Meet the Musicians of G.A.M.E. Jazz
Ron Bland – Bass
Ron Bland has been a professional musician for over thirty-five years, playing virtually all styles of music in every setting from concert hall to theatre to the recording studio. At home on both the electric and double basses, he has performed with jazz greats including Dizzy Gillespie, George Benson, Eddie Daniels, Billy Taylor and Doc Severinson. Ron has appeared with the Colorado Symphony and Colorado Springs Symphony Orchestras as well as in performance with Earth Wind and Fire, Andrea Bocelli, Pavarotti, Marvin Hamlisch, Linda Ronstadt, Rosemary Clooney, Billy Crystal and many others. He is often in the pit for touring Broadway shows, including “Legally Blonde”, “A Chorus Line” and “The Color Purple.” In 2003, with the Denver Jazz Quartet, Ron performed as a featured headliner at the Queenstown International Jazz Festival in New Zealand. As part of the Rocky Mountain Trio & Quartet, Ron performs at the Jazz in the Vercors Festival in Villard de Lans, France every August. He is also a clinician for the workshop associated with the festival. Ron has performed extensively throughout the United States, including the 2001 Inaugural Ball in Washington D.C. Internationally, he has performed in Canada, Mexico and Europe. Ron is on the music faculty at Metropolitan State College of Denver, University of Colorado at Denver and Colorado School of Mines. He teaches private applied lessons on acoustic and electric bass, ensembles (combos and big band) and a sightreading and improvisation class.
Don Grove – Drums
A Colorado native, Don has performed professionally for over 30 years. Although he prefers jazz and blues today, he took a tour of the west coast in the early 70’s long enough to perform withThe Doobie Brothers (’70–‘71) and record with Six Penny Opera (’72-’73). Don has also successfully ventured into the field of musical composition – his score for the movie “Let There Be Rain” helped make it a Cannes Film Festival winner in 1971. Sought after by the best, Don has worked with a long list of top professionals including Clark Terry, Herb Alpert, Spike Robinson, Richie Cole, Rob Mullins, Harry Allen, Frank Tate, Rickey Woodard, Carl Fontana, Keeter Betts, Plaz Johnson, Bucky Pizzarelli, Warren Vache Jr., Rebecca Kilgore, Barbara Morrison and many others. Part of his later career has taken him into the musical promotions business and, as part of that work, Don put together the early foundations of what was to grow in to the Denver Jazz Quartet. Along with his steady work with the DJQ, he is seen regularly every year with numerous ‘feature’ groups at jazz, blues, and “traditional jazz” festivals in the western U.S.
Jan Cleveland – Vocals
Actor, singer and musician, Jan has been on stage since the age of four performing in films, regional theatres and nightclubs throughout the United States, and capped four successful years on the New York stage with the lead role in the hit musical “I Still Believe in Love”. Now a Denverite, Jan is seen often on stage here, Signature roles have included Eleanor in “The Lion in Winter”, for which she received a 2008 Ovation Award nomination for Best Actress in a Comedy, “Virginia” in Three Viewings, “Aldonza” in Man of La Mancha, “Kate” in Taming of the Shrew,“Sophie” in Dracula-la, “Hanna” in California Suite, “Blanche” in Streetcar Named Desire, “Dame Ellen Terry” in Actor’s Nightmare, “Marks” in Talking With and many others. Her CD Love You Madly, recorded at Doug Roche’s studio with the Denver jazz Quartet, received international notice and took the entire group to Queenstown, New Zealand in October of 2002 to headline New Zealand’s 25th annual Jazz Festival.
Doug Roche – Piano
Doug has over 30 years of experience as a professional freelance pianist, specializing in jazz. He studied with pianists Bobby Timmons and Herbie Hancock in high school, joined the Navy Show Band (’71-’75), and then majored in jazz studies at North Texas State. International tours followed with The Lettermen (’78-’81). Coming to Denver in the mid-80’s, he played the exclusive Moulin Rouge room at the Denver Fairmont Hotel backing such national acts as Kenny Rankin, The Mills Brothers, The Modernaires, Lanie Kazan, Johnny Otis, Carol Lawrence and Red Skelton. In the San Francisco Bay area (’88-’90), he performed with the Full Faith and Credit Big Band.
Since making Denver his permanent home in 1990, Doug has performed with a cavalcade of jazz icons, including Buddy De Franco, Joe Farrell, Nick Brignola, Teddy Edwards, Terry Gibbs, Red Holloway, Eddie Harris, Richie Cole, Lew Tabakin, and Bobby Shew to name a few. 1993 and 1996 found him backing Roseanna Vitro and Giacamo Gates, respectively, at the Telluride Jazz Celebration (broadcast on NPR). Also in 1996, Doug served as pianist and assistant musical director for “It Ain’t Nothin’ But the Blues” at the Cleveland Playhouse in conjunction with the opening of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
oug teaches jazz piano and theory and is an integral part of both the Lou Malandra Trio, which blends Poetry and Jazz into “PoeJazz” and the Denver Jazz Quartet. CD’s for both groups have been recorded and produced in his state-of-the-art digital recording studio “Studio By the Lake”.