Along Came Betty
Photo © Patrick Tregenza
Along Came Betty is Brian Stock, trumpet and flugelhorn; Paul Tarantino, saxophone; Biff Smith, piano; Heath Proskin, bass, and Patrick Tregenza, drums.
Along Came Betty was formed in 1998 to celebrate the spirit of hard-bop, a seminal movement of '50s and '60s jazz music. The quintet has become much more than a homage to an important era of jazz history. Pianist and prolific composer Biff Smith's sophisticated yet highly accessible compositions blend elements of that era with modern sensibilities.
The rich sound of harmonized sax and trumpet backed by the classic piano, bass, drums rhythm section result in fun, fresh, straight-ahead jazz.
Along Came Betty opened the 1999, 2003, and 2007 Monterey Jazz Festivals and performed at the Big Sur Jazz Festival in 2000 and 2002. The band plays regularly around the Monterey area.
"The group sounds great... I hear minds at work accomplishing wonderful things that will take us well into the future." -- Benny Golson
"This is one of the best jazz groups to ever come out of Monterey, and listening to them can be addictive." -- Mac McDonald, Monterey County Herald
"The Along Came Betty set (at the Big Sur Jazz Festival) came across like a series of hot flashes on top of splendidly orchestrated trad-bop... It's a top drawer band in the style of the Jazztet or the Jazz Messengers." -- Phil Elwood, San Francisco Examiner
"The entire rhythm section is locked in. It's clear that they've been playing together for some time. Their interaction is intuitive and conversational. The ensembles are crisp..." -- Ray Hoffman, Jazz Improv Magazine
"Along Came Betty plays for the unique color of the classic Blue Note sound of the '50s and '60s, a time of understated sophistication, of painterly compositions done in broad melodic strokes and detailed with tight arrangements... Along Came Betty represents a focused look at one of the more consequential but less understood movements in mainstream jazz artfully executed by a very capable group of players."
-- Rob Pratt, Metro Santa Cruz