The Trombonist/ Band leader and Co- producer of Valli Scavelli’s
debut album “Floating”, featuring the shorter version of “Get
off the Ground.”
Don, Valli, and I have been close friends since the mid seventies.
He is a combination philosopher, adventurer, explorer, composer and endlessly
curious. She is a truly great singer, an exceptional cook, and the most cheerful
and high-toned woman I’ve ever met.
I first heard Valli at a concert at “Celebrity Center” in Los Angeles,
and was completely knocked out at the vocal quality. At the first opportunity I asked her to sing with my band, and as an added
bonus got her husband Don too. He was invaluable as he created several arrangements
that Valli could sing with us.
I don’t know how Don ran into Ken Kreisel who was experimenting with
Direct to Disc recording. At any rate one of them contacted me about recording
my band. I believe Valli was on one of those, but it never went beyond the experimental
stage. I wound up with a very high quality recording of my band, and Ken and
I became friends.
He came with his equipment to record my band at a Harbor College
Concert. I can’t remember if Valli was on that. He also recorded us at
his store on Wilshire Boulevard. I’ve lost those tapes somewhere in the
intervening years. He was just a kid with amazing intelligence and competency.
Without any reservation at all, I saw him take apart a ridiculously expensive
tape recording machine, and improve its quality.
When Don decided to record Valli with a small group, Bobby Shew and I were
asked to play in it. I also helped to produce the album. The first thing we
agreed on was that we had to get away from a facility and an engineer who had
no idea. "Sage and Sound" then became the recording site with the very fine engineering
of the owner whose name I’ve forgotten. “Floating” was the
Later they were asked to do an album of “Scavelli sings Bessie Smith”.
You would expect that Valli’s gorgeous vocal quality, and sensitive phrasing
would be a most unlikely interpreter of Bessie. She is amazing. Could growl
with the best of them. Don, of course, did the arrangements and keyboard playing.
I had an interesting job because the trombone chair and sessions were divided
between another trombonist and me.
At one time I was asked to complete an improvised solo that the other trombonist did. Some technical problem I suppose. Even he
couldn’t tell where his playing stopped and mine started. Don and Valli had been, and continued doing small combo playing in the Los
I don’t know quite why Don decided to check out Puerto Rico where he
had spent many years. He told me that it was amazing. As though he had never
left. They moved there and immediately were accepted and are very busy to this
day. Valli now does far more booking of acts for various venues than singing
with Don. It’s a large increase in income, but a loss to those who never
get to hear that wonderful voice.
I’m known mostly as a bass trombonist/ bandleader, but my work with Don
was on tenor trombone. My band was recorded by MAMA Records and is available
at Amazon.com titled “Montage”…. Jim (Brass Plus) Morris.
Two other CD’s are available at www.cdbaby.com one is “The Jim
Morris Band”, and the other “Encore”, both can be found under
It’s a ten piece jazz band with some of Los Angeles’ finest musicians.
It could loosely be described as “Chamber jazz,” but actually doesn’t
fit comfortably into any little box. Most often described as “Fresh and
New”. The best way to describe it is to listen to the available sound
www.cdbaby.com : Encore
www.cdbaby.com : The Jim Morris Band