It all started sometime back in the late 70s with a dollar and an 8 track player. I begged my mother to buy me an 8 track of bunch of Big Band era tunes at a garage sale. After enough nagging, I was able to wear her down and she bought it for me. When I got it, I took it home and played it over and over until the tape wore out. It was then that I fell in love with music. However, it wasn't until I was 11 that we were able to sign up for band. I remember wanting to play trumpet. I wanted to play trumpet because my dad, a local pianist named Danny Hollis, was a jazz musician and he played with a gentleman named Tommy Loy. Tommy was a phenominal trumpet player. For decades, he was the soloist who played the Star Spangled Banner before every Cowboys homegame until the team was sold to Jerry Jones in 1989.
Like any other kid in those days, I started out in elementary school band, but kept with it after 6th grade. I upgraded to trumpet the next year, but had to use a school horn. It wasn't the prettiest thing, but I remember that it was an old Bach Strad 37. Way better than what most kids were playing in those days. IT wasn't until my 13th birthday that I got my own horn, courtesy of Mr. Loy. He graciously gave me one of his Getzen Severinsen horns from his collection, which I still have to this day.
During my formative years, I was lucky to spend time studying with people like Rodney Booth and Dr. Lyman Brodie. They were very instrumental in setting the foundation for my playing. I am grateful them for teaching me to play the right way and to my parents for sacrificing to pay for those lessons.
I continued to play and was a solid player in HS, but I was more focused on classical playing than jazz at the time. Which is ironic, considering my father was a jazz musician. I had the plan of becoming a musician, but my parents wanted otherwise for me, so I abandoned that dream and only played for fun upon graduation from HS.
While in college at Southern Methodist University, I was in the Mustang Band and played there. After college, I put the horn down and concentrated on life. I worked for a few years, but always felt the urge to continue playing. One day, I decided to get back to playing and become a "comeback player."
So after several years of shedding to get my chops back in shape and learning tunes, I finally decided to put a group together. The personnel has changed over the years, but I've started using a core group that features Spenser Liszt on Tenor, Mike Garvey on Keys, Willie Wrinkle on Bass and Paul Piper on Drums. I consider myself rather fortunate to play with such terrific musicians.
Currently, I play a Customized Del Quadro Grizzly with a sleeved reversed leadpipe, a Kanstul 1525 flugelhorn and Jim New's S5 mouthpieces. Products all made in the US.