Kairos-Milwaukie United Church of Christ

Together is a good place to be!

The King MachineTo celebrate the life and work of Art Abrams, a special night of music was presented on September 30, 2023 at the Alberta Abbey in Portland, Oregon (read our original post). The King Machine showcased Art's personally curated selection of Elvis Presley's music played to that big band sound Art is known for. The music was arranged and conducted by KMUCC member Dave Parker.

A collection of videos of the show are now available on YouTube. Below is just one example found on the David Parker YouTube Channel

Don’t Be Cruel

Written by Otis Blackwell, Arranged and Conducted by Dave Parker 

The King Machine

  • Vocalist: LaRhonda Steele
  • Solos: Pete Boulé, Dan Balmer, Garner Pruitt, Mike Snyder 



  • Carl Poole - alto saxophone
  • Jeff Homan - tenor saxophone
  • Don Nelson - tenor saxophone
  • Pete Boulé - baritone saxophone
  • Rick Tippets - trombone
  • Jim Fitzpatrick - trombone
  • John Ohnstad - bass trombone
  • Greg Garrett - trumpet
  • Garner Pruitt - trumpet
  • Buzz Graham-trumpet
  • Dan Balmer - guitar
  • Clay Giberson - piano
  • Dennis Ciaza - bass
  • Mike Snyder - drums


  • Produced by: Dave Parker, Rick Tippets, and Art Abrams
  • Recorded at Alberta Abbey on September 30, 2023. Portland, Oregon
  • Sean Flores - Stage, Sound
  • Shawn Kirkeby - Video, Editing, Sound
  • Malia Tippets - Promotion, Program
  • Kristin Valinsky - Facilities Management

About Art Abrams

Art Abrams began his music career as a teenager in the midst of the big band era. Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Woody Herman, Glenn Miller, and his personal favorite, Harry James were the kings of music. He fell in love with the sound of the trumpet, especially the trumpet stylings of Harry James and later in his career, Chet Baker.

After graduating from the Los Angeles City College and the City College Jazz Band, Art became a professional musician playing with the Jerry Gray, Charlie Barnet, Les Elgart, Keith Williams, and Buddy Bregman big bands. Art still regards band leaders Stan Kenton, Count Basie, and Woody Herman as major influences in his own style of big band music. Art has played in, and been a leader of several small combos, including Latin, jazz, and casual combos. And, in 1986 he created his own big band, the Swing Machine. Art has become one of KMHD's most popular DJ's with his 'Juke Box Saturday Night' broadcast. He is a 2018 Jazz Master and has been inducted into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame and in 2009 Art was given the hall of fame award by the Jazz Society of Oregon.

About Dave Parker

Dave Parker had a distinguished career as a band director for 44 years. From Eastern Oregon to the Oregon Coast, to the Portland Metro area Dave taught music to all grade levels, with his high school bands winning multiple awards. The last 16 years of his teaching life were spent at University of Portland, where he led the U of P Jazz Festival, and worked with many well-known musicians and writers. Active as a music writer and arranger, he has written hundreds of original works and arrangements for groups around the U.S. He owns 13 copyrights and has been published by Hal Leonard Publishers, Barnhouse Publishers, and J.W Pepper publishers. He is now enjoying retirement if you call this a retirement!!
(Dave actually saw Elvis in concert in Las Vegas in 1969)