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Kevin Flynn: About the band

About the Band

Svengali is Kevin Flynn on sax, Dan Waldis on piano, Jim Stout on bass, and Mark Chaney on drums and vocals. Recently featured at the Murray Heritage Center, their uptempo tunes remind one of a funkier Spyro Gyra, while their ballads have Mark Chaney crooning ala Sinatra or Buble. The band formed with the goal of playing authentic, but accessible jazz, that would take the listener on a journey through swing, bebop, funk, fusion, and modern styles of jazz. The name Svengali was taken from the hypnotic character in a French novel, who cast a spell on a woman so she could sing like an angel. The members of Utah’s Svengali hope to cast a spell with their music wherever they play.

Kevin Flynn - Sax, flute, harmonica

"Music has been my passion ever since I was a wee lad listening to my father sing Irish ballads while strumming the guitar. I picked up the sax at age 10 and learned to play in school bands as we roamed the country like restless gypsies, stopping in Minnesota, Colorado, Florida, Arizona, California, and finally Utah. I loved listening to the cool sax of Paul Desmond (Dave Brubeck Quartet), then became enamored with the sassy blues of Cannonball Adderly. While working as a gas station attendant, I taught myself to play the blues harp to pass time during those cold winter nights when business was slow. Muddy, Sonny Boy, Little Walter; they struck a chord deep inside of me and the blues have never left me since. After high school I lived in Ireland for two years, and it was there that I reconnected with the mystical, soulful, and rollicking Irish music that was already in my blood. I learned to play the tin whistle, and you will still see me every year in the St. Patricks Day parade, playing jigs as the Flynn Clan comes down the street."

Mark Chaney - Drums, Vocals

"Have drums, will travel." reads the card of this versatile percussionist. Mark Chaney has accompanied a diverse group of artists, including Bobby McFerrin, Mose Allison, Elvin Bishop, Herb Ellis, Laurel Masse, Von Freeman, and Joe Henderson. As a bandleader, he has enjoyed two European tours, including a spot at the prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival. Recent compositions include an original score for the successful PBS documentary, "Salt Lake- Once Upon a Time", and further contributions to the series, "Utah in the Fifties”. In 2002, Mark performed extensively during the Winter Olympics, and has been featured in the Utah Arts Festival, and the Park City International Jazz festival, backing up French guitarist Serge Kreif. Now in the fortieth year of teaching private music lessons, Mark is also Band Director for the Weilenmann School of Discovery. He travels extensively from his home base, “Blue Sky Studios”.


Jim Stout - Bass

Jim Stout has played the bass for over 35 years. He plays electric and acoustic bass and has recorded music for national and local television, radio advertising spots and motion pictures. He toured the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom with the Osmond Brothers. Jim was an adjunct professor for the University of Utah Music Department and has performed with many national and local professional acts, including Freddie Hubbard, Sam Cardon, Hank Jones, Herb Ellis, and John Stowell. Jim continues to be an active bass player in the mountain west area playing regularly with several different performing groups.

Dan Waldis - Pianist

Dan Waldis, a Salt Lake native, began learning piano at age 7.  Even at an early age, he could not tell the difference between someone in the house playing piano and his father playing the stereo.  Slowly he learned that if no one was sitting at the piano, it was probably the stereo.

But seriously, folks...

Dan Waldis, a native of Salt Lake City, began learning the piano and the clarinet at age 7.  His first piano lessons were from his great aunt, who attempted teaching him how to read written piano music.  Failing this in the beginning, he  demonstrated abilities at an early age of learning music by ear.  He played both piano and clarinet until junior high school, where one of his band teachers asked him to play tenor saxophone.  He took an immediate interest in the instrument, playing with the concert bands through high school.  It was during these years that he developed an interest in jazz.

During his early years he was surrounded by the music of Ray Charles, Nat King Cole, Errol Garner and Art Tatum.  As he began to play saxophone more seriously, he started studying Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane.  And as he began his college years he  again became more interested in the piano, staying exclusively with the instrument.  His later influences are Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans, McCoy Tyner, Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarrett and Chick Corea.

As a pianist, Dan has shared the stage with such jazz greats as Freddie Hubbard, Wynton Marsalis, Don Menza, Brandon Fields and Bill Watrous.  He has recorded with Mike Stern and Joe Beck.  He has written and recorded many kinds of arrangements, including orchestra and big band.  

He attended the University of Utah, and is currently teaching jazz piano students for the university music program.  His annual Christmas concert "A Little Jazz With Your Mistletoe" is presented the first week in December and continues to gain popularity.