The Dean’s List is a Michiana Jazz combo playing straight ahead swing, blues, ballads, and Latin tunes with their own twist. The group was formed in 2013 by percussionist Sonny Carreno and guitarist Danny Dean, thus the name. They met as guest musicians at a gig and decided they wanted to form their own band that focused on jazz. Local saxophone dynamo Sam Que soon joined the band. After cycling through several bassists, Randy Horst now holds down the low end for the group. The Dean’s List can be heard playing in regional venues and at the Elkhart Jazz Festival.
Sonny Carreno grew up in Alice, Texas. He has a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Texas State University. He has a long and varied history as a drummer/percussionist for a wide range of groups both in his native Texas and in northern Indiana. Often the drummer of choice for local gigs and recordings, he’s also a member of the regional Rock Latino band Lalo Cura, which has opened for groups like Los Lonely Boys.
A native of Miami, Florida, guitarist Danny Dean began performing jazz at community college and in 2004 moved to Nashville, Tennessee, earning a bachelor of music in composition and arranging at Belmont University. His main performing influences are midcentury luminaries Wes Montgomery, Herb Ellis, Chet Baker, Stan Getz, and Oliver Nelson. Danny’s written some original music as well as introducing Mennonite hymns to a jazz context by reharmonizing and adding strings and guitar to the existing piano.
Bassist Randy Horst grew up in Denver, CO. He’s played in bands in Indiana, Kansas, and Montana. For his day-job he teaches art and graphic design at Goshen College. In addition to playing in The Dean’s List, he’s also a member of the Americana Folk group The Dawg, and has been a guest bassist for a variety of local groups such as Vibe Nation and St. Joseph Valley Camerata.