Who are the Oklahoma Twisters, anyway?
George Welling:
Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
George was a student of big band rhythm man, Steve Jordan (Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Will Bradley, and others). George has been a staff musician for the Augusta Centerís Swing Week for nine of its ten years, and has performed with Masterson and Blackburn, the Hula Monsters, Swingabillies and local bluegrass groups. He is a regular member of both the Tom Cunningham Orchestra and The Urban Legends. 1998 "Wammie" nominee for "Country Vocalist."
Jeff Reynolds:
Fiddle, Electric Mandolin, Vocals
What's a western swing band without a swingin' fiddle player? Jeff has been known to play anything from bluegrass to bebop, but his first love is western swing - you'll know that as soon as you hear him. A multi-instrumentalist, Jeff also plays guitar and banjo with the Tom Cunningham Orchestra, the Conservatory Classic Jazz Band, and Big Bertha's Rhythm Kings.
Ira Gitlin:
String Bass, Vocals
Ira, a talented multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and arranger, has returned to the bass, joining Brian and George in the Twisters' hard-swinging rhythm section. Ira is a highly in-demand musician, performing with groups of local and national reputation (Chesapeake Retrievers, Rock Creek, Hard Travelers, Johnson Mountain Boys, Pat McGee band, Patent Pending, and Peter "P.D.Q. Bach" Schickele). He teaches banjo, bass, and guitar and is a regular member of The Urban Legends along with George.
Lynn "Leon" Kasdorf:
Steel Guitar, Vocals
One of the swingin-est steel players in the area, Leon was the second individual in the band to be singled out for "Wammie" nomination in 1998 (Country Instrumentalist). He has recorded with the Cajun band Squeeze Bayou and with The Pfieffer Brothers, and has performed with Out Behind the Barn, The Atomic Hillbillies and others. He can also been seen with the alt-country band "One Horse Town". Although the photo shows him leaning on an Emmons, he usually plays a double or triple 8 string Fender straight steel.
Brian Alpert:
Brian has performed at festivals, clubs and events across the U.S. and internationally. His diverse background includes playing western swing with Rounder recording artists Cowboy Jazz and Western Swing Hall of Famer Maryann Price; delta and Chicago blues with guitarist Bob Margolin of the Muddy Waters band; rock with guitar icons Jimmy Thackery and Tom Principato; jazz with Mose Allison, Tim Eyermann and Big Nick Nicholas; and every kind of music under the sun with legendary guitarist Danny Gatton. Brian has performed for an audience of 3 million people on Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion and for a slightly smaller, though somewhat better dressed audience on New Year's Eve at Manhattan's famous Rainbow Room. Brian currently occupies the drum chair in the DC-based vintage big band Doc Scantlin's Imperial Palms Orchestra and Washington's premier traditional New Orleans jazz ensemble, the Conservatory Classic Jazz Band.
Tom McLaughlin Tom McLaughlin:
Lead Guitar, Fiddle
An electrical engineer and member of the Audio Engineering Society, Tom worked as the Twistersí sound man for two years before joining the group last October, adding "Texas twin fiddle" to the groupís capabilities. Tom had been a member of many local groups including Rock Creek, Randy Barrett Trio and Roadside Attraction, and has never technically been a member of the Takoma Mandoleers.