So the first Heat Index was formed in late 2001. The name was selected out of a list of more than 100 possibilities. When looking for a name, all kinds of ideas are surfaced. David had turned to looking at the names of songs from various artists, and on a Grover Washington Jr. CD titled”Grover Washington, Jr. PRIME CUTS", came the name. It is track 7 on that CD. Given that the group was going to feature sax, and Grover is one of the best, what a fitting name!
The original lineup consisted of Frank on bass, David on reeds, with Melvin Lister Jr. on alto sax, Doug Gunn on drums, Rick Gibson on guitar, and Jamie Hummer on keys. This group would stay together until 2007 or so, with a few changes. Jamie left first, having found himself a wonderful lady to marry, his priorities changed. We were sorry to see him go. Then Melvin left to pursue more of an R&B focus, while we remained focused more on contemporary jazz. Rick left around 2007 or so to pursue his passion for the blues. And finally Doug left shortly thereafter as he moved to much further south of Kansas City.
Each of them contributed greatly to what Heat Index was and is. Each left a legacy and helped Frank and David take the music to another level. With various musicians playing with us over time, some of the best in KC at one time or another have performed as a part of Heat Index. Not necessarily as members, but as players needed for a performance or sometimes many performances.
For example, Clint Ashlock performed with us for over a year. He is now the Artistic Director of the KC Jazz Orchestra. Jay Pfeifer, the music director for Culture House in Olathe, worked with us for over a year. Paul Roberts, who plays regularly with Ida McBeth and the KCJO (as a trombone player) played keys with us for over a year. Will Mathews, the guitar player for the Basie band, and Charles Williams, the noted pianist, have performed with Heat Index.
The regular line up of the group from around 2007 until late 2011 consisted of David and Frank, Allen Myers, Monte Muza, and Al Pearson, with a variety of drummers. This is where it’s important to talk about Al.
David heard Al perform at a church event in Overland Park. He was so impressed he reached out to Al and asked him to perform with Heat Index. Al is one of the most sought after and respected trumpet players in Kansas City. The fact that he found time to work with Heat Index, changed the course of the group. Through him we met the others that would become our foundation. The first person he brought was Monte Muza. Monte is a phenomenal guitar player, extremely well respected.
Monte in turn, brought Allen Myers. Allen has a doctorate in music and is a very talented keyboard player. With those two, Al, and Frank and David we were working all the time. The group played clubs, restaurants, private events, jazz festivals, corporate events, etc.…and all over; from Kansas City to Orlando Florida, to Las Vegas, to the Poconos.
We were working a lot up until 2011. That’s when David took a “real” job opportunity in Dallas Texas for another restaurant company. Brinker International is the owner of Chili’s Restaurants and Maggiano’s restaurants. David worked there until the end of 2014.
So from late 2011 until 2015, Heat Index, other than a few performances per year, did not work. But Frank and David had committed that the time would come when the group would start working again, when they could get back together. That time is now.
David and his wife are back in Kansas. He and Frank reunited and relaunched Heat Index. The group rehearsed the second half of 2015 in preparation for 2016 and once again re-establishing themselves on the Kansas City market. The group once again has the lineup of David on reeds, Frank on bass, Al on trumpet/flugelhorn, Allen on keys, and Monte on guitar. But we also now have Karita Carter, a very talented trombone player to add to the mix. Karita, and her great voice, have really added to the overall sound. For drums we have been very fortunate in that we recruited Danny Reid, a professional music teacher and musician with a degree in jazz piano and percussion.
And in case we need alternates, we have a litany of great players that have performed with us and are available when needed. One great example is Greg Carroll, the former CEO of the American Jazz Museum. Greg is not only a fine drummer and vocalist, which is how we use his skills, but is an expert vibe and piano player.
So our history isn’t over, it simply continues to unfold. Become a part of our history by having Heat Index at your next event. You won’t be disappointed.
But well before their retirements, they both met early in 2001 because that love of music had never diminished and both went seeking other musicians they could work with. Through the internet, and a website called kcmusician.com they linked up. It was a ragged group they first performed with, although the performances were really only rehearsals. The group disbanded after only a few months.
But these two veterans knew what they liked and they liked what they heard and saw in each other. They quickly agreed to work together and commit to forming a group, going about it with great enthusiasm. David, being new to the Kansas area (arrived in 2000 to work for Applebee’s), didn’t know as many people as Frank. So Frank was instrumental in bringing the first musicians to the group. They found a few others via the internet again.
The origin of Heat Index at one level goes back to 2001. At another level, it goes back to the time when David Parsley and Frank Goddard were young men growing up in Los Angeles, California and Johnson City, Tennessee respectively. Both were avid about music and played with a variety of groups while learning about the various genres of music, ultimately leaning towards contemporary jazz, R&B, and fusion.
Then, as happens often in life for young men, they both went on a different career path and music became an avocation, and yet always a passion. Frank went into the service, and when he left it he ended up living where his last duty station was, at Leavenworth Kansas. And, he worked on the base until his retirement in 2013. David entered in a career in the restaurant industry, managing supply chains for company’s such as Carl’s Jr., Applebee’s, and Chili’s. He retired at the end of 2014.