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Rick Koler

Australia

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Rick a jazz player at seven when Marshall Royal gave him his first clarinet lesson, and Barry Ulanov helped him discover Lenny Tristano.

Born in San Francisco, took his first music lesson at St. Mary's college when it was taken over by the navy and (then Chief, Marshall Royal) gave me my a clarinet lesson. At twelve, I saw Jazz at the Philharmonic stars: Charlie Parker, Lester Young, Philp Phillips, Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown at the Oakland auditorium. That same year I saw Art Pepper with Stan Kenton's band. Those two live music experiences set me on track and on a “Groove”. Later, played with the jazz band at College of San Mateo - even though my sight-reading was pretty dismal; then later on to San Francisco State after Cal Tjader and Dickie Mills had left - two of my class mates of note were John Handy and Billy Catalano.

I remember so fondly the jam sessions I attended at Bopcity in the Fillmore, and also great session I was in with Brue Moore,tenor Sonny Wayne, drums and Bill Weisjahus, piano.

I was then getting few gigs and needed to improve my competence on Alto, Tenor. I was extremely lucky and found Jerry Coker - who at that time had left Woody Herman's band and was living in Oakland, playing with local big band Rudy Salvini and teaching.

Left music performance about 1960 - moving into film, television production and advertising. But, I never let go of my love of jazz. In the 60's, I was a film editor at KPIX television in San Francisco. I did volunteer work at the 13th San Francisco International Film Festival, which eventuated in becoming Director of live performances between film showings at the Masonic Auditorium. Then I was creative director for KUDO Channel 38. Followed by manager of Computer Image Corporation's San Francisco. Did a lot of commuting to Beverly Hills, doing storyboards for television commercials, designing computer animation, and riding in the elevator with Tommy Smothers. The results of large volume of mine and other producers of computer animation can be found within my collection of art and commercial computer animation on deposit at the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley California.

Moved to Sydney, Australia in 1975. Played with Freddie Wilson's jazz band. And, frequent gigs at the Bald Face Stag - weddings and birthdays too. Most recently finding venues for Australian jazz talent in overseas and international jazz festivals.

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