|Introduction to West Coast – The “Sierra Nights” CD is a musical partnership of Tim Stretton and Ruben Diaz that reaches back more than two decades. In 1989, their introduction by a mutual friend blossomed into more than two decades of musical partnership shared with the public over a variety of media. Since that fateful introduction, their collaborative nature and friendship fostered mutual involvement in several musical groups before founding West Coast in 1999.
Ruben Diaz, Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Co Writer, Co Producer Raised by a musical family, Ruben Diaz found his calling at an early age. With the help and teachings of his father Nino Ricardo, a master of the Requinto guitar, he attended the Musicians Institute of Technology and became a fluent and creative guitar player. Ruben’s ability to broaden the common standards for guitar, with flowing riffs and sharp chording techniques, has allowed him to adapt to several musical environments, playing with diverse musicians like Bobby Vega, Ray White, Garrett Sayers, Jimmy Sanchez, Melvin Seals, Carlos Rios and Prairie Prince. He continues to teach guitar at The College of The Redwoods as well as Humboldt State University in Northern California where he resides.
Tim Stretton, Piano, Hammond Organ, Fender Rhodes, Keyboards, Co Writer, Co Producer
Tim Stretton’s musical roots reach back more than 25 years to when he began playing and writing original tunes. Many of his compositions made their way onto both television and the silver screen. His expertise and exceptional talents landed him in a variety of lineups, from the likes of Herbie Hancock to Santana. Collaboration is his passion and joy, clearly heard in West Coast’s latest album with his musical friends and family.
Kevin Frazier, Alto Sax
Huey Lewis, Elvin Bishop and Clarence Clemmons are just a few of the acts who can proudly claim to have played with Kevin Frazier and the smooth sounds of his alto sax. A fruitful 30 year musical career. He co-produced his first CD titled, “Gemini,” with writing partner Rick Dellefield. He has also enjoyed success as a business entrepreneur. In 1990 Kevin was VP of Marketing for 21st Century Media, where he co-produced a virtual tour of the top recording studios in the world including George Lucas’s Skywalker Ranch, Ocean Way, Guillaume Tell, Wisseloord, and The Church Studios. This innovative CD was distributed on the cover of Mix Magazine. Today, when he is not playing sax, Kevin is President of Grid1.com where he and his partners are manufacturing professional battery-powered audio products in Northern California. Kevin also recently launched a new record label called Access Music Records.
Geoff Daugherty, Bass
For years, a youthful Geoff Daugherty watched his father Bob methodically strum his bass into the inner circle of musical legends by working with the likes of John Lennon, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Barbara Streisand. In addition his father played the unforgettable bass line to 70’s hit TV sitcom “Barney Miller”. At age 14, the precocious youth set a goal to become a bassist and to work with stringed instruments, just like Dad. Nowadays, Dad is more than proud, he’s a partner. The senior and junior Daugherty own Daugherty Violin Shop in Eureka, California where they sell, rent and repair stringed instruments from violins and cellos. Still strumming the burly stringed love of his life, Geoff plays with a craftsman’s eye and patience, understanding the revealing sounds of his bass.
Jason Hoffheins, Drums
Much like his counterparts, Jason Hoffheins began sharpening his musical chops during his formative years. Having been taught the drums by his father and piano by his mother, he performed his first pro gig at the ripe old age of 18. When Nashville beckoned, Jason answered the call, uprooting himself for “The Music City” at age 26 to begin his career as a session drummer. Jason played and recorded at several venues coast-to-coast, ranging from New York’s CBGB to Los Angeles’ The Viper Room, Pennsylvania’s Right Coast to Los Angeles’ Village Studios. Such flexibility proves to be a tremendous asset to West Coast.
Donald Hayes, Tenor Sax
Donald Hayes, a wind instrument man of the ages, collaborated with musicians of several genres and eras, ranging from pop to gospel, Chaka Khan to the Black Eyed Peas. Some of the artists who influenced his diverse style and ability include Cannonball, Donnie Hathaway, Sting, and James Taylor, to name a few. He began his musical career at UCLA, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Film Scoring. He eventually landed a gig scoring projects on the silver screen where he arranged horns and strings. His innate love of the saxophone and collaborating with other artists make Donald and West Coast a perfect match for their first album together.
Forrest ‘Frosty’ Lawson, Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Slide and Valve Trombone and Tenor Sax
With 25 diverse years of professional musical experience, “Frosty” Lawson is no stranger to either the recording studio or stage. Classically educated at Kansas State University in musical performance, education and theory, Frosty has a both a Bachelor’s Degree and two Master’s Degrees in the field. His expertise directed him to project manage as well as co-write and produce for the Village People, even performing live with the act on The Tonight Show as well as Madison Square Garden. He arranged, wrote, sang, recorded, produced and performed for John Sembello, Sandy Linzer, and Irwin Levine and performed with Bob Hope, Red Skelton, Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr., Buddy Rich, Branford Marsalis (Also on The Tonight Show), Clark Terry, Ed Shaughnessy and Chuck Mangione.
Dave Natale, Engineer, Co Writer, Co Producer, Percussion
Despite mixing for some of the most prestigious acts in music since the early 1980’s, you will unlikely hear Dave Natale name drop about his experiences with The Rolling Stones, Joe Cocker, Tina Turner, Lionel Ritchie, Motley Crue or the other numerous headliners whom he has collaborated. Dave’s illustrious career began with Asia’s “Heat of the Moment Tour” in 1981. Over the years, his professionalism and expertise earned him a place amongst the industry’s best sound engineers, working nearly 70 gigs throughout his career. Despite Dave’s modesty, you will hear him boast about his years collaborating with West Coast founders Tim Stretton and Ruben Diaz, whom he met in 2003 on the Fleetwood Mac “Say You Will Tour.”
Mo Pleasure, Bass, Fender Rhodes, Trumpet and Flugelhorn
Mo Pleasure is a man of many hats. He brings a wave of ability and know-how to West Coast that offers a myriad of musical options. Most recently he was the musical director in the Michael Jackson movie “This is it”. As a touring musician, he played with Ray Charles even before he graduated from the University of Connecticut. Following the Ray Charles tour, Mo set up shop in New York City jamming as a session musician and performer. Working with the likes of George Duke, Natalie Cole, Michael McDonald and Roberta Flack, to name a few. His solo work allowed him to gain a loyal following. Known for his distinct voice, Mo’s solo compositions earned spots on both television and the silver screen including, but certainly not limited to Spike Lee’s, “Get on the Bus,” and Disney’s “Three Men and a Little Lady.” He scored a gold record as musical director and keyboardist with Najee for their co-composition, “Tokyo Blue.” Capable of playing bass, keys and horns, directing, scoring and producing, Mo brings an edge to West Coast that will keep the sound organic, sophisticated and funky.
Oscar Seaton, Drums
It was a simple set of pots and pans that breathed life into the musical creativity and talents of young Oscar Seaton. Later it was the Sanctified Church where at age nine he began playing daily, that nurtured and honed his musical skills, eventually making his way onto the local Chicago scene, performing with legendary Jazz pianist Ramsay Lewis and rising talent, Brian Culbertson. Since then, he has toured with names like Yolanda Adams, Boz Scaggs, Lionel Ritchie and Grover Washington, Jr., earning the nickname “Seatpocket,” for his impeccable timing and force in keeping pocket. When not on the road with other musicians, Oscar is writing, recording and playing with his own bands, jazz project “Date of Birth”, and rock project “13 Curves”.
Walter ‘Wally’ Usiatynski, Percussion
Walter “Wally” Usiatynski honed his musical skills at the Eastman School of Music where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Percussion. Following his collegiate stint, Wally ended up in New York City, receiving a real world musical education by blending into the vast club scene of the 80’s and 90’s, jamming with the likes of Phoebe Snow, Joan Jett, John Sebastian, Elliot Randall and Jazz is Dead. Wally’s musical chops help him land the percussion chair for the very popular Broadway shows Hairspray, Smokey Joe’s Cafe, Hair, City of Angels, and Footloose.