Beez Kneez Jazz Band

Beez' Kneez, a 7 piece jazz band, performed in the Sacramento, CA area from 1995 to 2004.  We disbanded on October 17, 2004 to  pursue other interests.

Band Members:

Top Row (left to right)

 Donald “Scotty” Harper - Bass, vocals. 
 Mike “Cuz” Hudson - Trombone. 
 Ron “Sticks” Jones- Drums.
 Norm “Doc” Gary - Clarinet, Tenor and Alto Sax, Vocals, Leader. 

Bottom Row (left to right)

Bill Crow - Trumpet, cornet, flugelhorn, vocals
 Jessica Wilder- Vocalist. 
 John Wilder- Keyboard, banjo

Beez Kneez Story

•         Late one night at the 1995 Sacramento Jazz Jubilee I suddenly felt inspired to start a new band.  Within weeks the band was “born”.  Initially it was christened “Bees Knees”, after the old expression from the 1920’s (“Isn’t that the bees knees?”) indicating  great admiration and approval.  Now people just say “that’s really cool”.   So we thought “Beez Kneez” would be a cool name.  The clincher was the discovery of a snappy rag tune (1922) called “Bees Knees”.
•         Our first performance was at the original Shakey’s Pizza Parlour at 57th and J Streets, the most famous Dixieland jazz shrine in Sacramento, California!  We opened on September 30, 1995.  Shakey Johnson, one of our first fans, was there to cheer us on.  The gig went fine until January 8, 1996 when a fire permanently ended the musical life of original Shakey’s.  Beez’ Kneez was the last band to play there, climaxing more than 40 years of music by many bands and hundreds of musicians.  Since that time Shakey has passed on too.  But we’ll cherish our fond memories of Shakey and the institution he created. 
•         After the fire we performed for 7 years at three Roundtable Pizza venues in Sacramento and two years at Giovanni's Pizzeria.  Our final performance was on October 17, 2004 at the Hangtown Jazz Festival in Placerville, California.  We disbanded when the band was at the peak of its popularity in order to pursue other musical adventures and activities.  It was a fun 9 years!


Riverbank Blues Band Vol. II (1986) “Live at the Original Shakey’s” (as performer)

JM Jazz Band (1990) “Just Having Fun” (as performer)

Beez’ Kneez Jazz Band (1999) “Just Buzzin’ Along” (as producer, performer, recording engineer)

Sacramento Banjo Band (2000) ”Side by Side” (as performer, recording engineer)

Beez’ Kneez Jazz Band (2002) “Buzzin’ in Bee Flat” (as producer, performer, recording engineer)

The Boondockers (2003) “Caught in the Act” (as recording engineer)

Sacramento Banjo Band (2005) “Sacramento Banjo Band and Friends” (as performer, recording engineer)

Dr. Bach and the Jazz Practitioners (2006) “Listen to the Jazz Come Out” (as recording engineer)

K Street Ramblers (2006) In production (as recording engineer)

Jay Paulus Society Band (2009) “Dance and Sway” (as recording engineer)

Current Activities

• BACKGROUND: Dr. Gary has performed for more than 30 years with many bands in the Sacramento area, such as the Riverbank Blues Band, JM Jazz, and Dr. Bach and his Jazz Practitioners, as well as leading his own bands and combos. He currently performs at the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee, and has done so since 1979.  He plays clarinet, alto sax, tenor sax, and flute. Dr. Gary is a gold card member of the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society. He is also very active in the Sacramento Banjo Band as a performer (clarinet) and sound engineer.  He also is a member of Dr. Bach and his Jazz Practitioners, a very popular Sacramento Jazz band.

• BANDS AVAILABLE: The groups below are comprised of well-known, professional musicians from Northern California. We have complete and contemporary sound reinforcement equipment. CD’s are available.

“Norm Gary Combo” – These 2-5 piece combos feature various combinations including clarinet, saxophones, keyboard, banjo, tuba, bass, drums, and vocalists. We play almost any style… gay nineties, favorite standards… Dixieland jazz with male & female vocalists. We have over 1,000 tunes in our repertoire!  We can perform outdoors, indoors, strolling, on stage, in trains, on boats, dinner/dances, parties, wedding receptions…you name it.
He also performs with the Sacramento Banjo Band.