The Phil Norman Tentet is one of the most talented 11 piece bands on the jazz scene today. This world-class jazz ensemble is rich with creative musicians.
Heavily influenced by the sounds of Miles Davis’ Birth of the Cool Bands, and the West Coast Jazz Bands of the fifties, the Phil Norman Tentet explores new ideas from gifted arrangers and composers like Bob Florence, Dave Pell, Alan Broadbent, Med Flory, Roger Neumann, Tom Kubis, Dan Higgins, Scott Whitfield, Kim Richmond, Jackson Stock, & others. The Tentet consists of a small group instrumentation that sounds like a big band with slightly less volume. Music from the likes of Gerry Mulligan, Art Pepper and other West Coast Cool Players is a major part of Phil Norman’s Tentet Sound. The group plays different tempos from different arrangers and soloists on jazz standards and originals. Now in their 18th year, the Phil Norman Tentet is an ensemble of L.A.’s first call jazz musicians who have won Grammy awards as arrangers, composers, and as first rate players. The musicians in the Tentet play updated cool, modern west coast jazz. To date, Phil Norman’s Tentet has made 7 CD recordings.
The musicians are: Pianist Christian Jacob, who leads his own trio, and has worked with Flora Purim, Airto Moreira, Maynard Ferguson, Bill Holman, and Tierney Sutton among others. Drummer Dick Weller has worked with Charles Blenzing, Andy Laverne, Jeff Andrews, Rachel Z, Chuck Loeb, Walt Weiskopf, Dianne Schuur, Bobby Shew, Mike Stern, Bobby Lyle, Mike Manieri, Bob Florence, and Scott Henderson. Percussionist Brad Dutz has worked with Maynard Ferguson, recorded 10 solo CDs, co-produced 12 other recordings, and played on over 200 titles as a sideman. Bassist Kevin Axt has worked with Placido Domingo, Natalie Cole, Shelby Lynne, Tierney Sutton among others, performed on over 150 recordings, and with different groups received 12 Grammy nominations. Guitarist Larry Koonse has worked with John Dankworth, Cleo Laine, Mel Torme, Terry Gibbs, Bob Brookmeyer, Billy Childs, Warne Marsh, Percy Faith Al Hirt, Jimmy Rowles, Lee Konitz, Alan Broadbent, Bill Perkins, Toots Thielemans, Bob Sheppard, Joe Labarbera, and co-leads the L.A. Jazz Quartet, with bassist Darek Oles. Koonse has taught at the California Institute of the Arts for nearly 30 years. Trumpeter Carl Saunders, who leads his own sextet and big band, has worked with Stan Kenton, Sy Zenter, Maynard Ferguson, Harry James, Woody Herman, Louie Bellson, Benny Goodman, Buddy Rich, Tex Beneke, Tom Jones, Jack Jones, Julio Iglesias, Debbie Reynolds, Ella Fitzgerald, Harry Belafonte, Sammy Davis Jr., Robert Goulet, Paul Anka, and Frank Sinatra. Saunders has written over 125 compositions, has written for the Tentet, and has played on dozens of recordings as a leader and sideman. Trumpeter Ron Stout has played with big bands, small ensembles, vocal groups and star soloists. Stout has worked with the big bands of Bob Florence, Bill Holman, Bill Watrous, Woody Herman, the small groups of Horace Silver and Pepper Adams, the singing groups, the Supremes, the Four Tops, the Temptations, the Righteous Brothers, and vocalists, Lou Rawls, Mel Torme and many others. Trombonist Scott Whitfield has worked with the Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra, the Johnny Griffin Big Soul Band, and his own East and West Jazz Orchestras. Whitfield has 7 CD recordings as a leader and has played on over 50 recordings as a sideman. Whitfield’s music has been performed and recorded by Diva, Maurice Hines, The Pied Pipers, Bill Allred’s Jazz Band, and Pete Peterson’s 23 Strong Collection Orchestra. Alto saxophonist Rusty Higgins has been with Les Brown’s Band of Renown for over 20 years, joined Captain and Tennille, and has conducted over 60 symphonies for Toni Tennille’s Orchestra. Higgins recorded Bob Hope’s T.V. Specials for 17 years, played on the Tonight Show Band with Johnny Carson and Jay Leno, performed with Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Mel Torme, Rosemary Clooney, Liza Minnelli,Dionne Warwick, Clark Terry, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Louie Bellson, Jack Sheldon, and arranges for the Tentet. Baritone saxophonist Brian Williams has played on over 40 recordings and is a mainstay musician on the Southern California music scene. He replaces the late Roger Neumann who was a longtime saxophonist, arranger, composer, band leader, and member of the Phil Norman Tentet. Leader and Tenor saxophonist/Clarinetist Phil Norman, has played with the Frank Capp Juggernaut Big Band, the Full Faith and Credit 19 Piece Big Band, Dave Pell’s Octet, and Tom Lyles Trio. Norman was the financial radio voice for KMPC and KABC radio stations in L.A. for many years, appearing with radio personalities Gary Owens, Ken and Bob, Michel Jackson, and Stu Nayhan. Norman’s financial success, musical background, and desire to revive the Cool Contemporary Sounds of Miles Davis, Gerry Mulligan, Dave Brubeck, Shorty Rogers, Dave Pell, and others led Phil to form the Tentet, one of the most respected Jazz Ensembles in Southern California.