Legendary trombonist, renowned pianist featured guests of annual C-SC JazzFest
Monday, March 12, 2012
CANTON, Mo. – Culver-Stockton College will host the 15th annual JazzFest Thursday, March 22 inside the Robert W. Brown Performing Arts Center. This day-long concert event begins at 9 a.m. with adjudicated high school jazz ensembles performing every half-hour. The event closes with an evening concert beginning at 7:30 p.m. featuring legendary trombonist Bob Havens and pianist Ken Kehner along with the C-SC Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Dr. Tom Polett.
Trombonist Bob Havens is an American big band and jazz musician who appeared on “The Lawrence Welk Show” from 1960 to1982. Born to a musical family in Quincy, Ill., he began studying violin and trombone at age seven and played both instruments throughout his school years. He landed his first professional job with a local dance band at age 12. By the age of 16, his talent as a trombonist was recognized with a scholarship from the Interlochen Music Camp in Michigan, and Havens held the first trombone chair in the school's 250 piece concert band. He later held the first trombone chair in the Quincy Symphony while also playing in many popular dance groups in Illinois.
After serving in the Illinois National Guard as a bandsman during the Korean War, he left Quincy in 1955 to tour with the Ralph Flanagan Orchestra. In 1956, he joined George Girard's Dixieland Band at the Famous Door in New Orleans. There, he met his idol, Jack Teagarden.
In 1957, Havens joined Al Hirt at Dan’s Pier 600 on Bourbon Street when Hirt formed his very first band. The front line consisted of Hirt, Havens and Pete Fountain. During the time in New Orleans, he recorded albums for Good Times Jazz and Vic labels with the Girard band and on Verve and Audio Fidelity with Hirt. He also recorded about a dozen albums for the Southland label with many other New Orleans musicians.
Havens stayed with this group until 1960 when he was persuaded to move to the West Coast and join the Lawrence Welk Orchestra as a featured soloist on their weekly TV series. His brilliant tenure with this show lasted for 23 years until the show ended in 1982.
Since then, he continued to be active as a free-lance professional working often with the Bob Crosby Bob Cats and the Benny Goodman Orchestra (led by clarinetist Peanuts Hucko). From 1985 to 1995, Havens played with the Great Pacific Jazz Band along with Bob Ringwald, Don Nelson, and Zeke Zarchy.
Recently in 2005, he performed with the North Carolina Pops Orchestra at Campbell University with fellow Welk star Ava Barber for a benefit raising money for victims of Hurricane Katrina. He continues to record and appear at jazz festivals and concerts throughout the world.
Ken Kehner holds a degree in piano performance from Truman State University in Kirksville, Mo., where he served as staff accompanist, and later joined the faculty as an adjunct jazz instructor. This is his second year teaching jazz piano at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, where he also conducts a jazz combo. He has appeared with such noted artists as Bill Watrous, Bobby Shew, Buddy DeFranco, Pete Christlieb, Louie Bellson, and Clark Terry.
Kehner is on staff of the Jim Widner Summer Jazz Camp Series and appears regularly with the Jim Widner Big Band. As accomplished classical pianist, Kehner has been featured as soloist with several orchestras in the Midwestern United States. He also stays busy as an accompanist for both vocal and instrumental recitals. Currently living in Jefferson City, Mo., with his wife, Annette, Kehner is in demand as a free-lance pianist, recording artist, clinician and adjunct around the state, and maintains a full studio of piano and jazz piano students.
The evening concert is open to the public, for ticket information contact the Division of Fine Arts at (573) 288-6346.
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