The Sunnyland Jazz Band are a group of versatile musicians based in Suffolk County who specialize in traditional jazz rarities of the 1920’s through the 1940’s, featuring Bob Barta on banjo, John Klumpp on trumpet, and Jeff Furman on tuba. The group is generally recognized for their unique sound and sense of humor. You may have seen and heard them locally at numerous street fairs, festivals and concert appearances across Long Island. They regularly perform at Bonnie Jean’s restaurant in Southold on select Thursday nights.
The group’s leader, Bob Barta, has a well-established reputation as a banjoist and vocalist in traditional jazz circles, specializing in novelty and rare tunes of early jazz. Over the years, Bob has played at diverse venues including New York’s Birdland & 21 Club, the Gold Dust Saloon in San Francisco, and in New Orleans on the Delta Queen riverboat as well as at Preservation Hall. Other notable performances included the Today Show, National Public Radio, and twice at Carnegie Hall. In recent years, he’s been featured at jazz and banjo festivals across Canada and the US.
Besides leading Sunnyland, Bob has performed many other groups including the Howard Hovey Trio, the New York Banjo Ensemble, the Isotope Stompers, and the Wolverine Jazz Band of Boston. Using a variety of styles and instrumentations, his CD In One Era And Out The Other features Bob on banjo, tenor guitar, and vocals playing re-discovered classic songs from the tunesmiths of Tin Pan Alley. He was a featured guest on a 2008 CD by the Loose Marbles of New Orleans.
In his other life, Mr. Barta is Assistant Professor of Business and Information Systems at Suffolk County Community College. He is also president of a non-profit historic theater, the Vail-Leavitt Music Hall, in downtown Riverhead as well as co-director since 2006 of the Annual Riverhead Blues Festival.
John Klumpp’s trumpet style has been called “exuberant”, “exciting”, and “naturally swinging” by his fellow jazz musicians across Long Island. Since his introduction to Dixieland-style music with Bob Barta in 1987 and as leader of his own Starry Night Stompers, John has played throughout the tri-state area for numerous country clubs, business associations, and private affairs. He also performs regularly with Big Band East (as trumpeter and vocalist) and the Old Bethpage Village Restoration Band, including an appearance in the movie “Kate & Leopold”. Despite the vast financial riches available in the field of jazz music today, John maintains his position as Assistant Curator of the Botanical/Biological Science unit at SUNY – Stony Brook.
Jeff Furman is known as one of the finest all-around tubaists in the tri-state area, providing support for many of the area’s best classical and jazz groups. In addition to his work with the Sunnyland Jazz Band, Jeff plays with a diverse range of other professional concert ensembles including the Long Island Brass Guild, the Banjo Rascals, and the American Concert Band. He also works as a freelance computer consultant.