The band features the South’s most select assemblage of musicians, with performers hailing from New York, Washington D.C., New Orleans, Miami, Cape Girardeau and Los Angeles. These seasoned musicians have performed with such greats as Lou Rawls, the Temptations, the Coasters, Dionne Warwick, Benny Goodman, Frank Sinatra, the Platters, the Four Tops, Diana Ross, and Harry Connick Jr. Members can also boast of degrees from the nation’s top music schools, including the Julliard School of Music, North Texas State University, and the University of Southern Mississippi.
See our player profiles below…
Here is the difference… unparalleled… a rare find indeed!
One of the elements that truly separate this act from all others is the extraordinary range and level of experience of the players and the musical prowess of each member. Mr. Big’s members hail from some ofthe most prestigious music schools and have been seasoned in the nation’s hottest cultural centers from New York to New Orleans. It is an intense love of music that drives a player to these heights of excellence and that joy of music making is the key ingredient in the fun and success of your event. Eight players of thiscaliber playing together every week… that’s the bomb!
Pearl Ash - Vocals
Pearl started singing in church in Mississippi at the ripe old age of 4. . In high school, she was in several plays and was a part of the select chorus “High School Singers”. She also toured with the high school show group called the “Show Stoppers” for functions throughout Southern Mississippi. During her junior year, Pearl was selected for try-outs at Opryland USA and made the call back list. She made several appearances on local TV shows as a special guest artist. While in HS, she was a member of the High Step team performing at local and regional sporting events. After HS she continued in theatre participating in several plays in local theatres. Pearl has also been a part of several Gospel Singing Groups and one of her groups were regulars on a Sunday Morning TV worship program. She was a Disc Jockey for a couple of years and from that experience, it has lead to commercial voice-overs. Pearl is a power house of emotion and is The Lady of Soul on the Gulf Coast.
Leah Yelverton – Drums
Leah Yelverton received her bachelor’s degree from Stanford University in California. A native of Gulf Breeze, she has performed with numerous bands and ensembles along the Gulf Coast, including the Pensacola Civic Band (tympani) and the Florida All State Orchestra, for which she was selected principal percussionist (1999). A talented composer, she has written and cowritten songs for the groups Night ‘n Day and Lord Rocko and the Heat, in addition to numerous solo compositions. She has had opportunities to share the stage with with Plas Johnson and William Warfield (Showboat), and has performed in the orchestra pit for the musical productions of No No Nanette and Funny Girl.
Tim Jackson – Upright Bass, Electric Bass, Tuba, Trombone
Brass & bass master Tim Jackson has studied with world renowned brass artists Arnold Jacobs (Chicago Symphony) and Chester Schmitz (Boston Symphony). Tim has performed with Bob Hope, Pete Fountain, Paul Anka, The Coasters, The Ink Spots, The New Orleans World’s Fair Big Band, and recorded at Sun Studios in New York. Presently the director of Combo and Jazz Bands at Pensacola Junior College Tim holds a Masters Degree in music from Northeast Missouri State.
Billy Armstrong – Guitar, Vocals, Keyboards
Has sang, played guitar and keyboards professionally for 35 years, taught guitar for many years and toured all over the world with various musical ensembles. Recorded several albums in the Midwest and Los Angeles and has done extensive recording, including sessions with Rick Derringer. Has sung and played on numerous commercials (i.e. Dairy Queen, Land O’ Lakes, Dayton/Hudson, Wiedemann Beer, etc.). He has played with members of Prince’s Band, The Steve Miller Band, Janet Jackson, Cher, Jonny Lang, and played in concert with the Allman Bros., Beach Boys, REO Speedwagon, The Rascals, JoJo Gunne, Brownsville Station, and The Outsiders.
Dee Hoham - Vocals
Originally from Scranton, Pennsylvania, Dee Hoham is one of the most exciting vocalists to hear on the Gulf Coast. While attending Scranton Central High School, Dee received vocal honors. She was also a finalist in the 1989 Northeast Pennsylvania District Vocal Competition. Dee has studied voice privately with instructor Cathy Smith at Marywood College in Scranton and also with vocal coach Nicki Cukor in Binghamton, New York. Dee moved to San Diego, California where she graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in Communications. Before her move south, she performed with rock band Epic and jazz band Brass and Ivory both out of Scranton, Pennsylvania. Before joining Mr Big Dee was featured vocalist with Pensacola based band Clark and Company.
Bob Maksymkow – Tenor Sax & Clarinet
Direct from the “Big Apple” former U.S. Air Force Band Leader Bob Maksymkow has appeared with Lou Rawls, The Coasters, The Platters, and performed on countless Jazz Fests throughout the United States. Bob holds a Diploma of Performance from Juilliard School of Music and is a truly gifted player on all the woodwinds.
Paul Scurto – Trumpet
University of Miami graduate Paul Scurto is “Mr. Trumpet” in the Southeast. One of the most versatile and in demand brass artist available in our region, Paul Scurto has toured with Dionne Warwick, Dianna Ross, Frank Sinatra, and was lead trumpet in Jackie Gleason’s Orchestra in Miami. A trumpet player of this caliber, so well versed… lead playing, solo Jazz, Pop and Classical, is a rare find indeed.
Paul Schortgen – Baritone Sax, Clarinet, Tenor Sax, Flute
Former member of the Commodores Paul Schortgen is a master of the woodwind instruments and is the hottest baritone sax man around. Paul has performed extensively on the East Coast and toured around the world during his 15 year stint with the Commodores. Mr. Schortgen has been featured on 9 international saxophone symposiums… look out!