Returned from Sturbridge MA

This past weekend was a fantastic event – a combination of musical joy meets family reunion. The New England Jazz Banjo Fest had lots of great players (as usual) with Steve Caddick, Mike Hashem, Lance MacLean, , David Cavage, Albie Bernard, Paul Monat, Nathan Garrett (another Roy Smeck alumni) all present along with Arlene Boucher, Ruth & Frank Vitale, Paul Poirer and dozens more performers and fellow banjo players & enthusiasts. As usual, a fantastic time organized by Allen Padwa and Alice Caldwell. I was thrilled to have this great group of friends to play with and for – and get the chance to play some of the slightly “outside” material that I love so much. I was especially happy to pay some (long overdue) tribute to Tom Fee and his old band of pals – “The Yo-Yo’s” – who were a great inspiration to me in appreciating and trying to ferret out lesser known but no-lesser quality tunes of the Tin Pan Alley golden age. There’s not a better group of people one could possibly know!!
There are some upcoming Sunnyland JB appearances in early October – all compressed into one weekend. On Saturday the 7th, the trio of John, Jeff & myself will be appearing at the relatively new Jamesport Farm Brewery on Sound Avenue from approximately 1:30 to 5:30. It’s your one chance to hear our core trio in action, support a new local business venture and enjoy tasty fermented fruits of the harvest season! The following day, October 8th, I will be playing another edition of the Riverhead Country Fair. Due to a scheduling conflict, the band will be performing as a “split squad” that day and Jeff Furman will be in Riverhead with myself and a special guest performer while John Klumpp directs the (private) other performance.
Speaking of guest performances, I am happy to announce that the following week (October 14th), I will be part of a quartet at a special performance at the Vail-Leavitt Music Hall along with the following visiting musical dignitaries: Jeff Hughes on cornet (from the Wolverines Jass Band, Paramount Jazz Band, Brahmin Bellhops); Albie Bernard on tuba (one of New England’s finest tubaists – as they say, has played with “Everybody” and please note the capitalization); and Sarah Spencer on saxophone (traveling here from Britain across the Big Pond – premier New Orleans/Blues saxophonist and powerful vocals, too!). Be advised, this is a fleeting and special opportunity…you’ve got to come out and be part of this!! And, for the bravest music students reading this post – there will be a master class/workshop earlier in the day wherein the aforementioned quartet will impart their collective history and expertise to others. Email the Music Hall for more information: You’ll also get to visit (if you haven’t already) Downstate New York’s oldest theater…20 years older than the oldest on Broadway and celebrating its 136th birthday that very weekend!!

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