October 22nd, 2014
Big Time Operator! Big Band Swing
[L-R] Jamie Tobbit (trumpet), Nathan Mills (trumpet), Shannon Dailey (trombone, vocals), Carlos Rull (drums), Rick Cunningham (guitar), Tom Bishop (double bass), Jim Weiss (alto sax), Mark Rosen (bari sax), Tim Wardashian (tenor sax)
[kneeling] Warren Lovell (vocals)
The Original Big Time Operator!
I performed with Big Time Operator from December 1996 to May 1999. Performed throughout Southern California, the West Coast, Las Vegas, toured through Oregon, Washington, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Performed at Disneyland and Disney World in Orlando.
I had the opportunity to play all the classic swing and big band songs with BTO, and at every gig it seemed I did two to three drum solos, and most known for my drum solos on Sing, Sing, Sing.
BTO was in five episodes of the short-lived television series, Nightman.
Some memorable gigs with the band were at The Viper Room, and once Keanu Reeves’ band, “Dogstar”, opened up for us there. And where I also ran into Brian Setzer (who said I did a nice drum solo), and Bruce Willis.
Another memorable venue was the swing nights at The Derby in Hollywood, where we once received a request from actress Geena Davis, who requested Fly Me To The Moon, and I remember her and her significant other dancing alone on the dance floor while everyone watched.
Yet another memorable gig was performing a wedding reception at the Beverly Hills home of movie producer Irwin Winkler. And chef Wolfgang Puck made a special dinner for the band.
For the three years I’d been with Big Time Operator, we’d won The San Diego Music Awards – Best Big Band category for 1997, 1998, and 1999.
And in one of those years, we also won the Jim Croce Music Award, presented to us by Ingrid Croce.
There was a rich history with this band that I appreciate and look back on fondly. It was a great ride for me. I don’t regret that time in my musical life. Even though it was a different time and place.