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BIOS

Pam Morita - Piano

The Chicago-born Morita began playing piano at six and majored in classical piano in college. She fell in love with jazz after hearing Count Basie in concert with Joe WIlliams. She has played and sung jazz since, both as a soloist and in groups. Morita is also a music teacher and accomplished painter specializing in water colors. (Photo by Michael Francher.)

Mike Vax - Trumpet/Flugelhorn

Best-known for leading the trumpet section of the Stan Kenton Band in the seventies, the California-born Vax, 81, has also played with Woody Herman, Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, the Navy Show Band, and many others. Today, Vax's improvised solos are regularly featured in performances of the Swing Kings. Offstage, Vax enjoys car racing, target shooting, and archery, for which he won a state championship in college. (Photo by Michael Francher.)

Ed Zacko - Drums

Zacko was born and raised in Pottsville, PA, and started on drums at 12 after seeing the Maynard Ferguson Band. He has been a working percussionist most of his life, plying his trade in recording studios, sound stages, nightclubs, concert halls, and Broadway theaters. Of particular note is his tenure in the drum chair at Radio City Music Hall backing the legendary Rockettes. Offstage, Zacko enjoys restoring and racing antique cars. A passionate sailor, he and his wife also built a sailboat in their backyard and sailed it around the world. (Photo by Michael Francher).

Jim Lee - Director

Born in Seattle and raised in California, Lee took up trombone at nine. After college, he toured with several music groups before launching a 39-year career in sales. Lee retired to Surprise, Arizona in 2021 and quickly became first-call sub in the Swing Kings' trombone section. In January of 2024, he acquired ownership of the band and established a new repertoire that excited the players as much as the audience. Offstage, Lee is an avid fisherman, a doting grandfather, and a Raiders Nation superfan. (Photo by Michael Francher.)

Danny Weber - Guitar

Born in Brooklyn, Weber started a doo wop vocal group at 11 and took up guitar shortly after. He is a lifelong student of jazz guitar, and has led and played with a variety of pop, rock, soul, and jazz groups through the years. He is one of the original Swing Kings, having played with the band since its inception. Offstage, Weber and his wife are passionate about keeping fit and for the past 20 years, have spent an average of 350 mornings per year in the gym. (Photo by Garland Burnett.)

Steve Silverberg -

Alto Sax/Clarinet/Flute

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Silverberg began his music journey with piano lessons, then took up clarinet in grade school. Now retired from a career as a chemical process engineer, Silververg lives in Phoenix and performs with several bands, usually playing alto saxophone, clarinet, and/or flute. He is also proficient on soprano sax, baritone sax, and bass clarinet. Silverberg enjoys tennis, hiking and scuba diving. (Photo by Michael Francher.)

John Clark - bass
 

A native Detroiter, Clark began piano and violin lessons in grade school. He switched to bass in junior high and began playing professionally in high school. He has worked with jazz pianist Bob James, the Michael Carney Society Band, and other jazz, soul, and pop groups in Michigan, Ohio, and Ontario. After retiring to Arizona, Clark joined the Swing Kings at its inception. Today, he and his wife spend winters in Surprise and summers in Michigan. (Photo by Garland Burnett.)

Dale Gleason - Trombone

Born in Kirkland, WA, Gleason took up trombone at nine and played through his school years. After college, he taught music and played in classical and jazz groups, including the renowned Many Sounds of 9 band. Retiring to the Valley in 2015, he established himself as a lead trombonist with excellent range, tone, and improvizational skills. A multi-instrumentalist who plays trombone,  trumpet, flugelhorn, sax, tuba, and bass guitar, Gleason is also a fine singer and arranger. Offstage, he dabbles in poetry and cheers for the Seattle Seahawks. (Photo by Garland Burnett.)

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Jeff Buda - Tenor Sax

​​Born in Bayonne, NJ, Buda started clarinet at seven and saxophone at 10. By 15, he was playing club dates in New York City. Buda earned a BS and MBA from Fairleigh Dickinson University and went on to a 35-year career in the polymers industry before retiring to Pebble Creek. Along the way, he picked up flute, drums, and singing, and had the opportunity to sing for President Nixon. Offstage, Buda loves to travel, bike, golf, and sing doo wop music. (Photo by Michael Francher)

Terry McFee - Trumpet/Flugelhorn

A native of Leno, IA, McFee earned BA and MA degrees in the renowned music program at North Texas State University. After college, he played with the Air Force Band, toured with major dance bands, and led several bands playing his own arrangements. A multi-instrumentalist, McFee's primary instruments today are trumpet, flugelhorn, and valve trombone. His favorite offstage activity is eating. (Photo by Michael Francher.) 

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Dave Schmidt - Tenor Sax

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A graduate of Indiana University and Arizona State University, Schmidt has been a music professor at Glendale Community College for 30 years and counting. Along the way, he’s established himself as a first-call saxophonist and has performed extensively with local and national touring groups. Offstage, Schmidt hones his music skills by writing, arranging, and producing music in his home studio.  (Photo by Michael Francher.) 

Carole Mundy - Trombone

A native of Peterborough, Ontario, Mundy started on piano at eight and attended the Conservatory of Toronto. She took up trombone in 9th grade. A good organizer, Mundy has put together groups, workshops, and concerts. Today she lives in Sun City West and enjoys silversmithing and golf in addition to music.   (Photo by Michael Francher.) 

Dan Reed - Trumpet/Flugelhorn

Born and raised in St. Louis, Reed took up trumpet at nine and grew to love practicing and performing. By high school, he had 40 trumpet students of his own and had started a traditional jazz combo. Reed earned a Music Performance degree from Indiana University and has since enjoyed a diverse career as a performer, teacher, and band leader. Highlights include traveling with an Elvis impersonator, serving 18 years as music director for Princess Cruise Lines, and teaching band in a private Christian School. Today, he performs as a soloist and in groups of all kinds throughout the Valley. (Photo by Michael Francher.) 

Len King - Director Emeritus

Born and raised in Illinois, King always wanted to be a band leader. After earning a master’s degree in music, he taught public school for 35 years, leading bands, orchestras, and jazz groups, and serving on the boards of numerous music organizations. After retiring from teaching, King created and led the Chicago Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra for 10 years, then moved to Arizona and served as director of the AZ Swing Kings for 12 years. Today, he is director emeritus of the band and subs on trombone when needed. Offstage, King enjoys driving his two-seater sports car around the Valley. (Photo by Paul McDonough.)

Rick Lamb - Webmaster

 

Lamb was born and raised in Wichita, KS. He took up trombone at 10 and bass guitar at 15. After college, he moved to Phoenix where he operated a recording studio for 31 years and had a parallel career as a TV/radio host and author in the horse industry. Returning to school at 58, he earned a doctorate in educational technology. Now living in Sun City, Lamb plays in numerous groups, subs with the Swing Kings, and maintains the band's website. (Photo by Michael Francher.)

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