A lover of jazz to his core, Jack Stiteler has spent most of his adult life playing music semi-professionally, while industriously working his days away in retail. Many locals may know Stiteler as a past music manger for Encinitas Ranch Town Center’s Barnes and Noble, where one could always count on a sincere and informed music recommendation for any musical craving. When Stiteler retired last year, he decided to put his music first and start a band—joining all the best parts from his previous experiences. Thus, The Jack Stiteler Jazztet was born.
Celebrating their one-year band anniversary on Sept. 4, the concept behind The Jack Stiteler Jazztet was originally to be a quartet, and to only play jazz instrumentals. As Stiteler and a few of his friends set out to woo North County residents, they stumbled across Andy Weis singing Kareoke at a local church event, and discovered he had an amazing voice for American Standards, including all the hits by Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett. Upon further inspection, Weis also brought to the table a love of jazz and mad trumpet skills. With Weis on board, there was no turning back for the Jack Stiteler Jazztet.
“The best bands I've been in always had a strong leader,” Stiteler said. “And in jazz, bands usually go by the name of the leader, rather than a made-up name like ‘Led Zeppelin.’ My name is not the easiest to remember, or spell, or pronounce, but I took the plunge and used it. When the Quartet grew to five, and then six members, the piano player's wife suggested calling it a ‘Jazztet’ rather than any specific number.”
The group now includes six musicians, though they don't all play at the same time: Andy Weis on trumpet and vocals; Pete Weis on piano and vocals; Dan Townsend on drums; Bryan Elia on guitar; Andy Concors on drums; and Jack Stiteler on bass.
They mostly play pop-standard vocals and jazz instrumentals--and though most of them still hold down a nine-to-five, they still practice once a week. The group also has a CD in the works, and most Friday nights you can find them at t in downtown Encinitas, where they have a standing invitation to play.
The Jack Stiteler Jazztet will also preform at the tonight in front of the --and Stitelr said he still has his sights set on another neighborhood circuit.
"If we could play anywhere in Encinitas, it would be at the Summer Concerts by the Sea, at Moonlight Beach. We still haven't broken in there.”
But wherever they play, Stiteler said he hopes listeners walk away with the same message.
“I hope that listeners will be entertained at our gigs, and maybe encounter a great tune that they haven't heard before. I want them to see the joy we get from playing music together, and feel joy themselves. I want them to come away knowing that there is art in their midst – it's not just 'out there,' it's also right here.”
For the latest on The Jack Stiteler Jazztet, check out their Facebook page, or stop in at Giovanni’s on a Friday night.