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Band members
Chet Jaeger

Cornet, Leader

Chet Jaeger, a retired high school Mathematics teacher, started playing the cornet in 1937 (way before the birth of most of the other members of the Night Blooming Jazzmen!) He played in high school bands and started listening to traditional jazz early on. He especially liked Muggsy Spanier.

Chet put his first jazz band together in 1941. He played in the Pomona College marching band. He also carried his horn with him through three years in the Army Air Corps. In fact, he met his wife-to-be while playing in the USO. Chet and Eileen were married in January of 1946. In their 60 years together so far, they have had five children and 14 grand children (including many musicians.)

Chet played some in big bands and concert bands, but 99% of his playing has been in traditional or dixieland bands. The name "Night Blooming Jazzmen" has been used for all of his groups since 1952.

Dick Doner

Trombone and Baritone Horn

In addition to playing the trombone and baritone horn, Dick also plays very fine jazz piano.

Dick is originally from Toledo, Ohio, and has been with the band for all but the first three years.

Phil Andreen

Trombone while Dick is on medical leave

Phil Andreen has mixed law and trombone his whole life. He has played in many Dixieland bands, including his own, and has played most of the California festivals.

Now retired, Phil was Pasadena Assistant City Attorney, and in private practice as a trial attorney (playing nights with the Mickey Finn Band,) a public defender, and a Navy lawyer before that.

Phil's song writing has seen both success (the Ed Sullivan TV show) and failure (his last royalty check was for $0.37.)

Phil started the San Diego Dixieland Festival (now the "Jazz Fest") in 1980 (with Bill Borcher) and served as its chairman.

Phil is honored to be asked to sit in for Dick.

Jim Richardson

Clarinet and Saxophones

Jim Richardson has been a professional musician his whole life. He played with the 7th U.S. Army Band stationed at Stuttgart, Germany, and performed shows and concerts throughout Europe. After returning stateside, Jim joined Gary Sinclaire, who had a Vegas-style show group. It was here that Jim started playing two saxes at once (just for laughs? Or is it?)

Jim has performed with myriad figures in rock, pop, and jazz including

  • Francis Faye
  • Don Ellis
  • The Coasters
  • Buddy Miles
  • Johnny Tilitson
  • Beverly Hills Unlisted Jazzband
  • Janet Carroll
  • and, of course, the Night Blooming Jazzmen

Jim has also appeared in many television shows and films including

  • T.H.E. Cat
  • Frank Sinatra Story
  • Watermelon Man
  • Torn Curtain
  • Naked Gun 2-1/2
  • Jan and Dean Story
  • The Gong Show (which he won!)

Although some other people can play two saxophones at a time, they have typically mastered only a small number of tunes. Jim can play on any tune and in any key - and he can improvise too. See him do it!

Les Deutsch

Piano (trumpet, piccolo, alto sax,
soprano sax, sopranino sax,...)

Dr. Leslie J. Deutsch has had a long and broad musical career. His father taught him to play trumpet early on and began instruction in classical organ and harmony at age 11. He taught himself to play several instruments each year so that now he performs on almost all keyboards, brass, and woodwinds. This helps in his work as a composer of classical and jazz music.

Les also studied Mathematics and combined his two interests while working for his father, the inventor of the first digital musical instruments. Les now works at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory where he is the Deputy Director for Interplanetary Networks - which includes NASA's deep space communications and navigation capabilities. He holds over 25 patents, mostly in electronic music. 

Les has been the organist at his alma mater, Caltech, since his sophomore year. While in school, Les worked as a concert and church organist, earning money to buy musical instruments. He has played Dixieland since his undergraduate days and has played with the New Bull Moose Party Band, the Hot Frogs Jumping Jazz Band, and the Tenth Avenue Jazz Band before joining the Nightbloomers in 2001.

Les also still plays at Caltech. He has played trumpet, trombone, alto and bari sax, clarinet, flute, piccolo, tuba, horn, and percussion with the wind ensemble and trumpet, sax, and piano in the big band. He also plays keyboards in the Ka-Band (a bop group) and reeds in his own band, Living Stereo.  He has been privileged to work with some of the top names in jazz including Eddie Daniels, Al Vezutti, Bill Watrous, Gary Foster, Wayne Bergeron, and many, many others. Les continues a career as a concert organist and has performed in Europe and Japan.

Visit Les' Space too, to see what else he's doing!

Brad Roth

Banjo and Guitar

Brad’s interest in stringed instruments started at the age of nine when his father began to teach him how to play the ukulele. By age eleven Brad started playing the banjo and joined the Northwest Banjo Band, a group of banjo players that played at local events in and around his home town, Corvallis Oregon. In 1974 Brad joined the Jazz Minors, a group of young musicians formed by the Traditional Jazz Society of Oregon in Eugene.

The Jazz Minors toured the United States in 1977, played twice at the White House for President Carter and played full time at Disneyland for 6 years. Brad began playing guitar while working at Disneyland and he enjoys the unique variety both instruments offer to a Dixieland jazz band. After leaving Disneyland, Brad co-founded a banjo group consisting of three banjos and bass called Banjomania.  Mainly a touring group, Banjomania performed concerts in nearly every state in the Union with television guest appearances on TNN including the Ralph Emery Show, Crook and Chase, The Statler Brothers Show and The Grand Ole Opry. After leaving Banjomania Brad joined the NBJ and enjoys a more family oriented life with his wife Linda and their daughters Noelle and Sophie.

Mike Earls

Bass

Mike Earls has been a resident of Lancaster, California since his early teens. He started playing string bass in high school, following in the footsteps of two bassists, his mother and his uncle. After earning his engineering degree in 1966, he played in a jazz trio, joined a local big band and continued with a spin-off seven-piece group, which played locally for 25+ years. The newly formed Santa Clarita Dixieland Jazz Club gave him his first opportunity to play Dixieland Jazz. He has performed with various Dixieland bands since then, including performances at jazz festivals at Sacramento, Catalina Island and Santa Ana, and a set with Rosie McHargue at the final L. A. Classic. He has performed with contemporary and ‘40s big bands, played in an acoustic folk music group, played in the orchestra for several community theater productions, and accompanied Mr. Ray Sherman in performances with guest artists Dan Barrett, Betty O'Hara, Abe Most and John Smith. He had the privilege of studying with "Senator" Eugene J. Wright (formerly of the Dave Brubeck Quartet).

He was a member of the Paradise Cove Classic Jazz Band, where he first met his predecessor NBJ bassist Don Richardson. This group played several Southern California jazz festivals (San Diego, Big Bear, Cathedral City). He was a member of the Bobby Gordon Sextet, a swinging Chicago-style jazz group which was booked at several jazz festivals, and a member of Hal's Angels (consisting of drummer/leader Hal Smith, Carl Sonny Leyland, Mike Earls and angels Anita Thomas and Katie Cavera).

His association with the Night Blooming Jazzmen started as a substitute for Don Richardson, and he had the honor to be asked to step in when Don retired from the band.on.

Nick Scarmack

Drums

Newest NBJ member Nick Scarmack has been a professional musician ever since he joined the Army right out of high school as a PFC-Percussionist First Class! This native of Farrell, Pa. and HUGE Pittsburgh Steeler fan (witness the ever present Terrible Towel in his cymbal bag) served three years as a proud member of the 434th Army Band, Fort Gordon, GA., then utilized the GI Bill to move on to the famed Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he backed artists as diverse as Tiny Tim, comedians Jack Carter and Demond Wilson, John Connors and the Irish Express and guitar powerhouses Reeves Gabrels, Wayne Krantz, and Mike Stern.

From Boston, he made his way to L.A., and here has drummed with, among others, Janet Carroll, Al Jarreau, Diana Krall, Keely Smith, Rod Stewart, The Shotgun Blues Band, and Tammy Wynette. Along with his NBJ duties, he also anchors the Dry Martini Orchestra, the main backing band of both the Hollywood Rat Pack Revue and NickD’Egidio’s Night With Sinatra. He also wears the various hats of a Disneyland musician, where he subs with 4 different bands including the legendary Disneyland Band

Nick is positively tickled pink to be the newest Night Bloomer, and is looking forward to laying down the beat while also supporting the band with whatever rhythmic sustenance their musical hearts desire.