Jack Rusnak (Cornet) Jack, another original member of the Mudcats, has enjoyed trad, blues, and swing related styles, with his Mudcat band mates for the past 30+ years. He is self taught on the cornet. At Northern Illinois University, Jack met Ron Dewar who introduced and encouraged him to explore trad and other styles of music. Upon graduation, Jack became a Chicago Public School teacher. He enjoys his retirement playing with The Mudcats.
Dennis Trainor (Reeds) Dennis, an original member of the Mudcats, has played throughout the Midwest, Florida, and the Caribbean. While in the Caribbean, Dennis studied with the legendary Garvin Bushell. In addition to being the musical director and a member of the Mudcats for over 30 years, he also plays in several Chicago area Big Bands. He has mentored many of Chicago’s fine young jazz musicians, in his role as Director of the All City Jazz Band, which he co-directed with Dr. Curtis Prince.
Kim Mniszewski (Trombone) Kim has played in numerous big bands throughout Chicago. He is one of the original members of The Mudcats. In addition to his playing the trombone, Kim is President of FX Engineering where he directs and conducts projects related to forensic analysis of fire/explosion/ carbon monoxide incidents, life safety studies, hazards analyses, product liability studies, and testing to support forensic analyses. He is a busy man, who always seems to find time to get back to his beloved trombone.
Rick Murray (Vocals) Rick is a fine bass / baritone vocalist who learned how to sing by studying with Zilner Randolph who was the musical director for Louis Armstrong. Rick spent a number of years with the great Sun Ra Arkestra. After his years with Sun Ra, Rick settled down in Chicago and worked for several years with Lucius Bell and the Swinging 7/8 Notes.
Richie Pardo (Bass) Richie spent some of his early years in Chicago playing with Franz Jackson. He has also played with Ira Sullivan, Larry Novak, Ron Dewar, Rusty Jones, and Bugs Cochran. Richie led his own fine quartet for several years at the Honky Tonk Bar BQ. He is a devotee of the great Oscar Pettiford, and has produced a fine album dedicated to his mentor; I Get The Message / The Genius of Oscar Pettiford.
Richard Marcisz (Guitar) Richard, another original member of the Mudcats, has spent many years working with Midwest Show Bands. He adapts comfortably to an array of different musical genres, and particularly enjoys music composition. In addition to his musical interests, Richard is an astronomy enthusiast and a talented sketch artist. He has built several large telescopes which he occasionally takes with him to various parts of the world to photograph, and then oil paint what he has photographed.
Dr. Curtis Prince (Drums) Veteran drummer Curtis Prince, while making a stellar contribution as an educator in Chicago’s public school system, long has distinguished himself as a sideman with such artists as guitarist George Freeman, the late singer and pianist Corky McClerkin, tenorist Duke Payne, organist Odell Brown – and tenor great Stan Getz, playing on What the World Needs Now: Stan Getz Plays Bacharach and David. Curtis led his own band with veteran Chicago tenor man, Ari Brown, to open this past year’s Chicago Jazz Fest.