A summer of sounds for all tastes is on the menu with the Payson Parks and Recreation 2008 Summer Concerts Under the Stars season.
The line up
- Saturday, June 14, the big band sound of Sonoran Swing
- Saturday, June 21, the classic country of Junction 87
- Friday, July 4, John Carpino and the Hot Cappuccinos playing classic rock and beyond
- Saturday, July 12, the rock, blues and R&B of the Gypsy Juke Rockers
- Saturday, July 19, Cold Shott and the Hurricane Horns blow the sound of funk and jazz into the evening
- Saturday, July 26, Payson's own Brandon Shepard wraps up the series
About the performers
Dancers have twirled around the floor to the big band sound of the 19-piece Sonoran Swing band at the Black and White Ball, New Year's celebrations and, in 2007, the band wrapped up the concerts in the park series.
This summer, concertgoers can swing again to the sounds of such favorites as "Kansas City," "Embraceable You" and "String of Pearls."
There is now a concrete dance floor in front of the Green Valley Park stage to accommodate the light of foot.
"Sonoran Swing is a dance band composed of people who enjoy making music," business manager Stan Albert said. "All the members donate their time and talents because of their love of music and the enjoyment they derive from playing for an audience."
The 20-member band includes two vocalists, five saxophones, four trombones, five trumpets, piano, bass, guitar, vibraphone and drums.
Billy Ichida, Bob Lewis and Jim Norman are Junction 87. The three men have been performing country music standards and 1950s rock 'n' roll together for more than three years.
Japanese-born Ichida picked up the guitar as a teenager and once he discovered country music and bluegrass in college, he was determined to come to the United States and become a professional guitarist. In addition to lead guitar, he also plays a mean electric fiddle.
Lead singer Bob Lewis plays both bass and rhythm guitars.
Jim Norman goes to town on his vintage bass fiddle. He also plays bass guitar.
Junction 87 has played a weekly jam session at the Buffalo Bar and Grill for six years, as well as playing numerous gigs in the Rim Country. The trio also toured Japan in April.
The band has just released its first CD, "Almost Live."
Big Daddy D and the Dynamites
The high-energy dance music of Big Daddy D and the Dynamites brings upbeat blues, soul and Cajun music midway through the Concerts Under the Stars series. Singer and lead guitarist Darryle Porras formed the band a decade ago.
The mixture of songs such as "Shotgun" and "The House is Rockin'" are played by a collaboration of musicians. They are: Anton Teschner on saxophone, Carlos B. Jones on drums and Steven Ayers on bass. Drew Hall shares guitar and vocals with Porras.
Although the band specializes in improvisational covers, they also mix in their original tunes.
John Carpino and the Hot Cappuccinos
Post-games and pre-fireworks on Independence Day, solo songwriter and acoustic guitarist John Carpino takes the stage with his ensemble band, The Hot Cappuccinos, to liven up the evening for the fourth time in the past three years.
"Musicians have regular gigs with their own bands, so I pick and choose from whomever is available on a given weekend," Carpino said. "I get to draw from a wonderful pool of talent."
His bandmates for the July 4 gig are: his wife Lu on keyboards and percussions. She also sings. Billy Ichida (normally of Junction 87) sings, plays lead guitar and electric fiddle.
David Brooks adds his voice and lead guitar. Deak Deitrich plays lead guitar, pedal steel and vocals.
Last but not least, is drummer Marty Tkachyk.
"We have the two best lead guitarists in all of Rim Country on stage with us," Carpino said.
This concert marks the first time Ichida and Deitrich, who knew each other when they played in the Valley in separate bands in the 1970s, will perform on the same stage at the same time.
"We're really excited about this line up. The energy and the people and the family environment with people dancing and enjoying themselves make playing in the park fun on Fourth of July. It should prove to be a great show," John Carpino said.
Gypsy Juke Rockers
For those who have not caught Gypsy Juke Rockers in past Rim Country performances, their 2008 concert in the park is an opportunity not to be missed.
The Phoenix-based band has made more than 360 appearances in the past 36 months.
"Gypsy's wailing harmonica and vocals are reminiscent of Big Mama Thornton and at the same time sweet and sultry like Billy Holliday ... and have been known to make grown men cry! JC will step in with his smooth guitar style, mellow vocals, and also some pretty smooth moves. Add in the ‘locked groove' drum and bass combination and these guys are ‘off the hook.' Bassist Paul Thomas has worked with folks like Ike Turner, Bo Diddley, Junior Watson, Nappy Brown, Pinetop Perkins and others, and drummer Vince Curtis spent time with STOMP.
"The group has a wide ranging appeal that spans various demographics from 20-somethings to Baby Boomers alike and always gives an extremely exciting musical presentation tailored to fit each event," agent John Chavez of Gruntwerks Productions wrote in an e-mail.
Cold Shott & the Hurricane Horns
Funk is coming to Payson's ponderosa pines as part of the Concerts Under the Stars series in Green Valley Park.
Cold Shott and the Hurricane Horns' veteran musicians will drive up from Phoenix to play a mixture of jazz and funk.
The eight-piece group boasts a rocking rhythm section and a three-piece horn section.
Their song "Headin' Down the Beeline" is one people can relate to.
"We're centered around that good ol' classic rhythm and blues, with a rock edge to it," said guitar player and band manager, Rich Brydle. "We cover jazz, soul, blues and funk."
The band's "old-school authenticity" is completed with Tim Finn on guitar and vocals, Scott Engel on keyboards and vocals, Tony Flores on bass and vocals, and James "Slim" Scroggins on drums.
Saxophone player Keith Kuchzinski is the newest addition to the band's three-piece horn set. He joins trumpet and flugelhorn player, Dave Axton, and saxophonist and flutist, Tim Matteson.
The audience in the park will hear tunes made famous by ZZ Top at one end of the spectrum and Otis Redding on the other end.
Brandon Shepard is a musician, a singer and a songwriter.
At the age of 5 he began to teach himself to play the guitar by ear.
His first professional gigs were playing in hard rock bands as a teenager.
For the past two years he has been playing the country music circuit in Arizona and has received exposure on small FM stations across the country.
Although the music Shepard plays on stage is country, he likens the lightning energy of his concerts to a rock 'n' roll show.
He has learned to use the Web to advance his career.
Current visits to his online site tune in at 10,000 per month and he has tracked his music to more than 40 download sites.
"I love being in front of an audience," he said.
The Concerts Under the Stars bandstand is located on the south section of Green Valley Park between the playground and the War Memorial. The concerts are free, last about two hours and begin at 7 p.m.
It's bring your own seating and the evenings can get a teeny bit chilly, so lawn chairs and blankets can be a good idea. Many people gather around picnics before and during the show.