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About Us

The San Juan Jazz Quintet has been an active part of the Island's musical landscape for over 25 years.  They perform at social events, weddings, public service events, as well as regularly at a local entertainment restaurant in Friday Harbor, The Rumor Mill.

 

Their music is not avante guard.  They play recognizable jazz and pop standards and perform them with a melodic sensibility.  Their music is the perfect accompaniment for both dining and dancing.

For band information contact Rich Barker  (310) 378-9474  or  email:   rdb275@rockisland.com >

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Rich Barker

The band is under the direction of Rich Barker.  Rich hails from Vancouver, BC and is a life-long, professional musician. He has performed all over North America and the Bahamas, starting as a teenager with his band The Notables.

 

Rich's melodic and improvisational sensibilities on saxophones are a delight to all who hear him perform.

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Dennis Willows

Dennis is the one remaining founding-member of the band. He migrated from Quebec to the US as a young college student.  Dennis is a neuroscientist and retired professor of biology as well as former Director of the University of Washington's Marine Laboratory in Friday Harbor. He still finds time to captain the University's research vessel on local expeditions. 

 

In addition to playing drums, Dennis is a licensed pilot who helps fly patients off-island for medical appointments.

Thor Hansen

When he's not laying down quarter notes with the bass, Thor is a world-renowned conservation biologist and award-winning author.  His books unfold the science of commonplace subjects and make them engaging for everyone.  His books include "Feathers: The Evolution of a Natural Miracle," "The Impenetrable Forest: My Gorilla Years in Uganda", and "The Triumph of Seeds".

 

His young son may have been the inspiration to also write his latest publication, a book for children called "Bartholomew Quill: A Crow's  Quest to Know Who's Who."

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Jonathan Piff

At age 13 Jonathan switched from cello to guitar and later graduated cum laude from Berklee Collage of Music in Boston studying guitar, composition, and arranging.

 

Jonathan hails from the Pacific Northwest but has found himself living as far away as Texas before landing on the San Juan Islands.   During daylight hours Jonathan now works as a financial advisor for the firm Edward Jones.

Rob Simpson

Rob grew up as part of the music scene in Los Angeles where he spent several years working with jazz-legend Herbie Hancock and other luminaries.  Rob plays keyboards for the Quintet as well as sings.

 

Rob earned a BA in Music from CSULA.  Some of his musical compositions have ended up in feature films and just recently signed a record deal with Fervor Records for more film projects.

 

A skilled video photographer Rob has also produced a line of documentaries about historical railroads for his company Golden Rail Video (available at Amazon and GoldenRailVideo.com.)

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