The eleventh week and ninth year series of Sunset Jazz at Newport finished Wednesday evening, September 19, 2018 with the exceptional big band of Tom Kubis wowing the entire audience. Kubis has had his band and many of his member musicians for thirty years. He has written many, many arrangements over the years and his band has a solid reputation for swinging in earnest all of the time. The band: Rusty Higgins, Eric Marienthal (alto saxes), Tom Kubis, (tenor sax and leader), Jay Mason (bari sax), Dave Richards, Gary Halopoff, Stan Martin, Jeff Bunnell (trumpets), Francisco Torres, Fred Simmons, Joey Sellers and Rich Bullock (trombones), Jim Cox (piano), Mike Higgins (guitar), Kevin Axt (electric and acoustic bass), Ray Brinker (drums) and Nicole Kubis (vocals).
The Kubis band played the U.S.A. “Star Spangled Banner” honoring the duties of Rusty Higgins on alto sax opening the show, a lovely performance for all to enjoy. Next, a splendid version of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” done in up tempo by the full band and giving leader Tom Kubis opportunity to play an early solo for this classic, along with an additional trumpet solo from Jeff Bunnell and trombone solo from Fred Simmons. This concert was fully packed with audience patrons enjoying this big band from the beginning and giving a lot of periodic applause, not only for the tunes but all the solos as well.
Rich Bullock played his trombone with the band for the wonderful tune, “In a Mellow Tone.” A big band always makes a stellar tune like this sound super great. Bullock’s bass trombone work fit in exactly right. Tom Kubis introduced his vocalist daughter, Nicole Kubis. Nicole has been singing with the band quite a long while and was very well received. She sang a famous standard, “Secret Love,” followed with a second number, “Come Dance with Me” with solo on trumpet from Gary Halopoff. Both of these two selections shined remarkably well.
In “My Romance” Rusty Higgins was the featured soloist, another great band arrangement from Kubis. Trombonist Torres played a great part in Juan Tizol’s “Caravan.” This was one of the best numbers of the night. Brinker played a long accentuated drum solo and a long cadenza finished the tune performed by Torres. Next, Dave Moody (t/s) was featured on another impressive Kubis arrangement of “Teach Me Tonight” with a fine piano solo from Jim Cox. A lot more audience applause was given throughout all parts of this concert. Ending the first set, a tune titled “SMB,” “Super Mario Brothers” theme, a rocking number with meaningful solos by Martin (trumpet), Marienthal (sax), Mason (bari sax) and Mike Higgins (guitar).
The second set moved very well, starting off with a tricky title, “Pop Goes the Weasel.” The band once again, featuring Moody (t/s) and Torres (t-bone) played not only tricky title, but a tricky arrangement as well. A rhythmic “Does Anyone Out There Still Boogaloo?” Marienthal and Sellers gave extended solos to again, a very rhythmic composition.
Nicole Kubis sang two more very groovy numbers: “There’ll Be Some Changes Made Today” and the well-known “Well Ok, You Win.” Nicole did some excellent scatting in the latter tune. Bassist, Kevin Axt was featured on his electric bass performing the lovely standard, “Stella by Starlight,” with the band backing him to a tee that included a well-placed solo by Higgins on guitar! An original and unusual piece was performed, “Cat Walk,” with very effective sound effects from the band. Stan Martin and Francisco Torres were featured once again.
Closing this two hour concert was a long remembered staple, “Bill Bailey Won’t You Please Come Home.” Soloing were: Cox (Piano) with a long cadenza, Bullock (Bass T-Bone), Sellers (T-Bone) and Torres (T-Bone).
The audience loved this brilliant band and gave them all a standing ovation.
While jazz patrons were leaving the Kubis band played the theme from the movie and TV series ” “Naked Gun,” “Police Squad.”
The Tom Kubis Band has a regular gig on Monday evenings in Long Beach at the Gas Lamp on the fourth Monday of each month except December. See the Kubis website: www.tomkubis.com
Many patrons from this year’s Sunset Jazz at Newport Ninth Year Series are looking forward to the Nineteenth Annual Newport Beach Jazz Party, February 14th through February 17th, 2019. See their website: www.NewportBeachJazzParty.com .
Glenn A. Mitchell