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    Shelton, Don (28 August 1934 – Present)

    Multi-instrumentalist and vocalist from Tyler, Texas, who joined the U.S. Navy as a young man and studied at its school of music in the nation’s capital.  After three years in the Navy, he furthered his studies at the University of California in Los Angeles. 

     

    Shortly thereafter, he hooked up with The Trends, a vocal group that was a mainstay on a radio program hosted by Rusty Draper.  In 1959, he underwent some grueling auditions but eventually won a job with the Hi-Lo’s.  They broke up about five years later and Don joined The J’s with Jamie. 

     

    Just when it looked like the era of the vocal group was over, Don, along with Len Dresslar, Bonnie Herman, and Gene Puerling, formed The Singers Unlimited.  Their modest goal was to make a living recording commercial jingles, but when Oscar Peterson heard their rendition of “The Fool on the Hill”, he quickly got them signed up with MPS, the record label he was working with.  They enjoyed a nine-year run during which they released fifteen albums. 

     

    In the meantime, Don moonlighted with The Les Hooper Big Band, performing alto sax on Look What They’ve Done and singing on 1975’s Dorian Blue. In 1976, he sang background vocals on the Seals & Crofts album, Get Closer. 

     

    Don has continued to perform live and record well into the new millennium.  He rang in the Yuletide in 1990 on the Janey Clewer stocking stuffer, A Starlight Christmas.  In 1991, he blew alto sax on Thomas Talbert’s offering, The Warm Café.  He switched to clarinet on Lisa Ono’s 1992 release, Serenata Carioca.  In 1993, he multi-tasked on the Thomas Talbert album, Duke’s Domain, juggling alto sax, clarinet and flute duties. 

     

    Their collaboration continued in 1995, in tandem with the Bob Cooper Quartet, with 50th Anniversary Celebration:  Back to Balboa.  In 1996, he got some nice work on Michael Feinstein’s Nice Work If You Can Get It.  He played flute on 1997’s Textures in Hi-Fi, which featured Robert Hicks with the Pete Rugolo Orchestra.  In 1998, he virtually comprised his own reeds section on The Bob Florence Limited Edition album, Serendipity 18. 

     

    He was a member of the Patrick Williams Choir on Amy Grant’s 1999 holiday gift, A Christmas to Remember.  In 2000, he rang in the season with Christmas Aguilera on My Kind of Christmas.  Keeping with the tradition, he accompanied NewSong on The Christmas Shoes, which hit the shelves in 2001.  He spent 2002 On a Turquoise Cloud with The Clarinet Choir of Clare Fischer. 

     

    In 2003, he did a comic turn providing vocals for the fictional New Main Street Singers in the mockumentary, A Mighty Wind.  He then contributed his time and talent to a pair of jazz festivals in 2004, The Los Angeles Jazz Institute festival and the 25th Annual Vocal Jazz Festival at Columbia College.  In 2005, he played flute, soprano sax and tenor sax on Mark Masters’ Porgy & Bess Redefined.  He was also one of the saxophonists with the Artistry in Rhythm Kenton Orchestra for the 2006 Big Band Bash at the Hollywood Bowl. 

     

    In 2007, he rejoined The Bob Florence Limited Edition for Eternal Licks and Grooves.  The group performed a tribute to Bob Florence on 15th June 2008 at Hollywood’s Catalina Bar & Grill.  On 9th January 2009, he soloed on clarinet in a performance of “Sing, Sing, Sing” at First Baptist of Orlando with The Ralph Carmichael Big Band. 

     

    He continues to perform live regularly at a lounge in Indian Wells, California, named Vicki’s, with The Desert Cities Jazz Band.

     

    The Oscar Peterson Trio and The Singers Unlimited recordings

    Sesame Street (Bruce Hart/Joe Raposo/Jon Stone)

     

    The Singers Unlimited recordings

    Michelle (John Lennon/Paul McCartney)

     

    Sources:

    1. http://www.thehi-los.com/meet/
    2. http://www.jamesgavin.com/page199/page152/page152.html
    3. http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=8738
    4. http://www.totonetwork.com/node/5573
    5. http://www.bekkoame.ne.jp/~takeito/clewer.html
    6. http://connectbrazil.com/main/detail.php?id=388
    7. http://lisaono.homestead.com/Serenata_Carioca_detail.html
    8. http://www.buy.com/prod/nice-work-if-you-can-get-it/q/loc/109/60148579.html
    9. https://www.newburycomics.com/rel/v2_viewupc.php?storenr=103&upc=73495610252
    10. http://www.amygrant.de/Musik/
    11. http://amiestreet.com/music/clare-fischer/on-a-turquoise-cloud/
    12. http://everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=1544053
    13. http://mymotherlode.com/News/article/kvml/1077829157
    14. http://www.gerrymulligan.info/news_jun04.html
    15. https://www.jazzloft.com/p-39789-porgy-and-bess-redefined.aspx
    16. http://www.petererskine.com/cds_books_video.htm
    17. http://www.cduniverse.com/search/xx/music/pid/7492560/a/Voyage.htm
    18. http://www.nme.com/artists/bob-florence
    19. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFE51Xq-y34
    20. http://www.desertcitiesjazzband.com/

           

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     



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