Jazz band soars a mile high | NevadaAppeal.com

Jazz band soars a mile high

Sam Bauman

Rick Gunn/Nevada Appeal Bass sax player Gerry Wright goes over his sheet music Tuesday night at Eagle Valley Middle School.

The Mile High Jazz Band has become a happy fixture around Carson Country, playing the kind of music that doesn’t get heard all that often: big band music, dating from the 1940-50s era. But don’t be fooled, this swinging, blasting, rollicking 17-piece group also marches to the drummer of today, playing modern classics such as Miles Davis’ “All Blues.”

Most of the musicians, and vocalist Sheryl Adams, have day lives that have little to do with jazz. The conductor, David Bugli, for instance, works the other side of the street as conductor of the Carson City Symphony, which has teamed up with the Mile High Jazz Band on occasion. He is also a Nevada state employee, holds a master’s degree in music and plays both jazz and classics, triples on piano, tuba and trombone and has been an organist and choir director.

“About six years ago I was playing jazz with a big band at South Lake Tahoe and wanted to call the band the Mile High Jazz Band. They kicked me out, so I started it down here and have been having fun ever since.”

Soloists swing the band around, Bugli said, citing some of them:

• Curt Barnes, who owns the House of Ski on Kingsbury Grade, plays tenor trombone.

• Tony Chieffo, who has tripled on clarinet, sax and flute in the past, also plays sax with the Carson Symphony and the Carson Valley Pops Orchestra.

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• Gil Linsley is the lead trumpet and flugelhorn player, but then all trumpet players in the band also play the more mellow flugelhorn. He’s played with stars such as Barbra Streisand, Peggy Lee, Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra. He has been heard to take off on some weird but lovely solos.

Then there’s Sheryl Adams, who offers the vocals that go so well with big bands. She sings around and brings a bright touch.

The band prepares for performances in two rehearsals each month at Eagle Valley Middle School by learning additional works and polishing section work and solos.

Contact reporter Sam Bauman at sbauman@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1236.