The ZaSu Pitts Memorial Orchestra was formed in
San Francisco by Stephen Ashman, a
bass-player. They released several LPs in the 1984-1987 time period and continue to be active. The Orchestra did not have any overt connection to
ZaSu Pitts beyond the name.
The band consisted of approximately 15 members (mostly male instrumentalists and female singer-dancers, with Jay Peterson on drums) who performed full band renditions of
R&B and other classic
pop songs along with a few original compositions. A mid-1980s
New Year's Eve show broadcast by San Francisco
KQED-TV is sometimes shown on public TV in the United States.
The Zasu Pitts Memorial Orchestra won a
Bammy Award for Best Independent Album of 1985
On June 23, 2008, the semi-original Zasu Pitts Memorial Orchestra lineup reformed for the first time in nearly 23 years for a one- off concert at the
Great American Music Hall in San Francisco to benefit original Zasu Pitts/Big Bang Beat saxophonist Morey Goldstein who had recently been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor.
Booker T. of
Booker T. & the M.G.'s made a guest appearance at this show. Goldstein died on July 5, 2008.