Joe Hopkins- Clarinet
Joe has been playing jazz clarinet since the 9th grade .  He played with many groups in the Fort Worth , Dallas area where he grew up.  He had his own jazz band while at Reed College in Portland. He joined IBM in 1962 and retired in 1993. He continued to play while employed by IBM. He worked with the Churchill Street Jazz Band in Northern California for ten years (1980's) and played most of the Jazz Festivals on the west coast. After moving to Arizona in 1990 he immediately began to play jazz in the Phoenix area. He was a member of the Desert City Six for 13 years. In the last 10 years he has also played with the Off the Wall Over the Hill Gang, Dr. Sasparilla and his Red Hot Jazz Band, Cat's n' Jammers, Cell Block Seven from Lodi, California and the BoonDockers from Northern California. He currently leads three bands of his own: The Joe Hopkins Quartet  and the 52nd Street Jazz Band which plays Chicago/New York Style Jazz ala Eddie Condon groups. In addition Joe leads the Moldy Fig Jazz Band which plays authentic New Orleans style Dixieland.  Joe is currently Director on the board of the American Federation of Jazz Societies and a member of the American Federation of Musicians, local 586 in addition to being the Vice-President and musical director of the AZ Classic Jazz Society

(480) 396-6798  Cell Phone: 602-810-5888   Email: jazzclarinet@cox.net  

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Dear Helen and Joe,

Weinberg Elementary has been a beneficiary of the Arizona Classic Jazz Society sponsored concerts for many years, and they are consistently excellent. This year’s addition of professional dancers to the 52nd Street Band, demonstrating the Charleston, Lindy Hop and other dances, created another layer of experience for our students, many of whom might never have an opportunity to hear jazz music performed live. To see the delight on the faces of the students and teachers alike brings joy to my heart. Thank you so much for coming.

 Andrea Huelsenbeck
Teacher of General Music
Director of Wrangler Chorus
Yearbook Advisor
Weinberg Elementary

Hi Joe
 Just had to send you an e-mail to tell you how very much we enjoyed the band last night.  As far as we're concerned, you're the best band in this valley, and you can certainly hold your own against any of the bands we get at the festivals.  It was certainly worth the trip over to Sun City in the rain to hear such great music and enjoy all the wonderful dancing.  My feet hurt like hell, but in a NICE way!!

Hi Joe
We want to thank you for a wonderful evening Monday. The band was superb and the stories you told about the music and the selections of songs were swinging.
We expect to see you Sunday eve and continue to enjoy the group.
I do believe you made several people believe you were doing an very good job.
The people sitting at our table was interested in how they could hear more of the band and we all told them to come to Chances Are on Sunday so we will see if they make it.
Keep up the good Music. Larry & Betty

Dear  Joe,
Just want to thank you, thank you, thank you.  Everyone seemed very happy and enjoyed themselves.  Could not do this without you and the 52nd St Jazz Band. As warm as it was with the early sun, it became real cool in the evening, that’s Arizona. To quote the great Clint “YOU MADE MY DAY’  and I thank you again.  Love you all.
Jean is the agent who put the jazz festival together in Sun City West.  We were the opening band for the event.

Dear Joe, Gary and Cheryl,
How wonderful and generous you were to play for our SIMADA members last Tuesday afternoon. I have received many phone calls telling me how GREAT you guys were and how they are now converted to being a JAZZ fan. You were all so nice and we loved getting to know you all.
As ever, Marlene Lyons

   Thank you for sending me the CD of the band you are playing with.  I love it.  Takes me back to the days when I was in the City and listening to Condon, Wild Bill, and the gang.   This band is a perfect fit for you.  It was a pleasure to hear you play with such fine musicians, you never should have wasted all those years with those cowboy bums.  I assume this Joe Hopkins guy is from Arizona.  has he been there all his life?  I find it hard to believe that someone that plays that well has escaped my attention unless he's always been out west.  I  never have enjoyed the west.  I went to the Sacramento Festival once, maybe 25 years ago, and did not enjoy it.  Did get to see Wild Bill, and Peanuts, enjoyed that. Playing with a band like the CD you sent would make it fun again.  But I'll always have my memories of good bands.  I loved the recording.  Your girl plays well, reminds me of Stubby.  You remember him?   Is that her standing next to you in the picture? If so, you are one lucky S.O.B.  The band sounds very good,  Even the electric bass and guitar don't ruin it for me (still better than a damn banjo and tuba) You've always reminded me of the good cats like Wild Bill and Yank.  The trombone player has his shit together too.  Sounds like Jack Teagarden took a few lessons from the Allred boys,  And your Hopkins guy plays like I always wanted to, beautiful tone, and phrasing.  Reminds me very much of the first time I heard Bob Wilber at Condon's.  The regular band was off on Tuesdays and Butterfield would be playing with either Peanuts or Wilber.  But the real band with Wild William and Edmond was the real exciting bunch.  Love the whole damn band, nice choice of tunes. Most Dixieland recordings I find now have all those dreadful Lou Waters type crap that I don't know or can't identify with at all.  There is a reason those tunes became obscure.. they suck, they sucked in the 1920's and they still suck today.  Only west coast bands I ever gave a crap about was Matlock.  Well, once again thanks for sending me the fine music.  I have a dozen kids here at SMSU  that have formed 2 jazz bands to play at pep rallies and I want to play it for them.  I hope they continue interest in the fall.  Last year was the first time I've had enough students show interest to form 2 bands.  Continue with your music my friend, and if you are ever close by, let me know.
Hi Joe
We all sure enjoyed the music Wed evening and the couple that was 
with us are still talking about how much they liked the music. She was 
very impressed with Cheryl Thurston and her keyboard style.
Thanks, Joe...
Larry and Betty

To Joe and the band,
Thank you so much for playing our wedding. We could not have asked for a nicer day and you made it possible. Your music really set the tone for a beautiful wedding. We hope you enjoy the pictures.
Dianne and Travis

Hi Joe
Congratulations, you did it again!  Wowed the crowd with your wonderful music, and it just keeps getting better and better.
Thank you so much for the CD's and DVD for my bowling league.  Maybe we can convert a few more people to OKOM.  If you would like me to write up a "thankyou for your donation" (for tax purposes), let me know and I'll bring something along on Sunday.
Thanks again,   Alex

Dear Mr. Hopkins,
We want to thank you and the members of your band for playing at our wedding reception at the Millenium Resort on Oct, 4, 2008. We truly loved your music and feel that you guys helped make our special day that much more memorable. We adore jazz music and were honored that you chose to play at our reception. We continue to have our guests tell us how much they enjoyed your music and we just wanted you to know how much we enjoyed the jazz and appreciated your performing at our wedding.
Jennifer and Chris Mobley

We went to the church in Scottsdale last night to hear your band.  Great sets we really enjoyed it.  we are life members of Ariz. classic jazz soc.  The people we sat with said they got an email about last nights performance.  we would like to get on that email list.  We live in Peoria and most of our kind of music seems to be in the east valley.  Thanks again for providing us with live music we so enjoy it.
Denny&Flo Curran

Dear Joe,  I just wanted you to know how much we enjoyed the jazz on Thurs. night.  The vocalist was great, I didn't expect such a big voice from such a delicate lady.  Thanks for the email.  Gaye Kloster

''Thanks, Joe, for a wonderful evening of music. Everyone told me they really enjoyed it. Maybe we will do it again in the future."

Thank you Joe for coming to the west side with your group of musicians and dancers for the concert on Sunday night. The concert was super as usual. We hope you will continue to schedule events on the west side in the future so we can attend. Fondly, Bill and Liz Blake and Crew

Just wanted to comment on what a nice show you gave last Sun. night.  We have been to many Sun Bowl shows and you held the audience wonderfully.  Normally, people are leaving after the usual Sun City "hour" but not so last Sun. night and that is a great compliment to you and your band plus the dancers. 
Marilyn Urbany (ACJS)

Your group never sounded better.  What a great front line you have and what a great back line.  Cheryl sounded the best I have ever heard here today too. An all around good show.

Joe and band...we LOVED dancing to and hearing all of you again.....the very best band!!!  looking forward to hearing cheryl's band next week...but if not...because of guests...we will get there as soon as we can!  it was so much fun dacing to you all!!  thanks!!!
Eric & Luana Foster

Thanks for letting us know about last Sunday at Sun Dial in Sun City. We were having some withdrawal pangs from the previous weekend at San Marcos so it was good to get a fix with your band last Sunday. Excellent program as always! Gene & Marilyn Urbany ACJS

We came to your show o Sunday at the Sundial and enjoyed it
emensely. Thanks for the updates - I hope to come to more of your
performances soon. Lots going on out here right now. Happy holidays.

Well, we are now returning home after another amazing gig with the amazing 52nd St. Jazz Band!! Two nights in a row of standing ovations, and tonight they even had us play an encore! Karen and I also busted some aerials, including the one we tried Saturday night at Kats. Nailed it! Next gig, this Wednesday! — with Karen Vizzard and Joe Hopkins

This is Nancy from Monte Vista. I wanted to let you know that I have never had so many wonderful, positive comments about one of our show time performances here. The people here loved you...what a talented group of musicians you have and the dancers were awesome. We loved the show and hope to have you back in the future.

Just a short note to say ‘thanks’ for letting me sit-in with your group. It was a highlight of my Arizona visit. Please share my thanks with the others in the group. I’d enjoy playing with your group again next year if I’m lucky enough to be able to visit Arizona. I’ll let you know in advance next year if we will be visiting Arizona.
Thanks, again……………you and the band were terrific! Also, your son and the other dancers were great, as well.
Red Arwood

Hi Joe,
John tagged you in a post.
John wrote: "I had to collect my jaw from the floor last night after watching Hot Jazz clarinetist Joe Hopkins transpose a song to an unfamiliar key in real time (no charts, folks!) and flying loose on solos with a Gypsy Jazz band!"

While at the Palm Court on 4/14/12 ...(a prominent jazz club in New Orleans), Joe was approached by Don Marquis, the curator of the New Orleans Jazz Museum and author of a book about Buddy Bolden. He said " I have been coming to the Palm Court every week since it opened in 1989 and I have watched a lot of dancers. But Dabney and Karen are the best dancers I have ever seen."

Hi Joe,
I'm on my way to Oregon with Devil Mtn. and was just recalling our times in New Orleans. Thank you for allowing me to join you on that fantastic set. I had to run off and didnt get to chat much but I thought you did an awesome job with your jazz history presentation. I've played quite a few of those ( even with Tex Wyndham) but yours was the best. The dancers were great and put it over the top.

We are working on it and hope that my next Oct. we can solve the problem. We would like 52nd Street to play once a month next season. You were voted the only band that the vendors and committee wanted. The Sat. would be your choice either the 1st or 3rd Sat. Let me know what you think. I really appreciate you and everything you do!
We are looking for sponsors for MACFest. Do you have any ideas?
Sheryl McKinney, Vice Chairman

"Together We Can Change The World One Song At A Time">


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Last modified: 04/19/2014 11:37 AM