The True North jazz band consists of members:
KATHY JAMES – Piano/Keyboards
After college Kathy James spent some time traveling and living in Florida, but returned home to Oregon where she was born and raised. First came childhood piano lessons. Then playing both piano and saxophone at Beaverton High School provided an introduction to jazz that was a lasting impression. Kathy graduated from Portland State University with a music degree, worked for many years as a travel agent, and now balances her music pursuits with work in the medical software industry.
Motivation came many years after college from her son, who was taking voice lessons in high school. He needed an accompanist, and there was no question about dusting off the fingers. That inspiration returned the love of playing music back in to daily life. A huge influence then came when attending David Friesen’s Jazz Ensemble Workshops, where his encouragement led to composing original jazz ensemble music. Kathy has worked with the Bureau of Standards Big Band, Deja Nu, and now True North. This Sextet provides an amazing collaboration of talented musicians and friends, all with a common passion for composing, improvising, arranging, performing, and not to forget – the most important – having fun doing it.
BRAD McMILLAN – Trombone
Brad was born and raised in the Portland area, playing trombone in the Tigard school district. He then attended Clackamas Community College where he played with the college stage band and really started to learn the trombone studying under Leroy Anderson. From there he transferred to Portland State University where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering and has since worked for Biotronik developing pacemakers. While at PSU he played with the Portland Youth Symphony, the college symphonic band, and a local Portland area big band. Through the many eons since, he has played in many community big bands, and with other local groups, including a founding member of the Bull Mountain Brass Quintet. He is currently a member of the Bureau Of Standards big band, playing solo trombone with True North. He is also an active member of the Rose City Trombone’s, which promotes music education and trombone playing. He has managed to promote trombone playing at home by raising three children; two have adopted the trombone as their instrument of choice, the third plays the trombone part time along with flute and piccolo.
The wife still refuses.
STEVE MORGAN – Upright and Electric Bass
Steve (or just Morgan as he’s called in this band) has been toying around music since the age of 12. He played the piano for a while, the guitar for a while longer and the clarinet for a day. In high school Steve was the drum “Band Geek.” He’s had the honor of playing bass at President Reagan’s Inauguration, touring England and the U.S., as well as playing on “Alias” and appearing on “The Incredibles” DVD. Morgan also plays bass in Portland with Eric Tweed, Deanna & the Downbeats and Malea & The Tourists. Lately, he’s been writing a ton of songs, some that suck but with a few gems thrown in for good measure (ha ha, good measure… old musicians joke).
Morgan is blessed to have a happy healthy family of four people, six basses, two guitars, an out of tune piano that’s written some Emmy winning material and a couple of plants that aren’t looking so hot.
STEVE TURMELL – Drums & Percussion
Steve is a dynamic engineer of percussive flagellations. A 2nd-generation drummer, Steve’s many years of drum set experience allows him to bring a fresh, creative approach to the songwriting process, whether it’s playing with sticks, mallets, brushes, or bare hands. He has previous experience playing in rock bands, fusion/jazz instrumental groups and swanky ultra-lounge show acts. This sensitivity to the music helps the band to be uniquely expressed in numerous settings from small coffee shops to larger outdoor venues and everything in between. Since moving to Portland, Steve was a founding member of Quoting Napoleon (rock) and Deja Nu (jazz/lounge/showband), and provided touring support for Courtney Jones (Contemporary Pop). Steve currently also provides rhythmic support for Portland roots & Americana artist, Eric Tweed (along with Morgan on bass). Steve is currently furthering his skills in audio forensics & restoration, and is tenaciously learning the fine art and craft of audio engineering. Steve possesses an extremely unhealthy appetite for all genres of progressive music: neo-prog, symphonic prog, psychedelic/space rock, prog metal, jazz/rock fusion, RIO/avant-prog and zeuhl. …It’s probably best not to start a conversation with him breaching this topic.
He is also tickled pink over discovering Cards Against Humanity, a Party Game For Horrible People.
DAN MURPHY – Vocals
A lifetime Oregon resident, Dan has been singing in the Portland area since 2007. He is “having a blast” (as he puts it) being the featured vocalist in True North, bringing a fresh take on selections from the Great American Songbook. In addition to singing with the band, he has done occasional solo shows at Tony Starlight’s and other venues, and can be seen from time to time at jazz jams in the Portland area.
ERIC AUSTIN – Alto, Soprano Sax / Clarinet
Eric Austin leads a secret life and could be wanted in over 12 states and 4 countries. It is for this reason Eric Austin does not write bios. 🙂