dixieland Jazz, with warm staff, hospitality and fine food.  (Chicken Limoncello was delicious!)   We look forward to returning next week for Eli and His Hot Six (formerly Eli’s All Stars) with pianist Bob Winter of the Boston Pops on keyboard.  POSTER  Join us!

Primavera Ristorante, 20 Pleasant St. Millis MA 02054 (Just off Rt. 109) 508-376-2026