Who We Are


image1

BOBBY GRIMM (tenor banjo)

 

Bobby is one of the outstanding tenor banjoists in America today.  He has been a vital musical partner with Jean and Red in all three of their bands - the JAZZ INCREDIBLES, the five-piece OLD ST LOUIS LEVEE BAND, and the seven-piece JEAN KITTRELL & THE ST. LOUIS RIVERMEN.  After childhood training on the violin, Bobby taught himself to play banjo at age 25 and has been in constant demand ever since. 

In 1965 he played in the St. Louis's famed Gaslite Square at Your Father's Mustache, followed by a lengthy engagement on the River Queen, the authentic riverboat on which "Showboat" was filmed.  For several years he played with Don Scherrer's BANJO BAND, then with Charlie Wiseman and the OLD ST. LOUIS LEVEE BAND at The Sting.  He and Red joined Jean Kittrell in 1978 aboard the Lt. Robert E. Lee, where the OSLLB played weekly for thirteen years.  With this group, he played pop concerts with the ST. LOUIS SYMPHONY in 1987, 1988, and 1989, and with the HONOLULU SYMPHONY in 1990. In 2002 when the JAZZ INCREDIBLES became a quartet, Bobby became a member.  This group and THE ST. LOUIS RIVERMEN have played festivals all over the country and several Caribbean cruises.

Bobby is now retired after many years in the Parts Department of a Ford Dealership but as a musician, he is busier than ever playing with many groups locally and across the country.  Locally Bobby plays with the St. Louis Jazz Quartet, Dixie Banjos, Bob & MaryAnn Duo and is Musical Director for the St. Louis Banjo Club.

image2

DAVID "RED" LEHR (sousaphone)

 A farmer, butcher with his own meat processing plant and market, real estate entrepreneur, and world-class sharp-shooter, Red is also an astounding virtuoso of the sousaphone, combining unique technique with showmanship.  At five years old he stood on an orange crate to play his daddy's trombone.  In grade school, as the strongest and tallest kid, he began to play the big sousaphone with which he has intrigued audiences ever since.  His professional musical career began in St. Louis's Gaslite Square at Your Father's Mustache in 1963.  St. Louis Cardinal baseball fans will appreciate the sentimental value of Red's playing at the very last baseball game in Sportsman's Park and also at the grand opening first ballgame in the new Busch Stadium.

In 1965 Red moved to the Banjo Palace with the OLD ST. LOUIS LEVEE BAND, followed by two years at The Sting.  In 1978 he joined Jean Kittrell on the Lt. Robert E. Lee, bringing his OSLLB.  They played to SRO crowds every Saturday nite for 13 years (1978-1990).  In 1979 Red joined the JAZZ INCREDIBLES to play every Friday nite on the Lee; and in 1982 he joined the newly formed ST. LOUIS RIVERMEN.  Red was hand-picked for an all-star 7-piece International Band at the 1994 Sacramento Jazz Jubilee.  He was selected by readers of The American Rag in a national survey in 2000 as their favorite of all jazz sousaphonists.  Admired by classical as well as jazz musicians, Red has been starred in regional and national conferences of brass instruments (Champaign IL, 1973; Lexington KY, 1990; Bloomington IL, 2005).  He has appeared in concert with Billy Butterfield, Jack Maheu, Barrett Deems, Ernie Carson, Jerry Fuller, and Pee Wee Mateese.

In July 2008 Red took on the demanding and yet rewarding leadership of the St. Louis Rivermen, the Jazz Incredibles, and the Old St. Louis Levee Band.  And he also remains the essential incredible sousaphonist of these groups. 

image3

NOEL KALETSKY (clarinet, soprano sax)

 Hailing from Clinton, Connecticut, Noel with his hot jazz clarinet and sometimes yearning, sometimes fierce, soprano sax has played and recorded with Wild Bill Davison, George Lewis, Kid Thomas, Conrad Janis. He has two CDs with his own quartets: "It's About Time" and "Noel Kaletsky, Ham on Rye" 

image4

STEVE LILLEY (cornet, trumpet)

 Steve, a public high school history teacher for 30 years with three published books on American history, joined the RIVERMEN, much to the satisfaction of Jean Kittrell, in 1999.  His hot horn and authoritative melodic lead reveal his long-time study of the music of Louis Armstrong, Fats Waller, Bix Beiderbecke, Bobby Hackett, Bunny Berigan, and the Dukes of Dixieland.  Steve formed his first jazz band at age 15 to play in dance halls in Lincoln County, Missouri.  A master of spontaneous arrangements on stage with the RIVERMEN, he is also the leader of his own classic jazz band, the ST. LOUIS STOMPERS, who play tightly arranged, always interesting classic jazz. (See www.stlouisstompers.com for their festival schedule and CDs.)

And as of 2006 Steve Lilley's authoritative hot horn has been added to the personnel of the OLD ST. LOUIS LEVEE BAND. 

image5

JIM MAIHACK (trombone)

 

Jim hails from the Midwest (born in Rock Island, IL).  The first of many musical instruments he mastered was the accordion when he was six.  In the late '50s, playing banjo, Jim joined the DIXIE LADS JAZZ BAND with Bill Allred, Stan Black, and Don O'Dette (who later directed the Bix Beiderbecke Fest in Davenport, IA).  By this time Jim also played piano, trombone, and tuba, and for the next ten years he played with many groups on both piano and trombone, including Clyde McCoy and Smokey Stover.  Late in 1969 Jim moved to San Francisco to join the TURK MURPHY JAZZ BAND playing tuba.  Leaving San Francisco in 1975 for Florida, Jim joined ROSIE O'GRADY'S GOOD TIME JAZZ BAND, playing piano, banjo, trombone, and tuba.  For a few years he also led that band.  In 1986 Jim rejoined the TURK MURPHY JB, this time playing piano.  During this second stint Jim played Turk's Carnegie Hall concert in 1987. Jim spent 1991-1992 playing the Main Street Station casino in Las Vegas with the Mickey Finn band.

Showcasing Jim's amazing mastery of musical instruments is his tour de force, "Never Mind, I'll Do It Myself," a CD on which he plays every instrument and sings with himself in three-part harmony.  Jim joined the RIVERMEN permanently for festivals and cruises after their amazing success on a January 2004 Caribbean cruise.

image6

Jack Tartar (drums)

 Jack grew up, as he says, running around in the woods of Southcentral Missouri with his father, a half-Indian State Conservation Agent for the Missouri Department of Conservation. Jack was an eagle scout, then worked for five years as the Waterfront Director of a Boy Scout summer camp, teaching all aquatic skills. He has completed National Red Cross certification for advanced water safety instructor and life-saving. And when, following in his Dad's footsteps, he worked for the Missouri Department of Conservation for seven years in the law enforcement section, he taught survival swimming and small craft safety to new employees. A man of many talents and interests, he has also worked at the St. Louis Zoo, driven Laclede cabs, run a jack-hammer.

His grandpa bought him a set of drums when he was in High School, and he's been playing in bands ever since. He graduated from the U.S. Naval School of Music in Washington, DC in 1962. As a Vietnam veteran (musician), he spent five years as a disc jockey on KOSO (Modesto CA) and KXTR (Kansas City MO) while he continued playing drums with local groups. He played with Steve Allen, backed the INK SPOTS and FOUR ACES in concert, and toured with the SAMMY KAYE SWING AND SWAY ORCHESTRA for over three years throughout the U.S.A. With this group he was required to spend at least four weeks of each year in Hawaii (how terrible!). Settling in St. Louis he drummed in the MERAMEC JAZZ LAB BAND for 10 years. Audiences are intrigued by his complete immersion in and enjoyment of the swinging drums he plays.

Jack's love of jazz is balanced by his love of the outdoors--biking, canoeing, kayaking, or quietly enjoying the beauty of butterflies, flowers, birds, wild animals. 

image7

Pat Joyce (piano)

 

When, at the age of four, Pat began playing his older sister's piano lessons by ear, his own classical training began.  This young musical genius spent a summer at the famous Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria (1968); finished a Bachelor of Music degree from Webster College (1969); and, then pursued the academic life and a Ph.D. in music for two years before devoting himself fulltime to jazz performance.

Much in demand because of his impressive pianistics, crazy sense of humor (evenings spent with him are both awe-inspiring and hilarious), and ability to blend a band together with his supporting harmonies contrapuntal melodic lines, Pat is a charter member of five St. Louis Jazz bands; and he is the first musicican requested to accompany jazz greats coming to St. Louis to perform.

image8

BRETT STAMPS (trombone)

 Professor of Music and Director of Jazz Studies at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, Brett has performed and composed professionally for the U.S.Army Field Band (the JAZZ AMBASSADORS), the STAN KENTON ORCHESTRA, the UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI CONCERT JAZZ BAND, and various ensembles in the St. Louis metropolitan area including the KIM PORTNOY BIG BAND, HORNS IN THE HOUSE, the FOX THEATER ORCHESTRA, the MUNY ORCHESTRA, LEGACY, and HAYDON/STAMPS JAZZ ENSEMBLE, the LEE HYDE ORCHESTRA, the EDDIE FRITZ QUARTET, the JACK ENGLER ORCHESTRA, the GARY DAMMER BIG BAND, GALAXY, and the JIM WIDNER BIG BAND.  He teaches jazz improvisation, jazz arranging, jazz brass, jazz education, jazz history, and has directed both the MISSOURI and ILLINOIS HONORS ALL-STATE JAZZ BANDS.  He remains active nationally as a clinician.  He joined JEAN KITTRELL & THE ST. LOUIS RIVERMEN in 1998, and now plays all local and some festival gigs with them.  In 2005 Brett began playing with the CORNET CHOP SUEY JAZZ BAND, one of the hottest and most popular bands on the traditional jazz festival circuit today.

Brett adds an exciting, unique voice to a band's front line with brilliant technique and gutsy tailgate slides.