The Millennium Bugs
The Mile High Jazz Band Association formed in 2001 as a nonprofit corporation to support the MHJB and its subgroup, the Millennium Bugs (jazz combo), promote live jazz performance in northern Nevada, educate the public about jazz, and enrich the cultural life of the community. Member benefits include mailings, discounts on admissions, and invitations to special events, plus the satisfaction of helping big-band jazz to thrive!
To book the Mile High Jazz Band (big band) or Millennium Bugs (jazz combo), call 775-883-4154.
The Millennium Bugs (current group)
The Millennium Bugs, a jazz combo associated with the Mile High Jazz Band, have been playing a great variety of jazz styles since the late 1990s. They performed for the Carson City Preservation Coalition/Historical Society, Olympic Torch Relay Ceremony in Carson City, Carson City Music Club, Westview block party, Camel Race Day in Virginia City, Carson Nugget showroom, Carson-Tahoe Hospital Foundation, Carson High Prom, BAC Beer Tasting, weddings, receptions, and parties. Although some of the personnel has changed over the years, the group is still inspired to play songs from the Great American Songbook, inspired by the tradition of spontaneous improvisation. The members are Rocky Tatarelli, tenor sax; Wayne Theriault, trumpet; Don Smaltz, trombone; David Bugli, piano and trombone; George Worth, bass; and Clay Cooper, drums.
Rocky Tatarelli - tenor sax - Rocky is a great tenor sax player originally from Detroit. Rocky credits his parents with giving him his first opportunities in music. Immigrants from Lenola, Italy, with very limited financial resources, Anthony and Francesca Tatarelli made it their top priority to invest in their children's future, managing to give them all private music lessons and to send them to parochial schools. Rocky and his sister and brother, Maria and Frank Tatarelli, studied with one of the most prestigious teachers in Detroit at the time, Gasparo Pellegrini, a professor from La Scala Music Conservatory in Milan. Professor Pellegrini had recently relocated to Michigan, where he became friends with the children's father, Anthony ("Tony") Tatarelli, who was also a musician. In his early days in the U.S. Tony Tatarelli performed for many years with the nine-piece swing jazz band of the 1920s, the Capstan Orchestra, which toured up and down the East Coast and often was featured on the radio. In the Detroit area he performed regularly with the Italian Colonial Band, led by his old friend Guido Fucinari. Professor Pellegrini took only a limited number of private students (most of whom were headed for symphonic careers), but he took great interest in his friend's talented children. Thus Rocky's first formal introduction to music was at the age of ten, with his study of solfeggio and classical clarinet with Signor Pellegrini.
To learn his whole story, check out his website at rockytatarelli.com.
Wayne Theriault - Wayne Theriault (pronounced "Terry-oh") plays the principal jazz trumpet solo chair in the Mile High Jazz Band. He has extensive experience playing in military bands and playing various gigs around the region. He is often heard with the MHJB playing exciting and highly improvised solos. His album of ballads, "Trumpet by Candlelight," shows off his mellower and beautifully controlled style of playing.
Don Smaltz - trombone - Don joined the MHJB on a regular basis in January 2015. He grew up in Lebanon, PA, the heart of the Pennsylvania Dutch Country. He started playing Boogie Woogie piano at age 5 and was performing publicly at age 8, playing Boogie Woogie and doing singing impersonations of Al Jolson. After his parents required him to study classical piano at age 13, he switched to trombone playing in the Junior and Senior High School marching & concert bands and the school orchestra. In high school he formed a Dixieland band that appeared on the Paul Whiteman show. At Penn State Univ. he formed a band which played in a variety of venues and paid his way through college and then law school.
Following his admission to the Bar, he served in the JAGC Corps and, when his tour of duty was completed, moved to Los Angeles as an Assistant US Attorney and became a federal prosecutor. Three years later he transitioned to private practice.
Don's family obligations (wife and eventually 4 daughters) and his professional obligations did not allow any spare time for trombone practice. After 30 of absence from the trombone, Bill Watrous encouraged him to begin playing again and directed him to Roy Main to study jazz trombone. When Roy moved from the Los Angeles area, Don began studying with Bill at the USC Jazz Institute. While in the LA area he played with the Pacific Coast Jazz Band VI and a variety of big bands.
His wife Lois retired as a Superior Court Judge in 2007 and they moved to Sequim, WA,
where he continued to play in big bands and small groups until moving to Reno in 2013.
David Bugli - piano and trombone - has a Bachelor of Science Degree in music education from Ithaca College, New York, where he studied composition for four years with Karel Husa. He has a Master of Music Degree from the University of Massachusetts. He has participated in Conductors Workshops presented by the American Symphony Orchestra League in San Francisco and St. Louis. In addition to conducting, he plays classical and jazz piano, tuba, and trombone, and he composes and arranges music.
David Bugli conducts the Carson City Symphony and was Assistant Conductor of the Foundation Orchestra in Reno. For the Carson City Symphony, he arranges music that features guest artists on the Symphony's annual Holiday Treat and Pops Party concerts. In the past he organized the annual Reno TubaChristmas event and led the annual Capitol Tree Lighting on the steps of the Nevada State Capitol in Carson City. The latter featured performances by the Holiday Brass Ensemble (generally about two dozen players) and a group of about two hundred elementary school singers. Along with his wife Ellie, and with the Brewery Arts Center, he has been instrumental in creating and running an annual multi-day jazz festival in Carson. Originally called "Basie @ 100" (2004) and "Basically Basie" (2005), the festival is now called "Jazz & Beyond" and features over 20 performances. He is the recipient of the 2007 Nevada Governor's Arts Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts.
George Worth - bass and valve trombone - Dr. George Worth has been bass player for the MHJB, on and off, for several years. He also plays trombone and tuba. He worked professionally in the music business for many years.
George was born in Utica, N.Y. When he went into the Air Force in 1950, he was part of a musical group that played at the officers' club and the NCO club, where he played string bass, tuba, slide trombone, and drums. Later, he was in the band at Edwards Air Force Base. When he got out, he formed a group called the Kings IV, which headlined at Lake Tahoe. The group was in business for 18 years and opened for Judy Garland, Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra, and Danny Thomas. The group played the Sahara when it opened in the mid '60s.
George got into chiropractics "because it was something I could do that I could control and still give something to people." He has been practicing chiropractics in South Lake Tahoe since 1973. (His website is at http://www.laketahoechiropractor.com.)
He is or was active in several musical groups, including the Carson City Symphony, the Jazz Guys, the Millennium Bugs, 9th St. Jazz Band, the Carson Valley Pops Orchestra, and Dr. Worth & His Medicine Band. He has been known to play electric bass and valve trombone at the same time.
George retired from the Mile High Jazz Band the summer of 2011 but continues to perform with the Millennium Bugs.
Clay Cooper - drums - Dr. Clay Cooper is a researcher at the Desert Research Institute in Reno, NV. He first became interested in water resources research when he was studying geology for his bachelor's degree at Northern Arizona University in the 1970s. Outside of his research interests, Cooper is also a jazz drummer and enjoys making chile relleno casserole, which is one of his favorite dishes to make.
Check out www.dri.edu/featuring-clay-cooper for more information about Clay.
The Millennium Bugs (from the past)
The Millennium Bugs, a jazz combo associated with the Mile High Jazz Band, have been playing a great variety of jazz styles together since the late 1990s. They performed for the Carson City Preservation Coalition/Historical Society, Olympic Torch Relay Ceremony in Carson City, Carson City Music Club, Westview block party, Camel Race Day in Virginia City, Carson Nugget showroom, Carson-Tahoe Hospital Foundation, Carson High Prom, BAC Beer Tasting, weddings, receptions, and parties.
Upper photo: The Millennium Bugs shown with our late drummer, Lee Warner, in front of the Foreman-Roberts
House Museum in Carson City.
Lower photo: The Millennium Bugs shown with drummer Mark Ashworth at the Mark Twain
Cultural Center in Incline Village (2010).
Audio samples of the Millennium Bugs
The following were recorded with Mark Ashworth on drums.
The Preacher, by Horace Silver - performed by the Millennium Bugs 10/2/2010
The Days of Wine and Roses - performed by the Millennium Bugs 9/11/2010
Oh, Lady Be Good, by George & Ira Gershwin - performed by the Millennium Bugs 10/2/2010
Back Home Again in Indiana - performed by the Millennium Bugs 10/2/2010
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Last updated 2/4/2019