Who Are We?
Jack Garrett and his bands have been performing classic and contemporary entertainment for over 20 years. Based out of Cincinnati, Ohio they are available to travel anywhere in the United States and to most countries abroad. As full time professional musicians and performers they take pride in providing their clients with live music of the highest quality. Whether you are planning an intimate gathering or an extravagant affair, Jack Garrett Music Productions offers several affordable band configurations from a piano – vocal duo up to a twenty four piece orchestra.
Jack has performed at well over 3500 events in a career that has spanned two decades. He has entertained audiences nationwide at prestigious venues that include The MGM Grand Hotel, the Brown Derby and Copa Lounge in Las Vegas as well as Jilly’s, Gibson’s and the Metropolitan Club in Chicago.
Jack Garrett has assembled a talented, experienced group of musicians that come together as The Syndicate. When you have one of Jack’s bands at your event you will have the same musicians that have performed with Frank Sinatra, James Brown, Tony Bennett, Rosemary Clooney, Sammy Davis Jr., Natalie Cole, Bob Hope, Paul Anka and The Temptations just to name a few.
To learn more about our talented musicians, read their short bios below.
Larry Dickson Baritone Sax & Clarinet
Larry Dickson, Professor Emeritus at Northern Kentucky University, has also maintained a career as a professional composer, arranger and saxophonist, performing extensively throughout the Midwest for over fifty years. Larry has played baritone saxophone with the Woody Herman Band, Frank Sinatra's New York Orchestra and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. He has recorded with the Cincinnati Pops, Dave Brubeck, Gerry Mulligan, Mel Torme, Doc Severinsen and James Brown, among many others. Dickson is a charter member of Cincinnati's nationally acclaimed Blue Wisp Big Band, for which he has arranged and performed for over thirty years. He has also played with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
Jeff Folkens Lead Trumpet
Jeff Folkens has performed with many nationally known entertainers including Frank Sinatra, Rosemary Clooney, Nancy Wilson of The Supremes, Joe Williams and Natalie Cole. Jeff has toured with The Glenn Miller Orchestra and The Buddy Rich Band. Jeff also has performed with the Cincinnati Pops at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Jeff Folkens also performs lead trumpet with the world famous Blue Wisp Big Band. Jeff earned a bachelor of music education degree from the College – Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati where he graduated Cum Laude and a Master of Arts in Education degree from the College of Mount Saint Joseph.
Brian Cashwell Piano & Keyboard
Brian Cashwell received his bachelor of music from Florida State University, his master’s degree in music from the University of Georgia and is currently completing his doctorate degree in music from the University of Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. Brian currently serves as jazz piano instructor at Central State University. While living in New York City, he performed in various musical roles at a diverse selection of venues including The Blue Note, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Brooklyn Academy of Music. His theatre experience includes productions of The Producers, Phantom of the Opera, Hairspray, Pacific Overtures and many other Broadway shows at Cincinnati’s Aronoff Center and Playhouse in the Park. Brian has performed throughout the United States and Europe for such notables as Jimmy Carter, Bill and Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama.
Bill Dixon Trombone & Trumpet
A graduate of Chicago’s prestigious VanderCook College of Music, Bill Dixon performs professionally on trumpet and trombone in a wide variety of musical settings ranging from classical and chamber music to pop and jazz. Selected performance credits include Blue Wisp Big Band, Chicago Midwest Orchestra, Columbus Jazz Arts, Harry Connick, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company Orchestra, Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra and Philharmonic Pops, Disney’s World on Ice, the Glenn Miller Orchestra, Jack Jones, Ice Capades International and Toni Tennille. Currently, along with arranging for and performing with Jack Garrett and the Syndicate, Mr. Dixon performs with the Dayton Jazz Orchestra, Fairhaven Church Orchestra, the Four Tops, Gem City Jazz, the O’Jays, the Temptations and Vaughn Wiester’s Famous Jazz Orchestra. Bill plays a customized Taylor Chicago Lite Model Trumpet, handcrafted by Andrew Taylor of Taylor Trumpets, U.K., a Miraphone Rotary Flugelhorn, a Yamaha Custom Piccolo Trumpet, a King 2B Trombone and a Yamaha Xeno Trombone. Brass mouthpieces are of his own design, made by Terry Warburton and Ken Titmus of Warburton Music Products, Orlando, Florida.
Jim Leslie Drums & Percussion
Jim Leslie holds the title of Artist in Residence at the University of Dayton where he has taught since 1999. He is also the assistant marching band director and directs the University Jazz Band. A freelance drummer/percussionist, Jim performs regularly with Jack Garrett, the Dayton Jazz Orchestra and Dave Greer’s Classic Jazz Stompers. He has performed with many national artists such as, Michael Feinstein, Debby Boone, Boots Randolph, Bobby Watson, John Faddis and Steve March Torme. Jim is an artist/clinician for Ludwig Drums, Sabian Cymbals, Pro-Mark Drumstick, and Aquarian Drumheads.
Hal Melia Tenor Sax and Vocalist
The energy and personality Hal Melia brings to both his teaching and his performing are contagious. Those who have experienced his workshops, classes, and performances never forget the tireless effort and positive aura he exudes in any setting. He is the epitome of the multi-instrumentalist – he plays soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones, flute, piccolo, clarinets (Bb, Eb Soprano, and Bass), and EWI (electronic wind instrument). A consummate professional, Hal is noteworthy as a vocalist and scat singer, and has composed and arranged a body of work for a variety of settings.Hal spent 1986 through 1991 in Los Angeles recording and arranging with top jazz and R&B groups (Tower of Power Horns, Buddy Rich Band, Billy Vera and the Beaters), and appearing in several major motion pictures (Bugsy, Dick Tracy, The Marrying Man, Mobsters, Parent Trap III, and others). He has also recorded with artists on several labels, including MCA Records and Positive Music Records, Inc.In the fall of 1991 Hal and his family returned to the Cincinnati area and attained his Masters Degree in Saxophone Performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.
Alan Parr Jazz Trumpet
As a member of The United States Air Force Band, Airmen Parr was sent as a musical ambassador to perform for the Queen of England, where he was a guest soloist with the British Royal Air Force Band in London. Alan has enjoyed performing with The Glenn Miller Orchestra, Woody Herman and his Thundering Herd, The Indianapolis Jazz Orchestra, The Blue Wisp Big Band and has backed many nationally known acts such as, The Temptations, The Four Tops, The Platters and The O’Jays. As a side man, Alan has also worked with Doc Severinsen, Rosemary Clooney, Dick Van Dyke, Sammy Davis Jr., Paul Anka, Bobby Vinton, Frank Sinatra Jr., just to name a few. In 1990, Alan Parr was also musical director and jazz soloist for The Historical Army Air Corps Glenn Miller Orchestra in Europe.
Michael Sharfe Acoustic & Electric Bass
Michael Sharfe has worked as a professional full-time commercial musician for over thirty years. He is currently a member of the Blue Wisp Big Band and as a studio musician, has recorded with the Sony CBS, Epic and Atlantic Record labels. He has performed with Bob Hope, Marvin Hamlisch, Rosemary Clooney, Mickey Rooney, The Smothers Brothers, Suzanne Sommers, Michael Feinstein, Steve Martin, Patti Page, Doc Severinsen, Neil Sedaka, Debbie Boone, Dan Faehnie, Red Rodney, Ted Nash, Joe Lavano, Steve Alee and the legendary Peter Erskine. He also performs with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra and is a member of The Psycho Acoustic Orchestra.
Jeff Spurlock Alto Sax & Clarinet
Jeff Spurlock toured four years with the world famous Glenn Miller Orchestra. As a saxophonist he has had the privilege of performing with Tony Bennett, Marilyn McCoo, Billy Davis Jr., John Faddis, Leslie Gore, The Mills Brothers, The Four Freshmen, The O’Jays and The Temptations. He is also a member of the Dayton Jazz Orchestra and The Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra.
Jack Garrett Vocalist
Jack Garrett began singing at the age of 7. His professional singing career began when he performed at his first wedding ceremony at the age of 19. Jack has performed as lead vocalist with numerous, pop, rock and country bands over the years. While he enjoys most genres of music, it was his love for the Classics and Standards from The Great American Songbook that changed his path towards creating the variety bands he fronts today. Jack has had the good fortune to form professional relationships with some of the most talented musicians in the Midwest, which has resulted in what is now known as Jack Garrett and The Syndicate. With a background in Event Planning, Business and Marketing this full time vocalist – bandleader has been able to pursue work in a field he dearly loves. In Jack’s own words… “I’m the luckiest guy in the world to do what I do for a living”!