History of Mile High Jazz Band | NevadaAppeal.com

History of Mile High Jazz Band

Saxophonist Dan Lancaster of the Mile High Jazz Band gets his groove on during rehearsal Tuesday night at Eagle Valley Middle School. Above, conductor David Bugli starts up the band. At left, vocalist Sheryl Adams sings 'The Christmas Song' with the band during rehearsal.

The Mile High Jazz Band and its subgroup, the Millennium Bugs jazz combo, was formed as a nonprofit organization in 2001. It started in South Lake Tahoe in 1997, before Bugli moved the name to Carson City. Its mission is to promote live jazz performance in and around Carson City, educate the public about jazz, and enrich the cultural life of the community.

It’s a big job, but they’re up to it.

In 2001, the band began monthly performances at night at Carson City’s Comma Coffee. The coffee house clears a small dance floor and offers swing-dance instruction preceding band performances.

Despite, or perhaps because of the tight quarters, there’s excitement at these nights that surpasses the fun at bigger musical stars in casinos.

In 2002, the band received Music Performance Trust Fund money, matched by band funds, for special free performances. The band was invited to play on Nevada Day, and won the Taste of Downtown “Best Band” award.

In 2003, members began collaborating with local poets in “Jazz and Poetry” events, combining poetry readings with related musical selections.

In 2003, Mile High Jazz Band and Bella Voce women’s vocal ensemble were selected by the American Composers Forum for a Continental Harmony project, one of six nationwide. The project, “Building from the Past: A Celebration of Revitalized Performance Spaces in Northern Nevada,” will include a commissioned work to be performed in historic theaters in two urban and three rural counties in Northern Nevada, and composer-in-residence activities in schools in the five communities.

In January, as part of its educational mission, the band performed with the Carson High Jazz Band in a benefit concert, “Mile High-Carson High Jazz Extravaganza,” to raise funds to send high school musicians to the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in Moscow, Idaho. All proceeds – more than $4,000 from ticket sales alone – were donated to the high school band.

– Sam Bauman

Mile High Jazz Band members


Richard Davis

Tony Chieffo

Dan Lancaster

Casey Finnerty

Gerry Wright


Gil Linsley

Tony Injayan

John Beckman

Scott LeVal

Mike Allen


Dean Carter

Theresa Avance

Mike Allen

Curt Barnes


David Bugli


Brad Lund


Mike Almaraz


Sheryl Adams