Luke the Star BAD JAZZY RAGS by Luke
8964 Portofino Drive
Elk Grove, CA 95758
(916) 421-7111

Bad Jazzy Rags
BAD! JAZZY! RAGS! Came into being in 1989 when the owner–designer–idea-man, Luke G. Conley III, agreed to design and present souvenir shirts for the Santa Fe Jazz Party, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. What developed was a unique design, featuring the flavorings of the State of New Mexico, including a Neo-Kachina mask on the front, and a Road Runner on the back, which incorporated the names of the performing musicians within the body of the critter.

The legendary line-up of performers, which included such luminaries as:
    Milt Hinton, Ray Brown, Dick Hyman, Gus Johnson, Harry “Sweets” Edison, John Clayton, Scott Hamilton, Gene Harris, Kenny Davern, Jeff Hamilton, Warren Vache, Butch Miles, Major Holley, Ralph Sutton, Alan Dawson, Jiggs Whigham, Jeff Clayton, John Bunch, Plas Johnson, Howard Alden, Jack Sheldon, Bob Wilbur, Dan Barrett, Chuck Wilson, and Mike Wofford,
was capped by the secret surprise appearance of vocalist Joe Williams—the special birthday gift to the producer of the Jazz Party, by his wife.

Upon seeing the design, legendary Trumpet Player, Harry “Sweets” Edison said: “Man, that is BAD!” Ten minutes later, the St. Louis jazz activist, the late Barbara Rose, looked at the shirt and exclaimed, “Now that is real JAZZY!” And when he saw them for the first time, after unloading the shipment via Amtrak, in Lamee, New Mexico, John Turner hugged Luke and said, “Now those, my brother, are some BOSS RAGS!”

And, there it was; the fledging company was in business, and had been given a name: “BAD! JAZZY! RAGS!”

Luke went on to produce the second quasi-Kachina shirt for the 1990 Santa Fe Jazz Party, featuring a drawing of a New Mexico Coyote on the back, containing the names of the performing musicians:
    Milt Hinton, James Moody, Dick Hyman, Jackie Williams, Oliver Jones, John Clayton, Gerald Wiggins, Butch Miles, Red Holloway, Scott Hamilton, Eric Reed, Spike Robinson, Buster Cooper, Ed Polcer, Jeff Clayton, Howard Alden, Major Holley, Oliver Jackson, Ken Peplowski, Warren Vache, Jay Leonhart, Alain Bouchet, Eddie Daniels, Bob Mullins, George Masso, and Jake Hanna.

While attending the Montreal Jazz Festival, in 1991, Luke was sitting in BIDDLE'S, a Jazz Club owned by Canadian Bassist Charlie Biddle, waiting for another of Canada’s gifts to the music, pianist Oliver Jones, and he started doodling on a napkin—the birthplace where many spontaneous ideas are first recorded. He sketched out a unique design of the word “Jazz”, and promised himself that he would place it on a shirt, if “BAD! JAZZY! RAGS!” Ever evolved from a hobby to a business.

That became a reality when the “JAZZ IS AN ATTITUDE” Classic series of garments were produced, featuring high quality Jersey Tee Shirts, wonderful Cotton Sheeting long and short sleeved Shirts with pants and tops with bottoms, and the splendid Canton Fleece casual suits, shirts, pants, dresses and tops with accompanying bottoms, all in a dazzling array of colors, and mix-and-match dressing opportunities.

The “JAZZ IS AN ATTITUDE” line is presented in three comely designs: featuring the “Circle Jazz”, “Jazz 'n Notes”, and the “Attitude of Jazz Smile”. Luke decided to make each of the garments “double faced”, placing matching designs on the fronts and backs of both tops and bottoms, in the Canton Fleece and Cotton Sheeting casual suits, as well as on the individual shirts.

In the meantime, in 1992, Luke was asked to, and did produce, the Classic Jazz Cruise shirt for what turned out to be Dizzy Gillespie’s last Birthday. Owing to the special stature of John Birks Gillespie, as one of the founders of Be-Bop, the father of both Afro-Cuban Jazz and Latin Jazz, Luke set to work to produce a shirt worthy of the Man being celebrated. With Diz’s likeness on the front of the shirt, and some of Dizzy’s greatest hits featured in sparkling diamond cuts surrounding the “Motor Ship DIZZY GILLESPIE”, aboard which the Diamond Anniversary of Dizzy’s Birth, was celebrated, Luke produced a garment that is still, today, worn proudly by those who loved Diz, his music, and his contributions to Jazz.

Among the stellar cast of musicians paying tribute to Jazz Giant Dizzy Gillespie, were:
    Benny Carter, Milt Hinton, Milt “Bags” Jackson, Ray Brown, Doc Cheathem, Carmen McRae, Kenny Burrell, Snooky Young, Mickey Roker, Hank Jones, Jackie McLean, Red Rodney, Randy Weston, Peter Washington, Ben Riley, John Lee, Mario Rivera Monty Alexander, Roy Hargrove, Paquito D'Rivera, Ron Holloway, Curtis Fuller, Bobby Hutcherson, Tommy Flanagan, Charlie Persip, Avery Sharpe, Antonio Hart, Danilo Perez, Luis Valdes, Jimmy Owens, Claudio Roditi, Douglas Purviance, Duffy Jackson, Clifford Jordan, Craig Glanville, Robin Eubanks, Steve Turre, William Cepeda, Marc Carey, Rodney Whittaker, Larry Clothier, Mike Longo, and Billy Hart.

Luke followed with special event shirts for Barbara Rose’s St. Louis Jazz Party, in 1992, and did a very special line of shirts to celebrate Tenor Sax Legend Flip Phillips’ 80th Birthday, in 1995. Both events featured designs on the front and back, with the participating jazz all-stars names set forth in memorable design styles on the backs. Flip being an avid golfer; Luke even did matching golf caps for Flip’s party.

Along the way, Luke’s shirts have been seen, and enjoyed sales at:
  • The Paradise Valley Jazz Party, (Arizona)
  • The Jazz Bakery, (Los Angeles, California)
  • The Los Angeles Jazz Society’s Tribute to Dave Abell, (California)
  • The Mendocino Jazz Feast, (California)
  • The Monterey Blues Festival, (California)
  • The Monterey Jazz Festival, (California)
  • The Playboy Jazz Festival, (California)
  • The San Diego Jazz Party, (California)
  • The San Jose Jazz Festival, (California)
  • The Tribute to Benny Carter by the Los Angeles Jazz Society, (California)
  • The West Coast Jazz Festival, (California)
  • The Gibson Jazz Party, (Colorado—The “Granddaddy of all Jazz Parties”)
  • The Vail Jazz Festival, (Colorado)
  • O’hara's, (Hollywood, Florida)
  • Flip Phillips' 80th Birthday Celebration in Boca Raton, Florida
  • The Sarasota Jazz Festival, (Florida)
  • The Gene Harris Jazz Festival, (Idaho)
  • The Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival (Idaho)
  • The Chicago Jazz Festival, (Illinois)
  • Joe Segal’s Jazz Showcase, (Chicago, Illinois)
  • The Topeka Jazz Festival, (Kansas)
  • The East Coast Jazz Festival, (Maryland)
  • The Blue Note, (New York City)
  • Atwaters, (Portland, Oregon)
  • The Benson Jazz Party, ( Oregon)
  • The The Mount Hood Jazz Festival , (Oregon)
  • The Otter Crest Jazz Party, (Oregon)
  • The Rose City Jazz Party, (Oregon)
  • The Shalishan Jazz Party, (Oregon)
  • The Skamania Jazz Party, (Oregon)
  • The Central Pennsylvania Friends of Jazz Annual Festival, (Harrisburg, PA)
  • Dimitrio’s Jazz Alley, (Seattle)
  • The Centrum Jazz Festival, at Port Townsend, (Washington)
  • The du Maurier Jazz Festival, (Vancouver, B.C.)
  • The Montreal Jazz Festival, (Canada)
  • Floating Festivals
  • The Annual Floating Jazz Festival, aboard the M. S. Seaward
  • The Annual Floating Jazz Festival, aboard the S.S. Norway, (for twelve years)
  • Dizzy Gillespie's 75th Birthday Floating Jazz Celebration, aboard the M.S. Zenith (renamed "M.S. Dizzy Gillespie" to honor Diz for his big Birthday Celebration Cruise.)
  • The Newport Jazz Festival at Sea, (Rhode Island and aboard the Queen Elizabeth II)
  • The Oscar Peterson Tribute Caribbean Cruise aboard the M.S. Majesty of the Seas
  • The Trans-Atlantic Floating Jazz Festival honoring Clark Terry, aboard the Queen Elizabeth II
  • The Ultimate Caribbean Jazz Spectacular, Honoring Benny Carter, aboard the M.S. Song of America

Among the exciting new creations by Luke are his “Members of The Band” collections. This line of two sided shirts features a jazz artist blowing a particular instrument on the front, and a virtual history of the jazz artists blowing that instrument, on the back. Those still blowing occupy the upper part of the shirt, while those on break,(permanent or otherwise)are presented on the lower portion. (If you have never heard the question, “Who is blowing bass?”, you haven’t been listening to jazz long enough!)

Unless someone comes up with a new instrument which can be used to make pleasant jazz music, Luke has the whole band: Piano, Bass, Drums, Alto Sax, Trumpet, Tenor Sax, Trombone, Guitar, Vibes, Girl Singer, Organ, Guy Singer, Percussion, The Writers, Soprano Sax, and even Harmonica. (Couldn’t leave Toots out!)

In 1999, BAD! JAZZY! RAGS! commenced the widespread sale of its “THE BLUES” and “THE BLUES IS A FEELING” lines, from the East Coast Jazz Festival, in Rockville, Maryland, and during The Monterey Blues Festival, in Monterey California.

This classy set of shirts and dresses includes 10 designs so far, and the collection is growing by the day. Presented here are: The Blues; The Blues is a Feeling; The Woman with those Monday Blues; The Man with the Low-Down-Dirty Blues; The Man Bummed-out with the Blues; Strumming the Blues, Crying the Blues, Singing the Blues, and The Nerve-Jangled Blues.

In the works are the “Members of the Blues Band”, which will include all instruments played at concerts, in clubs, and during festivals, by performers of The Blues music genre.

In the near future, the “Smoooth Jazzzz” line will do likewise, as will all other expression forms enjoyed by lovers of Jazz and Blues music.

“BAD! JAZZY! RAGS!” has but one goal: To make our customers happy, satisfied, and proud as they wear our first quality garments. We have an absolute satisfaction guaranteed policy. If for any reason, from the date of delivery to the date of dissatisfaction, you don’t like one of our garments, you can return it for a full and complete refund, at our expense.

From the quality of the Website to the wonderful garments being presented by BAD! JAZZY! RAGS!, you should know the people who have made it all possible. Luke has had lots of ideas, but the people who breath life into those ideas must be recognized here: [You are invited to contact them directly]

This dynamite Web site was created by Professor Al Fichera:

The distinctive artwork was drawn by our free-hand artist, Michael Washington:

Our wonderful graphics work is the product of our graphic artist Ryan C. Rule:

Greg Johnson’s Knockout Screenprinting, located at 2025 MacArthur Blvd., in Oakland, California, imprinted our designs

Research and editing assistance was provided by: Milt and Mona Hinton, Dino and Kathe Polizzi, Keter Betts, Alma Foster Smith, Dave Gibson,Gerry Waitz, Paul Humphrey, Margaret McKay, Pegi Brandley, and others.

The research that went into placing the names of The Band Members on the backs of the shirts featuring the various prominent jazz instruments had to be cross-checked for such accuracy as was achieved, owing to the number of Jazz Masters, who have performed their last gigs, in the past five years, and the pleasingly surprising number who still grace our stages with their performances. In that regard, The JAZZ history provided by Nat Hentoff and Albert J. McCarthy (Da Capo Press)and that most authoritative, wonderful and complete work on Jazz Performers, THE BIOGRAPHICAL ENCYCLOPEDIA of JAZZ, BY Ira Gitler and Leonard Feather (Oxford Press)(1999), were invaluable.

Without the tireless efforts, dedicated performances and truly artistic expressiveness of these individuals, and Greg’s staff, all of Luke’s ideas would still be in his head, and on napkins or pieces of scratch paper, instead of on the shirts and other wearing apparel that BAD! JAZZY! RAGS! customers wear proudly and look so good in.

Keep listening to the good stuff….

Page updated on: January 15, 2013