Jim began playing saxophone at age 9. At age 13, he began playing with local bands and sitting in at jazz clubs in the St. Louis metro area. By age 17, he was playing with most of the big-name dance bands in St. Louis such as Ralph Butler and Bob Kuban as well as the SIU-Edwardsville Concert Jazz Band. After graduating high school in 1982, he briefly attended North Texas State University, entering their Jazz program in the prestigious 3 O'Clock Jazz Big Band. After retuming to St. Louis, he headed up a contemporary jazz/dance band called "The Bottom Line." This group gigged around town at most of the major venues and even appeared in the movie "White Palace" in 1990. In the following years, Jim has freelanced around the Midwest and played shows at the Fox Theater with the Four Tops and Temptations as well as with local bands such as Fluid Drive, Encore, 40 West, The ZBand, and the Ralph Butler Band among many others. More recently, Jim has appeared with Peter Mayer (guitarist with Jimmy Buffett) in a series of shows at the Superdome in New Orleans. There, the Peter Mayer Group played to crowds in excess of 38,000. He also appeared recently with pianist/composer Chris Walters at the Nashville Jazz Workshop. In addition to his live performance work, Jim is also active in the recording industry. He has appeared on the albums of R. Scott Bryan (formerly of Sheryl Crows' band), Peter Mayer, Javier Mendoza, and Pat Liston (Mama's Pride), among many others.
Tim Jarden, Pete Basola, Jeff Walker, and Kenny King, the members of the Alton Landing Jazz Quartet share connections that date back to high school. At the age of ten, guitarist Tim Jarden learned to play music. A couple of years later, an uncle showed him the basic chords, and he was hooked. Jarden joined the Alton High School Jazz Band, at age 16, which was directed by Pete Basola, who was seven years his senior. Sasola was also directing the jazz band at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Jarden enrolled there after high school and eventually earned a music education degree and a masters' degree, with an emphasis on jazz education. Today, Basola plays tenor and soprano saxophones for the ALJQ. Sasola became vice president of enrollment at Lewis and Clark Community College. Jarden followed him there, and eventually he taught Jeff Walker, now the drummer and percussionist for the Alton Landing Jazz Quartet. The relationship that exists between Jarden and Basola and Walker also exists between Jarden and Kenny King, the group's electric bass player. King also attended SlUE, graduating with a degree in music education. Jarden, who began his musical career as a trumpeter, plays the guitar synthesizer now. It blends piano, organ and vibraphone with traditional strings - "kind of like the Casio keyboard, except it's for guitar," Jarden explains. When Basola isn't playing the sax, he plays an electronic wind instrument, also known as an E.W.1. Walker works with his father at Walker Masonry in Alton. Basola is retired from Lewis and Clark and runs Pete Basola Photography, in Alton. Jarden continues to direct the Jazz Band at LCCC and he serves as band director at Alton Middle School. King is band director there as well, and he also teaches a music technology course there.
The Mondin Band has been playing music together for over a decade. The musicians are from the Metro East area and since the early 70s have played in a variety of bands. They pride themselves on playing a blues rock mixture with a goal of performing songs not normally heard. Members include from left—Bob Werner, keyboard/vocals; John Coatney, drums/vocals; John Mondin, guitar/vocals; Paul Graves, bass/vocals. An added extra plus is when Big George Brock Jr. joins the band and flips out his blues harp (harmonica). Fans will surely be wowed!!!
Miles Dewey Davis III, born in Alton, IL, on May 26, 1926, is no doubt one of the most influential jazz musicians of the 20th Century. A trumpeter, bandleader and composer, Davis was at the forefront of almost every major development in jazz from WWII to the 1980’s. He played on various early bebop records, and was a pioneer of cool jazz. He was partially responsible for the development of modal jazz, and jazz fusion arose from his work with other musicians in the late 60’s and early 70’s. Miles belongs to the great tradition of jazz trumpeters from the Southern states that started with Buddy Bolden and ran through Joe (King) Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Ray Eldridge and Dizzy Gillespie. Miles performed and was revered all over the world... especially Europe and Scandanavia. He was the winner of nine “Grammies,” and has been inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Big Band Hall of Fame. And it all started right here in Alton, where his birthhouse still stands.
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