Biography

I'm a freelance musician living in Austin, TX and playing the styles of music that I first heard when I was very young.
I have been playing cornet for over 40 years, and clarinet intermittently as a second instrument for about 25.  
After a series of various life-enriching jaunts, I joined the ranks of the full-time musicians in the new millennium.  

David Jellema was born in the Nation's Capital and raised in its suburbs. As a lad he spent his summers by the shores of Lake Michigan, where he met and came under the influence of two well-known disciples of Bix Beiderbecke—Tom Pletcher and Don Ingle (both members of the Jackpine Savages and the Sons of Bix, bands inspired by the repertoire and style of Bix). Ingle's and Pletcher's mentorship continued to inspire Jellema throughout his development.

While growing up in DC, David played his first gigs and sat in with local traditional bands such as Southern Comfort (at age 13), Buck Creek Jazz Band, the Storyville Seven, the Last Chance Jazz Band, The Bay City Seven, and the Federal Jazz Commission. (Cornetist of the FJC, Marty Frankel, was also influential at this time.)

 

After obtaining his BA in Classical Civilizations, and after further course work in Middle Eastern studies at Calvin College, Jellema lived in Egypt for two years (1989-1991) working with Horn of Africa refugees. He then spent a few months in northern Iraq and southeastern Turkey doing relief work with Kurdish residents and refugees.

 

On his return to the DC area in 1992, Jellema began his coursework towards obtaining a Masters in Library Sciences at the University of Maryland (1994). His course of study there procured him a practicum at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History Archives Center, where he organized a collection of Herman Leonard's photographic prints. He stayed on to do contract work in the Duke Ellington Collection, processing the Duke's business records under Scott Schwartz and John Fleckner.

Also at this time Jellema joined the New Traditional Jazz Band, which played a few traditional jazz festivals (Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival, Great Connecticut Traditional Jazz Festival in Moodus, Hot Steamed Jazz Festival in Essex, San Juan Island Jazz Festival, Sacramento Jazz Festival and Jubilee).  They recorded three cds (A-1 Combination, Jazz Lips, and Get Wit' It).

 

In January of 1996, Jellema moved to Murfreesboro, Tennessee to work in the Center for Popular Music, a sizable archives and library of American popular and vernacular music genres and media. After five years there, Jellema left in order to play music full-time in the Middle Tennessee area.

While in Tennessee, Jellema played and recorded with singer, songwriter and guitarist Justin Thompson (Tasty Puddin', Brand New Same Old Obsessions), touring the Southeast. He also played regularly for two years in Nashville with jazz groups led by multi-instrumentalist David Hungate and singer April Barrows and with a group co-led by Titan Hot Seven drummer Danny Coots and guitarist Jerry Krahn. He made informal various appearances as well in Chapel Hill, NC with Jimbo MathisKatherine Whelan, and Tim Smith of the Squirrel Nut Zippers.

Jellema appears on a dozen or so recordings of various jazz, pop, rock and country artists in Tennessee. In 2002, Jellema joined the alternative art-rock band Juan Prophet Organization, playing clarinet and cornet. He appears on three of their CDs (Naked and Palletized, Carrot and the Stick, Cocktails with Carnivores). They completed a two-month tour in the spring of 2007 which brought them from the Knitting Factory in New York City to the Rock It Room in San Francisco, with more than thirty performances country-wide.

In July 2007, at the invitation of longtime associate, clarinetist Ron Hockett, Jellema moved to San Antonio to work occasionally with the Jim Cullum Jazz Band.  Jellema subbed for Cullum, played in the Landing All Stars, performed regular weekly duo and trio shifts on the patio of the Landing, and formed the Mission City Hot Rhythm Cats with JCJB alumni, Mike Pittsley, Mark Hess, and Ed Torres.

He currently lives in Austin where he freelances his talents. He has been among founding members of the Thrift Set Orchestra (digital ep), East Side Dandies, Hollywood Revue (PremiereOxblood Melodians, and Bat City Sixa regular member of The Jazz Pharaohs, Albanie and Her Fellas (Baby Blues Writes Home), Jonathan Doyle Swingtet (Too Hot for Sox) and Sahara Swingtet, Floyd Domino All Stars, Brooks Prumo Orchestra, Waller Creek Vipers, La Grosse Tete; and adjunct to Aunt Ruby's Sweet Jazz Babies, Rent Party, and The Swingsters.  Brief or extended appearances with various other groups are numerous.  

When not playing music, Jellema enjoys writing, photography, and travel. His travels have taken him to Netherlands, Spain, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Hungary, Greece, Turkey, Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Alaska.

 

When playing cornet, Jellema most often plays on a 1965 Getzen Eterna.  (Among his other favorites are a 1929 Conn Victor, a 1934 Conn Victor, an 1891 Conn Wonder, and an 1893 English Besson.)  On clarinet, Jellema plays on a 1978 Buffet R13 and a 1960s Selmer 10... and occasionally a Yamaha 34, a Normandy 10, a Yamaha Allegro, a Jupiter, and a Selmer Signet 100.

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