Southern Jazz consists of six talented musicians:
Dr. Ted Borodofsky, Clarinet
In a mesmerizing Mississippi cadence, this Paducah ophthalmologist entwines his two passions, medicine and music, as he explains that he grew up playing the clarinet, knowing that I would one day be a doctor. His family in the Mississippi Delta region planted his professional ambition, while jazz great Pete Fountain fueled his love for a sassy reed. Today Ted successfully blends his career and his hobby by coordinating Southern Jazz.
Jerry Ford, Trumpet
Jerry is from Cape Girardeau, MO and has been a member of Southern Jazz since 1990. He plays the trumpet as well as adding vocals to the group.
Since 1958, Jerry Ford Orchestras have entertained at dances, receptions, anniversary parties, weddings, corporate functions, shows, and concerts throughout a five-state region, in lineups ranging from a five-piece combo to a 19-piece orchestra. Jerry has also played in orchestras with Bob Crosby, Dick Jergens, and Jack Stalcup.
Ray Cissell, Trombone
Ray started playing trombone at the age of 12, then switched to bass trombone at 14 and began private study with Dr. Ernest Lyon (Eastman School of Music) at the University of Louisville. At about the same time, Ray had his first symphony experience with the Louisville Civic Symphony Orchestra and his first jazz exposure with the University of Louisville jazz lab band. For the next several years, he progressed through many different classical variations and many different jazz bands throughout the Louisville area.
After leaving Louisville, Ray took up study at Murray State University, majoring in music under the direction of Dr. Wayne Sheley (Eastman School of Music). He also got some on-the-road experience performing jazz and standards with the Jack Stalcup Orchestra.
In 1970, Ray was called into the service. He played with the Third Army Headquarters Band in Atlanta as well as several regional jazz groups before being sent to Nuremberg, Germany, where he was assigned to the Adjutant General Corps and embarked on a whole new musical experience, performing all over Europe.
After the army, Ray settled in the Purchase region of Western Kentucky. It was there that he began playing with Dan Steeles Top 5 jazz group and later met up with Southern Jazz. He has been with the group since 1995.
R.H. Homer Pruitte, Piano
Homer is a self-taught piano player from Dawson Springs in Western Kentucky. He began his first professional job at the age of 12, then joined the Jack Stalcup Band at 16. He also toured the U.S. with the Russ Carlisle and Teddy Phillips bands.
A graduate of Murray State University, Homer also studied jazz at North Texas University. He was band director in the Hopkins County school system for 27 years before retiring.
Jim Fern, Bass
Jim holds both Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Arts in Music Education degrees from Murray State University. He taught band and choir in Kentucky schools for 21 years.
As a performer, he began his career at the age of 12 in the Southern Illinois area and later played with the Jack Stalcup and Troyce Hutchinson bands.
Jim enjoys playing with Southern Jazz, but he also finds time to play with a small jazz group aptly named the Grumpy Old Men as well as a 10-piece big band made up of retired music teachers called the Music Makers Swing Band. He and his wife, Carolyn, live in Calvert City, where for the past 25 years he has served as the executive secretary and manager of the state office of the Kentucky Music Educators Association.
Dean Hughes, Drums
Southern Jazz is rounded off by drummer Dean Hughes.