"I made the perfect choice!"
—Clarissa (Bride, Ponte Inn & Winery Wedding Reception, Temecula)
"You were all just outstanding. You made the party a real party and I am so glad I found you. I was a hero Saturday night because of you. Your music selection was right on ... and your overall presentation was absolutely over the top.
—Barbara (Event Planner)
"If I were Glenn Miller, I'd hire you."
—Tony Garcia (Sax, Glenn Miller Orchestra)
If your event or venue needs the elegant, nostalgic sparkle and pastiche of the Swing Era, and especially if your guests like to dance, Keith Ward & The BlackWood Jazz Combo are a great fit, since—unlike many "do-it-all" bands—they specialize in the classic tunes and style of the 1930s and '40s from New Orleans to Chicago and New York—the popular jazz that became a worldwide phenomenon, helping to lift people's spirits through the Great Depression and World War II. Their look, sound, and classic repertoire of unforgettable numbers by Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Billie Holiday, Glenn Miller, Cole Porter, Nat King Cole, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, and Pete Fountain, as well as other popular jazz standards, bring a touch of class to your event or venue that makes for a lifetime of memories, and is distinguishing them as one of the premier swing jazz groups of Southern California.
Their reputation in providing the sophisticated sound of swing for parties, receptions, and galas hosting celebrities, dignitaries, congressmen, and corporate executives in such venues as the Catalina Island Yacht Club in Avalon, the ballrooms of the Pacific Palms Resort and the Ontario Convention Center, the historic Mission Inn in Riverside, the Ritz Restaurant and Garden in Newport Beach, and upcoming engagements at the Frank Sinatra Twin Palms Estate in Palm Springs, among others, provides you with the confidence that Keith Ward & The BlackWood Jazz Combo provide just the right touch for even the most elegant and important private and corporate events. Not content to play only for such high-profile events, however, you'll find them performing in local jazz clubs, on the street in historic districts, in hospital hallways, or church meetings to bring the miracle of jazz music to everyone who appreciates its restorative power, in the spirit of the late jazz legend, Art Blakey, who said, "Jazz washes away the dust of everyday life."
Keith's smooth clarinet and sax has earned him positions in groups backing Grammy Award-Winning artists Natalie Cole, Michael W. Smith, and Llew Matthews; as a guest artist with Jay Jackson at Lucy's 51 in Hollywood and Sandra Booker at the House of Music & Entertainment in Beverly Hills; and as a sideman with Chuck Ousley and the Quartet at Nieuport 17 and the Manhattan Lounge in Orange County. Their gorgeous young songstress, Lia Marsh, has appeared by invitation with Dale Boatman and the CalJAS All-Stars (Luther Hughes, Kendall Kay, Ron Echete, and Bruce Babad) at the Muckenthaler Jazz Festival and at Steamers in Fullerton, and is beginning to create a name for herself in jazz circles. The multi-instrumentalist, Chris Cerna, besides being a well-known pianist in Hawaii, has been the accompanist for finalists from American Idol and Got Talent, appeared with his trio at the Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood, appears regularly at the US Grant Hotel in San Diego and the La Sala Lounge at the Valencia Hotel in La Jolla, and has performed numerous solo concerts in Hawaii, California, Chicago, and New York. Their sage male vocalist and drummer, JJ Johnson, has toured the world in a lifelong music career, even having had the pleasant surprise of backing Etta James on one occasion. Together, Keith Ward & The BlackWood Jazz Combo have enjoyed the honor of being the featured band at the New Orleans Jazz Club of Southern California and the Lakeside Jazz Club.
Keith & his combo perform weekly in the Inland Empire and Orange County, and at special engagements throughout Southern California bringing the joy of Swing to an appreciative and growing audience, young and old.
Why not enjoy them for yourself? Explore their GigMasters profile to see and hear why they are becoming recognized as one of the premier swing jazz groups of Southern California.
Keith Ward (Clarinet, Sax),
Lia Marsh (Vocals),
Chris Cerna (Piano, Vibes, Guitar, Mandolin),
"JJ" Johnson (Vocals, Drums),
Eric Pittman (Upright Bass)