The group consists of Charlie Shoemake on vibes, Sandy Shoemake vocals, Frank Potenza on guitar, Joe Bagg on organ & piano, Luther Hughes on bass, and Paul Kreibich on drums. Leader and vibist Charlie Shoemake played the piano at the age of 6, and was a talented high school and college baseball player who chose music over sports. Charlie moved to Los Angeles in 1956 to master the concepts of the jazz be-bop idols of the 1950’s. Charlie studied harmony with pianist Jimmy Rowles, and did a lot of studio and commercial playing in the 60’s. During this time he met his wife Sandy. He was inspired by vibist Victor Feldman, and did some studio work for Quincy Jones and Lalo Schifrin. In 1966 Charlie heard George Shearing at Shelly’s Manne Hole and was invited to join the group, touring for the next 7 years. For the following 18 years Charlie and his wife Sandy raised their son, and he mentored music students at his jazz improvisation school, teaching over 1500 students, many of whom became successful, professional jazz musicians. Charlie performed over 500 concerts in the next 12 years, and played in Clint Eastwood’s movie “Bird”. Charlie eventually formed the Central Coast Jazz Institute, a 501C3 non-profit, where a group of his students were named “Best Community College Jazz Group in the U.S.” by “Downbeat Magazine”. Charlie is considered one of the most successful jazz improvisation teachers in Southern California’s history. Charlie is a top-notch composer, and considered one of the great major voices of the jazz vibraphone. Charlie feels fortunate to have played with many of the greatest jazz musicians in his career, and the continuing achievement of his former students are most meaningful to him. Charlie has recorded 19 albums as a leader/co-leader.
Vocalist Sandy Shoemake grew up singing in choirs, her fathers’ band, and at LA City College’s “A Band” as the featured vocalist with musicians like Bob Florence, Jim Hall, Gary Peacock, and Lee Morgan. Sandy sang with Sy Zentner’s Orchestra at the Hollywood Palladium, and did studio work on TV variety shows, commercials, and the three TV networks, NBC, CBS, and ABC. Sandy performed on the TV shows of Andy Williams, Jerry Lewis, Red Skeleton, with the Lennon Sisters, Jimmy Durante, Bing Crosby, Doris Day, Dean Martin, and the Nelson Riddle Orchestra. Song stylist that Sandy admires are Connie Boswell, Helen Forrest, Doris Day, Sarah Vaughn, Jackie Cain, Frank Sinatra, Dick Haynes, David Allyn, and Billy Eckstine. Sandy sings with warmth, imagination, and beautiful phrasing. She is a fine interpreter of ballads having recorded 3 solo albums.
Guitarist, composer, educator, and arranger Frank Potenza, a protégé of Joe Pass, has recorded 9 solo albums, and played on 13 as a sideman. Frank has worked with Dizzy Gillespie, George Van Epps, Bud Shank, Mose Allison, James Moody, Harry “Sweets” Edison, Jack McDuff, and Gene Harris. Frank received a Bachelors’ Degree from Berklee College of Music, and a Masters’ Degree from Cal State LA. Frank has authored 2 books on fingerboard mastery “Scales”, and “Arpeggios”, and currently teaches jazz studies at USC Thornton School of Music. Frank has studied with some great jazz and classical teachers, and regularly gives lectures, seminars, and master classes.
Organist/Keyboardist Joe Bagg has been nominated year after year by the “Downbeat Magazine” Critics Poll for top organists. Joe is an inventive and highly refined player who’s light playing touch, and great ears for listening elevates any musical setting he plays in. Joe performed on Clint Eastwood’s film “Jersey Boys”, and currently plays with the LA Jazz Collective, and Option 3 jazz groups. Joe’s first instrument was the xylophone which he learned by ear as a youth. He later studied with pianist Kenny Barron, and received a Masters’ Degree at Rutgers University. Joe has played or recorded with nearly every jazz musician in Southern California. Joe’s talents include being a Russian Linguist in the army in Germany, and right after took up the organ influenced by organist Larry Golding. For the last 20 years Joe has played with dozens of jazz greats all over the U.S., and overseas. Joe has played on 12 CD recordings.
Bassist Luther Hughes leads 3 different jazz groups including the Cannonball/Coltrane Project. Luther is a record producer, and music publisher who founded Primrose Lane Music. Luther currently teaches at Cal State Fullerton, and Saddleback College. Luther did his music training at the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, and Long Beach City College. Luther received his music degree from Cal State Long Beach. In his 30 plus year career, Luther has played and recorded with hundreds of jazz greats. He was a member of the Gene Harris Quartet for over 20 years, producing over 30 recordings. Luther has been a member of the Ron Eschete Trio, the Charlie Shoemake Quartet, and played with vocalist Dewey Erney. Luther has played numerous jazz festivals, with several jazz big bands, many pop, rock, and country artists, performed on live stage and theatre, on TV and film soundtracks, and has broadcasted live jazz on the radio. Luther has studied with many classical teachers, and taught jazz at several major colleges. Luther has played on over 90 recordings to date.
Drummer Paul Kreibich began the drums at age 9, playing in Costa Mesa, and on Balboa Island. Paul has studied at Berklee College of Music, and Orange Coast College, studying with Forest Clarke. Paul’s early career began with the Vince Wallace Quintet, and he played in the Continental Circus. Paul toured with vocalist Carmen McRae, studied with Fred Gruber at LA City College, and later toured Japan playing with Ray Charles for four years. Paul has played with dozens of jazz greats and played on over 60 CD recordings, including the Gene Harris Quartet. Paul currently teaches at Cal State Fullerton, and has taught at USC and Valley College. Paul has 2 CDs as a leader, and always listens to his band members’ well, complimenting them with his crisp playing. Paul always swings with a powerful sound, but maintains a loose, groovy feel, with sharp rhythms, and well executed licks. Pauls’ personality is supportive, amiable, and personable. He is a regular member of the Cannonball/Coltrane Project.