photo by Micha-Ra
Jan's ten-song CD, "Lookie Tookie" is a gas! Here's what the Acoustic Rainbow says: "Here's an artist that you should be hearing of a lot more. Jan delivers a sparsely produced track with a relaxed, laidback acoustic production. Great lyrics, a touch of electric guitar to spice things up and an infectious melody ... not too shabby for a blues man :)" They carry it at Music Millennium and numerous other stores -- or you can mail order it from the Flying Heart Catalogue. Furthermore, there's an online site called CD Baby which carries "Lookie Tookie" as well as the rest of the Flying Heart catalogue. Be sure to keep an eye out for the Portland blues sampler, "A Taste of the Blue Rose," which features two songs by Jan Celt!
Jan Celt is unique, all right. He was born Jan Chciuk-Celt in Munich, Germany in 1955 and attended the American Kindergarten, Elementary School, Junior High and Munich American High School, where he played on the JV Football team and the undefeated JV Soccer Team (photo ), was Production Manager for the Mustang Messenger the year it won a Columbia Journalism Award ("Best in Category: Mimeograph") under the guiding hand of Mr. Leonard Daugherty, and played guitar in the Stage Band, led by the extraordinary George Morrison. Jan is still in touch with several friends from the Munich American High School days, and always welcomes contacts.
As a kid he did voice talent for radio plays airing on Radio Free Europe. Most memorable line: "Maj fazer bring ti. Gud ti. Hot ti." He was in the Polish ZHP Cub Scouts, which used to have summer camp near Urbes in Alsace, in eastern France. It was at ZHP Summer Camp that Jan won the "Twisting" Dance Contest at age, like, seven. His first proper instrument was the violin, and he took lessons from Michael Kugler. He currently owns a beautiful violin made by the Polish master Tomasz Knot, and still takes it out now and then to run through Vivaldi, or some Irish tunes, or indeed the "Orange Blossom Special." Jan was starting to get pretty good at playing violin when a collision with puberty forced him to re-evaluate his strict daily one-hour practice schedule -- so he got a Framus electric guitar for Christmas 1968 as a group present from all the members of his family (no case, no amp or nothin'), and started playing in bands. Mostly Hendrix covers, Steppenwolf covers, etc. The violin kind of took a back seat there for a while, but never faded out of the picture completely. His first proper gigging band in high school featured none other than the late Tommy Smith on vocals and was called No Stone Unturned . He then went to Wales to attend Atlantic College at St. Donat's Castle, where he received the International Baccalaureate and made many lifelong friends. An academic requirement of proficiency on a "legit" instrument forced Jan to learn to play the flute in a hurry. Loved those Bach pieces where there's no place to take a breath! He uses his two years in Great Britain as an excuse for his insistence on his right to spell words the English way ever since... After that, he received his Bachelor of Arts degree (majoring in Music) from Reed College in Portland, Oregon. He immediately began his "career" as a musician by playing in a Top 40-style band called "Skyline," (click here to see a picture) which worked the Red Lion Motel circuit up and down the West Coast, five hours a night, six nights a week. Then he conducted the CETA-funded 36-piece Studio Orchestra at Channel 10 TV in Portland (the PBS affiliate), performing in numerous radio and television appearances. That all ended when the federal funding ran out. He thereupon decided to play the blues ... rhythm and blues ... and the like. An older bass player named Omar Yoweman was a huge inspiration and teacher, and really lit a fire for playing jazzy blues. Say hello to the day job! While leading the Esquires in more gigs than he can count, including three albums on the Flying Heart label, Jan also worked for Harry Caplan's Sport Shop for five years, fixing people's balls and giving them new sneakers. The late Mr. Caplan served as an excellent role model of everything that is decent in people. Jan has also worked as a guitar player, bass player, flute player, studio arranger, recording and television producer, and as the drummer in "Sheila and the Boogiemen"; he did a seven-year stint as a late-night disc jockey at Listener Owned Community Radio KBOO 90.7 FM; his day jobs have included being a census enumerator, lifeguard, waiter, busboy, delicatessen chef, proofreader, delivery driver, &c. Currently he works at the Multnomah County Library, answering reference questions. Jan is married to Maureen Higgins and they have three awesome boys. They used to love to march around to the "Mileckstamarsch." He still plays gigs! Unfortunately, a dreadful car accident handed Jan a terrible beating on September 17th, 2000, but he has fully recovered, if you don't count some permanent spinal damage that causes severe chronic pain ... The Volvo's steel cage and three-point seat belt saved his life, so who's complaining! ... There was an interesting year spent in downtown Hell, it's not such a bad neighborhood ... Click here to catch up on the joys of the pegylated interferon/Ribavirin experience. The good news there is that the treatment appears to have been a success. Other interests, well ... in addition to a collection of 1:24 die-cast cars and a great fondness for playing "pointless" tennis, his 1948 Cadillac Sedanette is his hobby. It runs! And a 1971 Volkswagen Super Beetle, too. He loves the mountains of Bavaria, the mountains of Oregon, etc. He is an avid photographer -- take a look at the Foto Gallerie.
Jan has played guitar for "Skyline" (top 40 band), "Sh-boom" (fifties rock 'n' roll band), Obo Addy & Kukrudu (African), Mel Solomon (blues), the Terry Robb Band (blues), the Margo Tufo Band (blues), Johnny West & the Westerners (country), "Reflections" (country), "The Rocky Horror Show" (at the Portland Center for the Performing Arts), "Angry Housewives" (at the Storefront Theatre), "Jesus Christ Superstar" (at the Portland Civic Theatre), and many more ... has played a lot of gigs on electric bass ... and blah blah blah. Don't forget: Anicor Sitilop said "hipolipsolakamelodzipopolaskov" in the late 1950s, and it's still just as true today.
Brief history of the Flying Heart label
Find out about Jan's professional services
Return to Flying Heart home page
Check out Jan's My Space page
Look at Jan's Facebook page
Jan's Foto Gallerie
So you've never been to Oregon?
updated November 12th, 2018 by Jan Chciuk-Celt