he Big Belly Blues Band originated from a blues song co-written by songwriter/drummer Paul Tillman Smith and Jazz Diva Faye Carol called the "Big Belly Blues" in Oakland, Ca., 2002. Guys from the local jam session at the Bluesville Jazz Club on Sunday's decided to form a Blues Band to honor bay area icon's ailing pianist Ed Kelly and vocalist George Hubbard. A retired bay area teacher, bassist and trombonist Harley White was brought in to pen arrangements along with band trumpeter director Kalill Shaeed of the Oaktown Youth Jazz Group. Other bay area
heavy weights joined the band such as Larry Vann on drums, Charley Spikes on vocals and guitar, and Ron Belcher on electric bass. Assistiing on piano with Ed Kelly was the young and budding Kevin Stewart.
The recording also includes Harley White on trombone, tuba and bowed bass, along with conga/harmonica player Richard Meyers, Danny Armstrong on the trombone solos. Over a 15 month period of weekly rehearsals, a female vocal group called the "belly buttons" featured Kate Shaheed, Judith Harris-Coleman,Carla Careen, Aletha Archie; and the great Fred Hughes on background vocals. A local rapper and newsman joined ...joined in on "Good Thang" and gave us some current sounds.
Wonderful alto saxophonist Joseph Thornton took over our logo, website and booking and away we went on to many, many dates around the Bay Area for about 3 years culminating at the re-opening of the historic "Sweets Ballroom" in downtown Oakland in 2004. The late Ed Kelly and George Hubbard live on in the Big Belly Blues Band!
A historic and original band that preserves East Bay music history. Subsequent members since the recording include:
saxophonist Richard Howell, pianist Glenn Pearson, bassist Tony Sanders,and many others.