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...and Who Exactly is Hurricane Gumbo?


Don
| Chris | Matt D. | Kenny | Jon | Eric
Joe | Matt W. | Miles Hurricane Bill

Tenor Saxophonist Chris "Brez" Brennan
came to Chicago in 1994 and dove head first into the emerging acid jazz scene. He played with various groups on a sporadic basis, but needed to find a regular gig to help pay the rent. He joined a wedding band, but after repeated requests for "Mustang Sally" and "Brown Eyed Girl" he hit his breaking point. On one occasion, Hurricane Bill filled in for the wedding band's regular keyboardist and told Brennan about his dream of playing New Orleans music. Brennan quit the wedding band that night and has been with Hurricane Gumbo ever since.

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A lifelong Chicago native...
Drummer Matt Daly
has performed with a variety of bands over the past ten years and continues to challenge himself with the Louisiana party music of Hurricane Gumbo. After a long day of yardwork and looking after his house chores, Daly fires up his grill and listens to some of his favorite drummers including Steve Smith, Buddy Rich and Tony Williams.

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At the ripe age of 10, Guitarist Kenny “E” Errant
found a flashy new Teisco Del Ray electric guitar under the Christmas tree. He embraced his new instrument drawing heavily from his parents' strong musical influences of the Carpenters and Captain and Tenille. He began to learn the songs of Van Halen note-for-note with the help of teacher Jeff Islinger and formed Overdrive in 1987 with Mark Hanson and Steve 'O' Errant. Their first gig was also their last as Hanson overslept and missed the gig. In 1991, Errant joined XEL, a three-piece progressive group that was known for their incredible live shows. One fan commented that an evening with XEL was like "visiting another planet!" (Note to readers-this fan has not been seen since 1993.) In the late 90's, Errant received a call from “Hurricane” Bill Rosas regarding a try-out with Hurricane Gumbo and jumped in with both feet. When not playing with Gumbo, he enjoys eating garlic pepper sausage and memorizing all television theme songs of the 1970s.

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Don “Dr. Maybe” Provenzale --- TrumpetDrDon

Every once in a great while, someone appears on the scene who can only be described as a “gentleman musician.”  He has a balanced, delicate, and sensitive style, and plays his instrument with mellifluous fluidity.  This most definitely does not describe our trumpeter, Don Provenzale.  In fact, Don’s style is better summed up as “in-your-face trumpet.”  And fortunately for Hurricane Gumbo, his screaming range and musical versatility (i.e. in his own words “I can play both kinds of music: jazz and blues!”) as a horn player perfectly complement the band.

A founding member of Hurricane Gumbo, Don has also been a fixture in the Chicago music scene for a quarter of a century, playing everything from jazz, rock, and blues, to classical.  He acquired the moniker “Dr. Maybe” several years ago after subbing out of a couple of road gigs using the lame excuse of having to attend to his Dental Implant practice.  Really?

But seriously, Don’s technical proficiency and powerful tone produces the piercing pop that perfectly punctuates our ultra-tight horn section. Don also brings an unfettered enthusiasm for our music and a commanding stage presence, that is, he can toss beads farther than anyone else in the band. His musical influences include scream-trumpeter Maynard Ferguson, Louis Armstrong, Doc Severinson, and John Faddis.

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Bassist Jon "Sleepin Jesus" Richter has staggered widely down life's musical sidewalk, occasionally swerving dangerously out into the boulevard. He has lodged his teeth into a variety of musical morsels, including the evil pop-punk biscuit of Beardicus Enormous and the groovin audio soufflé of Underbelly. Richter has also gotten sauced and cooked with a number of Chicago's top blues players such as Joe Moss, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith and Big Time Sarah. When not spanking his Samick, Jon enjoys Lawn Jarts while listening to the one disc he would not be without if stranded on a deserted island: "Life on Planet Groove" by Maceo Parker.

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Percussionist "Zydeco" Joe Sonnefeldt has performed with a number of Chicago musicians, including guitarist Fareed Haque and the group Poi Dog Pondering. He can be heard on numerous radio and TV commercials for United Airlines, Bally Total Fitness, Sears, Corona, and the Illinois Bureau of Tourism, and played percussion in the Chicago production of The Lion King. Since 1992, he has been a part-time music assistant at John Hersey H.S. in Arlington Heights, IL and established the J.H.H.S. Steel Drum Band in 1995...one of the first high school steel drum programs in the Midwest. As a member of the Chicago Percussion Quintet since 1994, Joe has brought the educational program "Percussion Around theWorld" to thousands of elementary school children in Chicago and the suburbs. Joe's musical talents can be explored further at joesounds.com

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Alto saxophonist Matt Wifler started playing sax at 13. His playing really took off when, at 17, he started using a reed. He’s toured the globe as indispensable sideman sax, flute and clarinetist with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines where he backed such acts as Mickey Dolenz, Davey Jones and the incomparable Charro. None of which helped him musically but hey, it paid the bills. Next stop: swing baby! The Riff Rockets, a Chicago band was his steady gig in the late 90’s, which lead to a short tour with the Glenn Miller Orchestra in ’99. After returning to Chicago, he gigged with original rock band Kokapelli making an album and playing Chicago, Wisconsin, Indy, St. Louie and Michigan. Wifler found some like minds while playing several gigs with the Gumbo Boys and was immediately drawn to their infectious grooves and tight horn lines. Now a full time Gumbo member he adds a bit of cheese to the brass section and a bit a Pabst to the beer cooler.

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At 18, Vocalist, Keyboardist and Accordionist
Hurricane Bill Thibodeaux

left Louisiana and settled in Chicago. After years of playing polkas at private parties, he began yearning for the sounds of Louisiana and decided to form a band to help capture the spirit of Louisiana's music and culture. His musical influences include Dr. John, Leon Russell, Keith Emerson, and Clifton Chenier and his proudest possessions are his collection of vintage keyboards and an original velvet Elvis painting (circa 1977).

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(Sometimes drops in from Florida to Jam!)
Before being converted to Zydecoism,
Trumpeter
Eric “le Lip” AuCoin
was part of Chicago’s jump swing scene playing with such groups as The Big Swing and The Riff Rockets. When not playing with Gumbo, AuCoin plays with The Associates, an all-purpose band catering to wedding receptions and other private events. His musical influences include Chicago, Blood, Sweat, and Tears, Steely Dan, Tower of Power, and Earth, Wind, and Fire. AuCoin's most prized possession is his large mosquito collection, which can be seen in the September 1991 issue of National Geographic, p. 52.

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