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Le Not Sos begin a new decade

January 31, 2015

By Kathy Edwards McFarland

Back in 2004, Andy Cooper and fellow Vintage Jazz Society members George Merritt, Leon Peek and Nathan Phelps got together to play some gypsy

Le Not So Hot Klub duh Denton at Jupiter House, circa 2004.

Le Not So Hot Klub duh Denton at Jupiter House, circa 2004.

swing music. This led to a performance project that went by the name “Le Not So Hot Klub duh Denton – not Paris,” giving a raucous nod to then popular cartoon Beavis and Butt-Head, and began performing at Jupiter House.

“It started out as a project by the four of us,” said Cooper, who seemed at the time to be involved with every kind of live vintage music Denton offered. “I approached Dana Binnion and Michelle Kuzov, owners of Banter Bistro, in January 2005, to see if we could play for about an hour or so. We practiced every Tuesday and opened at Banter. The rest is history.”

Note: Ellen Ryfle, Bob Ralph and Steven Johnson bought Banter Bistro Denton from Binnion and Kuzov in 2011. The last of March in 2015, Banter will be sold to McKenzie Smith, drummer for the well-known band Midlake, and Chef Patrick Stark, who will create a Dallas-comes-to-Denton restaurant called The 940’s. Guaranteed – Le Not So Hot Klub du Denton will play on, whether at Banter Bistro or elsewhere!

From upper left, clockwise: Jeffrey Barnes, Andy Cooper, A.C. Bell and Joe Pinson.

From upper left, clockwise: Jeffrey Barnes, Andy Cooper, A.C. Bell and Joe Pinson.

Well, not so fast. The band started with the four core members, and according to Andy’s wife, Teresa Cooper, Andy would call up various people to join the band and play. Some weren’t very good at playing and left. Others were regulars.

“Mainly it’s a loose collective of musicians wanting to preserve, protect, and defend the right to play Django Reinhardt-style music together,” according to Le Not So’s Facebook page. (Read in Thad Bonduris.)

“Some didn’t quite fit, others did,” Teresa said.

Long-time members include Bach Norwood, bass; Joseph Pinson, accordion; Thad Bonduris, guitar;

Bassist, singer Bach Norwood.

Bassist, singer Bach Norwood.

Leon Peek, rhythm guitar; Andy on keyboard and clarinet and Michael Minardi on drums.

Maristella Feustle came on board around 2009.

“It has been something to look forward to during periods of upheaval, a godsend of grocery money in lean times after graduation, and in good times, an ongoing celebration where we pick up where we left off every First Tuesday. It’s one of many things that has made Denton the ‘promised land’ for me, and I’m eternally grateful to Andy and Thad for putting up with me and providing a setting where I can be ‘myself’ as a musician,” said Feustle, a Not So guitarist. “I don’t know when ‘Jingle Bells’ became part of ‘Swing 42’ (our usual closing number), but I always look forward to that.”

Le Not Sos with guest vocalist Sophia Quebe.

Le Not Sos with guest vocalist Sophia Quebe.

“Fairly soon after we started at Banter, Mr Joe (Pinson) playing in the Not So Hot Klub, began his own band, so it was natural for him to play before us,” said Leon Peek. “The

Mr Joe Pinson

Mr Joe Pinson

first several years he presented the ‘Mr Joe Show,’ which featured mostly his songs. He played a keyboard, and would have different people sit in. Then he began Dixieland Jazz on alternating months. The Dixieland became more fun and attracted more audience.”

Peek made it clear Mr Joe Jazz Band plays before Le Not So Hot Klub, but is not “opening” for the group.

Andy took a medical leave of absence from many of his music groups, but has returned to play keyboard with Mr. Joe’s Jazz Band – but his Not So chair anxiously awaits him!

Core musicians of Le Not So Hot Klub du Denton now include: Thad Bonduris – guitar/vocals & ad hoc leadership; Leon Peek – guitar; Maristella

Dancin' and swingin' at Banter ...

Dancin’ and swingin’ at Banter …

Feustle – guitar; Jeffrey Barnes – woodwinds; Ginny Mac – Accordion/vocals; Leoncarlo Canlas – violin; Jacob Appelt – double bass; Steven Prouty – drums.

Past members/occasional guests include: Andy Cooper – clarinet/piano; Nathan Phelps, Bach Norwood – bass; Bonnie Norris – violin; Nick Norris – guitar; Tom Nelson, Steve Horn – mandolins; Michael Mindardi – drums; David Lee Schloss – woodwinds; George Merritt, Mark Menikos, Austin Smith, Dustin Ballard – violins; Carl Finch – accordion; Kimberly Ann Cooper, Kristi Kruger, Charles Wilhoite, Karen Foster – vocals; Daniel Hart – violin/vocals.

The band specializes in acoustically-oriented Early Jazz—namely anything Django would’ve played—and anything that is FUN music! The band is even often followed around by the “NSHK dancers”—yet another “loose collective”…


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