If you’ve visited Severino’s Bar and Grill on a Thursday evening in the last decade, you know that no one pours smooth jazz from the bell of a trumpet quite like Stan Soroken. This month, Soroken joins the long list of esteemed musicians—including Velzoe Brown and Don McCaslin—to receive a Brownie Award by the Santa Cruz Jazz Society for his contributions to the local scene. It’s been a long journey for Soroken, who spent three weeks just trying to produce noise from his horn as an 8-year-old in Salinas. Eventually he found his groove with the help of Spike Jones’ tuba player and a member of the San Francisco Symphony.
“I guess my professional career started when I was about 13,” recalls Soroken. “I was playing with this dance band called The Stardusters and the rest of the members were over 18. If I was ever sick, they’d refuse to play.” Soroken went on to play trumpet in the United States Army. While enlisted in Germany, he took flügelhorn and trumpet lessons from Heir Seidel, a member of a German opera company. Eventually, Soroken moved on to tour California, playing gigs with the likes of Wayne Newton, and ultimately settled down in the Monterey Bay area, where he has been a staple in the local scene ever since. “I’ve been a part of the [Jazz Society] for a long time now and I’ve loved every minute of it,” he says. “Although I played jazz, I was originally trained in classical trumpet and saw myself as more of a big band player. They have a great learning atmosphere and it’s given me the chance to go down a road less traveled by me.” Performing for an audience is his lifelong love. “I play from the heart and they always seem to appreciate it,” he says. “It never gets old.”
INFO: Stan Soroken performs from 6-9 p.m. every Thursday at Severino’s Bar and Grill, 7500 Old Dominion Court, Aptos. No Cover. 688-7300.