- Mike Renzi@Conductor/Piano
LOUIS FORESTIERI began his musical life at an early age. His fascination with music and the keyboard resulted in performance beginning at age 9. Justaposed between his deep Italian roots, big band jazz, and the learnings of popular R & B, his gift for musical versatility has always afforded him the opportunity to make his living as a musician. One of his early groups, "The Hurricanes", went on to prominence touring with Dick Clark.
Although Louis has had great lifelong success playing live, his heart has remained with conposing throughout the years. "At seven, when my parents used to make me practice, I would start out working on whatever piece I was learning at the time and end up improvising. I would hear new songs in my head and try to play them. My parents were always supportive of this."
Leaving the outskirts of Philadelphia for the Big Apple, Forestieri was presented his first major musical break at 24 when he met jazz legend, Bobby Hackett. Quite the task master, Hackett taught him the disciplines of jazz, thereby inadvertently assisting Forestieri in difining his musical and stylistic maturities. Working with Hackett also led to sharing the stage with other jazz greats, including Erroll Garner, Count Basie, Freddie Hubbard and Dick Hyman. Forestieri spent several years touring around the world, absorbing the various musical genres first hand, and utilizing his experiences in his work. He went on to work with Zoot Simms, Toot Theileman, and renowed jazz singers Lena Horne, Johnny Hartman and Peggy Lee on Broadway. Louis also played on the Grammy Award Winning CD for Les Paul. He even wrote jingles for Cover Girl, GL Joe, and Pepsi.
"I feel that my diverse background has become my own personal library. My work has led me to write everyting from orchestral music to soul ballads."
It was his love of composition and the challenge thereof that led Louis Forestieri to relocate from New York to Los Angeles. Impressed with Forestieri's work, the amazing composing team of Pete Carpenter and Mike Post hired him to write for several television productions, including Hard Castle & McCormick, Rip Tide and A Team. Over the years, he has scored "Beverly Hills 90210, Family Matters, Martlock and the long running Diagnosis Murder starring Dick Van Dyke. "Scoring allows me to explore my passion for composing music and applying it to a director's vision. Whether realized, orchestrally, electronically or a combination thereof, my goal in film writing is always to illicit and evoke the emotions depicted on the screen."
As an orchestrator and arranger, Louis has worked on many different musical planes, ranging from Tori Amos to Stanley Clark as well as Mel Torme, Maureen McGovern, and Roberto Carlos. When not writing, he has found himself in other unique roles; a piano coach with Jeff Bridges for The Fabulous Baker Boys and Angelina Jolie for Beyond Borders. As an on screen performer Louis has appeared in For The Boys, My Blue Heaven, Star Trek the Final Contact, Frankie and Johnny, and many more. He has most recently composed the musical scores for Old Glory, Suicide Club, News Junkie and The Wrong Mr. Johnson, as well as the theme for the radio internet program, music of the Light.
As an artist, Louis Forestieri never passes up a new challenge. He's enjoyed playing live for the spontaneity and enegy that comes along with performing in front of an audience. He's liked the challenge of writing jingles and episodic TV, and now enjoys composing music for feature films, looking forward to where this journey will lead him next.
"The way I see it," he says, "we never stop growing."
- Vinnie Falcone@Conductor/Piano
Born in Syracuse, New York, VINCENT FALCONE began studying classical piano at the age of three. During high school, Mr. Falcone was introduced to jazz and was so taken with this music, that even though he was engaged in classical training at Syracuse University, he decided to pursue jazz and pop music as a career. After extensive traveling throughout Europe with various jazz groups, he returned to the United States in 1964 and spent several years furthering his musical studies as well as performing in the upstate New York area. In 1970 Mr. Falcone relocated to Las Vegas, where he still resides. He became Caesar Palacefs house pianist, was heard by Frank Sinatra who eventually employed him as his musical director and pianist.
This association lasted from 1976 until 1982 with a reprise in 1985 -1986. In 1980, Mr. Falcone was music director for the inaugural gala for president Ronald Reagan.
Vinnie has, at one time or another, been pianist conductor for many of the countryfs top singers including Robert Goulet, Andy Williams, Connie Francis, Paul Anka, Diahann Carroll, Sylvia Syms, the McGuire sisters, Frankie Randall, Joe Piscopo, the great French singer-composer Charles Aznavour, Jack Jones, Al Martino, Eddie Fisher, James Darren, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, Jerry Lewis, Julius Larosa, and Tony Bennett.
Mr. Falcone was musical director and pianist for Pia Zadora from 1983 to 1993. As such, he along with Robert Farnon, the acclaimed British composer/arranger, recorded three albums featuring Pia Zadora with the London Philharmonic, and Royal Philharmonic orchestras, and one album recorded in Los Angeles, with the brilliant arranger Sammy Nestico.
Vinnie is also featured on a new CD by Steve Lawrence entitled "Steve Lawrence sings Sinatra". He has appeared with such jazz artists as Steve Gadd, Joe Labarbara, Bobby Shew, the Condoli Brothers, Scott Hamilton, Terry Gibbs, Sonny Stitt, Jack Sheldon, Carl Fontana, Mark Murphy and many others.
He has extensive experience as conductor of all size orchestras, including symphony orchestras, and has been musical director for the stage musical "Too short to be a Rockette.h He can be heard on several recordings with Frank Sinatra, Pia Zadora, Sylvia Syms, and others as well as his own jazz piano trio album and his latest CD with his jazz organ trio.
The group, "the Jazz Organization," was recorded live at the Sahara hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. His latest composition with lyricist Joe Cocuzzo entitled "The Singer'', was recorded by Rosemary Clooney, and Marlene Verplank.
In 2005, Mr. Falcone had his first book published by Hal Leonard publishing co. Entitled gFrankly-Just Between Ush. The book tells of his many experiences with Frank Sinatra and many of the other artists with whom he has worked.
- Chris Colangelo / on base
"Chiris Colangelo is a driving, striving, thriving and sensitive bassist. He so much cares about doing it right. He's a scrapper from Philly who might have gotten into a lot of brawls if he hadn't had to protest his talented hands." - Jack Jones
Bassist CHRIS COLANGELO is one of the genuine masters on his instrument. The first thing you notice about Chris's playing -- his tone, deeply resonant with astonishing articulation across the instrument's sonic register. Once you adjust to such reverberant force, you recognize that this is a musician with serious chops ... that hard to define, never forgotten lyric quality that separates yeoman time-keepers from bassists with seductive narrative power.
Born in Camden, New Jersey, Chris attended Rowan University, majoring in jazz performance. Then a resident of the Philadelphia area, Chris was part of the local jazz scene, with session work throughout the Delaware Valley, including gigs in Atlantic City. After moving to Los Angeles in late '91, Chris began performing and traveling with heavyweights such as the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, Yusef Lateef, Jimmy Cleveland, Alex Acuna, Roy McCurdy, Doc Severinsen, Ernie Watts, Kei Akagi, Les McCann, Richie Cole, Sal Marquez, Joe La Barbera and Peter Erskine among many others.
Chris's album, 2 trios + 1 -- gLiveh (Blue Port Jazz), earned plaudits at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas soon after its appearance in nationwide distribution. Legendary pianist Jane Getz joined Chris for this gin concerth recording, along with percussionist Dave Hocker and saxophonist Chuck Manning.
Jazz reviewer John Gilbert wrote about that session, glive at Monteleone's in Los Angeles, [where] Colangelo assembled an all star cast, h that
g... the listener will understand why [Chris] is much in demand upon hearing him in action. His assertive approach and rapid fire solos take bass playing to another level...power tempered with feeling is a most sought after attribute and Colangelo achieves this with a natural ability grounded in musical education.h
Recently, Chris co-led two recordings: the first album,gBlue Coast h with the group 4 WEST; another, g LIVE h, featuring Benn Clatworthy on tenor sax and Otmaro Ruiz on piano, with Jim Paxson on drums, recorded at a Los Angeles club in May '03. Chris is currently working on his second solo effort, soon to be completed.
To put a precise point on these brief but stunning facts, any jazz afficionado who's not yet discovered this calm jazz dynamo, Chris Colangelo, owes it to the promise of immense musical pleasure to tune into the magic Chris concocts each night he plays. This is a bassist for the long haul ... a player's player, a musician's musician, but most of all a torrential lyric genius.
- Kendall Kay / on drums
"Kendall Kay is a drummist, who, if the rest of us can swing, gives us the permit. He is solid and tasteful, with a great sense of time. He isa very quiet person and the perfect gentleman. Buddy Rich, who was a close friend of mine, would have admired his sense of calm......and, of course, his playing." - Jack Jones
Born in Durban, South Africa, KENDALL KAY moved to the United States in 1983 to study Jazz at North Texas State University. He moved to L.A. in 1987 and has become a U.S. citizen in recent years. One of the most versatile drummers around, Kendall is much in demand and has recorded or performed with artists like Poncho Sanchez, Cecilia Coleman, Steve Huffstetter, Bob Sheppard, Kenny Burrell, Phil Upchurch, Allan Broadbent, Kyle Eastwood, Mundell Lowe and Rickie Lee Jones. Kendall is also a member of the Ron Eschete Trio.
Kendall is currently endorsing D.W. Drums, Remo Drum Heads, Vic Firth Sticks and Paiste Cymbals.
- Gary Nesteruk@Second Keyboard
GARY NESTERUK was born in Brackenridge, Pennsylvania. He began studying piano at age seven, and in 1976 completed an MA in Music Performance at Indiana University in Indiana, Pennsylvania.
Since 1979, he has resided in Santa Monica, California, working as a freelance musician. In addition to touring and live performance, he has worked in television such as Twilight Zone and Third Rock from the Sun. His film credits include Norma Jean and Marilyn, Jennifer Eight, Species, The Island of Doctor Moreau, Set It Off, and Rounders.
- Jimmy Blakemore/April 17, 1939 - Aug. 3, 2008
Drummer JIMMY BLAKEMORE passed away in Naples, FL, from complications related to liver and heart ailments. He was 69. Jim Blakemore, born 17th April 1939 to Helen and Jim Blakemore in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvenia.
Jim began playing the drums at the age of 8. Before joining Jack just over 10 years ago, he used to work at the Holiday House in Pittsburgh and played for many stars amongest them Johnny Mathis and Frank Sinatra Jr.
He then toured with Buddy Greco for 2 years prior to becoming Jack's full time drummer in 1973.
He got married to his High School sweetheart, the lovely Judy Kuhn, in 1960.
Jim had two sons, Randy and Jim. One of three children, Jim had two sisters, Cathy and Mary.
- Tom Garvin/February 4, 1944 - July 31, 2011
TOM GARVIN, a jazz pianist and composer-arranger who was best known as an exceptional accompanist, died July 31 at an assisted living facility in Encino. He was 67.
The cause was cancer, which diagnosed three years ago, said Tom Mitchell, a close friend.
A fixture on the Los Angeles jazz scene, Garvin was "one of our town's better jazz pianists," The Times said in 1990.
His specialty was accompaniment, and he did it "with a flair not often engendered by other pianists,"
John Gilbert wrote in 2003 in the online magazine jazzreview.com.
The many artists Garvin performed with include noted jazz vocalists Carmen McRae, Peggy Lee, Lou Rawls and Diane Schuur.
As recently as 2006, Garvin led a trio for Jack Jones.
"His accompaniments offered both musical support and expressive space - a secure foundation for singers to rove freely in the telling of their
musical stories," said jazz critic Don Heckman. "His jazz trio work was equally engaging."
In 1972, Garvin began writing songs for the Tonight Show Band with Doc Severinsen and eventually composed dozens of tunes for the TV program.
"I'd just write them and send them in," Garvin told The Times in 1992.
"I went in once and watched Doc rehearse one of my tunes, and he was excellent... So I thought, 'Hey, I don't need to be here.'"
Such public reticence contributed to Garvin's relatively low profile outside of the jazz community, according to Mitchell.
The lack of visibility was surprising given his musicianship and "articulately crafted keyboard style,"
Heckman wrote in a 2001 Times review of a performance that featured such standards as "I'll Close My Eyes" and "I Fall in Love Too Easily."
Garvin was born Feb. 4, 1944, in Petersburg, Va. His parents divorced when he was young,
and his mother did clerical work while they lived with his grandmother.
As a child, he received a key gift from his mother - a toy piano. From then on, Garvin wanted to be a musician, Mitchell said.
After earning a degree in music composition at Baltimore's Peabody Institute in the mid-1960s,
Garvin served as a pianist-arranger in the Army Field Band.
The only album he released was "In Three Dimensions," which featured his big band on one side and his trio on the other.
Briefly married, Garvin tended to name many original tunes after the women he dated and his close friends.
His oeuvre included "Mitch," "Talara," "Elaine" and "Jane."
Garvin, who was a longtime resident of North Hollywood, has no immediate survivors.
(August 11, 2011 - By Valerie J. Nelson, Los Angeles Times)
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