Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Vax, Mike (Michael N.)

Vax, Mike (Michael N.), trumpet; b. Oakland, CA, 30 October 1942.

He attended Oakland High School from 1956-60. While there, he was in the Orchestra-1st trumpet, Band-co/1st trumpet, Dance Band-guitar, All City Orchestra-1st trumpet, Pacific Music Clinic-Orchestra 1st trumpet, Stan Kenton Clinic (Indiana Univ.)-1st trumpet, Berkeley Young Peoples' Symphony - soloist, All City Dad's Club Talent Show Winning Combo and was commencement soloist. At the University of the Pacific from 1960-1965, he got his Bachelor of Music with major in trumpet performance. He was principal trumpet in Wind Ensemble, Brass Ensemble, Orchestra, Marching Band, Jazz Ensemble (co-founder of  Pacific Jazz Workshop), and manager of UOP Bands-helped set up tours, etc. He gave three solo recitals, was a soloist for wind ensemble tour, and a soloist for home concerts of wind ensemble and orchestra. He was a member of Phi Mu Alpha music fraternity; Phi Kappa Tau social fraternity and Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities.
In the military, he was in the U.S. Navy Show Band 1966-69. He was 1st. trumpet, soloist, arranger, property manager for stage show on tour. He did 3 tours of South America for U.S.State Dept. He did many tours in U.S.A. for Navy Recruiting and Official Functions. He was also in the Treasure Island Naval Station Band 1969-70 as 1st. trumpet, soloist, arranger, leader of jazz big band.

The bands he's played for include the Oakland Symphony-extra trumpet 1960; Faculty Big Band-Stan Kenton Clinic at Indiana Univ.1960; Stockton Symphony 1963-64; Sacramento Opera Orchestra 1964; Stockton Municipal Band 1964-65; Pacific Playhouse Pit Orchestra 1965; Stan Kenton Orchestra-1st.trumpet, soloist, road manager 1970-72; Glenn Miller Orchestra lead by Buddy De Franco (short stint) 1971; Mike Vax Big Band 1972-95; Pee Wee Hunt Band 1973-74; Sounds of the 40's Tour-1st. trumpet, soloist 1973; Dukes of Dixieland in New Orleans-leader 1975-76; Atlanta Symphony Pops-guest artists (Dukes) 1976; Mike Vax Quartet, Quintet in New Orleans and on the road 1977-78; New Orleans Symphony Pops-guest soloist 1978; Clark Terry Big Bad Band-1st.trumpet, soloist 1978 (Europe, Scandanavia, Iron Curtan tour); Music Director of Sorcery'79 at Harrahs Tahoe 1979; Great American Jazz Band-Classic Jazz Festivals, concerts, road trips, clubs, conventions, private parties 1979-present; Freelance in S.F. Bay Area 1980-85; Mandan and Fargo N.D. Municipal Bands-guest soloist 1983; Producer, Music Director-Major Classic Jazz Festivals 1983-95; Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra lead by Lee Castle-soloist 1984-86 (misc. West Coast tours); San Diego Symphony Pops-1st.trumpet and guest soloist 1984-87 (misc. engagements); Oakland Symphony Pops-1st.trumpet and guest soloist 1984-90 (misc. engagements); Hilo, Hawaii Municipal Band-guest soloist 1985-86; and TRPTS. (Trumpets)-concerts, clubs, festivals, road trips 1986-present. He was named to Strathmore's Who's Who In American Business 1996-97.

He's worked with Red Skelton, Steve Allen, Cab Calloway, Bob Hope, George Gobel, Joel Gray, Robert Guillome (Benson), Mike Douglas, Helen O'Connell, Anita O' Day, Anita Bryant, Toni Tennille, The Four Freshmen, Joe Williams, Pete Barbutti, Phyllis Diller, Carrol Burnett, Jerry Vale, Sergio Franchi, Jim Neighbors, Bob Crosby, Art Pepper, Freddy Hubbard, Randy Brecker, Peter Erskine, Gary Burton, Al Grey, Louis Bellson, Plas Johnson, Joe Muranyi, Conrad Janis, etc. Mike has also performed and/or recorded with such greats as Al Grey, John Handy, Don Ellis, Don Jacoby, Barbara McNair, the Glenn Miller and Jimmy Dorsey Orchestras, the Beverly Hills Unlisted Jazz Band, and the Dukes of Dixieland in New Orleans. He has appeared as guest lead trumpet and soloist with symphony pops orchestras around the United States, as well as the All-American Collegiate Orchestra at Epcot Center.

The modern jazz festivals he's played include Newport; Newport in New York; Monterey; Concord; Mt. Hood, Wa.; Oakland Fest.of the Arts; Spokane, Wa.; Milwaukee, Wisc. Summerfest;
Stockton, CA., Warsaw, Poland; Prague, Czech.; Nice, France; Toronto, Ont., San Miguel de Allende-Mexico. The classic jazz festivals he's played include Sacramento (16); Nugget-Reno (11);
San Mateo (12); Victoria, B.C.(3); Hungary (6); Yugoslavia; San Diego (4); Stockton (4); Modesto (5); Sun Valley, Ida.(6); Lake Havasu, Az (3); Medford, Or.(2); Albany, Or.; Tri-Cities, Wa.; Pismo Beach; Watsonville, Ca.(2);  Monterey (7); and Los Angeles Classic (4).

He's taught over 1000 clinics, workshops and concerts in schools, colleges and universities (USA, Canada, Europe, Scandavavia, Behind the Iron Curtain, South America) 1969-98. He's done private teaching 1965-present. He's taught at University of New Orleans 1976-78, Loyola University (New Orleans) 1976-78,University of the Pacific 1986-95, Pacific Music Camp 1965, 1984-88, Stan Kenton Summer Clinics 1970-1972, National Stage Band Camps 1973, Cazadero Music Camp 1973-74, Western Ill. Univ. Summer Camp 1974, Univ. of Alaska Music Week 1979-80, Mandan/Bismark N.D. Summer Music Camp 1982-84, Fargo N.D. Summer Music Program 1984, Univ. of Hawaii at Hilo Summer Jazz Camp (co-founder & dir.) 1985-87, Pacific Jazz Experience (founder and director) 1989-1995, Donner Mine Music Camp 1994-96 and Drury College Jazz Camp 1995-1997. He is very active as a clinician and soloist in both the classical and jazz idioms.

Conventions he's attended as soloist, clinician and/or lecturer include the International Assn.of Jazz Educators (12); Calif.MusicEducators (12); International Trpt. Guild (5); Mid-West Band & Orch. Clinic (3); Louisiana Music Educators (2); NAMM (6); MENC; CBDNA; Colorado Music Educators; Alaska Music Educators; Washington Music Educators; Florida Music Educators; Arizona Music Educators; Illinois Music Educators; and National Association of Jazz Societies. The educational festivals he's attended include Los Medanos College Jazz (7); Redwood Empire Jazz (3); Reno Jazz (3); T.C.U. Jazz (3); Kamehameha Jazz - Hawaii (2); Univ. of Hawaii at Hilo (2); Mary College Jazz (2); Tri-State, Enid Okla.(2); Morning- side College Jazz - Sioux City, Ia.(4), Fla. State Univ. Jazz (2); Notre Dame Jazz; Univ. of Mo. Jazz; S.W. Mo. State Univ. Jazz; Rocky Mountain Jazz; Bear Valley Jazz; Armed Forces School of Music (2); Texas A & I Jazz; Golden, Colo.Schools Jazz; Loyola Univ. Jazz (2); Oaklawn Jazz; Skyline H.S. Jazz-Twin Falls, Idaho; MacArthur H.S.Jazz - Houston, Tx.; Chabot College Jazz; Mustang, Okla. Jazz; S.W. Okla. State Univ. Jazz; Okla. Baptist College Jazz; Tulsa Univ.Jazz; No. Ill. Univ. Jazz(4); plus many more.

Mike Vax is a National Artist for the Yamaha Corp. Of America. Vax performs exclusively on Yamaha Trumpets, Cornets and Flugelhorns. He has played lead trumpet with the Stan Kenton Orchestra, the Clark Terry Big Bad Band and the U.S. Navy Show Band.

As a recording musician, he has performed on more than 40 albums, including 15 under his own name.

Evil Eyes (featuring Art Pepper) (1973); Mike Vax Live (1974); Fred Radke/Mike Vax Quintet: First Reunion (1987); Late Harvest (1994); Live At The Morningside College Jazz Festival (1996);
The Draga/Vax Connection: Royal Street Shuffle - Recorded In New Orleans (1996), Live At The St. Louis Jazz Festival (1997); I Remember You    
As sideperson:
Stan Kenton Orchestra: Live At Redlands University (1970), Live At Brigham Young University (1971), Live At Butler University (1972), With The Four Freshmen At Butler (1972),
National Anthems Of The World (1972), Stan Kenton Today-Live In London (1972); National Stage Band Camps: Thursday Night Dues (1973); Stan Kenton Orchestra: Hits In Concert (1974);
Dukes Of Dixieland: Dukes' Place (1975), Creole Gumbo (1976), Sternwheller Steamboat (1976); Stan Kenton Orchestra: Street Of Dreams (1976);
Great American Jazz Band: Mainstream Dixie (1982), Mini-Series 1 (1984), Bertha The Blues (1986); Trpts. (Trumpets): Transforming Traditions (1986); Benko Jazz: Just Good Friends (1988);
Trpts. (Trumpets): Too Much Fun! - Scotty Wright (1990), The Very Thought Of You - Susan Berthiaume (1991); Dukes of Dixieland: A Christmas Jazz Mass (1991);
Great American Jazz Band: Headin' South (1992), Live At Univ Of The Pacific (1993); Jim Widner Big Band: Yesterdays & Today (1995), Body And Soul (1996)

Mike Vax Music Business and Production Experience:
1956-present, Mike Vax Music Productions - booking my own bands
1960-65, Student Manager of Bands at University of the Pacific, Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities, Co-Producer Phi Kappa Tau Band Frolic Show,
Leader - Pacific Jazz Workshop Big Band
1966-68, Property Manager - US Navy Show Band
1968-69, Leader - Treasure Island Navy Big Band
1970-72, Road Manager - Stan Kenton Orchestra, Co-Leader for Kenton Orchestra while Mr. Kenton was ill
1970-79, Clinician/Performing Artist for C.G. Conn Co.
1973-present, Leader - Mike Vax Big Band
1973-present, Co-Produce and market over 20 recordings and videos
1975-76, Leader - Dukes of Dixieland in New Orleans
1977-78, Leader-Mike Vax Quintet in New Orleans, Music Director for the Fontainbleau Hotel in New Orleans, Bandleader-Ronnie Kole Marching Club (Rex Parade-Mardi Gras)
1978, Music Director/Conductor for "Sorcery '78 at Harrah's Club - Lake Tahoe
1979-present, Leader - Great American Jazz Band
1980-93, Clinician/Performing Artist for Schilke Music Products
1982-94, Producer/Music Director for the Nugget Jazz Festival in Reno
1982-95, Producer/Music Director for SF Bay Rotary Jazz Festival
1982-present, Misc. advising and collaboration with Classic Jazz Festivals
1985-present, Leader of the Group-TRPTS (Trumpets)
1985-87, Co-director University of Hawaii at Hilo Jazz Camp
1986-95, Director of Jazz Studies/Trumpet Instructor at Univ. of the Pacific
1987-95, Board of Directors-International Foundation for Jazz
1988-95, Founder/Director of the Pacific Jazz Experience Summer Camp
1989-90, Vice-President-International Association of Classic Jazz Festivals
1991-92, President-International Association of Classic Jazz Festivals
1994-present, Clinician/Performing Artist for Yamaha Corp. of America, Design and initiate marketing campaign for "Vax Model" trumpet,
1995,97, Help Organize and Promote Morningside College Jazz Festival, Featured band: Mike Vax Big Band - Kenton Alumni
1995-present, Founder and Leader of the Alice Arts Center Jazz Orchestra, Chairman/Founder of 501C3 non-profit - Friends of Big Band Jazz
1996-present, Board of Directors - American Federation of Jazz Societies

Contact information:
P.O. BOX 8337
(925) 427-6666; FAX:427-6789

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