Veteran clarinetist Chuck Hedges has led his Milwaukee Connection band for six years. Just For You is their second CD as an ensemble and their first for PKO Records. Just For You features four of Chuck's favorite "local" musicians with whom he performs every week at gigs in the Milwaukee area. However, these guys are more than just your average "local cats." Chuck acknowledges that these musicians are some of the best players he has ever worked with. Evidence backing up that statement can be heard in the quality of music on Just For You. Although Chuck is well-known in Dixieland and Traditional jazz circles, he is also loved for his special brand of Swing-style Jazz that takes its cues from the Benny Goodman Sextet, Artie Shaw, Pete Fountain, Irving Fazola, Edmund Hall, Sidney Bechet, Lester Young, Louis Armstrong, and Lionel Hampton.
In this most recent quintet endeavor, Chuck Hedges projects an enthusiasm and sense of swing consistent with his many previous recordings and live performances. Just For You is reflective of the true joy and spirit of Chuck's mainstream, swing style. Just For You contains over 77 minutes of satisfying swing and jazz music played with integrity, passion and great feeling by a diverse group of musicians coming together in a truly fun musical ensemble.
Chuck Hedges lives and works in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area but his reputation as one of the finest traditional and swing jazz musicians in history is known the world over. Chuck Hedges is famous for his sparkling clarity of tone, his incredible improvisitory imagination, his amazing technique and the excitement that he brings to every song he plays. Chuck cut his teeth playing along side the famous cornetist Wild Bill Davison and toured extensively throughout the USA and Europe with Wild Bill, cornetist Tom Saunders, trombonist Bill Allred and pianist Johnny Varro. Their annual performances at the Bern, Switzerland Festival are legendary for their energy and fire. Chuck was named Emperor of the 2006 Sacramento Jazz Jubilee, a festival that Chuck has performed at as an All Star for 25 years!. Chuck is a mainstay on the Dixieland and Trad Jazz festival circuit. He is a regular at the Monterey, Madison, Elkhart, LaCrosse, Decatur, LA Sweet and Hot, Shasta, St. Louis and Sun Coast Jazz festivals. He performs frequently on Jazz Cruises as well as at Marianne's Jazz Club in Bern, Switzerland and Jazzland in Vienna, Austria. Chuck is also a member of Tom Saunders' Midwest All Stars, a band that has recorded two CDs on the PKO Records label.
Guitarist Dave Sullivan of Sheboygan, Wisconsin has pursued his musical career all over the United States. Through the years, he played in an eclectic mix of venues including aboard the USS Enterprise, and in a Hollywood movie. He has played with many greats including Herb Jeffries, Louis Jordan and the Timpani Five, Slim Gaillard and the Elvis Presley Show Band.
Starting with his father’s group in the late 1950’s, and then having his own combo, vibraphonist Bob Maynard played around the Milwaukee area until 1964. In 1971 Bob retired from playing to raise his family and concentrate on his career in the Insurance industry. Bob began playing again with The Milwaukee Connection in 2002. Bob has worked with many fine musicians including, clarinetist Sammy Amato, pianist Gary Meisner, and bassists Jennifer Leitham and Mike Britz.
Drummer Andy Loduca began accordion lessons at age eight and drum lessons at age ten By his late teens, his musical career had already focused on becoming a jazz drummer. Among some of his memorable musical associations have been three years with pianist Buddy Montgomery and brother Monk Montgomery. Andy has also worked with Jazz giants Percy Heath, Mose Allison, Paul Horn, Leroy Vinegar and Kenny Drew Jr. Andy is considered one of the great drummers in the Midwest.
String bassist George Welland has been one of the premier bass players in Milwaukee for many years. After earning a degree in music from University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee he became the leader of the house band in the Crown Room at the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee. During his eight years at the Pfister he played with Marian McPartland, Mel Torme, Billy Eckstein, Rosemary Clooney and Pepper Adams.
1. The Overcomer, composed by Just For You co-producer Brett Boneck, is a departure from the rest of the program. The Overcomer is an inspired and heartfelt prayer of thanks to God for His many blessings.
The remainder of the program, with the exception of the Gospel Spiritual Just A Closer Walk With Thee, is comprised mostly of familiar standards from the Great American Songbook.
2. Besame Mucho written by Consuelo Valasquez has become one of the most popular love songs of all time and one of Chuck's favorite classic latin tunes. Drummer Andy LoDuca supplies a great beat that propels this tune with intensity and passion.
3. I've Got The World On A String was composed in 1933 by Harold Arlen with lyrics by Ted Koehler and introduced to the world by Cab Calloway and Bing Crosby. Chuck Hedges and Co. give us their version that swings effortlessly at this relaxed, medium tempo. This is just so right!
4. Vincent Yomans and Irving Caesar wrote I Want To Be Happy. The Milwaukee Connection certainly makes us all happy with this selection as they romp about in carefree fashion on this chestnut from the 1925 Broadway musical No, No, Nanette. Bassist George Welland is strong and precise on this track and throughout Just For You. George is such a great team player and the perfect bassist for The Milwaukee Connection.
5. Satan Takes A Holiday was a staple of the Wild Bill Davison repertoire. Chuck played this one with Wild Bill a million times! This track is a tribute to Wild Bill Davison.
6. In 1933 Gerald Marks and Seymour Simons wrote All Of Me, a song that has since been recorded more than 2,000 times! Gerald Marks also wrote Is It True What They Say About Dixie for Al Jolson and That's What I Want For Christmas for Shirley Temple. The Milwaukee Connection gives this old war horse new life and puts a spark of originality into a tune that we've all loved forever.
7. Thanks For The Memory was a song from the film The Big Broadcast of 1938. The words and music were written by Leo Robin and Ralph Rainger. The song was originally performed by Shep Fields and his orchestra with Bob Hope and Shirley Fields providing the vocals, won the Academy Award For Best Original Song and became Bob Hope signature tune. The Milwaukee Connection waxes poetic on this song that recalls the good times. Ah, sweet memories!
8. Trumpeter Kenny Dorham's Blue Bossa is a jazz tune that has become a standard for modern jazz players especially at jam sessions. Check out drummer Andy LoDuca's fantastic beat on this outstanding track. Andy provides a churning rhythmic bed upon which the rest of the band builds a remarkable work of art.
9. Somebody Loves Me was composed in 1924 with words and music by Buddy DeSylva, Ballard MacDonald and George Gershwin. This is another standard that is loved by traditionalists as well as modern jazzers like pianist Barry Harris. Chuck blows the lid off this one with another great solo! Guitarist Dave Sullivan shows us his expertise as a master of harmony. Dave is a wonderful soloist but also a magnificent and sensitive accompanist.
10. The band slows things down with Just Squeeze Me by Duke Ellington and Lee Gaines. Beautiful, gentle, subtle, romantic.
11. Next comes Irving Berlin's classic The Best Thing For You Is Me. This song comes from the 1950 Broadway musical Call Me Madame and has been recorded by many great singers from Ethel Merman, Doris Day and Nat King Cole to Rosemary Clooney, Sheila Jordan and Diana Krall. Chuck Hedges puts his own personal stamp on this tune simply by playing himself. Chuck's years of experience, expertise, listening, learning and growing are reflected through the prism of this tune and, in fact, the entire collected works of Just For You. Chuck says, "Even though I', influence by all the great jazzers I try not to copy them outright but find my own way to play. I believe the jazz should be expressed from an individual standpoint. So I try to practice what I preach."
12. I'm Getting Sentimental Over You was the theme song of the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. The words were written by Ned Washington and the music was written by George Bassman. It was first performed in 1932. Chuck's version is quite different from the original recording. This up-tempo swinger features a very cute and catchy riff line in the first chorus. You'll be humming this one all day after you hear and love it!
13. Limehouse Blues: Call the Fire Department! This one burns out of control!
14. Just A Closer Walk With Thee is a favorite Spiritual of everyone who appreciates the old fashion values of the "Greatest Generation". This track inspires self-reflection, provokes nostalia and brings a happy and wistful tear to your eye. This is Chuck's expression of his love for traditional jazz.
15. This excellent CD comes to a close with You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To. This beautiful song with words and music by Cole Porter was introduced by Janet Blair and Don Ameche in the 1943 film Something To Shout About. It was nominated for an Academy Award in 1943. Chuck and friends once again demonstrate that they can swing any tune, at any tempo. For these guys, swinging this music is as easy as falling off a log, with agility, grace and aplomb. And it's all swung Just For For You.