Randy Oxford – trombonist, “Blues Performer of the Year,” and notorious wild man- has been honored more than 25 times since returning to his home state of Washington more than 20 years ago, following a European Tour of duty with the U.S. Army band. He has won multiple “Best Horn” awards, “Entertainer of the Year,” “Keeping the Blues Alive,” and induction into the Washington Blues Society’s Hall of Fame and has played with some of the best bands the area has produced, including Little Bill and the Blue Notes, Fat Cat, and Junkyard Jane. His own band: the Randy Oxford Band- has been tapped three times by NW blues associations to compete at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. In 2011, The Randy Oxford Band earned a spot at the finals, where they placed among the top 8 bands of the hundreds that competed from around the world.
Randy’s success at the IBC, plus his growing reputation as a jam host on the Legendary Blues Cruises, has resulted in many high-profile festivals and shows, including the North Atlantic Blues Festival (Portland, Maine), Le Festival International de Tremblant du Blues (Montreal, Quebec), the famous Blue Note Club in New York City, Portland Waterfront Festival, (Portland,OR), Magic City Music Festival (Billings, MT), Kalamazoo Blues Festival (Kalamazoo, MI), Playing With Fire Festival (Omaha, NE), Winthrop Rhythm and Blues Festival (Winthrop, WA), Mt. Baker Rhythm and Blues Festival (Deming, WA), Sunbanks Rhythm and Blues Festival, (Grand Coulee, WA), Big Sky Blues Festival (Noxon, MT.) BB’s Jazz, Blues and Soups (St .Louis, MO), Knuckleheads, (Kansas City, MO), Highway 99 Club (Seattle, WA), Orpheum Theater, Hard Rock Cafe, Ground Zero Blues Club and Alfred’s (Memphis, TN), Blues At The Bow (Bow Island, Alberta, Canada) Golden Spike Festival (Port Moody, BC, Canada), Mikey’s Juke Joint (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) and many other shows around North America.
Randy plays the trombone as a lead instrument, inventing a path through the chord progressions, sometimes mimicking the guitars around him, sometimes taking them with him on one of his wild rides. His tone has been admired by symphony conductors, but he also knows how to rip a sound or turn it into an animal call. Randy has become a Northwest favorite, having hosted several popular jams over the years, as well as leading his own very successful band.
Randy has appeared on more than 30 CD’s, including 6 of his own. One of these, the lively “Memphis to Motown,” gained recognition as a finalist at the International Blues Challenge in 2008. As for his band, Randy insists that this is the best Randy Oxford Band yet. The six-piece band features Randy, Jada Amy on vocals, Farkho Dosumov on bass, Richard Sabol on drums, and two guitarists- Randy Norris and Manuel Morais. The two guitarists work well together as a team, backing each other during solos and feeding off of each other’s different styles, a contrast that reflects the fact that they come from opposite sides of the planet.
Manuel Morais was born in Portugal, but his family moved to South America when he was two. At the age of eight he found his father’s guitar in the closet. From then on he was unstoppable. He began playing at school functions that led to local gigs. As an adult, Manuel has played gigs and festivals all over South America, Australia and Malaysia. Finally Manuel landed in the US and has accumulated more than 30 years experience playing guitar and singing. He is a repository of songs in a variety of genres, including Blues, Classic Rock, Funk and Pop, but also composes his own music. He plays it all with flair and passion.
Randy Norris, on “the other guitar” and vocals, is the newest member of the band, bringing over 30 years of experience as a musician, a bucket-load of original songs, and the finesse of a seasoned veteran to the mix of skilled professionals that is the Randy Oxford Band. Born in Wichita, Kansas, Mr. Norris honed his talent on the road with Jack Mack and the Heart Attack and with the fabulous Boxtops, opening for many national acts, including the Neville Brothers, Rare Earth, Average White Band, and Etta James. He also spent 10 years in Los Angeles doing studio and sideman work. His voice – smooth, strong, and virtually flawless– can be heard on many film and television scores. Randy’s guitar work is that of a journeyman, adding solidly crafted (and largely improvisational) solos to every song he touches. His “comping,” the chords and licks played behind the vocals and Randy and Manuel’s solos, are thoughtful and challenging. There is nothing ordinary about Randy Norris’ musicianship. Next year, he will make his second trip to Memphis to compete in the International Blues Challenge, representing the Washington Blues Society in the solo/duo category.
Jada Amy, featured singer for the Randy Oxford Band, is a relative newcomer to the blues scene, although music has always been a big part of her life. She grew up an army “brat,” moving with her family to bases all over the United States. She credits her experience in the choir at Mt. Tabor Baptist church in Tacoma for getting her started singing and performing, and a junior high teacher, Ms. Taylor, for convincing her that she was good enough to make a living at it. It has not been an easy road, however, and she can cite a dozen or more jobs she’s had over the years that were less than satisfying, but paid the bills. Studio work allowed her some outlet for her talents. At age 14 she became associated with a number of local recording studios, doing background vocals for Tony Hurd, U-Turn Records, On the Block Records, and was even tapped to sing on a LeAnn Rimes recording. In January of 2008, local photographer Larry Williams convinced her to check out Randy Oxford’s Jam at Jazzbones. She performed “At Last,” one of her first experiences with a live band, and both Randy and she were impressed – Randy with Jada’s unique, dusky voice and Jada with the stamina, focus, and communication needed to perform with a band in front of an audience. Since then the girl has continued to grow in skill and finesse, becoming more and more confident with each show. She’s also taken to writing songs, sometimes in collaboration with one of the other players, sometimes on her own. One of her songs (“Teach You A Lesson”) was selected to appear on a compilation CD produced by Big City Blues Magazine (Detroit) and was among the top six in the magazine’s online voting.
LA Smith, who often joins the band on percussion, is a native New Yorker who started playing in public when he was 17 in NYC clubs with Mary Mac, folk singer. LA plays over one hundred times a year at festivals and venues around America and Canada, with some of the top headliners in the business. Whether playing Cuban, Latin, Rock and Roll, Jazz or Blues, LA adds his distinct rhythmic sounds to the shows. His unique style and texture helps define the sound of The Randy Oxford Band.
Richard Sabol is another fun guy, but an animal on drums. Or a viking. Randy gives him a different nickname every gig, and Richard gives Randy and the band a solid beat, some impressive double kick-drum work, and all kinds of skillful and entertaining energy. Richard is originally from New Port, Rhode Island, home of the famous jazz festival, so he grew up with a jazz and blues bent. His first album was Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five”; major inspirations were a drum challenge album entitled “Buddy Rich vs. Max Roach” and the gift of an autographed pair of sticks from Buddy Rich, himself. Richard has performed for over 30 years in bands of all varieties – R & B, rock, metal, jazz, C & W, big band swing, and Latin, gospel and classical, from timpani to drum kit. His work is featured on 7 CD’s to date and his live performances have been on bills with the Greg Allman Band, The Outlaws, Black Oak, Marshall Tucker, Johnny Winter, Smokin Joe Savage and many others.
Although essentially blues-based, The Randy Oxford Band prides itself on showcasing music that defies easy classification. From classics like Etta’s, “I’d Rather go Blind,” to originals that crackle with jazz licks and funky rhythms, the band prefers to define itself, building upon each player’s creativity and talent. With two guitarists to complement each other, Randy’s killer trombone, and the solid rhythm section, the band delivers its characteristic big sound. The interplay between the performers provides the audience with something entertaining to watch, as well as to hear.