The Strolling Minstrels were a Frederick & Nelson Christmas tradition. The group was headed by popular Seattle musician Frank Sugia who led the group and played his accordion in the store for over twenty-five years. Here the Minstrels were shown against the English pine paneling of the Old World Shop on the seventh floor.
Frank Sugia was a mainstay in the Northwest music scene. His trio, quartet and quintet included some of the finest jazz musicians in the country, including Joe Venuti, Floyd Standifer, Gary Steele, Gene Sargent, Hayden Shaner, Mori Simon, Rollie Morehouse, Bob Winn, Tiny Martin, Dave Stetler, Don Anderson, Dave Tuttle, Lola Sugia, Sally King, Naomi Foote, Dean Hodges, Al Turay, Buddy Catlett, Red Kelly, to name a few. His popular restaurant, where he performed with his group, was called "Sugia's After Five", located on Aurora Ave North in Seattle. Frank's mother, Sunta Recchia Peressini, worked in the kitchen of the restaurant, preparing her famous spaghetti sauce, while his young children Sue and Peter and his neice Maia, all in grade school, assisted their grandmother with kitchen chores. Many popular Seattle celebrities and personalites came regularly to the After Five, including Norm Bobrow (musician and club owner), Larry Nelson (radio talk show host), Al Bianchi (attorney), John Forrest (KOL radio news broadcaster), Ivie Anderson (vocalist), Victor Rosselini and Governor Al Rosselini, Gene Boscacci (pianist), Norm Hoagy (bandleader) and Stan Boreson (local television star and musician).
"Frank Sugia's Niece, Bandleader and Vocalist, Maia Santell"
Maia Santell, Frank Sugia's singing niece!
Maia inherited Frank's gift of entertaining and pleasing a crowd! Known as a "Dancing with the Stars" style band, Maia's repertoire is similar to that of the popular television show. She and her band "Maia Santell and House Blend," accommodate all dance stylists, from the beginning dancer to the intermediate dancer and the professional dance coach. You can also hear her belt the blues or swing on a jazz tune at various night clubs around town. Here is the band's web site: http://www.MaiaSantell.com
Maia Santell, band leader and vocalist, keeps her uncle's musical tradition very much alive and well in the Northwest. Recent performances include the Tacoma Jazz and Blues Festival, Gray Sky Music Festival, Northwest Dance Network, Dancing Til Dusk, Jazzbones and Studio 6 Ballroom!
Frank Sugia featured Lee Humes on vocals and bass on his album titled "Sugia's After Five". Humes is an excellent bassist, who spent many years singing and playing with a Seattle-organized group known as The Signatures. He also played in groups on the Pheonix-Las Vegas-Lake Tahoe circuit, fronted by Billy Daniels, Billy Eckstine and Della Reece. Other musicians on the album "Sugia's After Five" are Gene Boscocci on celeste, Dean Hodges on drums, Sally King on vocals, Floyd Standifer on fluegelhorn and trumpet, Bob Winn on flute, Joe Venuti on violin and, ofcourse, Frank Sugia on vocals and accordion. The arranging of the tunes on the album was done by Sugia and Gene Sargent. Sargent is also known for his stint as a guitarist and arranger for Woody Herman's First Herd.
Frank Sugia occasionally featured his sister, popular Northwest jazz and big band singer, Lola Sugia (also known as Lola Raye). The combo included Frank on accordion, Lola on vocals, Gene Sargent on guitar, Hayden Shaner on bass and Mori Simon on cocktail drums (as shown in photo). Frank's niece and Lola's daughter, Maia Santell, is a well known band leader and vocalist in the Norhwest music scene. Her band, "Maia Santell and House Blend", performs a mix of jazz, blues, Latin, swing and contemporary favorites. Some of the leading venues they have performed at are Jazzbones, Jazz Alley, The New Orleans Restaurant in Pioneer Square, San Juan Festival of the Arts, Tacoma Jazz and Blues Festival, St. Michelle Wineries, Studio 6 Ballroom, Muckleshoot Casino and "Dancing with the Tacoma Stars" at the Landmark Convention Center's Temple Theater Ballroom.