From the beloved Saturday morning antics of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck in the 40s and 50s to today’s inspired anime, they express wild swings of energy and emotion, explosive triumphs, and deserved defeats.
One element of the cartoons that we’ve recently recognized is the genius of the music that underscores them, a mash-up of classical, jazz, pop, folk, and everything in between. This is highly adventurous music, rich and complex, swinging, and supremely well played by Jeff Sanford’s Cartoon Jazz Orchestra.
New York native and CJO founder and leader Jeff Sanford plays all the saxophones and flutes as well. Since his arrival in San Francisco in 1976, he has played everything from top 40 to waltzes for dancing to the SF and Napa Valley Symphony orchestras, gigs with Clark Terry and Regina Carter, and international performances with Castles and Concerts. Jeff also teaches big band classes at the JCC in Palo Alto and the Holy Trinity Church in San Carlos.
When a fellow musician willed Jeff 16 file cabinets of sheet music, including considerable material composed by the brilliant and eccentric Raymond Scott (1908-1994), the spark for the CJO was born. Raymond Scott, born Harry Warnow in Brooklyn to Polish immigrant parents, was a remote and demanding leader and among the most important and popular composers of the 20th Century. Warner Brothers musical director Carl Stalling adopted Scott’s strange, hyperactive compositions as scores for more than 120 Looney Tunes cartoons.
The music is highly entertaining but very challenging to perform. Obviously undaunted, the CJO premiered at the 2003 Stanford Jazz Festival.
As the CJO in-house composer of original music since 2009, Lenny Carlson brings the wild and wooly spirit of Raymond Scott into the 21st Century. He has composed over 100 pieces for Jeff Sanford’s ensembles. Lenny, whose mother was a classical violinist and whose father was a composer and student of Arnold Schoenburg, gives new meaning to the word “eclectic.” His CDs are available at https://digitalvictrola.com/
The CJO’s latest CD is Jeff Sanford’s Cartoon Jazz Orchestra: Playland at the Beach (LVF 1056) © 2023 Little Village Foundation.
Little Village is a nonprofit record company dedicated to presenting a wide variety of music that contributes to a more diverse and inclusive world.
Press: Dennis McNally (email@example.com)
Little Village: www.littlevillagefoundation.com
With gratitude to Jim, Dennis, Cyril, Maurice, Karen, Lisa, Janet, and all the wonderful musicians in the Cartoon Jazz Orchestra.
Jeff Sanford: Septet Director - Clarinet, piccolo, flute, soprano, alto, tenor, baritone, bass saxes
Musician and music teacher, collector of music charts and instruments, considered by his peers to be an ace reader and a ‘tune monster’ who loves many styles. He has played and toured in China, Vietnam, St. Barts to Juneau, Alaska; performed with Clark Terry, Regina Carter, Stan Getz, Tootie Heath, Frankie Lane, Steve Allen, the Ink Spots, the SF Symphony, Eddie Fisher and Mike Lipskin. Jeff is always working with his Cartoon Jazz Septet & Orchestra, his own quartet, The Golden Gate Park Band, Noah Griffin, Carl Vast, Eric Shifrin, Si Perkoff, Leftover Dreams, and teaching two big band classes a week along with private lessons daily on the San Francisco peninsula.
Mark Rosengarden: Drums, percussion
Mark (bada bing) plays the drums for fun and profit (bada boom). He has played with a wide range of singers and groups, including: Bette Midler, Sammy Davis, Vince Guaraldi, Eugene Ormandy, Van Cliburn, Florence Henderson, and Herbie Mann.
Andy Ostwald: Piano www.andyostwald.com
Andy has been an active member of the Bay Area jazz scene for the past twenty-five years. Along with performing and recording, Andy teaches for Oaktown Jazz Workshops and privately at his home in Oakland. His book/CD series,"Play Jazz, Blues, Rock Piano by Ear," was published in 2004. Andy concentrates on digesting the Septet music, occasionally subbing into the bigger group to help out the logistics of rehearsing...
Randy Johnson: Banjo, guitar, glockenspiel, vocals, arranger
Randy Johnson started playing guitar about the time of the British invasion. Actually, it was a ukulele but after learning the entire Beatles songbook his parents thought he was deserving of a real guitar. His teen years were spent honing his craft in garage bands, and one day he and a group of high school friends decided to form a jug band loosely in the image of the Kweskin jug band. Randy was elected to play banjo, as they had plenty enough guitar players.
Hal Richards: Tenor & baritone sax, clarinet, piccolo, oboe, flutes, bassoon
Born in NYC, versatile woodwind specialist Hal Richards has been performing and recording with many of the Bay Area's finest jazz, Latin and African musicians since 1976. Currently performing with the New Oakland Jazz Orchestra, led by Mike Vax, The Berkeley Saxophone Quartet, and the Golden Gate Park Band, Hal’s appeared with Carol Channing, Terry Gibbs, Eric Marienthal, Bill Perkins, Bob Florence, Omar Clay, and Lenny Niehaus. Hal also performs with SF Children’s Opera, SF Mime Troupe, Magic Theater, and the Peninsula Civic Light Opera. Classical endeavors included chamber groups. Hal has been teaching music in S.F. Public Schools for more than 20 years.
Eric Wayne: Trumpet, flugelhorn
Eric began watching cartoons when he was old enough to reach the TV. Much to his mother's chagrin, he never stopped. But in the Cartoon Jazz Septet & Orchestra, he now has an excuse to continue this practice as an adult... of sorts. He grew up and received his musical education in Colorado before moving to San Francisco where he has performed in all manner of musical experiments, as well as a few legitimate groups. His new label is DIGITAL VICTROLA, his new daughter is Zara!
Simon Planting: Bass
Dutch double bassist Simon Planting now lives near San Francisco, but he studied Classical bass at the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Jazz at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam before embarking on a professional career that has seen him perform in concerts and festivals the world over while compiling an impressive discography with artists like Mathilde Santing, Fapy Lafertin, Jimmy Rosenberg, Stephane Wrembel, and John Jorgenson as well as several Gypsy Jazz tributes and compilations.Simon quickly became established in Dutch radio and television in a ten-year association with noted pianist/arranger Cor Bakker. He then joined the gifted Django Rheinhardt interpreter Fapy Laftertin for an extended series of tours and recordings, while also embarking on a 17-year association with Jazz singer Mathilde Santing in concert and in the studio. He was also toured in a band with his former classmate Reiner Voet of the Gypsy Jazz duo Pigalle 44. More recordings and international tours with the Robin Nolan Trio followed, until Simon joined the legendary John Jorgensen Quintet in 2009. Along the way he has performed with top Jazz Manouche guitarists such as Jimmy Rosenberg, Angelo Debarre, Dorado, Tjavalo and Samson Schmitt, Andreas Oberg, Gonzalo Bergara, Kruno, and other Jazz greats, Larry Coryell, Bill Frisell, and Howard Alden to name a few.Simon is also a favorite on the Djangofest circuit, where he might be found accompanying fellow RealTracks artists such as Tim Kliphuis and John Joregenson. Check out the large selection of videos featuring Simon with various Jazz and Gypsy Jazz artists on YouTube.
Zachariah Spellman: Tuba
Zach has been with the band for about almost two years now adding so much to the texture and good vibes. He has been with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra for 45 years, lives in SF and has been recording some terrific albums lately.
Lenny Carlson: Composer
Lenny Carlson teaches in the Music Department at City College of San Francisco and is afreelance composer, arranger and guitarist. Born in Los Angeles, he has produced four recordings of original music, and his compositions have been featured on eight more. One piece, “Biff”, was on the 1985 Grammy Award ballot for Best Jazz Instrumental Composition. In 2008, Lenny Carlson released two CDs of his original music. Seat of the Pants (jazz/latin) features the late drummer Eddie Marshall, pianists Rebeca Mauleon andMadeline Mueller, double bassist Barry Green and multi-instrumentalist Hal Richards. Thhe second CD, Echolocation: Six Movements for String Quartet, is performed by Bridget Dolkas and the California Quartet. His first composition for Jeff Sanford’s Cartoon Jazz Orchestra was Aluminum Sunset: a Tribute to the Music of Raymond Scott (2009-2010), a suite in 3 movements. Since then, among other pieces, he has composed Earth Tones (for Frederick Harris), a 6-movement work for solo piano; Rosa, a tango for pianist Meral Guneyman and Passages, 3 poems by Lisa Rosenberg set for soprano voice, violin and piano. He continues to compose new works for the Cartoon Jazz Septet and Orchestra.
The 17 Piece Group
We have the finest musicians in the Bay Area getting together to rehearse, perform and record our repertoire of Cartoon Jazz, originals written specifically for the band and other jazz pieces that just appeal to us.
Lori Stotko: Piano, trombone
Rolf Johnson: Trumpet, flugelhorn, arranger
John Worley: Trumpet, flugelhorn
Rick Walsh: Trombone, arranger
Tony Davids: Trombone
John Hunt: Trombone, vocals
Christian Behrens: Bass Trombone
Chuck Bennett: Bass trombone
Dick Mathias: Alto sax, clarinet, bass clarinet
Fil Lorenz: Baritone sax, clarinet
Doug Rowan: Tenor sax, clarinet
Stuart Nafey: Photographer
Stuart has been photograping the band for years, freely giving his talents to support the group in pictures at the Freight and Salvage, Bach Dancing and Dynamite, etc.stuartnafey.com
Paul Etchevarry: Film archivist, projectionist
Marc Schmid: Cartoonist http://www.cartooncity.net; https://www.gigsalad.com/cartoon
Marc has done our last three album covers! Caricature Artist.
Adrian Wong: Recording engineer firstname.lastname@example.org
Adrian has been recording my bands since the beginning particularly "Live at Pearls" and "Cartoonjazz Septet and Orchestra". He recently recorded our newest takes on Lenny's last eight pieces for us and "Julia" from a Japanese anime' and "Cantina Band" from Star Wars.