Starry Night Octet

Mike Truszkowski - Trumpet
Dan Giacobassi - Alto & Baritone Sax/Flute
Matt Lintula - Tenor Sax/Leader
Dale Nesbary - Trombone
Drew Placzek - Piano
Greg Miller - Guitar
Joe Oprea - Bass
Mark Lopez - Drums

Ginny Dusseau - Vocals


Here is a review by Timothy McAree of our performance on July 8, 2019, at the West Michigan Jazz Society's "Jazz in the Park" concert series. Jazz in the Park Review


The Starry Night Octet plays in the West Coast Cool Jazz style from charts written in the 1950 for the Dave Pell Octet from some of the smartest arrangers of that time, including Marty Paich, Shorty Rogers, Andre Previn, Johnny Mandel, Jerry Fielding, and Bill Holman. We also have a large library of "little big band" charts in many styles, for listening and ballroom dancing. If you like Gerry Mulligan, Art Pepper, Chet Baker, Stan Getz and Shorty Rogers, as well as all the famous big bands, you will like the Starry Night Octet!

Band leader Matt Lintula plays tenor saxophone. A founding member of the Truth in Jazz Orchestra he also plays with The Lakeshore Big Band and West Michigan Concert Winds. His musical influences came from Herb Alpert and Al Hirt. Recently Matt studied with the Gordon Goodwin Big Phat Band from Los Angeles. Music performance is both a challenge and a joy for Matt. “Improvisation is something I can’t explain. The brain just composes on the fly.” And he admits he likes the intellectual challenge of performance and improvising.

Trumpeter Mike Truszkowski is the High School Director of Bands at Spring Lake Public Schools. He is a graduate of Rockford High School and Central Michigan University with a master’s degree in Music Education and has been teaching for 20 years. In addition to the Starry Night Octet, Mike plays trumpet with the Hark Up Horns of Power and the R&B band, The Hip Pocket.

Dan Giacobassi plays alto and baritone saxes, and flute. Although he holds a degree in music education, he committed to full-time music performance. Some of the many bands Dan plays with include Truth in Jazz Orchestra, Grasshoppah, Jive at Five, Blue Coast Quartet, Checkers Morton Band and the West Michigan Flute Choir. He is intrigued with the shakuhachi, a Japanese bamboo flute he studied in Japan. Dan says, “I enjoy learning how to excel at playing my instruments. The kinds of music I do for the most part are self-expressive, and, in that regard, I have become a professional improviser. It multiplies itself; the more you learn, the more you can learn - it never stops!”

Dale Nesbary is entering his 11th year as President of Muskegon Community College. He earned a Ph.D. degree in Law, Policy, and Society from Northeastern University in Boston, a Master of Public Administration from Western Michigan University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Michigan State University. Dale plays with the Shoreline Symphony, West Michigan Concert Winds, and the West Michigan Worship Center Praise Team. He played in bands that backed artists such as Red Skelton, Gary Burton, The Temptations, George Benson, Nancy Wilson, The Lennon Sisters and the Royal Hannaford Circus among others.

Greg Miller is a guitarist and instructor. He teaches Applied Instrument instruction at Muskegon Community College and is a member of AFM Local 56. He is a founding member of Dutch Henry, and the Westside Jazz Trio. Greg is a Fender authorized guitar repairman and has worked for both Bird’s and RIT Music. He is an auxiliary musician for the Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo Symphonys. Former bands include The Skyscrapers, The Dushanes, and Solid Ground. He currently appears as a solo jazz guitarist around west Michigan.

Drew Placzek is a pianist with the Truth in Jazz Orchestra as well as the Starry Night Octet and Trio. He has previously done radio jingle writing, and currently is the music director at a large church in Hudsonville where he is responsible for their praise teams, and their instrumental and vocal special music groups. He is thankful for the blessing of working full time in music ministry. Drew graduated from Wayne State University. He enjoys being outdoors, woodworking, composing music and playing jazz.

Joe Oprea is a freelance jazz bassist who has been teaching and performing professionally since 2002. He received his graduate degree in jazz bass performance from Western Michigan University. Joe currently teaches middle school orchestra in Lowell in addition to his many public performances. He has performed with many well-known musicians including Wes Anderson, Allen Vizzutti, Billy Hart, Robbie Smith, Keith Hall, John Shea, Jim Cooper, Tim Froncek, and Stefon Harris.

Drummer Mark Lopez holds a Master of Music Performance degree from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Currently, he is active as a performer, arranger, and educator as the Frontline Coordinator for the Legends Drum and Bugle Corps from Kalamazoo. He is an accompanist and lecturer for the Hope College Department of Dance in Holland teaching Drumming, Rhythm, and Accompaniment for Dance.

Described in a local publication as “smooth, classic, and always engaging “, vocalist Ginny Dusseau began singing professionally at the age of 17. She has performed on television and radio both nationally and internationally and has appeared on six CD’s. From Carnegie Hall in New York to Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow, she has toured throughout America, Europe and parts of Asia sharing the stage with recording artists Tierney Sutton, K.C. Porter, Rachael Price, Dan Seals, and Dash Crofts as a member of the internationally acclaimed Voices of Baha. 

Born in Detroit, Ginny came from a musical family. Her mother was a singer and was awarded a vocal scholarship to Julliard. Her grandmother sang with the St. Louis Opera and her brother was a brilliant pianist. As a result, Ginny grew up with a love and appreciation of music, especially singers. She began classical vocal training at the age of 13 and sang with many different groups throughout her school years. Ginny has enjoyed singing all styles of music including classical, pop and gospel but has focused on jazz and big band over the past 15 years. 

“I love interpreting the stories told within the lyrics of the jazz standards,” Ginny says. “I really enjoy the way music and lyrics touches the heart and uplifts the spirit of audiences.” 

She is the featured vocalist for both the Truth In Jazz Orchestra and the General Assembly Big Band and has sung with The Dave Collee Quartet for many years. In those roles and others, she has had opportunity to work with most of the best jazz musicians in western Michigan. Her newest CD is entitled “I Thought About You”. Ginny has an M.A. degree in counseling and has been in private practice for more than twenty years, working with adults and adolescents. She and her husband live in Grand Rapids.