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     Scheff, Jerry

    A multi-instrumentalist, he was brought up in Vallejo in the San Francisco Bay area of California and began his long association with music when he joined the orchestra in his local grammar school.  He first concentrated on playing the tuba, which he would also play in the Veteran Municipal Band when he was twelve, but by the time he hit his teenage years he was playing the bass violin followed by the electric bass.  After moving to Sacramento, California, when he was just fourteen he began to be opened up to different genres of music when he was confronted with the sound of band music by Lionel Hampton and attended jazz and classical concerts.  After what could possibly be seen as a natural progression, he would play in jazz clubs and a hotel in Sacramento and San Francisco.  His first experience of playing with a known star of the time, it was in 1958, was when he backed Big Momma Thornton but it would not be long after this that he would join the Navy and study harmony and musical theory at the Navy School of Music in Washington.  He was in service until 1961 when he studied at the San Diego State College and after leaving there he made the move to Los Angeles where he would try his luck in the industry.  After playing with several bands he joined up with the 16-year old Billy Preston in The Billy Preston Review where he played the valve trombone and electric bass.  Things were moving for him and he performed on an album by the "Four Freshmen" but they would soon see a downturn after the Watt Riots of 1964 when he was banned from playing on the black music scene.  He began to do session work and soon he would perform on The Association's first album which catapulted them to success as well as making his name as a session musician known.  Soon the work came rushing in and his credits include his work with Neil Diamond, Barbra Streisand. The Archies, Bobby Sherman, Tiny Tim, Carlos Montoya, Dionne Warwick, The Ventures, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Leonard Nimoy, Linda Ronstadt and The Stone Ponys, Johnny Mathis, The Everly Brothers and many more.  In 1968 he joined the backing band for Elvis Presley and he toured and recorded many albums with him, and at the same time still did studio work with other bands such as The Doors.  In 1971 he moved to Canada, but still kept up his work with Elvis Presley, but in 1975 he moved back to Los Angeles to work with Elvis Presley until his death in 1977.  After this tragic turn of events he would return to working with other artists and toured with Bob Dylan.  His recording career became extremely busy again and as well as working with the band Mink DeVille he would record with Tanya Tucker, John Denver, Elvis Costello, Richard Thompson, Tom Petty and Sam Philips among others.  As a songwriter he wrote the final song Elvis Presley would work on "Fire Down Below".   He is still currently recording and occasionally will sit in on an improv jazz session.  He has three sons and Jason Scheff took over the lead vocals and plays bass for Chicago after Peter Cetera left.

     

    Sources:

    1. http://www.jerryscheff.com/
    2. http://www.elvis.com.au/presley/interview_jerryscheff_by_arjandeelen.shtml
    3. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0770483/
    4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerry_Scheff

     

    Here he is on guitar with Roger Daltry performing "Mystery Train"...

     

     

        

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     



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