The Bucket List Jazz Band

Almost everyone has a list of things they want to do before they die, a bucket list. Jim Milan crossed something off of his list by creating the Bucket List Jazz band. The 94-year-old got the idea when his wife and he were driving to Chicago to see one of his beloved grandchildren. She asked him if he had anything on his bucket list that he had not yet done, and his mind went straight to playing jazz music. Milan has always had a passion for music, especially focusing on the jazz genre.

Milan’s main inspiration was “The Dixieland Story” by Matty Matlock. This has been his favorite album for the past 50 years, listening to it on a regular basis. Milan found another artist whom he adored, Bill Allred, a trombone player with his own group. One of the songs on his album was one of Matlock’s arrangements, so Milan got in touch with Allred and asked for a copy of the arrangements. After a lot of negotiating, Milan finally got them, and wanted to start playing them, but he could not do it on his own, he needed to find other jazz players to join him.

Milan found nine other men in the same walk of life as him, and they came together and formed the “Bucket List Jazz Band.” These men are all well renowned and talented musicians playing for their own benefit. Milan and his friends now play at the Live Oak Music Hall and Lounge, and Shipping and Receiving Lounge once a month, and for free might I add!


Jim Milan: Photo by Ann Baldwin

I went to the Live Oak Music Hall and  Lounge on February 16, attended the show, and got the opportunity to speak to Jim Milan. He told me his story and how

 “we’re the happiest band in the world, no one is paying us to play specific songs, so we get to play whatever we want, how we want, and when we want.”

Milan’s personal favorite is the tune “Dipper Mouth Blues” which he ended the first half of the show with. Each song they played had a different feel to it. For one you might want to jump up and dance, but for another one you might want to just sit and sing the blues.
All the members of the Bucket List Jazz Band were a delight to listen to, learn from, and talk to and if you go to one of their shows, you just might cross something off of your bucket list too!

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