In its "traditional jazz" incarnation, Sweet Licks consists of John Taylor (also lead horn with Dennis Edward's Temptations Review) on trumpet, Larry Wade (retired from the West Point Army band after 24 years) on clarinet, Danny Rubio (ex-Dukes Of Dixieland and many other New Orleans-based groups) on tuba and (Doug McCullough) on banjo.
The core of "Sweet Licks" in its "easy to listen to" jazz incarnation has acoustic (stand-up) bassists Richard Moten (noted New Orleans musician) or Roy Yarbrough (member of the Alabama Jazz Hall Of Fame) join Doug McCullough on guitar and synthesizer guitar.
That core is augmented by drums (e.g., Foxxy Fatts, John Nuckols, Don Davis), trumpet (e.g., John Taylor, Chuck King), sax (Larry Wade, David Amaral, Dan Western) and/or vocalist (Linda McCullough, Lesa Paddick) depending on the requirements and budget of the performance.
What is now called "traditional jazz" was simply the popular jazz of the early 20th century. That style is best embodied in the music of Louis Armstrong and songs like "What a Wonderful World", "Hello Dolly". "Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans" and "Twelfth Street Rah". Other popular interpreters include Pete Fountain ("Just a Closer Walk With Thee") and Al Hirt ("Java", "Muscat Ramble"). Sweet Licks plays these and many others, many of which are "jazz" interpretations of the popular music of the era.
The smooth jazz Sweet Licks plays is not to be confused with the vapid sounds coming from overhead speakers in an elevator or department store. The tunes range from the Classic American Songbook (Gershwin, Porter, Belin, Camichael and Ellington) to jazz interpretations of (relatively) modern artists like Stevie Wonder. Al Green, Bill Withers, Diana Krall, Nora Jones and even Bonnie Raitt.
On any given night, the performance is geared to the mood of the audience. Above all, it is played in a way that guests do not have to strain to converse with other guests.
Sweet Licks - traditional jazz performs every Sunday 11:30 am -1:30 pm for the New Orleans Jazz Brunch at The Veranda on Highlands.
Sweet Licks - smooth jazz performs 6:00-9:00 pm every Friday at Wine Styles in Lee Branch.