Mark Brueggemann, trumpet/cornet


Mark graduated from Southwest Missouri State University with a business degree and immediately went on the road touring with a very popular rock band called Second Sight. Through the years he has played trumpet numerous times with many great entertainers including Kenny Rogers, Benny King, Bobby Vinton, The Shirrels, The Temptations, Manhattan Transfer, Jimmy Dorsey, Johnny Lee, and the ever-popular local group, The M-Dock Band.


Mark is the owner of Trend Management, a company that manages money for individuals and corporations. He brings a strong lead sound, exciting, melodic solos, and an upbeat personality to the Creole Band.

Lane Waggoner, clarinet


Lane’s musical upbringing started here in the Ozarks in Lebanon, Missouri. His mother and father, both students of Jerry Hoover, encouraged him from an early age to focus his interests on music. While growing up in Columbia, Missouri he was exposed to a cavalcade of musicians and performers from all over the country at the Missouri Theater, and on the University of Missouri campus. His love for jazz most likely started when his grandfather copied off the first trumpet part of Don Costa’s “Easy Street” to play for the family on the saxophone. It was not long before Lane began playing regularly with his grandfather’s big band, and devoted himself to continuing his music education.

While attending Missouri State University, Lane was fortunate to study and perform with Jerry Hoover in his acclaimed ensembles. After obtaining a Bachelor of Education in 2010, he went on to teach language arts in the public school system. He also proudly served four years as the director of music for the Springfield Seventh-day Adventist Academy. Then, answering the call of the open sea, he performed aboard Carnival Cruise Lines in the Caribbean and in Europe. Currently, Lane can been seen around the community performing with the Lake Area Jazz Band, and playing tribute to the music of Steely Dan and Elvis Costello with G-14 and Beyond Belief, respectively.
Lane is your resident “petal pusher” with Baisch and Skinner Floral Wholesalers where, by day, he manages a four-state floral sales territory. His period-style sound and technique brings an excitement to the New Creole Jazz Band’s treble-end of the spectrum.

Bob Swanson, trombone


After Bob Swanson graduated from Missouri State University with a Bachelor of Music Performance in 1998, he headed to the University of North Texas and earned a Master of Music Performance in 2000. While there, he was a member of the world-famous One O'Clock Lab Band. Bob also spent time in Florida with the All-American College Band at Walt Disney World, sailed Alaska and the Caribbean while playing on cruise ships, and was a member of the Bobby Vinton/Glenn Miller Orchestra. In 2003, Bob went on tour with the jazz trombone group, "Spiritual to the Bone". Currently he is also a member of the Missouri Jazz Orchestra (MOJO), Springfield Brass Quintet, and plays and arranges for the M-Dock Band. He regularly plays as a substitute trombonist with the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, and can often be found in the pit of Springfield's own Landers Theatre where he has played numerous musical theater productions.


Bob is a published arranger for various ensembles, and is also adjunct low brass faculty at Drury University and Missouri State University in Springfield. The Creole Band is proud to have Bob on board. His beautiful, open tone, swingin' technique, and authentic, tailgate style are a perfect complement to the band.

Lee Smith, piano


Lee first became interested in music through the influence of an uncle in the 1950s. This favorite uncle was a fan of Dixieland and New Orleans jazz and was a record collector. These interests stuck with Lee throughout his life.


He started performing at the age of 16 both on piano and cornet and played both the older jazz and more contemporary music as the years went on. Eventually, Lee moved to the Ozarks and wound up as the ragtime piano player in the Silver Dollar City Saloon Show starting in 1986. In 1995, he went to the Showboat Branson Belle playing trumpet and valve trombone for almost eight years. Then, back to the saloon Show! Also during that time, Lee worked in an a show called the Memory Makers for seven seasons. This was the first show in Branson to feature music from the various decades as its theme.


At age 64, Lee semi-retired. More semi than retired! And that's the way Lee likes it. 

Dave Gravatt, banjo


After obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation Technology from Central Missouri State University, Dave Gravatt moved to St. Louis where he played trombone with The 1919 Jazz Band, Bob Ceccerini's River City Ramblers, The St. Louis Ragtimers, and Eric Sager's City Lights Jazz Band. He earned his Bachelor of Music Education at New Mexico State University and has 18 years experience as a music educator; elementary, junior high, and high school band director; jazz band clinician and adjudicator; and marching band clinician and adjudicator. He has performed with numerous entertainers including The Modernaires, Julio Iglesias, Bill Watrous, Johnny Cash, and Bob Hope and spent four years as principal trombonist and arranger/orchestrator with the Shoji Tabuchi Orchestra in Branson, Missouri. 

In 1995, Dave was diagnosed with Embouchure Focal Dystonia and can no longer play trombone. He has played banjo ever since. He also plays electric bass with some local bands and in the pit orchestra for various theaters including Springfield's historic Landers Theater.

Jesse Owsley, Bass


Jesse Owsley is a native of rural Southwest Missouri and grew up
listening to Louis Armstrong, Al Hirt and the Dukes of Dixieland
albums on the farm and playing his trumpet for his first audience of
cows and chickens. He continued as a trumpeter through college playing in the Drury College Jazz band and Orchestra as well as singing with the Drury Singers.


After graduation, he moved to Dallas, Texas, via the Alaskan Bush and made a hard turn to roots music playing guitar, mandolin and bass with bands in the Dallas Deep Ellum scene, founding the long running Irish Rock band, ‘The Killdares’, playing mandolin with singers such as Robin Lynn Macy of The Dixie Chicks, and swinging rhythms for Texas fiddlers.


Jesse is an alumnus of the Southwest Playhouse pit orchestra in
Clinton, Oklahoma, where he played bass on musicals such as Always Patsy Cline, Annie and others. Additionally, he has a long resume as a church musician playing electric and upright bass for orchestral to contemporary church music and everything in between.


In addition to his regular gig as bassist for the Springfield

Community Jazz Ensemble (formerly Little Hoover’s Big Band), he plays roots-based music with his fiddling partner, Melody Church, in their own www.PrimitivePhysick.Band. Jesse says, "Early New Orleans style jazz was one of my first musical loves as a kid and playing with New Creole Jazz Band is a full circle turn to my own personal musical roots." There are widely spread but unsubstantiated rumors that Jesse is the man behind the anonymous Blues bassist ‘L8cretacious’, however this

has never been proven.

Guest Musicians


We have been fortunate to have a number of great musicians as members of the band or who have sat in with us a time or two. CLICK HERE to see a partial list of those players.

Jeff Gouge, drums


Jeff’s interest in jazz started as a youngster lying on the floor in front of the family phonograph listening to LP records of Louis Armstrong, his dad’s favorite. Hearing Ringo Starr with The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, he spent a year saving up $250, and bought his first drum kit in 1965. Teaching himself to play the drum kit, he subsequently played in high school and college jazz bands. After graduating from The School of the Ozarks in 1976 with a degree in Criminology, he left the drums behind and spent 22 years in the United State Air Force as an aircraft maintenance officer. Shortly after retiring from the military service, he spent several years as the Music and Worship Director for a Christian Church in a suburb of Dayton Ohio.  He then repurposed his military training and background and worked for a decade as an independent private contractor for the US Department of Defense as well as the US Department of State in Africa and the Middle East. With the advent of his first grandchild in 2013, his traveling days ended and he returned Springfield and to the drums. Jeff also studies conga drumming and the vibraphone. You can hear him with several Springfield groups including: Carol Reinert’s Montage, RH Silverwood and Friends, The Brandon Street Stompers, the Missouri Jazz Orchestra (MOJO) and MOJO Lite.