Dave Whitney Big Band at Ken’s Steak House, April 3rd 2016

14-pc Big Band, 4 saxes, 4 trumpets, 2 trombones, guitar/vocalist, piano, string bass, drum

Dave Whitney Big Band

By Marce
Videos by Harold McAleer

Lou Stamas alto sax
John Clark tenor sax/clarinet
Bob Drukman alto sax
Ted Casher tenor sax/clarinet
Dave Whitney, leader
Joe Musumeci
Jeff Hughes
Gary Bohan
Scott Hill
Mike Strauss
Guitar: Karen Quatromoni,
Piano Steve Dale,
Bass Dave LeBleu,
Drums Reid Jorgensen

Because of two bands playing at the same time, we arrived late – just in time to catch a memorable arrangement of Duke Ellington/Juan Tizol’s straightahead swing of Perdido.

Dave Whitney started the second set with a Dixie Band, playing a superb Dixieland arrangement of  Ain’t Gonna Give Nobody  None of My Jelly Roll..

Smaller group up front

Dixie Band

He continued with a tune from Louis’s Hot 5, Struttin’ With Some Barbeque.
Harold McAleer took a break from videotaping to enjoy a dance with Sue Lewis.

Georgia on my Mind had a unique beginning, with just Dave’s trumpet and LeBleu’s string bass.  Dave LeBleu has been with this Big Band since it’s inception and consistently offers up an earthy tone, flawless intonation, and fluid finger work.  Joe Musumeci has been with the band close to 20 years and is now lead trumpeter.

John Clark was on hot clarinet for Fletcher Henderson’s Stealing Apples, with Steve Dale on piano and Jeff  Hughes trumpet.

Brunette vocalist

Karen Quatronomi


The Band’s new vocalist, Karen Quatromoni gives an indomitable singing performance, with clear voice reminiscent of Anita O’Day.  Her vocal on East of the Sun was followed by fine solos.   She aced the Benny Goodman arrangement with Peggy Lee, Let’s Do It, and Johnny Mercer’s Harlem Butterfly.




Ted Casher was on clarinet for Karen’s version of You Turned The Tables on Me

The band continued with Harry James & His Band, The Music Makers, with a tune of the same name, featuring the saxophone section.  Lou Stamas led on alto sax with Moment to Moment.

Sax leader Lou Stamos stands

Sax leader Lou Stamas

Keeping them on their toes, Whitney pulled a switch on the group with Les & Larry Elgart’s Paradise.

This was John Clark’s birthday weekend, and he had the good fortune of fulfilling an item on his ‘Bucket List’, playing tenor sax with our living legend, Ted Casher.  Lionel Hampton’s Flying Home was the highlight of this evening!!

Dave up front on trumpet

Leader Dave Whitney


The Dave Whitney Big Band continued with Horace Henderson’s Big John Special that Benny Goodman played at his Carnegie Hall Concert, with Dave’s majestic trumpet and John Clark’s rich and mellow clarinet.

Billie Eckstein’s Band did Blues For Sale; Chris Powers wrote it.  Dave gave the band extra solos and completed it with his own fine vocal.

Will Hudson, Eddie De Lange’s Sophisticated Swing was popular in the 1930’s, Jimmy Dorsey had nothing on this band!


Mike Strauss was featured on trombone on an up-tempo, bouncy swing from the postwar Les Brown orchestra, Lover’s Leap.

Time for some fun – with Karen and Dave singing together on Daddy.  This was Bobby Troup’s first hit in 1941, done by The Sammy Kaye Orchestra.

Dave and Karen singing up front

Dave and Karen duet on “Daddy”

Dave makes good use of the musicians – Stomping at the Savoy featured John Clark on clarinet, Gary Bohan trumpet, and Steve Dale piano.

The Rhythm Boys were tucked into the right corner.  Dave LeBleu string bass, Steve Dale piano, and Reid Jorgensen drums are the foundation of the Dave Whitney Big Band.

string bass, piano, and drums

The Rhythm Boys

They wound up this fabulous evening with their closing theme, a Steve Dale arrangement, nice and slow, with Dave Whitney’s trumpet on Pete Kelly’s Blues.

Dave made this a 14-piece Big Band for a reason – like Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw, it’s all about SWING!   Their next gig is Sunday June 5th 1-3pm  at Canobie Lake Park,  85 N Policy St, Salem, NH 03079.