Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Nepus was raised on the jazz heritage of his father, Sava Nepus, one of the key founders of the Hot Club of France in Paris during the late Thirties. Ira played his first jazz concert at the age of 15. He has played all the periods of jazz, having had the opportunities to play with Kid Ory and Johnny St. Cyr, to the most contemporary groups including recordings with Big Bad VooDoo Daddy, the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, and numerous motion picture and television soundtracks. His private teachers included Harold Diner, Dick Nash, Bob Edmondson, and Trummy Young, one of his greatest of trombone jazz mentors. He holds a Bachelors degree in Music and Education from the University of Hawaii and a Masters in Music and Jazz Studies from USC. Ira has performed with close friend and mentor, Benny Carter(1986-2001), Gerald Wilson (1997-200), Woody Herman (1969-71), Clayton Hamilton Jazz Orchestra (1986 to present), Anthony Wilson, and Big Bad VooDoo Daddy. He co-produces the Salt Lake City Jazz Festival with Jerry Floor, numerous Japanese Jazz Festivals with Yoshi Niishikage, and the Camarillo Arts and Jazz Festival at the Channel Islands College. He has also performed with Lionel Hampton, Cab Calloway, Harry James, Nelson Riddle, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, and Nancy Wilson. Ira also invented the 'Softone' practice/performance mute for brass which is used worldwide. It's innovative with its neoprene material and design.