Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Steve Madaio Plays Songs For Lovers in the Gardens at El Paso


On Saturday March 15th the music Series at The Gardens at El Paso featured Trumpet great, Steve Madaio and 3 wonderful musicians. The concert was a benefit for the California Visiting Nurse Association and was sponsored by Bruno Le May, D.M.D., Sullivans, Pacifica and Anderhout Whittaker.  The setting was beautiful, the weather was perfect and Steve presented an evening of some of the best love songs ever written to everyone's delight in the standing room only audience. Steve Madaio is know to all music lovers here in the Valley and has played and toured with some of the greatest rock and roll bands in American history including Earth Wind and Fire, Stevie Wonder and the Rolling Stones.  But tonight the spotlight was not on rock and roll but rather on some of the most romantic ballads ever written.  Steve is one of only a few musicians that can project the emotion of a song and its lyric using a Trumpet! Tonight the audience heard Steve at his very best, playing ballets like "Over the Rainbow" and "The Days of Wine and Roses" to name a few of the wonderful songs on the program.

Joining Steve tonight were 3 of my personal favorite musicians, Yarek Urant on Keyboard, Bill Saitta on Bass and Jay Lewis on Drums. Yarek Urant is always a treat to hear. He plays keyboard in a different style than any other piano player in the Valley. When he plays a ballad you can feel the emotion flowing out of his Keyboard. I think ballads are his sweet spot.  Bill Saitta also well know to all music lovers in the Valley seems to reach new levels of mastery of the Bass every time he performs. Bill is not a casual musician. He is a musician that is totally committed to breaking new ground in his playing performance, and the results have made him a pleasure to hear.  On Drums tonight was Jay Lewis one of the best drummers performing in the Desert. Jay plays with soft hands and provided the foundation for the group tonight that lifted the music to new heights!

The great Canadian Flute and Sax player, Tom Keenlyside was a very special guest tonight.  Tom may be Canadian but he has been officially claimed by all the American Jazz lovers in the Desert.  Tom and Steve are close friends and recently recorded a new CD, "Slices" that is experiencing tremendous success.  All and all it was a great concert under the stars that provided great sounds and supported a very worthy cause!



Friday, March 21, 2014

Exceptional Musicians Name Their Top Ten Songs, Chapter One: Johnny Morris

Johnny Morris Shares His Top 10 Favorite Songs

I always had an interest in knowing the top 10 songs of my favorite musicians. I knew it how difficult it was going to be for them to put together a list of their favorite songs. You should try and then you will appreciate how difficult this task can be.  The problem everyone has is picking only 10 songs from their personal list of hundreds. I thought it would be interesting to ask some of the best musicians I know to choose their top 10 songs. 

I asked several world-class musicians to imagine what if they were limited to hearing and playing only 10 songs for the rest of their lives, what songs would they pick. This blog is the first of a series of posts that will let us see the top 10 favorite songs of some outstanding musicians. I hope you will share your comments with me.  Also, if there is any musicians who I have not contacted, as yet, who would like to publish their top 10 favorites, please let me know.

Most of my readers know Johnny Morris as one of the most accomplished pianists performing today. Johnny is a Steinway artist and one of the most caring people you will ever meet.  Anyone who has heard Johnny perform knows that he has a deep love for the songs from the "Great American Songbook". Johnny has the ability to play hundreds of great songs from memory including singing the lyrics. I expected Johnny's list to include some of the greatest songs ever written, and I was not disappointed.

Johnny is currently performing Mondays on the terrace at Backstreet Bistro from 5:00pm to 9:00pm.  Having dinner with Johnny playing many of the great songs from his personal list is about as good as it gets.  Johnny is also scheduled to perform with his trio at the Steinway Society Jazz event on April 12, 2014 at So Cal Piano located at 74111 Hwy. 111 in Palm Desert. This is the second Jazz concert Johnny has performed for the Steinway Society, and it's sure to be sold out. Call 760-341-4130 for reservations.

                                   Johnny Morris' Top 10 Favorite Songs

1. How Do You Keep The Music Playing
2. Stella By Starlight
3. My One and Only Love
4. All The Things You Are
5. Here's That Rainy Day
6. Spring Is Here
7. Invitation
8. Emily
9. Skylark
10. The Way You Look Tonight

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Rose Mallett, Simply A Great Jazz Singer!

Rose Mallett

Rose Mallett has had a full schedule of performances this winter, but I had not seen her until Thursday night when I went to Escena Lounge and Grill inside the beautiful Escena Golf Club. The Escena Lounge and Grill is a wonderful place to enjoy great food and listen to some of the wonderful sounds of Jazz provided by Rose and fellow musicians, Barry McClure and Danny Flahive.  Rose Mallett has a wonderful Sarah Vaughn-like lush voice that when combined with her 3 1/2 octave range, puts even the most casual Jazz listener in outer space. In my opinion in the short period has been singing in the Desert she has become one of our best Jazz singers.  She approaches her songs without fear and applies her own Jazz interpretation bringing new life to the many great standards she sings.  Rose is a perfectionist and it's no surprise that she has chosen two of the best side-men in the Valley to support her performance.  Barney McClure has taken the Desert Jazz scene by storm this winter playing gigs almost every night. Barney is a wonderful personality and a great pianist. I was surprised to learn that he is self-taught on the keyboard and did not start playing keyboard until he was seventeen. Any singer would love to have him playing for them! On stand-up Bass is everyone's favorite Bass player, Danny Flahive. Just like Barney, Danny is in great demand and performs almost every night. Danny has his own unique approach to playing Bass, and his solos are well constructed and beautifully played. When you combine these three mega-talents together, the resulting sounds are a beautiful thing to hear.

Rose performs at Escena on most Thursdays but you should call first to make sure she is performing. She also is performing at many other venues including Woody's in Palm Springs.  She is scheduled to appear at Woody's on Fridays, March 7, 14 and 21. You might also check out her site to see her full schedule. 

Barry McClure, Rose Mallett and Danny Flahive

Barney McClure

Danny Flahive

Friday, March 7, 2014

Book Review: "Rod, The Autobiography" By Rod Stewart


If you ever wondered what it would be like to be born into a working class family and then evolve into a Mega Rock and Roll Star with more money than you could ever have imagined, then this is the book you need to read. In this autobiography, Rod Stewart holds very little back in describing his incredible career and his more incredible personal life. He is the prototype of what life is like when you are a rock and roll supper star. I recently read and published several book reviews of epic superstars including Eric Clapton, Steven Tyler and Keith Richards, and they all share some common characteristics.  First and foremost, they are all survivors. They knew what their destiny was, and they let nothing including drugs, lifestyle and limited financial resources stop them from achieving their dreams. Financial success was not the driving force motivating them. They were all driven by an unrelenting drive to create, play and perform music. However, when success and money did arrive, they could never get enough of the life style that money and public success brought.

As written in Rod Stewart's autobiography, his personality reminded me, in some way to Keith Richards. They both were totally happy being submerged in music. While they both enjoyed the financial rewards that success brought, they never lost contact with where they came from and who they were.

I found the stories that Rod wrote about some famous musicians very interesting.  Rod's life story in his own words rings of honesty you don't usually get from other biographies of famous people. Much like Keith Richards, Rod Stewart has remained true to his working class upbringing.
                                                                        Book Review
                                         The Music Man Awards this book "3 Quarter Notes"

                                                    4 Quarter Notes= Excellent, Must read
                                                    3 Quarter Notes= Good Read
                                                    2 Quarter Notes= Somewhat Interesting
                                                    1 Quarter Notes= Save Your Time And Money

CD Review: John Vanore, "Primary Colors"

Trumpeter, Composer, Producer, Educator and Bandleader John Vanore has just released a long-forgotten studio recording of a duet he reco...