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Artist Profiles

Tom King & The Royal Chicagoans

By Published: March 26, 2004
Russ Phillip: If there’s a “trombone gene” Russ Phillip must have inherited it from his dad. Russ Phillip Sr. was successor to Jack Teagarden in Louis Armstrong’s All Stars orchestra over fifty years ago. It was while his dad was peforming with the All Stars, that four-year-old Russ absorbed those sweet sounds and later received formal training from his dad, from private instructors, from courses in college and with tutelage from Bob Lambert and Frank Crisafulli of the Chicago Symphony.

Steve Sandner: In his early teen years, Steve, the group’s pianist/vocalist, performed professionally with his father...that was in the early 60s. These days Steve in addition to the One More Time CDs, has produced several CDs with other musical luminaries. Although influenced by Oscar Peterson, Art Tohem, Nat Cole and Frank Sinatra, Steve has developed his own style which has not gone unnoticed by the music community. Another fine addition to the Royal Chicagoans.

Aside from their super sounds, what sets this group apart from many others is the fact that at a time when most men their age might be building tiny bird abodes, these tunesters are among the musical icons who are building a bridge between the generations. How does the younger generation respond to the standards, the jazz and the swing that’s out there? Look at all those swing clubs that have popped up and are jammed with young people dancing the night away – in appropriate costumes, no less. Note the ovations they give to Tony Bennet (who’s old enough to be their grandfather) and to just about any Frank Sinatra impressionist.

Each of the members of the Royal Chicagoans started his musical journey when he was young. Like any artist, each honed his craft throughout the years with obviously noteworthy success. During the years before they got their act together some put their music on hold while they made their marks in business and industry, but the music while “hibernating”, never left them – not even after decades. It was destined to rise like Phoenix – renewed and stronger than ever.

Thomas Wolfe wrote “You Can’t Go Home Again”. Wrong! You can, if your “home” is a heart filled with love for a person, a place, or for the sound of music.

Visit Tom King & The Royal Chicagoans on the web at .

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