Big Circle is an instrumental quartet from Madison, Wisconsin, and a recent collaboration of Rich Larson – drums, Doug White – keys, Bob Kerwin – sax, and John Schaffer – bass. We perform original compositions with elements of jazz, R&B, and pop. At this point a few jazz standards may be mixed in, although we ultimately plan to have an all original repertoire. We are almost there.
Here are four recordings of our songs. Below our music is information about each of us. Photos are coming soon!
Rich is originally a farm boy from southwest Wisconsin. He taught himself to play drum set during the Beatles era and has played many diverse musical styles and bands over the years. He attended Berklee School of Music in Boston and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Rich’s experience spans rock and roll, rhythm and blues, soul, country and western, musical theater, jazz, and latin music, including a 20 year run playing timbales with Madisalsa, Madison’s premier salsa band. He lives with his wife, Mary, in Madison, Wisconsin and is studying how to use cajon drumming in a jazz standards setting.
Doug performs on piano, organ and synthesizer, and writes songs. He learned jazz and blues mainly by playing with others, and studied briefly with Duke Ellington and Marion McPartland and at UW-Madison and Lawrence University. He has played in a variety of settings including five years in a jazz and funk group with “The Funky Drummer” Clyde Stubblefield, and a 10 year stint as house pianist for the old Nadia’s Restaurant on State Street.
Bob began playing saxophone in grade school and has performed with big bands, small jazz ensembles, R&B and rock groups, symphonic bands, and saxophone quartets. Since 2013 he has played twice monthly at Delaney’s Restaurant either in a jazz duo or with his jazz quartet. He and Doug are the primary song writers of Big Circle.
John is Professor of Music Theory in the UW Madison Music Department and also directs the Jazz Standards Ensemble. His official academic bio is here. Outside of the UW, John moonlights as a freelance jazz bassist.