The Joel Penner Sextet

The Joel Penner Sextet

The Band

Joel Penner


Joel is from Los Angeles, California. He began playing the trumpet at eight years old. He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music from the University of California at Berkeley and has been playing professionally ever since. He has backed up many famous artists, such as, The Temptations, Glenn Campbell, Florence Henderson and Stevie Wonder. He has primarily been a band leader and has led groups which have played clubs all over the U.S. and Canada. His present project, The “Joel Penner Sextet,” has been together since 1999 and has performed all over Southern California at numerous venues including Clubs, Colleges and Universities, Festivals, Fairs and Concerts. His 2001 CD, DragonJazz was very well received, getting airplay on jazz stations throughout the country. His latest CD, The Church of the Little Black Dog on the Sea Breeze label is due to be released in November. Joel plays a Stomvi Master Series trumpet and a Courtois flugelhorn.

Bill Von Ravensberg


Bill is also from Los Angeles. He started studying guitar and bass at eight years old. At eleven, he took up woodwinds which he played all through college. Towards the end of his college career, he started playing bass exclusively. Bill has recorded and toured with numerous stars including Tom Jones, Pat Boone, Frieda Payne, Thelma Houston, Helen Reddy, Johnny Rivers, Jennifer Warnes, John Guerin, Bill Watrous, Ray Anthony and more. Bill is a founding member of The Joel Penner Sextet and has been with the band since 1999. Bill plays a 1962 Fender Precision bass through a Walter Woods amplifier and a Goss Speaker.

Cengiz Yaltkaya


Cengiz is from Istanbul. His father was an accomplished pianist and one of the founders of The Istanbul Philharmonic. Cengiz studied music in Geneva before he moved to New York. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from NYU and has attended The New School, Julliard and graduated from The Berklee School of Music in Boston. Cengiz has studied privately with Herb Pomeroy, Gary Burton, Mike Gibbs, Steve Swallow, Johnny Bowden, Jimmy Giuffre and Sir Roland Hannah. He worked for Atlantic Records until 1995 when he moved permanently to Los Angeles. Since that time he has been an active jazz pianist playing and recording all over Southern California. He frequently tours Europe and has performed at jazz festivals in France, the Czech Republic, Cuba, Morocco, Rumania and Scotland. Cengiz is a founding member of The Joel Penner Sextet. Cengiz prefers Yamaha and Baldwin pianos and plays Roland electric pianos.

Doug MacDonald


Doug was born in Philadelphia and raised in Honolulu. He is one of the most respected guitar players in the business. He is a well known sideman and leader with many recordings under his own name. He has performed and recorded with Stan Getz, George Shearing, Joe Williams, Ray Brown, Buddy Rich, Dave McKenna, Groove Holmes, Jack McDuff, Ray Charles, Rosemary Clooney, Joe Pass, Herb Ellis, Hank Jones, Jack Sheldon and many others. Dough has been playing with the band since 2000. He plays a John Buscarino guitar through an Acoustic Image amplifier and a Rich Rezor speaker.

Michael Rose

Tenor/Soprano Saxophones

Michael was born in Omaha, Nebraska. He started studying saxophone at age eleven and was playing professionally by age fifteen. In 1980, Michael moved to Los Angeles to study with the great Joe Farrell. He also studied with David Schnitter, Archie Schepp and David Murray of the World Saxophone Quartet. Michael has extensive film and recording work including, “Honeymoon in Vegas” with Nicholas Cage and “Stanley’s Gig” with Faye Dunaway. He has performed and recorded with Freddy Fender, Charlie Rich, James Intveld, Karen Black and Jules Aiken. Michael has been with the band since 2000. He plays a Selmer Mark VI tenor and an Oleg soprano.

Steve Pemberton


A graduate of Berklee College of Music, Steve is one of the most active, prolific and eclectic performers on the scene today. For sixteen years Steve played with Peter Nero. He was the drummer for The Boston Pops for three years and has performed and recorded with such luminaries as Patti Page, Count Basie, Quincy Jones, Mel Torme, Grover Washington Jr., Doc Severenson, Patti Austin, Jeffrey Osborne, Ray Charles, Johnny Mathis, John Pizzarelli, The Smothers Brothers and many more. Steve joined the band in 2004 and has added an exciting dimension to an already excellent group. Steve plays Yamaha drums and endorses Zildjian Cymbals, REMO Percussion products and Vic Firth Drum Sticks and Mallets.


L.A. Jazz Scene: L.A.'s Only Jazz Paper - April 2005, Issue No. 211

Joel Penner


Trumpeter Joel Penner’s CD is a fun set of music that has the feel of a jam session. The eight songs consist of six well-known bop standards, guitarist Doug MacDonald's blues “No Lava” and an original, “Anita,” that sounds a little bit like “All The Things You Are” which it follows. However the tunes are not completely jammed for the arrangements (all but one by Rick Hils) are sophisticated and sometimes tricky while allowing plenty of room for solos.

With the exception of MacDonald, none of the musicians are all that famous but they each fare well. The sextet/septet consists of Penner, tenor-saxophonist Michael Rose, pianist Cengiz Yaltkaya, MacDonald and/or Allen Kalinsky on guitars, bassist Bill Von Ravensberg and Lee Spath or Jerry Redmond on drums. Penner and MacDonald often take solo honors although all of the players have their spots.

The music, recorded in studios in Burbank and Northridge, may not break new ground but it reinforces the modern mainstream of jazz, featuring excellent musicians who clearly enjoy playing together. Songs such as “Jeannine,” “The Way You Look Tonight” and “Joy Spring” all benefit from the respectful and swinging treatments.

Scott Yanow

Joel Penner

Joel Penner

Joel was born in Hollywood, California on October 28, 1946. He grew up primarily in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley where he began studying the trumpet privately at the age of eight. He was exposed at that early age to the joys and discipline of being a professional musician by his mentor Claude Lakey who was the director of the San Fernando Valley Youth Band, which offered an incredible opportunity to study and perform both classical music and jazz in a variety of situations. By the age of eleven, he was playing lead in a big band and by the time he was sixteen, he had performed twice at the Hollywood Bowl, performed at the 1960 Democratic Convention and sidelined in the marching band scene for the movie Hello Dolly starring Barbara Streisand and Walter Matthau.

When he was a sophomore in high school, Joel put together and directed his high school big band which performed at many local events throughout Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. By the time he was fifteen he was playing professionally in several small jazz ensembles and the Eddie Allen Big Band. He also, at that age received a scholarship to the Cal State University at Northridge’s Summer Music Institute which was composed of many of the best Southern California high school musicians and consisted of eight weeks of intense, eight hour a day training in all aspects of musical performance.

In 1963, at the age of sixteen Joel enrolled at the University of California at Berkeley, from which he graduated with a degree in music in 1968. He had the opportunity to study with some of the foremost composers in the world, including Charles C. Cushing, Andrew Imbrie and Jean Claude Eloy. During that time Joel was honored by being named Student Director of the College Band during his fourth year and in his fifth year he co-founded and directed the ASUC Jazz Ensemble, which has become noted for its annual high school Jazz Band Festival.

Right after graduation, Joel joined the California Army National Guard Band located in the Bay Area in order to fulfill his military obligation. During those six years, he studied privately with Larry Souza and John Coppola and worked casuals and in various club bands. He also had the opportunity to back up numerous artists, including the Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Florence Henderson, Glen Campbell and others. From 1970-1974 he was a regular in the Oakland Raider’s Band conducted by Del Courtney.

In 1975, Joel formed his own band which went out on the road, playing clubs all over the United States and Canada. The band was out non-stop for two years. They played five to six nights a week, four or five sets a night with only three or four weeks off each year. He returned to Los Angeles in 1977 and worked casuals, clubs and some record dates over the next six years.

In 1983, Joel decided to take a break from the music business and returned to school full time to get his doctorate in Oriental Medicine. In 1987 he received his license as an acupuncturist/herbalist and has maintained a successful practice since that time. During that time he co-authored a successful book on Chinese Medicine and became a well known teacher and lecturer on the subject. He continued to play, however his musical activities were greatly reduced.

In 1999, Joel found renewed passion for music and curtailed his teaching and lecturing in order to form his current band, The Joel Penner Sextet. The band has been a successful fixture on the L.A. jazz scene since that time. His debut CD, “DragonJazz” received airplay on over 40 full time jazz stations across the country. The band has performed at festivals, concerts, clubs and numerous private functions for almost six years. The release of his new CD, “The Church Of The Little Black Dog” in June 2005 takes the band to a new level. Sea Breeze Records signed the band and added it to its roster of jazz stars which includes Bobby Shew, Nick Brignola, Frank Strazzeri, Carl Saunders, Bob Florence, Doug MacDonald, Rob McConnel and many more.

The Church Of The Little Black Dog

The Church Of The Little Black Dog CD Cover

The Church of The Little Black Dog
gets the Joel Penner Sextet signed to
Sea Breeze Records!

After hearing the Joel Penner Sextet’s new CD The Church of The Little Black Dog, Sea Breeze Records has invited them to join their artist roster, which includes such luminaries as Bobby Shew, Nick Brignola, Bob Florence, Rob McConnell, Carl Saunders and many more.

Why do you suppose Sea Breeze Records, one of the largest independent jazz labels, would want The Joel Penner Sextet on their roster?

The Band Kicks!

“This is a really good CD!” says Danny Beher, president of Sea Breeze.

The CD starts with “You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To” by Cole Porter. This is a big band style tune that sounds much bigger than six performers, with catchy solos and a contrapuntal ensemble section that leads to a great “big band” style finish.

The second tune, slows things down a little with a swingin’, slightly Latin tinged version of Bronislau Kaper’s “Invitation”. Again, Rick Hil’s arrangement features wonderful solos and an ensemble section that is surprising within the context of the tune.

The next tune is “Straight Life” by Freddie Hubbard, a seventies jazz funk tune that makes everyone want to get up and dance. The arrangement features an unreal ensemble section flanked by the wonderful percussion solos.

Next is the great old standard “Laura” by David Raskin. The band starts slowly with the trumpet stating the melody beautifully and then jumps into a full blown Latin jazz treatment, with lots of percussion, great solos, a montuno section and a different restatement of the melody before the ending.

The fifth track is a fun tune written by Keith Jarrett called “The Windup”. It starts with a “down home” piano intro leading to a melody that sounds like it’s in a bunch of different time signatures then flies into a funky, down home solo section, giving each musician an opportunity to play alone with the drums for a while before the rest of the rhythm section joins back in.

The sixth tune on the CD slows things down with an unusual arrangement of Richard Rogers’ beautiful ballad “My Funny Valentine”. This tune is unusual for a couple of reasons: 1st, it is written in 3/4 time, 2nd, it goes into a “Peter Gunn” type ensemble section before re-emerging into a lovely ending.

The next tune is an original tune by the band’s guitarist, Doug MacDonald entitled “T & G”. It’s a classic be-bop style tune that allows plenty of room for solos.

The final tune on the CD is a rip roaring version of Airto Moreira’s “Tombo in 7/4”. This is an extra exciting Brazilian tune that moves back and forth between 7/4 and 4/4, featuring an extended percussion jam with all of the accompanying bells and whistles. The tune finishes up with a big ensemble ending followed by a vocal statement from Jasmine, The Little Black Dog, herself.


DragonJazz CD Cover

DragonJazz, the Joel Penner Sextet’s debut CD gets airplay on over 40 full time jazz stations across the country!

After hearing the Joel Penner Sextet’s debut CD DragonJazz, Jazz DJs all over the U.S. are playing it.

Why do you suppose so many jazz DJs are playing DragonJazz?

As Scott Yanow, reviewer for L.A. Jazz Scene says, “this is a fun set of music featuring excellent musicians who clearly enjoy playing together”.

The CD starts with Duke Pearson’s “Jeannine”, a big band style tune that sounds much bigger than just six performers

It is followed by a funky, slightly Latin tinged original tune by the band’s guitarist, Doug MacDonald called “No Lava” (Avalon backwards).

The next tune is the beautiful ballad “Easy Living”. The arrangement features beautiful solos all around.

Next is the great old standard “The Way You Look Tonight” by Jerome Kern. It is done as a samba. This is a fun tune with which arranger Rick Hils has done a masterful job making slight melodic and chordal changes that keeps the listener on his/her toes.

The fifth track is Kurt Weill’s classic “Speak Low” which swings really hard with great solos with fun drum interludes in between.

The sixth tune, also by Jerome Kern is “All The Things You Are”. The arrangement starts with the drums and flugelhorn playing by themselves. It moves into a big band ensemble section, a Latin piano interlude and then returns to the melody. It ends like it started with just drums and flugelhorn.

The next tune is also an original tune by trumpet player Dick Forrest entitled “Anita”. It is a beautiful bossa nova featuring muted trumpet and guitar. The Rick Hils arrangement is complex with a multitude of timbre changes.

The final tune on the CD is a great Rick Hils arrangement of Clifford Brown’s classic “Joy Spring”. The arrangement begins with a fanfare like contrapuntal statement and then slides unexpectedly into the melody. The solos are surrounded by exciting interlude sections with the tune ending with a version of the opening fanfare.

MP3 Samples


  1. Jeannine
  2. No Lava
  3. Easy Living
  4. The Way You Look Tonight
  5. Speak Low
  6. All The Things You Are
  7. Anita
  8. Joy Spring

The Church Of The Little Black Dog

  1. You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To
  2. Invitation
  3. Straight Life
  4. Laura
  5. The Windup
  6. My Funny Valentine
  7. T & G
  8. Tombo In 7/4

Booking Information

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The A-1 Artists Agency

tel: 818-888-1030


Booking Page

©2005 The A-1 Artists Agency