Savannah Center, June 16 2017

The Orion Trio, Friday June 16

What a fun concert this Friday at the Savannah Center! As one audience member put it, we could’ve powered a small city with the energy that came off the stage. Well, I know we can’t go wrong with players like Daniel Jordan on sax and flute, Pat Gallo on electric and upright bass, and Jerry Bruno on drums. They are all seasoned pros and among the best in the business, as was evident to the 300+ in attendance.

The Trio, with Thomas Pizzi on keys, opened the show with “I’ll Remember April” as a samba/swing, and then brought Mr. Jordan on stage with the Charles Mingus tune “Nostalgia in Times Square”. We followed that with the familiar Latin standard “Cielito Lindo” as an up-tempo samba, which featured Jerry Bruno’s slick rhythms and Daniel Jordan’s ripping sax solo. We then slowed things down with the lovely ballad “Autumn in New York”, and picked it back up with Lionel Hampton’s “Flying Home”.

It has been said Antonia Carlos Jobim is the George Gershwin of Brazil, and I have yet to play a tune of his that doesn’t live up to that standard. Daniel Jordan played a beautiful flute rendition of his Bossa Nova “O Amor Em Paz”, which has been recorded by everyone from Sinatra to Yo-Yo Ma. For total contrast we followed that with a fusion tune by the James Taylor Quartet, “Capo di Monte”. We ended the show with one of my favorite ballads, “My One and Only Love”, and Sonny Rollin’s up-tempo bop tune, “Oleo”.

We’re fortunate to be close enough to Orlando to have access to the great wealth of top musicians who live there, and fortunate that Daniel Jordan and Pat Gallo are willing to travel to The Villages to perform. Not only that, Jerry Bruno lives in The Villages, and is a world-class musician in his own right. It’s such a treat for everyone to hear (and work with) players like these that don’t come any better.

Speaking of great local musicians, our next two concerts in July and August will feature Bill Neale on guitar and John Gaffney on bass, both Villagers who have inspired audiences with the Orion Trio before.

Keep Swinging, Tom PZ

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Pat Gallo, Thomas Pizzi, Jerry Bruno, Daniel Jordan

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Daniel Jordan

Jerry

Jerry Bruno

Pat

Pat Gallo

Tom

Thomas Pizzi

Savannah Center, Feb. 23 with Daniel Jordan

The capacity crowd at the Savannah Center last Thursday was treated to some wonderful playing by Daniel Jordan from Maitland FL on flute and tenor sax, Steve Mathews from Tampa FL on guitar, Jerry Bruno on drums, and Thomas Pizzi on keys and left-hand bass.  This was Daniel’s third performance with the Trio and the first for Steve.

The Trio opened with “Spain”, the Chick Corea classic samba and brought Daniel on stage with “Secret Love” as an up tempo swing tune.  It was followed by the funky George Benson version of “Feel Like Making’ Love”, and then Jobim’s bossa nova “Triste”, played beautifully on flute by DJ.

Next was our medley of Duke Ellington classics, “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore”, “Satin Doll”, and “A-Train”.  DJ played flute on the next two tunes, the lovely ballad “Polkadots and Moonbeams” and Chick Corea’s “Armando’s Rhumba”, an up-tempo Latin jazz.  Arriving too quickly at the end of our one hour concert, we closed with a short but intense up-tempo rendition of the Rogers and Hart song “This Can’t Be Love”.

This concert seemed to have a special energy, which I attribute to several factors.  First of all the enthusiastic audience which is always so appreciative of the solos, the tunes, the arrangements and our musicianship.  I hope the choice of material was a factor because I always try to mix many styles of music and incorporate tunes that are familiar along with ones that may be new and interesting to our audience.  Then there was the solid musicianship of Jerry Bruno and Steve Mathews, always tastefully playing what’s required, adding their special interpretation to it, and of course their superb solos.  Most of all, the amazing playing of Daniel Jordan was inspiring to all of us onstage and I’m sure for the audience.  He is a most humble man who loves to play music, and they don’t come any better.  We will be sure to have him back soon, I promise.

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Jerry Bruno, Daniel Jordan, Steve Mathews.

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Thomas Pizzi, Jerry Bruno, Daniel Jordan

The Savannah Center, Dec. 16, 2016

The Savannah Center with Valerie Gillespie, Dec. 16, 2016

The Orion Trio performed it’s fourth Christmas Jazz concert to a packed room at the Savannah Center in The Villages on Friday, December 16.  Our featured guest artist was Valerie Gillespie on vocals, sax and flute.  Thomas Pizzi was on the keyboard with Jerry Bruno on drums and Davis Collister on electric bass.

The Trio led off with ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’ as an up-tempo swing and then brought Valerie on with her samba arrangement of ‘Angels We Have Heard On High’.  ‘Silver Bells’ was next as a jazz waltz and then we featured Jerry playing a New Orleans style drum pattern and solo on ‘Little Drummer Boy’, also her charts.  Valerie sang a beautiful rendition of the ‘Christmas Song’ by Mel Torme, followed by an instrumental funk version of ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing’.  A swing version of ‘Winter Wonderland’ followed and featured some great solos by Valerie and the Trio.  Valerie sang a bluesy version of Dean Martin’s ‘Christmas Blues’ and we ended the concert with Dizzy Gillespie’s jazz samba ‘Tanga’.

It’s always nice to see so many familiar faces at these shows, and you really encourage us to do our best by showing us your appreciation.  I enjoy the challenge of taking a traditional tune and creating a new approach to playing it, and we certainly had some different arrangements of standard Christmas songs while some were done more traditionally with a jazz flavor added.

Our next concert is January 12, 2017 at 12pm with John DePaola, trumpet as our featured artist.

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Valerie Gillespie, Jerry Bruno

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Thomas Pizzi, Valerie Gillespie

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Davis Collister

The Savannah Center with Daniel Jordan

November 28th, The Villages FL

Hi Everyone,

A big ‘thank you’ to all who came to our packed house for the November 28th noon concert by the Orion Trio, with Jerry Bruno – drums, Davis Collister – bass and Thomas Pizzi – keyboard.  Also l’d like to acknowledge and thank the cast, band and crew of the hit musical “Next to Normal” currently performing at the Studio Theater of Tierra del Sol, who were all in attendance.

Our featured artist was the incomparable Daniel Jordan of Maitland FL, on tenor sax and flute.  Mr. Jordan is a highly respected performer and educator who has toured with some the greatest names in Jazz including Dave Brubeck, Arturo Sandoval, Natalie Cole and Maynard Ferguson for starters.  He brings a range of dynamics, tone, styles and melodic ideas to the performance that is truly world class.

The Trio led off with the Shearing classic ‘Lullaby of Birdland’,  and then brought Daniel on stage with ‘When Your Smiling’, played as an up tempo swing.  It was followed by an arrangement of Debussy’s ‘Reverie’ (Dream) as a bossa nova, with Daniel playing flute.  He also played flute on Joe Sample’s fusion tune ‘Chain Reaction’, followed by a piano intro to the beautiful ballad ‘Body and Soul’, with an amazing cadenza on tenor by Daniel.  ‘Blue Skies’ by Irving Berlin was played as an up swing, with great solos by Davis on bass and Jerry on drums and we followed it with Henry Mancini’s ‘Meglio Stasera’, an up tempo Latin Jazz arrangement, parts of which were borrowed from Michael Buble.  We finished the show with a smooth Jazz version of ‘Smoke Gets In Your Eyes’ and a fast swing version of ‘What Is This Thing Called Love’ by Cole Porter.  This featured a long intro with drums and sax only.

I know the band had a great time and our music seemed to be well received by audience members as well.  It’s very rewarding for me and the band to have the opportunity to present our best efforts at good quality entertainment and artistry.  After all it’s our life’s work, which only finds satisfaction in expression, and it wouldn’t be possible without such a receptive and appreciative audience.

Our next performances are Dec. 16 with Valerie Gillespie on sax and vocals and Jan. 12 with John DePaola on trumpet.   For more pics, bios and events you can visit us at our  Facebook page also.

Straight ahead, Tom PZ

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Daniel Jordan, Davis Collister, Jerry Bruno, Thomas Pizzi

 

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Evening Concert, Sept. 10, 2016

The Trio played to an enthusiastic crowd at The Savannah Center last Saturday night with guest artists Valerie Gillespie, sax and John DePaola, trumpet.  Davis Collister was on bass, Jerry Bruno on drums, and Thomas Pizzi on keys.  The dance floor was packed at times, and judging by the reaction to each tune the show was quite well received.  It was nice to play an evening show as opposed to our usual afternoon concerts, and was even nicer to hear Valerie and John together onstage after so many solo appearances with the Trio.  They teamed up for some awesome section work, and their solos often resulted in a lot of back and forth call and response which was a treat to listen to.

We opened with Spyro Gyra’s “Freetime”, a fusion tune alternating between a beautiful melody and funk sections, followed by Paquito D’Rivera’s “Samba for Carmen” and Cedar Walton’s hard driving swing tune “Bolivia”.  Then we opened up the dance floor as Valerie sang “At Last”, “All of Me”, and “Blue Moon”.  Our bassist Davis finished the set singing the Latin tune “Sway”.

The second set opened with just the trio playing Chick Corea’s “Got a Match?”, an up-tempo fusion tune off the “Elektric Band” album.  Normally the trio opens the beginning of the show, but this tune was so fast and intricate we thought it better to wait until we (and the audience) were warmed up a bit.  Next came a funky Freddie Hubbard tune, the title track from his album “Super Blue”.  Valerie sang her popular blues song “Big Fat Daddy”, and then more dance numbers: “Jersey Bounce”, made popular by Benny Goodman; Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World”, sung by Davis; Harold Arlen’s “I’ve Got the World on a String” and Sammy Cahn’s “Teach Me Tonight”, both sung by Valerie.  We ended the show with an audible on stage, the jazz standard “On Green Dolphin Street”.

I know the band had a great time with the music and performing for our usual appreciative audience, and thanks to all of you for coming and your many warm comments.  Hopefully we will be able to produce more of these evening shows later in the season.  For now, we’re looking forward to Oct. 21 with John DePaola at our next noon show at The Savannah Center.

See you there, Tom PZ

Aug. 8, 2016 with Daniel Jordan

Hi Everyone,

Well, all I can say is “Wow!”, what an amazing performance by Daniel Jordan on sax and flute with the Orion Trio on Tuesday Aug. 9 at the Savannah Center. Much of the time I felt I was one of the 270 lucky people in the audience being carried along by DJ’s playing and the rhythm section of Davis Collister, bass and Jerry Bruno, drums with both playing strong solos as well. It really was inspiring to be in the band for this show, and I felt exhausted afterwards from trying to keep up with the high energy coming off the stage. For those who missed it, you will have another opportunity to hear DJ with us on Nov. 28th at noon.

The Trio led off with ‘There Will Never Be Another You’, and we brought Daniel up with ‘On a Clear Day’. We followed with Herbie Hancock’s ‘Watermelon Man’ and the up-tempo fusion tune ‘Capo di Monte’ by the James Taylor Quartet. Our sole ballad of the show was Gershwin’s ‘I Loves You Porgy’, from his opera ‘Porgy and Bess’. DJ’s great tone and sense of phrasing really shined on this one, and his solo cadenza at the end was truly spectacular. Two Latin tunes followed, ‘Guataca City’, a samba by Paquito D’Rivera and the classic boss nova ‘Black Orpheus’ by Louis Bonfi, with DJ playing flute. We ended the concert with Charlie Parker’s classic bop tune ‘Anthropology’. I’m glad everyone seemed to really enjoy this show, and for me it’s another case of great musicians making classic jazz music come alive with an exciting and artistic presentation.

Thanks to all who signed up to be on our mailing list at this show and I hope you will continue to enjoy our shows. Our next performance is Saturday Sept. 10, 7-9 pm at the Savannah Center and our featured artists will be Valerie Gillespie and John DePaola. There will be a dance floor and we will play some big band and dancing favorites as well as straight ahead Jazz and Fusion. Tickets are $12 and available at the door or online at http://buytickets.at/theoriontrio .

We will have less seats available than normal because of the dance floor, so don’t wait too long to get your tickets. We often sell out quickly and this is our only show in September.

Happy listening, Tom PZ.

An Evening of Jazz and Dance

Hi Jazz Fans,

The Orion Trio is pleased to announce our next evening concert and dance with featured artists Valerie Gillespie sax and John DePaola trumpet on Saturday  September 10 at the Savannah Center, 7-9 pm.  Doors open at 6:30 pm.  Valerie and John are regulars with the trio for our noon concerts and have performed in The Villages for many years, and I’m sure by now most of you know you can count on great performances from them.  Personally, I’ve been wanting to hear them together on stage for quite a while.  We will not be playing a noon concert at the Savannah Center in September so this will be the only chance to hear us that month.

The event will be set up similar to our noon shows with the addition of a dance floor.   There will not be a bar like last time but you may BYOB and snacks.  Water and ice will be provided but you will need your own cups.  You can look forward to our normal jazz presentation with many tunes geared toward dancing.

Tickets are $12 and available online or at the door.  To purchase tickets online with a credit card please click on the following link or copy and paste it into your browser.  If you experience any problems please email me and we’ll figure it out.  I found this site to work very smoothly for our last evening show.

http://buytickets.at/theoriontrio

Thanks so much for your support at our Savannah Center concerts and for signing up to be on our mailing list.  This concert will not be advertised publicly and only those on our mailing lists are receiving this notice, but of course feel free to invite friends and neighbors.  I wish to thank all the people who have helped make this concert possible and I’m looking forward to a show every bit as successful as our first dance concert.  With such an appreciative audience like you inspiring us, it can’t miss.

Regards to all, Tom PZ.

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Savannah Center with Valerie Gillespie

Hi Everyone,

We had good show at the Savannah Center at noon July 15 with Valerie Gillespie and the Orion Trio.  Jerry Bruno was on drums and Davis Collister on bass, along with yours truly Thomas Pizzi on keys.  We haven’t seen the room that crowded since the middle of last season and it seemed every table was full, so thank you for the great turnout and to all who signed up for our mailing list.

The Trio opened with the Thelonious Monk tune, “Well You Needn’t” and we brought Valerie on singing “It’s Only a Paper Moon”.  A funk arrangement of Eddie Harris’ “Freedom Jazz Dance” was next, followed by a bossa nova version of the beautiful ballad “I’m Glad There Is You” and an up-tempo “I Remember You” by Johnny Mercer and sung by Valerie.  We played a funk version of another Monk tune by request which Valerie also sang, probably his most well-known, “Round Midnight”, and then a Latin tune by Dizzy Gillespie called “Wachi Wara” (Soul Sauce), on which Valerie played flute.  We finished with the intriguing ballad “Midnight Sun” by Lionel Hampton and sung beautifully by Valerie, and lastly the high energy modal bop tune “Impressions” by John Coltrane.

The band sounded very tight, Valerie played and sang superbly as usual, and I felt we did fair justice to the music by giving each tune it’s own flavor and character.  Each one of these noon shows is always a blast for us because you make us feel appreciated, and it’s a treat for musicians to play to an attentive and receptive audience.  It inspires us to continue to do our best to present creative and entertaining music of the highest quality we can.  If there’s any tunes in particular you’d like us to play, feel free to reply to me.  If it’s too hard for us we’ll play something similar with a lot of the same notes in it.

Next month on Aug. 9 at noon we will have Charlie DeChant on tenor sax with us.  Charlie is from Orlando and has been the sax/keys with the Hall & Oates band for the last 40 years, who were recently inducted into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame.  He’s a super smooth player with a great sound, easy going manner and hot riffs, and the band is looking forward to performing with him.

See you there, Tom.

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The Orion Trio, July 15, 2016 at the Savannah Center in The Villages, FL . From L, Thomas Pizzi, Jerry Bruno, Davis Collister, Valerie Gillespie.

June 17th concert with Rudy Turner

Hi Folks,

Thanks to all who came to our concert at the Savannah Center at noon on June 17th.  It’s a great compliment to us to sell out a show in The Villages in June.  It seemed everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves and I thought the band kicked a lot of good energy on stage.  Our featured artist was Rudy Turner, guitarist and vocalist extraordinaire from Ocala FL.  The usual suspects in the trio were Davis Collister on bass, Jerry Bruno on drums, and Thomas Pizzi on keys.

The trio opened with my arrangement of ‘One Note Samba’ by Jobim, and then we brought Rudy up with ‘Secret Love’, followed by a couple George Benson tunes, ‘Breezin’ and his version of ‘On Broadway’.  Rudy sang a very soulful rendition of the ballad ‘My One and Only Love’ and then we played Horace Silver’s ‘Nica’s Dream’ with its haunting minor/major harmonies, ‘Bluesette’ which is a jazz waltz, and Rudy sang a swing version of ‘Autumn Leaves’.  We ended the show with a Groove Holmes tune (whom Rudy used to tour with), title unknown, but it’s an up tempo B-3 organ blues like most of his tunes.  The guys really kicked that one out, special kudos to our rhythm section of Jerry and Davis for swinging so hard.

It’s always a special treat for us to work with Rudy and hear his unique style.  He does some amazing guitar work and also scats along with his solos, which is very difficult to do.  Rudy works a lot as a single act in several fine Ocala restaurants if you ever get a chance to catch him.

Thank you to those who signed up to be on our mailing list and you will be sure to have the latest news on our upcoming performances now.  You can also visit us on Facebook or leave a reply here on this blog to be on our mailing list.  In July we will be joined by Villages favorite Valerie Gillespie on tenor sax and vocals, and in August we’ll be proud to have with us Charlie Dechant on sax, of the Hall & Oates band.  For September the Savannah Center takes a break from the social concerts, and I’m hoping to do another dance/concert then, similar to May’s show at the Legion Hall, so please stay tuned.

Straight ahead, Tom

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Davis Collister and Rudy Turner

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The Orion Trio with Rudy Turner.  From left, Thomas Pizzi, Jerry Bruno, Davis Collister, Rudy Turner