The Max Weinberg 7, the house band for the 'Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien' on NBC, includes both LaBamba and Mark Pender, and both have also backed up 'The Boss', Bruce Springsteen.
Both LaBamba and Pender will be in Cherokee this weekend to participate in the 10th annual Cherokee Jazz & Blues Festival Friday through Sunday.
The main events at this year's Festival will include Pub Crawls on Friday and Saturday nights, a Jam Session on Saturday afternoon, and concerts on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.
Festival musicians this year include The Mark Pender Band, LaBamba, Kevin Mahogany Trio, Kelly Richey Band, The Hatchlings Band, Glenn Alexander Trio, Something Underground, Northwest Iowa Musicians, Buffalo Ridge Band and Friends, and the Cherokee Washington High School Jazz Band.
Almost 30 years ago, LaBamba brought his trombone, voice, contagious laugh, and personality to Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, a band he still performs with. He is a household name today for his involvement in skits such as "In The Year 2000" on the Conan O'Brien Show.
It has been with his own band - LaBamba & The Hubcaps - that Richie has been able to display his talents in the concert field and private sector. When he brings together the Hubcaps or his Big Band with all 18 pieces of soul, big band standards and contemporary classics take on a new, wondrous life.
Richie LaBamba is one of a handful of music professionals who has been the engine and steady hand driving so much music for so many years. The astonishment that emerges from those lucky enough to watch him and his band perform live is gratifying to those who know him and his incomparable work.
While cutting a powerful figure on today's musical stage and the Tonight Show, his devotion and dedication to his work is rivaled only by that to his wife, Susan, and five children.
The headliner for the Saturday evening concert at Western Iowa Tech Community College Conference Center in Cherokee will once again be Mark Pender and his Mark Pender Band, along with LaBamba and guitar legend Glenn Alexander. This will be the sixth time that Mark Pender has performed at the Festival. Pender is originally from Kansas City, Missouri, as were most of the musicians who performed here in the first Cherokee Jazz Festival in January, 1992.
Among those Kansas City musicians in January, 1992 was Kevin Mahogany, a jazz vocalist still early in his career. Mahogany sang beautifully throughout that first Festival, and organizers have tried to get him to return, but he was off to other places as he pursued his career. He will be the featured headliner of the Sunday afternoon concert at the Cherokee Community Center from 4-6 p.m. Sunday, January 10.
In addition to the two headliners, other special performers include the Cherokee Washington High School Jazz Band led by Paul McEntaffer, Band Director. The students are looking forward to being the very first high school jazz band to be the opening act for Pender's Saturday night concert at Western Iowa Tech Community College. That main concert is from 7-10 p.m.
The various Pub Crawls will take place from 9 p.m. to midnight Friday, and again from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Saturday. The Pub Crawls are at The Gathering Place, The Other Place, VFW, and Cherokee Bowl both nights.
The Copper Cup kicks off the weekend with the Northwest Iowa Musicians playing from 7-10 p.m.on Friday.