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Blue Ox Jazz Babies: Bio

Blue Ox Jazz Babies

The Blue Ox Jazz Babies take their name from one of Minnesota's true legends, Paul Bunyan and his trusty friend, Babe the Blue Ox. Although not legends themselves, the Blue Ox Jazz Babies have become known around Southern Minnesota as true enthusiasts of historical (and sometimes hysterical) music known as Dixieland Jazz. The band does its best to bring Dixieland Jazz from New Orleans all the way up the Mississippi to the Midwest in a way that keeps audiences smiling with a toe-tapping good time.

You may recognize the nucleus of this band that came from the Marigold Dixielanders of the late 50's and early 60's. They used to entertain crowds by marching in parades all over southern Minnesota. They even surprised crowds in St. Louis when this "bunch of yankees from the north" won the national dixieland competition in 1960.

Lowell Schreyer on banjo is probably the most well-known member of the band. Schreyer, a published banjo and jazz historian is a member of the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame and the National Banjo Hall of Fame. He is known in banjo/jazz circles as an authority on the banjo's history and is considered a true perfectionist as a player. This made him the player of choice when bands from Arthur Fiedler's Orchestra to Clyde McCoy's big band were seeking to fill banjo parts. Schreyer has also performed along the entire Mississippi River on the Delta Queen and Mississippi Queen Steamboats.

Lowell's son, Ted Schreyer on tuba anchors the band with his upbeat style of tuba playing. Ted has played on the "Prairie Home Companion" with Garrison Keilor and can be heard around Minnesota with several jazz bands.

Rip Kirby rounds out the rhythm section with his syncopated banjo style. Known as an excellent bass around barbershop singing circles, Rip also adds a deep resonant sound to the band's vocals.

Jimmy Hayes on trombone is a true tail-gate player. He grew up listening to the sounds of Turk Murphy and fell in love with the style. No one knows for sure if Jimmy can read a note but his instincts for rhythm and harmony licks give the band a truly unique sound.

Barry Clapper on clarinet and soprano sax fills in with harmony parts and also does a nice job of carrying the melody. Barry is well-known throughout the country as a judge of barbershop quartets. This experience with barbershop gives him a wonderful ear for harmony and a flair for entertainment that audiences love.

Tim Robinson on cornet carries the melody that drives the band. Tim's smooth style and raspy vocals make you feel like you're sitting in one of the clubs that Louis Armstrong and King Oliver made famous.

The band loves to make audiences happy throughout the Midwest. They have appeared at various jazz festivals including The Winona Jazz Festival, The Doc Evans Jazz Festival, and The Clear Lake Jazz Festival. They have also appeared at the Minnesota State Fair, several county fairs, parades, riverboats, and a variety of special occasions.