The Joint Chiefs are one of the most versatile and exciting dance bands currently
performing on the Northern California music scene. Since their inception
in 1990, The Joint Chiefs have built a loyal following based on
their live performances as well as their wide range of styles and
influences. Their sound fuses elements
of funk, acid jazz and classic R&B with their own signature
groove. The result is a dance party of infectious grooves.
Since members of the band were raised on 70's funk,
the band is able to capture the real natural funk feel that all
the other bands try to imitate.
With a repertoire of over
200 songs and a history of hundreds of performances in the
Bay Area's most popular venues, The Joint Chiefs play everything
from low volume instrumental jazz to full blown dance crazed funk.
In addition to the nightclub and dinnerhouse venues, they have become
a favorite for weddings, festivals and corporate parties.
The Joint Chiefs have amassed an impressive resume
of performances. One listen proves this
band can deliver the goods on disc as well as on stage!
Guitar, Vocals, Bandleader, Songwriter
Given his first guitar at age 7 by his musically accomplished parents, Don began displaying his ability in their family church, where he began cultivating his talents. Being completely self taught, his first challenge was mastering a right handed instrument in reverse, using his “dominant” left hand. Although he continued to play as he grew older, it was not until his twenties that his interest transcended from a casual hobby into a serious and life long passion.
Don’s professional turning point was meeting and collaborating with Ken Colby, A.K.A. “KC”. Don and “KC” put together a band to jam and it went beyond their wildest dreams. Don and “KC” got their first gig backing up “Little John Crisley” (child wonder whom performed with BB King at age 10). The “Jam” became a 6 year gig at JJ’s in San Jose.
Don has been nominated, on more than one occasion for Best Guitarist by South Bay Blues Society. Amidst a full time career in the construction industry to support his family, he remained consistent and dedicated to the band, maintaining a full schedule of gigs. He has diligently cultivated a unique original sound and continues to perfect his already masterful skills. Specializing in “Old Style” funk and distinct rhythms, he impresses audiences and fellow musicians with his effortless and unmatched chord progressions.
Don has worked and played with such greats as: Dale Ockerman of the Doobie Brothers on his latest CD, “Piece of my Mind”. Don has also toured with Severn Records recording artist Lou Pride on latest album, “Keep on Believing”. Sista Monica Parker toured with the band extensively since 2005 and to date. Tony Lindsay of Spangalang (lead singer from Santana). Buddy Miles (Jimi Hendrix and the band of gypsies). Terence Blanchard, whom requested to sit in on a Joint Chiefs Band performance. Narada Michel Walden, song writer, producer, musician. Ronnie Baker Brooks, Chico Banks, Bernard Allison and other legends on the 2007 Rhythm and Blues Cruise, just to name a few. Don’s influences started with his father, Don Caruth, Sr., a blessed organist, and his mother Janice Watkins, an accomplished pianist/singer. To mention a few others like Jimi Hendrix, Larry Carlton, George Benson, Jimmy Smith, Stevie Wonder, Cornell Dupree, James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Kenny Burrell, and Albert King. While he plays various guitars through out his gigs, he favors his Fender Telecaster. For amplification: Music Man and Fender Bassman.
Saxophone & Vocals
Bill has been playing the saxophone for 35 years; a successful result of the California public schools instrumental music programs of the 1970s. He has also studied saxophone under Professor Donald Trimmer who conducted the CBS orchestra for 30 years.
Bill`s evolution as a professional musician started in the 9th grade when he joined his first working band “Eternal Funk” that band was a very successful dance band playing events and clubs where he had to either remain on stage, go outside or to stay in a designated area between sets because he was under 18 years of age. After high school Bill studied Jazz Improvisation at Foothill College where he found his Be-Bop inspiration in the music of Charlie Parker and other great saxophonists.
Bill earned his chops teaching saxophone and playing in jazz duets and trios while also hosting the local blues jams and constantly staying on the scene with his current musician network.
He has pioneered the use of playing with a harmonizer in order to get a simulated horn section sound. Bill’s ability to improvise and communicate musical ideals on the fly indicates his commitment to push the boundaries of musical expression.
Bill has been nominated for best saxophonist by the South Bay Blues Society 3 times. Working as a freelance saxophonist he has performed with John Lee Hooker, Lydia Pense, Greg Allman, Kate Webster, Deacon Jones, Albert Collins, James Cotton just to name a few. His strong experienced background performing in Funk, Rock, Punk, Latin, Jazz and Blues bands gives him a wide musical vocabulary to utilize at his discretion. Bill is a true believer for all things associated with the old school and is an advocate for Jazz standards, vintage American saxophones and Classic Chevrolets.
DANIEL VEE LEWIS
Daniel Vee Lewis grew up in urban surrounding of downtown Los Angeles from the age of four to his high school days. The music that surrounded him was Motown. From every radio to every apartment window, it was that music and those rhythms that molded his formative years as musician. At the age of 12 years, he began playing drums in rock bands and had a few years of formal training before switching to bass guitar.
Completely self taught, by the age 16, he began climbing the ladder from beginner to an intermediate bassist. After finishing high school in Santa Cruz, California, he enrolled in Jazz Improvisation courses at Cabrillo College, instructed by Ray Brown from the Stan Kenten Band, a muted trumpet player in his own right. After a second semester, Daniel was asked to join the Jazz Band at Cabrillo College, but declined to join because a new band in Santa Cruz known as “Special Fun” just formed and Daniel was recruited. This was one of the first World Beat bands and became one of Santa Cruz’s most popular and beloved bands in the early to mid 1980’s.
In 1987, Daniel joined another new band called WORLD ENTERTAINMENT WAR, a high charged rock band with a dense blow your hair back sound. They were signed to a four year album deal with 415 Records. Then later signed to MCA Records and was managed by Bill Graham of Bill Graham Presents. The bands first album sent to number 15 in the Independent College Radio Charts in 1989 and was nominated for a Bay Area Music Industry Award (B.A.M.I.) for best debut rock album of 1990. The bands female lead singer ‘Darby Gould’ went on the join Jefferson Starship.
After W.E.W. disbanded in 1992, Daniel was asked to join a just then forming old school funk/disco band called the ‘Jive Hounds’. Drawing on his younger days and formative years listening to Motown, his ears found an old friend and began to play funk, R&B, Motown, and even disco, finding a whole new world on bass. In 2003, Daniel joined the Joint Chiefs Band and has been groovin' it and laying it down ever since.
Drums & Vocals
Don was born in San Francisco California into a musical family. He took an interest in drums at the age of nine after seeing his cousin play drums with his band in Los Angeles. On his tenth birthday Don received his firs t set of drums and was playing in local talent shows with a band only a couple of months later. By age eleven he became part of the family group, "S.T. and The Family Tree" with his two older brothers, Sam Thomas on lead guitar, Kenneth Thomas on bass and cousin Burtis Dewberry on rhythm guitar. during this period, Don also began singing. They played local clubs around the bay area for a number of years until the group later dissolved as siblings and relatives began to build their own lives. In the end, Don was the only one that stayed musically active.
He moved to San Jose in 1975 where he attended Evergreen Valley College and San Jose City College where he studied music theory and percussion ensemble for two years. He later joined the funk band Super Squeeze in 1977 and remained with that band for 2 years before the group disbanded.
In the 80's Don got heavily into the studio scene and did a countless number of studio projects with the local talent. later in 1986 he became co-leader of a progressive jazz/rock power trio called "Destiny" which later became "The Hank Corvinus Power Trio" and remained with that band until 1991.
In 1998 Don co-founded a funk band called "Off The Hook" This band performed all around the greater San Francisco bay area and surrounding areas. The band remained together until 2004. In 2005 Don hooked up with notable R&B artist and nine time W.C. Handy award nominee EC Scott and toured all over the country including Hawaii and Canada.
While still occasionally working with Ms. Scott, Don has now become a member of the mighty "Joint Chiefs" Band, where he plays drums and does lead and background vocals along with to Joint Chiefs leader Don Caruth. Don has also performed with the likes of The first lady of Motown", Mary Wells, "The Coasters" and Dorothy Morrison, the fame lead voice on Edward Hawkins' tune Oh Happy Day.
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