Salute to Pete
Jim (Jimmy) Valentine - Leader/Clarinet Jim, mostly self taught, has played professionally for the last 45 years, beginning with the "DixieLads Jazz Band" at the grand opening in 1963 of a place called "Across The Street" in East Davenport, IA. He began sitting in with the DixieLads in the early '60's learning the songs and the Dixieland style of clarinet playing. He also met his idol, Pete Fountain on a trip to New Orleans in 1963 and a long-standing friendship was established. He has worked hard to master Pete's famous "fat sound" and most will agree he has achieved his goal. After the DixieLads, Jim joined the newly formed "Davenport Jazz Band" with Bill Allred, Don O'Dette, Joe DeWeese, Boyd Bergeson and Steve Russell playing to a packed house every weekend at the Davenport Holiday Inn including live WOC radio broadcasts on Saturday nights. In 1971, the infamous battle of the bands was held when the "Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Band" from New Jersey came to town to play at Bix's grave and the following year the Bix Festival was born. When the Davenport Jazz Band disbanded Jim joined the "Riverboaters Jazz Band" with Gus Tripolus, Bob Cook, Warren Parish and Daryl Kupy playing weekends for 22 years at Hunter's Club in Rock Island, IL. An invitation by two former DixieLad members, Lou and Stan Black, led to Jim playing 10 "Sacramento Jazz Jubilees" with the "Grand Republic Jazz Band". He has also played in at least 6 Bix Festivals. In 2004, he joined the "Scott Silver Chicago Jazz Band" and then Ron Madow's Society Jazz Band (which included Rich Johnson). Jim has had the opportunity to perform with Pete Fountain, Peanuts Hucko, Jerry Fuller, Chuck Hedges, Bob Draga, Bill Allred, John Allred, Smokey Stover, Warren Parrish, Barrett Deems, Jim Cullum, Bob Wilbur, Tom Pletcher, Wingy Minone, Bill Rank, Esten Spurier, Doc Evans and once backed Phil Harris. Matt Podschweit - Piano A native of northern Illinois, Matt has played professionally since he was 13 years old. Knowing a versatile player would find more work, he pursued learning jazz hoping it would allow him to play in many different situations. Gigs with rock, blues, top 40, big bands and eventually session work ensued, leading to a career in commercial audio production. Matt has appeared with notable acts such as the Nelson Riddle Orchestra, The Four Lads, Little Anthony and the Imperials, The Andrew Landers Project and others. Ronald Wilson - Bass Ron's musical interest in playing the bass began at an early age. His musician father influenced Ron to experience many musical events that promoted diverse expressions of music including the Bix Beiderbecke Jazz Festival which introduced him to Dixieland Jazz. After high school, Ron joined the Manny Lopez band and also played with the Riverboaters Jazz Band at Hunter's Club in Rock Island, IL. He attended Blackhawk College studying jazz and then Northern Illinois University playing with the university's jazz ensemble. The innate musical ability he possesses has allowed him to perform with such greats as Louie Bellson, Clark Terry, Henry Butler, Tito Puente, Jimmy Heath, Lalo Schifrin, Steffon Harris, Buddy DeFranco, Benny Green and James Morrison. Kirk Prebyl - Drums Kirk is a product of Davenport schools and the University of Northern Iowa. He returned home to the QCA in 2000 after a stint in China while spending most of his career in Central Florida performing at a number of theme parks as well as with the Rosie O' Grady's Jazz Bands in Pensacola and Orlando. Kirk has been fortunate to have played with some really great performers over the years such as, Rosemary Clooney, Reba McIntire, Bill and John Allred, The Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Band, Charlie McCoy, Jerry VanDyke, Crystal Gayle, Urbie Green, Big Tiny Little, Art VanDamme, Clark Terry, The Ink Spots, Mel Tillis, Willie Nelson, Bob Haggart, Alan Vache and Davy Jones. No one has more fun playing Dixieland Jazz than Kirk!