Comet Calendar

The Gumbo Kings

Saturday, February 11 at 7:30pm

Jonsson Performance Hall (JO 2.604), JO 2.604
Jonsson Performance Hall is on the north mall inside Erik Jonsson Academic Center (JO) in room number JO 2.604.

The Gumbo Kings return to UT Dallas to perform their unique New Orleans jazz. The members of the band are Steve Howard, Bobby Breaux, Brian Piper, Mike Sizer, Carl Hillman and Tony Baker.

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Steve Howard (Trumpet): Born in Dallas, Texas in 1951, Steve grew up in a home filled with music.Steve began playing trumpet in the school band in fourth grade. By the time he was in high school, he had become skilled enough as a trumpet player to be chosen for the Texas all-state high school band. Believing he was destined for a career in music, Steve accepted a music scholarship to Henderson State College in Arkansas. After two years in Arkansas, he transferred to the famous jazz school at North Texas State University. The N’Awlins Gumbo Kings represent a joyous return to his musical roots. Seasoned by years of experience, Steve is realizing a longheld dream to assemble the finest musicians available to play what is to him the most exciting music in the world.

Bobby Breaux (Drums): Originally from New Orleans, Bobby Breaux has been playing and teaching in the Dallas-Fort Worth area since 1983. After receiving his Bachelor of Music Education degree from Loyola University in 1977 he traveled throughout the USA, Canada, Mexico and Europe performing with Al Hirt, Ellis Marsalis, and The Woody Herman Orchestra. 

Currently, Bobby performs with the following bands:

  • The N’Awlins Gumbo Kings
  • Bobby Young & Unique
  • Trinity United Methodist Church of Arlington
  • Janet Robertson Band
  • Randy Lee and Bottom Line
  • Mark Harrell Band
  • Dennis Cavalier and Texas Zydeco

Bobby also appears occasionally in the D/FW area with: The Rod Booth Band, John Adams, The Vocal Majority, Dave Alexander and The Legends of Western Swing, Tony Hakim, and Ken Boome.

Brian Piper (Piano/Vocals): Brian grew up in a musical family. His parents met in New York in the 50’s, performed and traveled with many of the biggest musical names of the day, and eventually settled in Hollywood, California, where Brian was born. As a child, Brian became a professional musician at age 10, when he began singing commercials for Manor Bread and Dole bananas, as well as many others. Brian has followed in his father’s footsteps, and has also blazed a trail of his own in the commercial music industry. He was Vice President and Director of Operations at The Axcess Group in Dallas for several years and now has his own company, Piper Nagy Media. As a player he has made quite a name for himself, performing and recording with musicians and artists of all musical styles, from Texas legends Jerry Jeff Walker and Lloyd Maines to jazz greats Cab Calloway, Kenny Rankin and Clark Terry. He has conducted for Eartha Kitt, Rosemary Clooney and many others as the assistant musical director at Dallas’ famous Venetian Room in the Fairmont Hotel. He has also played for the Dallas Summer Musicals and traveled with New York touring companies of several shows, including Grease and Godspell. He has worked with actors James Earl Jones, Tim Curry, Kris Kristofferson and Patrick Bergen. He has recently performed with Sheila E, Will Kennedy, Mike Davis and Bill Reichenbach.

Mike Sizer (Clarinet): Michael Sizer's professional career has taken him to a number of musical venues around the country, including a stint on the riverboat Mississippi Queen and on to New Orleans. There, he spent six years touring with the Dukes of Dixieland and playing numerous engagements at such famous French Quarter hot spots as the Maison Bourbon, Court of Two Sisters and many others. In 1998, Mr. Sizer appeared as a guest soloist with the Texas Wind Symphony on two separate occasions. His swing arrangement, "A Glimpse of Goodman," was premiered in the spring, and a November 1998 concert in Ft. Worth's Bass Concert Hall saw the premiere of the work Mr. Sizer performed with the ASB on February 17, 2000, the jazz arrangement "French Quarter Suite."

Carl Hillman (Bass): Carl Hillman was born in Memphis, Tennessee, the home of "the Father of the Blues" W.C. Handy. After a few years, his family moved to the small town of Aberdeen, Mississippi. It was there that Carl first had the opportunity to hear the real music of the Deep South: gospel and delta blues. At the age of nine Carl's family moved west to settle in Ft. Worth, Texas. Inspired by a Pee Wee Russell record that his parents had, and because it "looked cool", he started playing clarinet in the school band in the sixth grade. Over the next six years, whenever there was a vacancy in the bands' instrumentation, Carl was handed a new instrument and fingering chart. By the time he graduated he had played Bb and Eb clarinets, tenor sax, oboe, french horn, and electric bass. Carl began attending the College of Music at the University of North Texas, left to tour Europe and Asia for a year, then returned to graduate with a performance degree on double bass. Since then, Carl has made his home in Dallas and has had the opportunity to play with a wide range of performers from jazz players like Dr. Donald Byrd, David Liebman, and Ronald Shannon Jackson, to showbiz legends like Robert Goulet, Bernadette Peters, and The Ink Spots. Along with fellow Gumbo King drummer Bobby Breaux, he plays every Sunday morning at Trinity United Methodist Church in Arlington, TX.

Tony Baker (Trombone): Tony Baker is a faculty member at the University of North Texas College of Music where he teaches both in the classical and jazz areas. He holds the second trombone position in the Dallas Opera Orchestra. In addition to being the newest member of the ‘Nawlins Gumbo Kings, he is also a regular member of some of the finest jazz ensembles in the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex. These include: Daybreak Express, Original Texas Jazz Orchestra, Pecos River Brass, Shelley Carroll/Brad Leali Big Band and Them Bones. Mr. Baker has performed with groups such as the Duke Ellington Orchestra, the Woody Herman Band and the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra. He has also performed on stage with artists such as Wynton Marsalis, Doc Severinsen, Arturo Sandoval, Steve Turre, John Fedchock, Conrad Herwig, Jiggs Whigham, Andy Martin, Barrie Lee Hall and Pete Christlieb. As a jazz clinician, Mr. Baker has served on the faculty of summer jazz workshops at the University of North Texas and Northwest College in Cody, Wyoming. He has also appeared as a guest jazz artist at the Capital University Jazz Week Festival, the 2008 Brazilian Trombone Festival and most recently at the 2011 Clark Terry/Phi Mu Alpha Jazz Festival in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Mr. Baker served as the All-State Conductor of the 2004-2005 Minnesota All-State Jazz Ensemble. He has recorded with the Dallas Jazz Orchestra and the Sounds of Blackness and can be heard with the latter on their Grammy-nominated compact disc, Time for Healing. Mr. Baker freelances regularly as a jazz and classical musician in the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex.

UTD strives to create inclusive and accessible events in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). If you require an accommodation to fully participate in this event, please contact the event coordinator (listed below) at least 10 business days prior to the event. If you have any additional questions, please email and the AccessAbility Resource Center at

Event Type

Arts & Performances

Target Audience

Undergraduate Students, Faculty & Staff, Alumni, General Public, Prospective Students, Graduate Students, International Students


Arts & Culture


music, art



$15, Free at door with Comet Card

Arts, Humanities, and Technology

##N’Awlins Gumbo Kings #jazz

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