It all began a long time ago in a garage in Hershey, Pennsylvania (yes, the famous Chocolatetown, USA) where Jim Miller and Tom Strohman hosted jam sessions on the weekends. Out of those jam sessions some of the musicians went on to become world famous and our band Third Stream was born.
People always ask where we got the name Third Stream. At that time the band members were: Rick Kline, drums; Bruce “Doc” Whitcomb, guitar; Tom Strohman, woodwinds & piano and Jim Miller, bass. We got a few jobs and decided we needed a name for the band so after a rehearsal we went to an all night diner and discussed possible names. After many hours and many names we came up with Third Stream. We all knew there was a Third Stream music, which is the fusion of Classical music and jazz, associated with the prominent composer Gunther Schuller, but we were actually thinking about three streams of water flowing into a larger body of water.
Our dream was to play creative improvised music that we loved and to communicate this love to our audience. Improvised music, or jazz, has always been designated to a specific audience but we felt that we could combine the creative aspects of this music and provide an entertaining and exciting experience to a much wider audience.
Over the years we have accomplished this goal by playing the full spectrum of jazz: Dixieland, swing, be-bop, fusion, free, etc. Our rendition of Rossini’s “William Tell Overture” never fails to bring the audience to their feet. Since our inception in 1974, Third Stream has blossomed into one the finest contemporary musical groups in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Unlike many bands, Third Stream has had few personnel changes. Tom Strohman and Jim Miller have remained constant members, the drum chair included Rick Kline, Tom “Thinman” Albert, and currently John Peifer. On guitar was Bruce “Doc” Whitcomb, Phil DeAngeles, Mike Child, and now Jim Easton.
Third Stream has appeared in numerous nightclubs and concerts as featured artists, and also shared the stage with Herbie Hancock, Stanley Turrentine, Chick Corea, Tower Of Power, Jeff Beck, Livingston Taylor, Spyro Gyro, Eumir Deodato and other top performers.
Reviewing a Herbie Hancock concert, Lancaster, PA writer Michael Kushner said, “Preceding Herbie Hancock on the bill, Third Stream’s reception by the crowd was just short of fantastic. Hancock praised the Central Pennsylvania group between his first two numbers, drawing cheers from the audience”. Writing about another performance, Dick Sassaman, music editor of the Harrisburg Independent Press said, “Third Stream recently played at the first half of the highly successful concert with Brazilian arranger/pianist Eumir Deodato at Penn State University. As far as jazz was concerned, Third Stream scored a clear cut victory.”
In 1979 we recorded the single “In Remembrance” and in 1980 released our first album Gettin’ It Together. Three members of Third Stream organized and produced Just Friends and Just Friends Again, two 1982 record albums featuring the talents of eight Central Pennsylvania jazz musicians. We released our first CD Black Widow in 1989, and a Christmas CD entitled We Free Kings II which was released in 2004. Our latest recording, Celebrating 40 Years: An Anthology, contains original Third Stream selections from four of our previous recordings, rereleased to celebrate our 40th year as a band. It is available in compact disc and as a download from CDBaby.com, Amazon.com, and the itunes Music Store.
With the addition of Greg Strohman on trombone and keyboard, we continue to refine our sound, expanding the musical possibilities of the group with exciting new arrangements and compositions. Third Stream continues to bring quality music to their audiences through concerts, clinics, parties, wedding receptions and lectures. We have stood the test of time and are here to stay.