Tom King & The Royal Chicagoans
“ Thomas Wolfe wrote You Can't Go Home Again. Wrong! You can, if your 'home' is a heart filled with love for a person, a place, or for the sound of music. Leona Weiss Toppel ”
Classical Jazz music is
a sense of well being.
It is born of a musical language
Created by hearts of positive and spirited
individuals representing their joys collectively
The reward comes from the sound
and emotion of the entire ensemble.
It is unvarnished and costs nothing to enjoy.
Genuine, valid and dependable.
That is Classical Jazz.
~ Tom King
There’s not one blue-blood among the Royal Chicagoans. So why the Royal Chicagoans? ‘Cause their combined musical talents are worth a king’s ransom. The Royals boast five red-blooded-American-as-apple pie-top-of-the- heap artists each with a résumé that would make any music-maker proud. Combined, they make sweet sounds with that big band wham, and bring back those top tunes that so many of us danced to decades ago. They’re living proof that everything old is new again – especially under the Royal Chicagoan’s banner.
Listening to the Royal Chicagoans, one would have no way of knowing that its members with all their youthful exuberance aren’t still wet behind the ears. The area behind their respective ears have been dry for a long time. Matter of fact, they’d make terrific poster boys for “as long as you’re young at heart, you can keep making beautiful music” – which is exactly what the Royals are doing.
Leader of the pack, Tom King, is the group’s accomplished drummer, and, like another member, Harry Goldson, was a high profile mover and shaker while involved in the world of Chicago business. For years Tom was president of the world-renowned Mart Center: The Merchandise Mart and the Apparel Center in Chicago and the Washington Design Center. This, in addition to his background as a pro basketball player, an officer in the Marine Corps during World War II and the Korean War and numerous other involvements on corporate and philanthropic boards. Now, he’s chairman and CEO of the prestigious commercial real estate company Seay and Thomas Inc. But there’s always time for music in Tom’s life. After all these years away from the music scene what brought Tom back to the drums – big time? It wasn’t a “what”. but rather a “who”.
Harry Goldson was the catalyst; the chemistry between them was the formula for musical success. From the onset the two men knew that they had a bond forged by their professions in the world of business and finance not to mention their love of music. At the age of 14 Harry was performing with numerous swing bands including Jan Garber, Lou Breese, Claude Thornhill and other “biggies”. After serving in the Korean conflict it was time to settle into a career. Away went the clarinet and sax and out came his banker’s suit. For forty years bank notes took precedence over musical notes.
Under the leadership of Tom, The Royal Chicagoans were born and have, as of this writing, produced four delicious CDs: One More Time , One More Time Volume II , One More Time Volume III , and One More Time Volumes IV and V – each one a gem. With Tom on the drums and Harry featured on the clarinet and sax, the Royal Chicagoans are indeed fortunate in having the following musical mavens as part of the group.
Jim Cooper: From his boyhood years drumming on metal potato chip cans to his stints playing the vibes – with greats like Art Van Damme, Harry Goldson and Ira Sullivan – Jim is recognized as both an expert on this distinctive instrument and popular teacher. His talents go beyond jazz vibs; he’s also taught jazz band improve and piano at Lake Michigan College.
Arthur Davis: with a masters degree in musicology from the University of Illinois and his trumpet expertise, Art graced the Ray Charles orchestra during its world tours, as well as the tours of Frank Sinatra and Rosemary Clooney. As with the other Royals, Arthur has plenty of gigs between the group’s recording sessions. Add to his duties as a professor at Northern Illinois University and his teaching stint at the American Conservatory of Music, it’s clear that Arthur is a trumpeting treasure.
Tom Lockwood: Although Tom stated playing the clarinet in the fifth grade, he’s now the Royal’s sax man. When he was at Western Michigan University where he earned two music degrees he was a graduate assistant which led to entertaining on some of the top cruise ships which led to performances worldwide with celebes like Engelbert Humperdink.