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For 25 years John Armato has played jazz and commercial music in Kansas City, New York City, and now, Northern California. From concerts and shows to night clubs and private parties, from recording sessions and Russian tours to polka festivals and police circuses, from river boats and churches to -- of course -- weddings and bar mitzvahs, he's been there and played that. Known for his taste and sensitivity on ballads as well as his strong sense of swing, Armato is in his  element on standards, straight-ahead jazz, Basie-style big band charts, and light Latin styles. Armato is based in Sacramento and is available for gigs ithroughout Northern California. Follow Armato on Facebook and Twitter. Read his full bio ...


A Swingin' Christmas Party

Yesterday was the annual Mickey's Boots Christmas party in Auburn, CA. Mickey is one of my all-favorite bass players and he brings together great players for a great time. Here's our opening tune of the gig: Cheek to Cheek. That's Mickey on bass, Tom Shove on piano, Brad Hammet on trombone, and Shauna Anderson on vocals.

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"It's Alright With Me" with Dick Johnson's Mardi Grad Band

It's always a pleasure to play with these guys. Dick is 90 and still plays, thinks, jokes, and runs the band like a man half that age. Tom plays lyrical lines and interesting chords. Mickey is the "real deal" on bass. All about swing, tone, and character. Brad makes you forget the trombone is an awkward instrument and especially paints beautiful pictures on ballads. Claudette is understated and sophisticated. She knows how to tell a story through song and keeps things swinging while she does it.

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Love REMO's new "Skyntone" head

In July I was at a board meeting for VanderCook College of Music and enjoyed talking with fellow board member, Brock Kaericher, president of REMO. Brock told me about REMO's new Skyntone heads and I've been eager ever since to try them out.

I played a jazz/swing show last night with Dick Johnson and Claudette Stone and had my chance. I put a Skyntone on my Yamaha 14" x 5.5" steel snare. For my fellow jazz drummers out there, the verdict is: HOME RUN.

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