Dave Napier, Stephen Smith, Ray Guntren, Joey Gulizia and Eddie Dunn make up a group they call the Northwest Iowa Musicians, and they will be returning to the Cherokee Jazz and Blues Festival in 2010. The group will be performing at the Copper Cup from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Jan 8.
Dave Napierhas played with many bands in the Sioux City Iowa area including the Seven Sons and The Velaires. He also spent several years working in the Music Field in the Chicago area. He now plays with a Dixieland group, the Dixie Daddies. He has appeared at IRRHOF events several times performing with The Velaires, Flames and others. He is a very accomplished Musician who has the ability to pick up almost any instrument and play it. He also is a singer and has added great background vocals on many recordings.
Stephen Smith has been playing jazz since age 5 when he appeared on a Sioux City television program, Toast for Teens. He played on that show with Cherokee's own Tommy Thomas. Later Tommy spent many years performing with Louis Prima and Sam Butara in Las Vegas.Stephen played throughouthigh school with his dad's band which performed in the Northwest Iowa area for about 30 years. He featuredCherokee's Art Awe on piano. Awe was a very proficient jazz stride pianist in the style of Fats Waller.
Stephen attended Iowa State and performed in and later was the director of the ISU Jazz ensemble. As asaxophone player with the Spectacle rhythm and blues band, Stephen was inducted into the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Through the years he performed in his own groups including Gentle Persuasion with his wife Linda on drums.He played with many area jazz musicians through the years including Marty Crandell, Jeff Guntren, Chris Smith, and Reggie Schive. For the past eight years Stephen played piano in the Dick Bauman Monday Night Big Band at Okoboji. Also, he performed as keyboardist for the Northwest Iowa Musicians in the Cherokee Jazz & Blues Festival in January of 2006-2009, and he will again in January 2010.
Ray was born and reared inStorm Lake.He's been playing guitar since he was 14. Prior to having a "real" guitar, his first string instrument was a shoe box with rubber bands stretched across. His love of music was partly influenced by his father's "old time" fiddling.
In the mid-60's Ray helped form a rock band by the name of "The Galaxies." The group evolved into an ensemble by the name of "The Soul Survivors." That group changed its name to "Milk & Honey" after another band with the same name garnered a top 40 hit.
The five piece group traveled the Midwestplaying dance halls, college venies, andvariouscommunity functions.Ray left the group in 1968.He was playing in a night club inBurlingtonthen when he got an offer for full time employmentas an apprentice instrument technicianwith MidBell Music inStormLake.
In 1972, he was promoted to manager of a newly opened MidBell branch store inSioux City.Musically, Ray spent the next 20 years playing with church ensembles and for his own enjoyment.In the early 90's, Ray rekindled his love of jazz and playing.
He was influenced partly by the fine playing of his two sons, Mike & Jeff, who were both up and coming saxophone players. Both sons got some experience jazz combo work with dad playing rhythm guitar.
Mike is general manager of Ray's MidBell Music and currently plays withSioux City's own "Board of Directors" 10 piece, Chicagostyle big band.Jeffgraduated from UNI with a degree in jazz studies.He has traveled the world as a professional musician employed by Carnival, Norwegian, Holland America & Princess cruise lines.
Rayhas playedwith the Sioux City Jazz Orchestra,Northwest Iowa Big Band,The Eddie Dunn Project,Pete Hittle, Sioux City Orchestra, Briar Cliff University, Doreen's Jazz New Orleans, and his own ensemblecalled Ambience,He is also a free-lancer with numerous area ensembles. Overthe years, he has had the privilege of being on the stand with notables such as Roger Neuman, Mike Vax, Ryan & Justin Kisor, & Adam Schroeder.
He has taught adult guitar instruction for Iowa Central and Western Iowa Tech Community College as well as private group instruction.He is owner and operator of Ray's MidBell Music inSioux City. He also has a daughter who is studying piano and teaching atIndianaUniversitywhile she is working on her doctorate in music theory.He resides inSioux Citywith his wife and flautist, Karen.
Joey Gulizia is a professional musician who has been performing since childhood. By the age of 10, he was drumming regularly with his father Joe Gulizia Sr. and brother Tony. Both of the Gulizia brothers have made music a lifelong occupation.
Along with performing and entertaining, Joey has been involved in music education for over 30 years. He has conducted hundreds of residencies, workshops and clinics for students of all ages. In 1994 he was given the "Excellence in Education" award by the Governor of Nebraska and was inducted into the "Nebraska Music Hall of Fame" in 2001.
Music has taken him all over the world and he continues to travel extensively. He has worked on many musical projects and can be heard on more than 50 recordings with various groups and individuals.
Born and raised in Huron, SD. Undergraduate degree from USD, Masters degree from Southwest Minnesota State University. Has worked at many jobs, traveled extensively, lived many places. Moved to Sioux City from California in 1988. Has been employed at Western Iowa Tech Community College and KWIT radio since 1989. Currently Director Of Distance & Global Education at WITCC as well as host of "Saturday Night Jazz" and public affairs interviewer for KWIT-KOJI Radio. Also does freelance "voice talent" work. Serves on Yamanashi Sister City Committee for city of Sioux City, various professional organizations. Married to Dr. Genell Sandberg (Clinical Psychologist), two children, ages 14 & 11.
Professional musician since a teenager, electric bass player and vocalist. Has played jazz for 35 years, in Sioux City for 20 years. From 1981 ñ 1986 played with "Jazz Portraits", touring jazz quintet funded by the SD Arts Council. Later played with various groups in Seattle and in the San Francisco Bay area. Recorded 1 jazz CD with trio "Red Road". In recent years has played mostly under the name Eddie Dunn Project.
The Cherokee Jazz and Blues Festival will be held from Jan. 8th through Jan. 10th in Cherokee.
Festival tickets are available at the Cherokee Chamber of Commerce, 225-6414, The Copper Cup, 225-5287, and State Farm Insurance, 225-5747.
For more information on the 2010 Cherokee Jazz and Blues Festival go to www.cherokeejazzbluesfestival.com.