Ken Keeler
Oakley, California
Added 7/11/06

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Ken Keeler's involvement with Ragtime music started soon after he began playing 'traditional' jazz in college bands in the 1950's. He acquired LPs of The Redback Book, recordings by Max Morath, etc. Performing Ragtime became more focused in 1976, when he met wife-to-be Jean, a classically trained pianist who had already composed some rags, one of which was later renamed "Devil Mountain Rag". Ken and Jean performed as a duo (banjo/guitar and piano) for private parties in the early 80's, and the duo expanded into the Devil Mountain Jazz Band in 1982. They soon became friends with Wally Rose, learning more about the old music, especially the West Coast Revival styles of Lu Watters and Turk Murphy. Wally recorded an album with DMJB, reviving his big hit with the Yerba Buena JB album of 1941, "Black and White Rag." Since it's beginning, Ken's band has featured the pianist on a ragtime tune in nearly every set at concerts or festivals, carrying on the Watters/Murphy tradition.

Ken and Jean performed at the early West Coast Ragtime festivals then held in Fresno, special sets at many jazz festivals, and the pianorama at the San Diego Jazz Festival. Jean retired from performing in 2002, turning over the pianist role in DMJB to Virginia Tichenor. Virginia created and narrates a special festival set for Devil Mountain Jazz Band, called "Ragtime to Jazz", illustrating the various ragtime styles and the evolving jazz influences in the early 1900s. This show has been presented at the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee and the San Diego, Sonoma, and Olympia (WA) jazz festivals.

The Tichenor/Keeler Ragtime duo has recently played at some of Virginia's monthly shows in San Francisco and Marin. Ken also accompanied Virginia at the 2006 Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival in Sedalia, MO. He retired from gainful employment in 1997, after flying careers with the USAF and TWA, and later as a sales engineer for Tektronix. More info on Ken, Virginia, and the Devil Mountain JB is available at