from: The Keelers and

In the hardcopy issues of the old RAG, the band schedule was shown here on page 1. On this web version we ask you to click here band schedule, or better yet, at the end of this issue, to see the updated band schedule page. To return to this newsletter from the schedule page, please click the BACK button on your browser.

Please scroll down to read the other 3 pages of the RAG.

DEVIL MOUNTAIN RAG (from the tune of the same name, composed by Jean Keeler in 1982) is published by:


5480 SELLERS AVE., OAKLEY, CA 94561-3612

tel. 925-625-2707 fax 925-625-9403 e-mail:





Please Note: (I used to use a cute eighth-note logo to flag this editorial section, but I haven't figured out how to import it)

Happy New Year from the Keeler's and Devil Mountain Jazz Band. We hope you all had a fine 2001, and that 2002 includes some of our music. Welcome to the third edition on the internet, of the DEVIL MOUNTAIN RAG, which will continue to be published only on this web site. Always on the web site is the band's current schedule, updated monthly or whenever a significant change occurs. Elsewhere on the site, you'll find bio's of the band members, a NEW Photo History (1982 to 2001) of the band, articles from earlier DM RAG's, tune information and order form for our recordings, and links to other informative trad. jazz web sites. These features are available by links from the home page.

I will be adding more archives from the DM RAG, including a history of the band and Friends of Jazz, with photos. Further along the way, who knows what - features and information I could not possibly publish in printed format. If you wish an e-mail alert when the next newsletter or significant schedule change is published on the web, please say so in an e-mail to: Also, please add to the list of "favorites" on your web browser, so you can get to our site without the hassle of typing it in every time. I welcome your comments and suggestions about the newsletter or other sections of the web site.

2001 was an enjoyable year for the band, with less travel, and a focus on developing new players, a tradition we've had since the start. Some of the highlights are detailed in the Travelin' and Band News sections, further downstream in this issue.

We've borne the dreaded label of "trad band" for most of our history, and are now shunned by many festivals eager to draw in new folks. All festivals need new followers, but... Some festival producers think new festival goers won't appreciate the sound of the golden age of jazz as much as the music (?) they've grown up with since 1960. Well, we're not going to try to appeal to the lowest common denominator among new festival enthusiasts, but will continue to try to improve on preserving what the music sounded like before 1935. This subject is always controversial, and I've said enough for this time. "Frankly, my dear, I just don't give a damn" about appearing in every event on the festival calendar.

There is one band who is just so good that they do appear at about every festival on the calendar. That's Uptown Lowdown JB. I had the privilege of substituting with them a few times last year and will be with them at the Fresno Fest., Feb. 8-10.

Check our schedule page every so often to see if anything has changed. Y'all have a great 2002....... Ken Keeler



Several changes in our monthly dance series took place in 2001. As a result of a survey among some of our regular attendees, and some schedule conflicts, we decided not to hold our sessions from May through September in 2001. This plan worked out OK, and we'll shut down again this summer, June through August. In 2002, Friends of Jazz convenes from 7 to 1015 PM on third Saturdays, through May. We will probably resume again in September, 2002 - stay tuned.

In a repeat of our 2000 experiment, holding our holiday party on the third Saturday, December 15, 2001, turned out to be a grand success. This was due to the wonderful food and deserts by our volunteers and committee members, and the Ragtime music of Marty Eggers and Virginia Tichenor, both of whom played several tunes with the 8 piece Devil Mountain regulars. We got a jump on 2002, with champagne and Auld Lang Syne at 11 PM, sixteen days and one hour ahead of the real thing. We will probably have the same format again in December, 2002. In the meantime, please attend the other eight dance/concert parties we'll have this year.

We need to be able to notify Friends of Jazz regulars, in the event we get a short notice that the Vets Hall is no longer available. It's inevitable, we just don't know when developers will tear down the old building and put up something newer, but probably not better. Nearly every other old structure in the neighborhood is now gone. Please keep your e-mail address current with us, so we can get word to you in a hurry, if our event is canceled or moved to another venue.





The band family continued to expand in 2001, with the addition of Virginia Tichenor and Ken Brock. Virginia is the daughter of Trebor Tichenor, leader of the St. Louis Ragtimers, and best known Ragtime "guru" in the country. Virginia is married to Marty Eggers, one of the busiest jazz band and ragtime performers in the west. So ragtime, both solo and ensemble returns to the DMJB repertoire. Virginia and Jean Keeler will continue to share the piano bench on many band appearances. Ken Brock is another music educator (most of our band members have this dubious credit), and has been active in several California bands as lead trumpet, and arranger.

Our THREE TRUMPET feature at some festivals is becoming more popular, with some tunes by Louis Armstrong, arranged by Eric Holroyd. We did four Armstrong "specials" this past year. Some folks also appreciate my interpretations of some early 1930s recordings by the "Blue Yodeler" Jimmie Rodgers, who hired Armstrong, Hardin, Dodds, and other 20's jazz greats as sidemen on several recordings.

For years, other folks have referred to us as the "Devils", tho the name came from Mount Diablo, the prominent feature of the Oakley skyline. So we finally did something to acknowledge that moniker: Glue-on Devil horns, inspired by Jim Gratton, who frequently wears his horns and a more complete devilish outfit on cruises and at festivals. The photo shows the debut of the horns at the Kalispell Glacier Stampede in October, 2001.



RAGTIME RHODIE FESTIVAL, Long Beach, WA : This is one of the band's favorite small festivals, featuring the best trad bands of the northwest, and for seven years, Devil Mountain JB. We enjoyed the 2001 event, and hope you will join us there on April 12 to 14, 2002, for another fine time among the blooming Rododendrons on the SE Washington coast.


The 2001 Sacramento Jazz Jubilee was the usual fun and musically rewarding time for DMJB. The band played at the designated trad sites, and performed another special salute to the music of Lil Hardin and Louis Armstrong, which included some of the three trumpet work mentioned above. Other events featuring members of Devil Mountain included the "Plucking Wonders"- the Scott Anthony/Ken Keeler banjo duo on the Delta King, the world famous Washboard Concert in Old Sac. on Sunday, featuring Pete Main on duck-call and our own Allan Grissette among some two dozen clatterboards! Some of these specials, plus a repeat of the Jim Maihack Show (arrangements and original tunes by Jim) may be on the schedule for the 2002 Jubilee. A complete DMJB set schedule will be posted on our web schedule page, early in May.


Our fifth annual event was held at the Cline Cellars Winery in Sonoma in July, 2001, was a continuation of the old Oakley Wine & Jazz Fest. held in the 1980s. The picturesque setting is just great for this small trad festival, and features many of the San Francisco Bay area's finest Dixieland musicians. Attendance continues to grow, exceeding 800 folks last year. Performing at this year's event on July 27, 2002 are: Black Diamond Blue Five, Devil Mtn. JB, Golden Gate Rhythm Machine, Gold Coast Jazz Band, Natural Gas JB, San Francisco Feetwarmers; Piano and banjo entertainment by Virginia Tichenor & Marty Eggers, and Dave Frey's Southtown Strummers. More information can be had by calling 707-935-4310, or click on this link to the festival and the winery web pages. Flyers will be available from the bands early in 2002.


Although DMJB did not partake of the 2001 Cruise in the Caribbean (see January, 2001 News), I was able to participate with the Uptown Lowdown Jazz Band, filling in for Al LaTourette. It was a challenging and fun week for me. And no hurricanes for the ship to evade! The photo at right shows Tex Wyndham surrounded by all of the cruise banjo players during the grand finale on the ship. Bill Blythe's cruise #18 will sail on the first weekened of December, 2002, embarking from San Pedro, CA, cruising to Catalina and Ensenada. The lineup is stellar as always; Uptown Lowdown, Gold Eagles, Golden Gate Rhythm Machine, Professor Plum's Jazz, and Devil Mountain. JB. The cruise follows the three day San Diego Thanksgiving Fest. You can sign up for both in a convenient and economical package. Call Captain Bill at 800-528-1460 for the full details or pick up a flyer at our bandstand.


This was another gathering of the best trad bands in the west in Rohnert Park, on the second weekend of November. The greatest jazz fans in the west (and the east) were also there. Some photos from this event are on our Photo History section of this web site. High point of this weekend for me was the reunion performance of the Gee Whiz Boogie Band led by Bob Pilsbury. The SRO crowd enjoyed the show too. The band is available for hire! -contact me or Bob for booking info. Note on the DMJB schedule page, that the 2002 Sonoma Fest. returns to August on the third weekend.


This was our first trip to Montana, and another fine jazz festival in the Northwest. The Stampede, directed by pianist Karla West features mostly trad bands and ragtime, with a venue dedicated to a schedule of great piano players. The event is well supported by the community and is a great place to visit, as well as to enjoy the music. The photo at right shows our super hosts, Dave and Linda Ensign, at the October, 2001 event.




Recordings and Red Suspenders for sale:

We still have items for sale by mail or at the bandstand: A complete tune listing on all the DMJB recordings can be found elsewhere on the Jazznut web site - Band Recordings. We also have a supply of Devil Mountain Red Suspenders, which were made for our '99 New Years" Eve party participants, and for those who have been asking for them since stock was depleted a few years ago. We are nearing the end of our stock of older recordings, particularly, "DMJB & Wally Rose." I now have a new supply of "You Asked For It" in CD format. We hope to have a new recording available by May, 2002, including another batch of oft-requested tunes like; "Little Enough, "Home", "King Chanticleer", "Mississippi Delta Blues" ........

Well, I think that's about enough blah-blah for this issue. You have a great 2002, come see us when you can!

For updates on DMJB's performance schedule, check the Devil Mountain band schedule.

If you would like to know when a new RAG, significant band schedule change, or "new recording" announcement is posted to the web site, send an e-mail to:

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