Hal's Angels

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HAL SMITH (drums, leader) has made over 150 recordings; performed with the Dukes of Dixieland, Jim Cullum's Jazz Band, Summit Reunion, Lawson-Haggart Jazz Band, Climax Jazz Band, Grand Dominion Jazz Band, South Frisco Jazz Band, Marty Grosz and led the critically-acclaimed "Roadrunners."   Hal is also a noted jazz writer whose articles appear in Mississippi Rag, Jazz Rambler, Frisco Cricket, Just Jazz (U.K.) and other journals.   He works with the Butch Thompson Trio, New Orleans Wanderers, Bobby Gordon, Bob Schulz and leads the Jazz Chihuahuas.   Hal is Administrative-Media Director of America's Finest City Dixieland Jazz Society-San Diego and teaches drums at their Jazz Camp.


KATIE CAVERA (guitar, vocals, arranger) studied with Dr. David Baker at Indiana University and composed and arranged music for college dramatical productions "The Taming of the Shrew" and "Sweet Bird of Youth."  Since moving to Southern California, Katie has become a sought-after banjoist and guitarist.  Her band credits include: Jim Cullum's Jazz Band, New Orleans Wanderers, Golden Eagle Jazz Band, Firehouse Stompers, Clint Baker's New New Orleans Jazz Band, Bobby Gordon Sextet, Jazz Chihuahuas and "CJ and Katie."  She also works with her husband (magician Woody Pittman) in a magic act and in short films.  Katie teaches banjo and guitar at the AFCDJS Adult Jazz Camp.  


ANITA THOMAS (reeds, vocals, arranger)  Anita graduated from the Sydney (Australia) Conservatorium of Music with a major in arranging.  Later, she was the musical director of the Pan Pacific Jazz and Big Band Camp.  In addition to her work as a jazz educator, Anita performed with the James Morrison Big Band, led her own Quintet and played in musicals including "42nd Street" and "Cabaret" before emigrating to Los Angeles.  She appears regularly with Baldy Mountain Swing and the Reynolds Brothers Rhythm Rascals.  She has also made guest appearances with the Golden Eagle Jazz Band, Firehouse Stompers, Bobby Gordon Sextet and others.   When Grammy award winner Diana Krall heard Anita with the Clayton-Hamilton Big Band, she described Anita's performance as "awesome."


CARL SONNY LEYLAND (piano, vocals) learned to play boogie woogie piano and mastered the art of authentic blues singing while still a teenager in England.  He moved to New Orleans in 1988 and worked with Ernie K-Doe, Chuck Carbo and others.  Since he settled in Orange, California, the versatile pianist/vocalist has worked with Gremoli, Bobby Gordon, George Probert, Roger Jamieson's New Orleanians, Chris Kelly's Black & White Jazz Band, Big Sandy & the Flyright Boys (western swing) and the blues band Blue Largo.   Sonny frequently tours overseas as a soloist and his music can be heard on the film soundtracks of "A Perfect World," "The Pelican Brief" and "The Newton Boys."  


MIKE EARLS (bass) studied with “Senator” Eugene J. Wright.  Mike has played with Rosy McHargue, Betty O'Hara, Abe Most, Ray Sherman, Gremoli, Golden Eagle Jazz Band, the Bobby Gordon Sextet, Baldy Mountain Swing, Jazz Chihuahuas and the Paradise Cove Classic Jazz Band.  He has also worked with an acoustic folk trio and a variety of big bands, vocalists and community theater orchestras.  Mike is one of the most in-demand bassists in Southern California and is highly regarded by colleagues in every category and style of music.


Contact Information for Hal's Angels

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Updated August 12, 2005