The Sultans Easy Life Jazzband is currently on sabbatical. If you need a band please CONTACT Pete Emmans (519) 421-0294 in Woodstock Ontario for your dixieland jazz needs, Thanks Mike Phillips

    Sultans Easy Life(tm 1956/1990)

    Dixieland Jazz Band

    Sultans Easy Life (TM) 1956/1990

    Dixieland Jazz Band

    The Sultans Easy Life Dixieland Jazz Band was formed in the spring of 1994, when the Easy Life (TM) 1990 Dixieland Jazz Band amalgamated with the Sultan's Six (TM) 1956 Jazz Band. The resulting marriage of the bands has continued a great Jazz tradition in the Tri-County area.

    The line up currently includes Peter Mullenburg on Trumpet, Richard Mattson on Clarinet, David Neale on Trombone, Mike Phillips on Sousaphone, Joe Vadasz on Drums, and Ben White on Banjo & Vocals.
    Blaine Phillips who played drums and banjo for the band passed away September 15th 1997. Ed White another founding member of the Sultans Six passed on September 12th, 2001 They are both sadly missed by all of us.

    The band has a traditional New Orleans Jazz Sound taking its cues from groups like The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five and The Dukes of Dixieland as well as some great west coast bands like The Firehouse Five, Turk Murphy and Lou Watter's Yerba Buena Jazz Band.

    Describing their own sound as "Southern Fried Jazz", the band has played at Dances, Parades, Parties, Festivals, Store Openings, Sidewalk Sales, Political Rallies, Dinner Shows, and more.

    What ever your event The Sultans Easy Life Dixieland Jazz Band can host it for you!

    For Bookings Contact: The band is on sabbatical while Mike is on the west coast, but you can still contact one of us for availability of a band
    Joe Vadasz @ (519) 582-3707 9am to 9pm est
    Mike Phillips @ (250) 626-5616 1pm to 9pm pst. email
    Ben White @ (519) 879-6473 9am to 9pm est. email

    ...Blaine Phillips was born in Simcoe Ontario to a Jazz musician father and was tutored in the joys of jazz from his earliest recollections. He played in military and civil bands at the beginning of his career. In 1956 he co-founded the Sultan's along with Ed White who played around the tri county area for 35 years. The group worked successfully in several states in the United States during the summer months. As some members of the Sultan's retired he went on to amalgamate with the Easy Life Band making The Sultan's Easy Life (tm) Dixieland Jazz Band. Blaine also learned to play the banjo and doubled on both that and drums and also assisted with the musical library as well as a historical advisor on Jazz. Blaine passed away on Sept. 15th 1997. We all miss him and Dixieland Jazz is all the poorer for his passing.

    ...Eddy White was one of the founding members of the Sultan Six Dixieland Jazz Band. This band was certainly one of the long standing anchors in the South Western Ontario Regional Jazz Scene for close to 40 years - no small feat. Eddy honed his cornet skill playing with The Otterville Band in his youth - a family tradition that was ingrained in this marching group (Father, brothers, sisters and even in-laws). So much so, it was often a remark that if the White's didn't show up, half of the marching band was not there. Eddy met long time friend and musical collaborator Blaine Phillips through this group and this lead to the eventual formation of the Sultan's (named after a label on a box of raisins). With the Sultan's, Eddy enjoyed performing at various functions and establishments throughout the South Western Ontario region and the band certainly enjoyed success performing States-side around the Lake Erie rim as well. Many stories were passed along about nights playing on short cruise ships between ports on Lake Erie. This group was also a common draw to the Summer Gardens in Port Dover. In the early 90's Eddy joined forces with his son Ben (a part-time Sultan's member on bass) and David Neale to form the Traditional Style Jazz Group "the Jazz Rascals". This group enjoyed commercial success, touring much of Canada and the United States performing many popular Jazz Festivals, culminating with a standing ovation for their efforts as one of the headline acts at the "Bix Biederbeck Memorial Jazz festival" in Davenport Iowa in 1998. Eddy's cornet style was best described as unique (as he would have liked it) and he certainly made his "mark" in the regional jazz scene. Many of his and Blaine's recordings are available through contact with Ben White (see contacts above). Eddy was diagnosed with cancer in early 1999 and lost his battle with the disease on September 12th, 2001. He will be missed, but his influence lives on!

    Mike Phillips was raised in a household where live jazz was an everyday event. From his earliest recollection there were always jam sessions going on and his love of jazz grew from there.He got his start on the sousaphone at age 11 (they wouldn't let him join sooner) in the Town of Delhi Band, playing everything from marches to musicals. He followed that up with 4 years in the Delhi High School band while continuing with the Town band until work made it impossible to continue. He had a brief stint in the South Western Ontario All Stars a marching band that played for most of the Legions in the area, and played a bit of jazz on and off. This included some gigs with the Sultan's Six. But he never really got totally involved in jazz until 1988. In '88 some friends of his and an old high school teacher, Dennis Saunders, started getting together to play a little jazz and invited him out to play bass. This grew from a sort of evening out to a renewed passion for jazz. Within two years he became a founding member of the Easy Life Jazz Band (1990). Resurrecting the name of his grandfather Ted Phillips's Eazy Life Orchestra which performed during the 1920's and 30's. And he has been laying down the beat ever since. Mike is a member of St.Johns Lodge #104 A.F.& A.M. Norwich. Mike is currently living & working in the Queen Charlotte Islands of the west coast of British Columbia, Canada.

    Ben White's interest in the traditions of jazz began very early in his life listening to the many late Saturday-night and Sunday-after-church "jam" sessions that would take place in the family music room. Many musicians would drop by, playing everything from traditional jazz, pop, country and down east fiddle music. This, coupled with local church Choir work with his Mother, resulted in Ben's early passion for music. Ben purchased his first instrument, a bass, from paper route/grass cutting capital and played his first "paying gig" with the Sultan's Six on a News Years Eve when he was the ripe old age of 12 - earning $40! From that experience, he was hooked. Ben steered away from the jazz scene for several years and made his living as a freelance touring and studio musician playing mostly Country and Texas Swing calls on bass until an opportunity arose in the early 90's. The Sultan's, faced with a banjo shortage for a long string of corporate gigs, gave him the chance to try to fill a banjo spot. Borrowing a "Maybell Tenor" from Blaine, Ben learned the "basics" and soon began to find his chops covering many of the performance dates for the group over a two year contract. Late in 1995, Ben had decided to get out of the "country" market. As Mark Twain says "when you come to the fork in the road - take it". Sitting in Eddy's kitchen with local Sousaphone player David Neale of Tillsonburg, Eddy, Ben and David decided to put together an group for filling the "smaller" market. Cornet, banjo, vocals and sousaphone turned out to be a very successful combination. The three decided to put the push on to make the group a full time commitment, recorded a CD in the spring of 1996 and went on to enjoy several years of success touring as the "Jazz Rascals". The group played several Jazz Festival tours throughout North America, appeared on television many times and still enjoy hearing the project on several jazz radio stations. Some unreleased studio tracks are in the "can" but were never pressed as Eddy's health problems brought this unit to a close. Ben plays banjo and guitar and enjoys adding his unique vocal style to the great old tunes that allow such true expression. Ben certainly misses his two largest jazz influences (Eddy and Blaine), but works hard to keep the tradition alive!

    David Neale began his professional music career with the “Easy Life Dixieland Jazz Band” as their trombone player in the early 90’s. He continued with this group until it’s eventual demise. Later he was mentored by Eddy White the cornet player / promoter of the Sultan’s Six. David spent many hours with Eddy learning about Jazz, and enjoying the truly great talent that was “Eddy White”. David was doubly fortunate though, because another great musician, and coincidentally Eddy’s son – “Ben White”, attended a great majority of his learning sessions with Eddy. Ben played a huge part in influencing the learning curve and the eventual bass stylings that David produced. During countless hours of learning sessions David and his two teachers became very close. The friendship forged lasted with Eddy until his passing in September 2001 and continues with Ben today. This friendship was the building block for a new creation, a jazz trio of cornet, banjo and sousaphone. This group started literally as a – what happens if you put these three instruments together? – Type of jam session – “one dark and stormy night…” It was evident that night, in the mid 1990’s that they had a winning combination!! This group fondly named the “Jazz Rascals” was born. It was a long, sometimes tough struggle to become part of the top of the traditional jazz scene. However, their “stick-to-itiveness” as Ben would say, and their belief in their product was the attitude that pushed them to the top. They played their way across Canada and the U.S. participating in major jazz festivals as well as small intimate venues. During these years they also completed and successfully marketed a CD that displayed the multiple talent of the “Jazz Rascals”. These years of experience with the White family were what molded David as a musician and performer. These experiences also gave David the ability to double on acoustic bass as well as trombone. In fact, through Ben he was able to participate on trombone in a horn section, to record with the country artist “Terry Sumsion”. These recording sessions produced a Christmas CD project and a successful single CD released in Europe titled “Truck Drivin’ Man”.

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