2005 has been a very exciting and fulfilling year musically. I am grateful for each opportunity to create music with the legendary Ira Sullivan throughout the year.
The year began with the Coco Beach Jazz Festival where I had the pleasure of accompanying the great violinist and composer, Johnny Frigo; and an exciting, rising vocal star from Austria, Simone Kopmajer.
Later in January, I performed with the exquisite Broadway star, Julie Budd, for a Palm Beach Pops Orchestra fundraiser.
In February, I played in an orchestra that backed Hal Linden, star of TV and stage. This performance took place at Donald Trump's Mar a Lago estate in Palm Beach.
In March, I did the Regis Philbin/Susan Lucci show at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino as part of the Jerry Fischer Orchestra.
We began recording sessions at the Hit Factory at Criteria Studios in Miami for acclaimed vocalist Nicole Henry's latest CD project. The artist formerly known as Prince was working in the adjacent studio.
April brought the Rivera Beach Jazz and Blues Fest where Nicole Henry opened for Roberta Flack and Isaac Hayes.
I had many opportunities throughout the summer and fall to perform as solo pianist at the new Jazziz Bistro in Hollywood, FL. This venue features a beautiful new Steinway Grand Piano.
In early November, I had the honor of participating in the 2005 JAZZCRUISE, a Jazz Festival at sea featuring Cedar Walton, Bill Mays, The Clayton Brothers, Patti Austin, Houston Person, Johnnie O'Neal, Dena DeRose and many others. The performances took place aboard the luxurious Holland America ship "Zuiderdam", hosted an audience of several thousand and travelled from Fort Lauderdale to Aruba, Curacao and Half Moon Cay.
I performed with Frank Capp and Juggernaut, a fiery 16 piece big band playing the music of Count Basie with arrangements by Neil Hefti, Sammy Nestico, Billy Byers and Frank Foster. Marlena Shaw headlined,
leaving the audience spellbound with her captivating performances. Plas Johnson, Lanny Morgan, Bob Summers, Pete Desiena, Dante Luciani and John Heard were some of the musicians featured.
I also took part in a piano performance series that included Cedar Walton, Eddie Higgins, Johnny O'Neal,
Dena DeRose, Bill Cunliffe, Taylor Eigsti and Tamir Hendelman. I followed Bill Mays and Dr. Lonnie Smith played the finale after my performance. This series was a great success for the performers and listeners alike.
Later in November I travelled to Boise, Idaho where I performed in concert and conducted workshops with vocalist - Kevin Mahogany, bassist - Chuck Bergeron and percussionist - John Yarling. This is one of the finest groups of musicians with whom I have ever had the pleasure of performing and I look forward to future opportunities.
Thanks go out to my many associates here in South Florida including Ira Sullivan (Mentor), Nicole Henry, Chuck Bergeron, Terry and Matt Bonelli, Danny Burger, Randall Dollahon, Joe and Kathleen Donato, Jerry Fischer, Mike Gerber, Rick Harris, Dan Jaffe, Jesse Jones, Jamie Ousley, Dana Paul, Melton Mustafa, Leslie Smith, John Yarling and all my friends and supporters.
As always, I celebrate every chance that I have to share in any music performance experience with Donna "Blue" MacDonald, my true inspiration. We are planning to revisit our very successful run at the appropriately Bohemian "Luna Star Cafe". I will keep you posted with the plan and we look forward to seeing everybody when you come out to show your support for this and all of our collaborative efforts.
Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy Kwanzaa, and have a wonderful, safe and prosperous New Year!
all my best,