Rod Paparozzi

April 2003

This is an account that Rob Paparozzi wrote about the events of Mar. 28-30 after the wonderful harmonica gathering he and Wade Schuman staged`Mar. 30 in NY. It went on for more than 8 hours, with an incredible amount of high-level harp playing and good music, which Rob recounts in amazing detail! Rob is a great harp player and singer, and a friend to the harmonica world in general. In Rob’s words….

…..I want to thank everyone that came out to support our “NY Club”, The NY Reedsters. Also, special thanks to Danny Wilson and Harp-l for allowing us to promote this event electronically which resulted in an outstanding success. Since I don’t have a formal list of who attended, I won’t even attempt to start listing them but I’ll mention a few as I talk about the weekend.

The weekend kicked off with Howard Levy and Anthony Molinaro playing a duet concert on the Upper Eastside. I couldn’t make it, but I heard they were a hit and got a standing ovation on the finale of “America the Beautiful”.

Friday Nite:
I spoke with Howard via cell phone after his Noon concert. He said he was looking for something to do Friday Night and asked me who was playing around. I told him that I knew my friend Ed Palermo was playing at The Bottom Line, performing two Frank Zappa lp’s in their entirety. Howard went down and talked to them at sound check and as it turned out they asked him back to play that night at the show. Well,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,you guessed it, he Blew the doors from W 4th St out to Bleecker St with his solo, according to reports I got!!!!

Saturday (7-10pm)
Wade Schuman’s “Hazmat Modine” extravanganza! at Terra Blues Club on Bleecker Street in the Village. I went from 7-7:30pm and saw Howard sit in but I had to leave to get to my uptown (wedding gig) at the Essex House on Central Park South.

Wade’s band was kickin’ and Wade started the show as he always does with a
breathtaking ‘solo’ piece…..Wade is an amazing player and a terrific
bandleader and arranger.

Saturday (9pm-1am)
Private Party! Howard agreed to fill in as our piano player wasn’t able to do this gig. Well, it was a wedding, and Howard trekked uptown from Wade’s gig in his Tux……now check this out- the groom recognized Howard, as he used to see him in Virginia at college with Bela Fleck’s band! He was a big Fan and couldn’t believe Howard was playing at his wedding! …..That set the tone for a crazy night, so me and Howard took turns trading off on Piano and Harmonica and we all had a blast………………..

Sunday (3pm-Midnite) The Gathering at Wade’s Midtown Loft Both myself and Wade were pretty wiped going into this event from our gigs the night before. I got back to NJ about 3pm unloaded my PA and reloaded my Van with a Piano, Soda, Beer and asst party goods for the next day…at Noon I met my Bass Player, Bailey Gee and we headed into town, we got to Wade’s Building and we met drummer Bernard Purdie in the lobby, I said “what are you doing here Bernard?” and he responded, “today is your event right? and I’m here to help out!”…….woah!! I was floored to have Bernard help out us Harp players. He is a true friend not only to me but as many of us know from the Summit, a genuine ally to our harp community.

Bernard knew both me and Wade bit off more than we could handle, so he went for Ice, Greeted everyone and collected the dues at the door, handled the caterers, and Played Drums with everyone from the Sgro Bros to Frederic Yonnett!!! Bernard, I know you’re not on harp-l, BUT THANK YOU SO MUCH….we love you!!!! The Sgro Bros backed by Howard on Piano, and Purdie on drums (now that’s a first!!!) played “Lullaby of Birdland” & “Stars &Stripes Forever”.

Howard and Anthony did a duet of “Mood Indigo”, “Amazonas”, “America”…and 1 or two more….Anthony is an impeccable classically trained pianist with Jazz & improv chops as well! He announced that this was the 1st time he had ever attempted these pieces on electric piano, but you’d never know it after hearing him!

Since Howard was brought up in the NY area, it was special having him featured at this meeting, IMO, Howard is to the Diatonic what Larry Adler was to the Chromatic, By this I mean, they ‘opened’ the door for expanding the possibilities and parameters of our instruments. But not only did we have playing pioneers, we had MASTER Harmonica master technicians, customizers, inventors and great players in their own right in attendance as well!….Cham-Ber Huang, Rick Epping and Joe Filisko. Newer techs like Jimmy Gordon, Mike Easton and Bob Meehan……so this was quite an event!

For the first time we actually had a great backup Band with a real Bassist, Drummer and Guitarist (Jon Scholle) from David Grismans band and another great player that Wade will have to mention as his name escapes me. William Galison even brought his own talented band with Madelline on Vox & Gtr and a great female Accordionist.

We also had two Claviola players who performed a duet and Rick Epping gave us a gorgeous mini concert on Concertina & Rack Harp……as well as a very interesting demo of his new “XB” harp….thank You so much Rick!I didn’t know Frederic Yonnet was coming!….I think Galison got word to him, but Fred put on a hell of a show, with ‘chops’ and ‘speed’ for days….I put Purdie, Scholle, Howard (on piano) and Bailey up there w/ him to perform “The Chicken” and “Boogie on Reggae Woman”………….totally funk-i-fied!!!!

Wade recreated his Solo piece was again and just amazed us all! taking us from pre-war harps and hollers to eastern microtonal scale with sprinkles of Butterfield….now that’s a mixture!!! Wade was Wade & Kate also deserve a BIG thanx for allowing this madness into their Loft for a whole day & Night….very gracious!!!!! Some more of the featured players brought up were alot of our regular club members: William Galison, Susan Rosenberg, Robert Bonfiglio, Steve Guyger, Dennis Gruenling, Charles Spranklin, George Brooks……a few came but were a little under the weather if I didn’t want to put them on the spot…Thanx to Cham-Ber and Charlie Leighton….they are also giants they attended but didn’t play. Oh yeah….our good Friend, Harris Simon (Diatonic) is an awesome Jazz Pianist and helped out immensely, we love you Harris and Thanx for putting up Howard on Sunday Night!!! A huge thanx to Bob Meehan who picked up Filisko at my house at 4am to get him back to Chicago on Monday so he could make his teaching gig!

Thanx to Bob Beck, Jimbeau, Chet Williamson, Chris Gillock, Johnny
Rosch, Gary Schreiner, Chis Mastakas, Gary Schreiner, Larry Wexman, David ?, Sandy Mack and Nick Coppola, Trip Henderson, Bob Lians, Daine-Paul Russell, Rich Yescali, Louie, Ben Nathanson, Gary Mettler, David Teicher, Jon Paris, Mark the Harper, Randy Weinstein, Lester Schultz, Norman Savitt……………….and a ton more I cannot recall at this moment….apologies to all I failed to mention….oh…Chris Bauer did a nice job on Chromatic on a Duke tune as well as Susan Rosenberg’s verse of “Summertime” acc. by Harris Simon on Piano. Bonfiglio I put on the spot with NO accompaniment for some great Classical Playing and a poignant “Amazing Grace” ….we had a moment of silence for deceased Reedsters, Don Brooks ….and I forgot to include the late great Reedster from Brooklyn Bob Shatkin, I’m sorry……..

My good friend Randy Singer got there a little Late, he was giggin the night before in Florida and is was VERY special having him up to play with Galison at the end……he ALWAYS sounds great!!! and so does his new CD!!! Some cool highlights were Howard Levy and William Galison trading Melodies, Harmonies and licks on Django’s “Nuages” and “My Funny Valentine”….pretty beautiful hearing Chrom & Diatonic together….it really worked!!!

Also, I really want to Thank Joe Filisko and Rick Epping, our ‘special’ out of town guests for taking time from their busy schedules, they WERE the highlight of our event…thanx guys!! All in all I think a good time was had by all, I hope everyone enjoyed it and thanx again to Harp-l, we couldn’t have done this without you……………………Reedfully Yours……….Rob Paparozzi

Comments are closed.