The hardest working Gypsy
Jazz Band in San Francisco
— The San Francisco Chronicle
Dave Ricketts - Guitarist, Gaucho Jazz

DAVE RICKETTS

Band Leader / Guitar / Vocals / Cornet

Dave has committed his life to music. He plays guitar, sings, composes, songwriter and even plays a bit of cornet! His formal study and training was with Michael Chapdelaine (a student of Andres Segovia, among other accomplishments) at the University of New Mexico, where he has a bachelors in music.

Dave is founder and bandleader for the nationally and internationally known Gaucho (gypsy jazz/blues/gutbucket music, gauchojazz.com), which he has led now since 2002. Gaucho is based in San Francisco and in 2009, won SFWeekly’s Reader’s Poll, “Best Jazz and Blues Band” and in 2016 Gaucho was very honored to have won the title of “Best Band” for the same paper. Gaucho has also played many music festivals, Djangofest SF and Djangofest Northwest, Djangofest Midwest in Madison, Wisconsin, as well as selling out two concerts for SFJAZZ Festival in 2016. In 2018 Gaucho got a song in the Hollywood Movie (right before the sex scene!), "Destination Wedding” starring Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder. And two of Dave’s own compositions will be placed in a New York City based indie film, “Stationed at Home,” in 2019.

While Gaucho is technically a Gypsy Jazz Band, Dave has always been in love with The American jazz and blues guitarists and singers who predate Django and Oscar. Jazz guitarists such as Nick Lucas, Eddie Lang, Lonnie Johnson, Teddy Bunn.


Ari Munkres - Stand Up Bass, Gaucho Jazz

ARI MUNKRES

Stand Up Bass

Ari Munkres has been playing with Gaucho since the band’s beginning. A true music scholar and Northern California Native, he graduated with a BA in music from CSU Humboldt. Ari has had the opportunity to collaborate with a multitude of musicians in cities across America and beyond. Playing (the) bass professionally for over 30 years, his obvious and sheer delight in his craft and artistry draws applause from audiences and critics alike. He loves playing with Gaucho, a group of musicians who share his abiding passion for the gypsy tradition. 


Rob Reich - Accordionist, Gaucho Jazz

ROB REICH

Accordion / Piano / Drums / Glockenspiel

Rob Reich is quintessentially what makes the San Francisco music scene a vibrant and vital mecca for independent music; he’s become one of its stalwart underground artists. Reich starting studying piano at age three. After graduating with a degree in Music Composition from Oberlin Conservatory of Music, he moved to the Bay Area, where he discovered the accordion, now his primary instrument. He is best known for his work with Tin Hat, Gaucho, and Circus Bella. "Whatever context he's in, Reich transforms it into a creative hothouse where thousands of musical flowers bloom." -Andy Gilbert, East Bay Express


Craig Ventresco - Guitarist, Gaucho Jazz

CRAIG VENTRESCO

Guitar

Craig Ventresco moved to San Francisco thirty years ago and quickly established himself as a guitarist specializing in older styles of American popular music. A transplant from Maine, he also lived in NYC for a time. He used to play on the street every day to earn a living but is thankful he has not had to do so for the past ten years. The reason he never got a “day job” is that he really loves playing guitar and wanted to improve. He has a real love for popular music that was written during the ragtime era (circa 1890-1915) and also for blues. He is self–taught and spends as much time as humanly possible working on his playing. Craig says of himself, “I don't save recordings of my own playing because I hear myself enough, but I suppose that I have recorded over 30 of them, both solo and with other musicians.” He is probably best known for his integral contributions to the soundtracks of Terry Zwigoff films, Crumb and Ghost World. 


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STEVE APPLE

Percussion

Steve Apple started playing drums at the age of five on a "Tony the Tiger" drum set supplied by his very tolerant mother. At age 14 he started playing Traditional Jazz with the Churchill Street Jazz Band at Palo Alto High School and fell in love with the music. His early drumming influences were Davey Tough, Ray Bauduc and Gene Krupa, as well as later drummers Wayne Jones, Hal Smith and Eddie Torres. He¹s played with many Bay Area "Trad" and Swing bands including The Royal Society Jazz Orchestra, the Magnolia Jazz Band, Professor Plum¹s Jazz, Clint Baker's Jazz Band and others. Since 2011, he's been the drum instructor at the annual San Diego Adult Traditional Jazz Camp. Steve spent two years filling in for Beth Goodfellow with Gaucho starting in 2011 and enthusiastically became the regular drummer in 2013. He enjoys playing a supportive role for his band-mates and he LOVES playing for dancers.


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LEON OAKLEY

Cornet / Trumpet

In 1968 Leon relocated from Binghamton, NY to join the Turk Murphy Jazz Band in San Francisco.  After leaving Turk's band in 1979, he became a member of The South Frisco Jazz Band until the band retired in 1998. During this period, Leon also worked a day job as a senior electrical engineer with BART, retiring in 2000. Shortly thereafter, Leon became a member of John Gill's Yerba Buena Stompers, that continues to perform at jazz festivals around the country.

Around the San Francisco Bay Area, Leon is a regular with Clint Baker's All-Stars at Cafe Borrone in Menlo Park on Friday nights and with Mal Sharpe's Big Money Jazz Band at the Fior d’Italia in San Francisco’s North Beach. He often is a guest musician with local bands, including Dave Rickett's Gaucho Gypsy Jazz Band, in which he was a guest recording artist on their “Pearl” and “Part-Time Sweetheart” CDs. 

Leon has made many recordings produced by various labels with the Turk Murphy, South Frisco and Yerba Buena Stompers jazz bands.