Band Member Biographies



High Sierra Jazz Band
Howard Miyata
Trombone, Vocals

Stan Huddleston
Banjo

Pieter Meijers

Leader, Reeds

Earl McKee
Sousaphone, Vocals

Bruce Huddleston

Piano

Charlie Castro

Drums


Marc Caparone
Cornet
 
Howard Miyata - Trombone, Vocals
Howard began playing jazz with the Royal Society Jazz Orchestra and the Monterey Bay Classic Jazz Band. As a junior high school band teacher during the day, Howard has an opportunity to spread his love and enthusiasm for music to his students.

Howard has a BA in music from San Jose State University. Also an accomplished tuba player, he can be heard performing with many of the top West coast bands.


Howard joined the High Sierra in 1989 when Vic Kimzey retired. Turk Murphy and Jim Snyder have been major influences to Howard’s playing style. The slight gruff sound and the tasty plunger solos can be heard throughout the High Sierra recordings. Howard’s vocals are always fun and light-hearted and his fans love his on-stage enthusiasm.
Howard Miyata

 
Stan Huddleston - Banjo, Guitar
It’s obvious to even the casual observer that Stan draws immense personal satisfaction from his music. Regardless of the mood of the song being played, his work on the plectrum banjo reflects his inner feelings of joy and love of music. As would be expected, he controls his instrument completely and can make it shout, croon, or whisper at will. Stan also plays excellent guitar and trombone.

Stan and his brother Bruce have been playing music together since their childhood. Stan’s first instrument was a violin which he traded for a banjo when he and Bruce first heard the “Firehouse Five.” The brothers put themselves through college playing in Shakey’s Pizza Parlors. Later they played three years at the White Horse Inn, Three Rivers, Stan on Banjo and Bruce on piano and organ.

Howard Miyata
 
 
Pieter Meijers - Reeds, Trombone, Leader
Pieter, born in the Netherlands, began musical training at age six. He played in a concert band with his father as the conductor. While a student in Amsterdam he became a regular at the Dutch trad jazz scene, but he quit playing Dixie to complete his studies. He continued concert band activities and became a conductor in 1967. In 1968, with his doctorate in nuclear chemistry and physics complete, he came to New York to pursue research. Soon he started playing jazz again. Pieter was the leader of the Isotope Stompers on Long Island. He also performed in musicals as a musician and later as musical director. In 1981 Pieter came to LA and within one year he joined the Nightblooming Jazzmen. He was their reed man for 13 years. For a few years he worked free lance in several bands as a guest and in 1998 Pieter was asked to become a permanent member of the High Sierra Jazz Band. Pieter’s artistry in music is lyrical, often hard-driving but always with technical brilliance. His improvisations are innovative and daring, and his humor brings enjoyment on stage and off. Pieter is Senior Conservation Scientist at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.


www.pietermeijers.com
Howard Miyata
 
 
Earl McKee - Sousaphone, Trombone, Vocals
Earl is a livestock rancher. He raises cattle and quarter horses on the family mountain range and home site in Three Rivers. His signature cowboy hat is not just a fad but a standard part of daily wear. He comes from several generations of very talented musicians.

He is outstanding on several stringed instruments such as bass, guitar and violin, as well as the big bore brass horns. Earl is a stickler for the correct “bottom line” notes, and as a result plays all the right changes, contributing significantly to that “High Sierra” sound. Earl’s singing voice, which has such a wide range that it could be described as either baritone or tenor, is certainly unequalled in any jazz band.
Howard Miyata
 
 
Bruce Huddleston - Piano
Bruce majored in music throughout college and is currently a private piano teacher. His performances illustrate a thorough understanding of musical theory. He composes and arranges in addition to his instrumental work. Combining these talents with outstanding technical skills, Bruce is equally impressive as a member of the rhythm section or as a featured soloist.

His piano solos, especially his own compositions, have become crowd favorites. Music was a way of life for the Huddleston brothers as children of musical evangelists. Bruce has played as a professional musician most of his life. He, along with Charlie and Earl, were members of the original Jazzberry Jam Band that preceeded the High Sierra Jazz Band. Bruce also played in the Monterey Bay Classic Jazz Band.
Howard Miyata
 
 
Charlie Castro - Drums
Charlie is an experienced drummer, having played for years in a number of dance bands in Central California before the formation of the High Sierra Jazz Band. Charlie has the rare quality of musical self-discipline that separates the good drummers from the mediocre. He has a good sense of dynamics and his variable touch provides the background shadings that are so important to the “feel” of each tune. Charlie is retired from the National Park Service where he took care of the “big” trees, the Sequoia Gigantia. He is Paiute Indian, born in the Yosemite Valley Indian Village. As a child he would peek through the cracks in the walls of the hotel to see and hear the big bands that came to play in Yosemite. His first set of drums was his mother’s pots and pans.
Howard Miyata
 
 

Marc Caparone - Cornet

The High Sierra Band is proud to welcome Marc to the front line. Although left alone on the streets by his wealthy parents this daring young man found comfort in the arms of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Busking on the streets of San Francisco with a cornet he stole from Louis Armstrong he was able to save enough to send himself to Julliard where he excelled as band majorette. He is now gainfully employed selling Adult Beverages when he is not off tooting his horn. We know you will love him as much as we do.

 

Band Reviews

High Sierra Jazz Band is the host band for Jazzaffair and we took this opportunity (April 7-9, 2000) to recognize them and present them with our plaque in honor of having been selected by our readers as their favorite active traditional jazz band. They were HOT! They were EXCITED! They were INSPIRED! They were the BEST I've ever heard them.
"The American Rag" May 2000

"The band did great. It is a new band with a new sound, but better than EVER. We received nothing but excellent comments.
Comments from Mike Griffin, Chattanooga director, re: HSJB appearance in May of 2000

Pieter Meijers and his clarinet have proved themselves worthy leaders of this hard-driving West Coast style group. Word from the critics is in: the new band is easily the equal of its predecessor.
Program description from Sacramento Jazz Jubilee, May 26-29, 2000

Musical Style:
The High Sierra Jazz Band's trade mark is exciting, hard-driving 2-beat traditional jazz, often described as "West Coast" style. Its extensive repertoire consists of tunes by Lu Watters, Turk Murphy, "Jelly Roll" Morton, Lil Hardin, Sidney Bechet, Louis Armstrong, "King" Oliver and others.

Their strength:
A bold and solid rhythm section; superb musicianship; vocals by Earl McKee and Howard Miyata; enthusiastic presentation; an extensive and varied repertoire; and they generate audience excitement!
 
 
 
 
40 Years and Counting!
Old Chestnuts
 
High Sierra Gold
 
Stampede
Stampede
 
Assorted Flavors
Assorted Flavors
 
Live from Budapest
Live from Budapest
 
 
Jubilee
Jubilee
 
 
Out Standing in their Field
Out Standing in their Field
 
 
For High Sierra Jazz Band bookings and information, please contact
Norma Baldwin

e-mail: nbifly2@gmail.com