Once a month for the past two years, the David Raleigh Quartet and I have taken our audience on a journey…a musical journey, incorporating story and song. Our performance at the Duplex, in Greenwich Village, this past Thursday was our twenty-fifth performance of “Jazz in the City.” In addition to the Duplex, the show has been performed in New York City at The Cell, Lehman College, The American Irish Historical Society and the Triad.
The show features the stories and songs of the artists and composers who for the past 375 years have paid homage to city they call home. Many of their songs were popularized in New York’s venues like the Village Vanguard where Miles, Mingus and Monk performed and venues that are long gone, such as Cafe Society where Billy Holiday debuted “Strange Fruit.” And then there are the stories and songs that I associate with New York through ancestral, familial and personal recollections.
I grew up listening to music of the sixties: The Ronettes, from uptown, the Crystals, from Jamaica, Queens, where I was born, Dion and Belmonts from the Bronx and the New York stylings of the Drifters. But there were always two radios on in my house: One in my room and the other wherever my mother was. My mother listened to WNEW, a station that showcased the tunes of Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, Johnny Mercer and George Gershwin. Thus, I learned about and came to love the wonderful and enduring music of the “American Songbook.”
And how fortunate am I to be performing with four incredible musicians, David Raleigh, Tony Carfora, Danny Weller and Daniel Glass. What a wonderful experience. You can come out and share the experience at our next show at THE DUPLEX , in Greenwich Village in NYC on June 21, 7pm. For tickets and additional information CLICK HERE.
Photos by Mitch Traphagen.