Month: February 2015

Savannah Center, Feb. 26, 2015

On Thursday Feb. 26th, the Orion Trio performed for another sold-out house of almost 300 people.  We featured two most excellent guest artists, Sheryl Genco on violin, and Phil Caltabellotta on harmonica, backed up by John Huber on bass, Jerry Bruno on drums, and Thomas Pizzi on keyboards.

All our concerts are different, but I must say this one was the furthest left of center, so far.  What made it so unusual was the nature of the instrumentation, since violin and harmonica are not generally perceived as jazz instruments.  This, combined with the blending of Latin, Jazz, and Classical genres, added up to a big experiment on our part.  The mix seemed to be well received, which I attribute in no small part to the first rate presentation by our guest artists, with solid backing from the trio.  It also helps that as usual we had a knowledgeable and enthusiastic audience to encourage us.

The Trio opened  with New York arranger Artie Schroek’s version of “Mountain Greenery”, written by George Gershwin.  We then brought Ms. Genco on stage to perform two pieces, “Gavotte” and “Valse Lent” from a suite written for Violin and Jazz Trio by the French composer and pianist Claude Bolling.  These pieces had a definite classical flavor but also featured improvising and jazz styles.  We followed these with an arrangement by the Klazz Bros. from Havana, called “Mambozart”.  It is the theme from Mozart’s Symphony #39 in G minor arranged in jazz mambo style, and was played with flair by Sheryl.  I think the audience had as much fun listening to these songs as we did playing them.

Sheryl then yielded the stage to Phil Caltabellotta and his magic harmonica.  He is one of the premier musicians in the country on his instrument, and the audience warmed up to him quickly.  We began with an up tempo “Out Of Nowhere”, followed by the well-known bossa nova “Wave”, by Jobim, and “Quando, Quando, Quando” as a latin samba.  We then played the ballad “The Nearness Of You”, which had moments as beautiful as anything I’ve heard in a long time.  Phil told me later he was feeding off the Trio, and found new heights of expression.  We finished his set with the classic big band standard “Tangerine”, and then brought Sheryl back up to finish the show with Phil in a collaborative effort on the tune “Bluesette”, by Belgian jazz harmonica player Toots Thielemans.

I am pleased the mix of styles, instruments and unusual tunes was so well received.  It was quite a departure from mainstream jazz, and we’ll definitely take some more chances of this type in the future.

Our next concert on Mar. 24th will feature the silky smooth tenor sax sound of Charlie DeChant.  Charlie is from Orlando, has played with the Hall & Oates band since their inception in 1976, and is an amazing jazz player.

On Apr. 30th we will be joined by John Depaolo, master trumpet player.

John Huber, Sheryl Genco, Jerry Bruno, Phil Caltabellotta, Thomas Pizzi

John Huber, Sheryl Genco, Jerry Bruno, Phil Caltabellotta, Thomas Pizzi



Fund raiser for the Millenium Master Chorale

Update 2/27/15:

John Depaola, trumpet master, will be joining the trio for the fund raiser.

Fund Raiser event:

The Millenium Master Chorale of Central Florida is proud to host their first fund raising event at the home of Dr. and Mrs. Scot Elliott on March 1, 2015 from 3 to 5pm.  The affair will feature the Orion Trio, is open to the public and a maximum of 80 tickets will be issued.  The address and ticket information is on the invitation printed below.

The Chorale is a non-profit community organization founded in August of 2014 by Lisa Elliott, who is the director.  Thomas Pizzi, pianist for the Orion Trio, is also their accompanist.  The Chorale has already given two noteworthy performances at the Lakes Symphony 2014 Christmas concerts in Clermont and Mt. Dora, and at the Choir Jubilee recently held at Morrison Methodist Church in Leesburg, FL.

The Orion Trio is proud to play for this event, and encourages any fans who wish to attend to purchase a ticket, or simply make a donation to this most excellent Chorale.

Fund raiser

Savannah Center, Jan. 29th

The Orion Trio played to a packed room of almost 300 people at the Savannah Center on Thursday, January 29, 2015.  Our guest artist was Rudy Turner, guitarist and vocals, along with the usual suspects John Huber on bass, Jerry Bruno on drums, and Thomas Pizzi on keys.

The trio opened with the Bobby Timmons tune “Moanin'”, and then brought Rudy onstage with “Autumn Leaves”, which he opened with a beautiful solo guitar intro.  Then we went into a Wes Montgomery tune titled “West Coast Blues”, which was an unusual blues form written as a jazz waltz in three, followed by a Rudy Turner original called “Unknown Song”.  This had a calypso feel and a haunting melody, which I found myself humming days later.  We featured Rudy and Jerry on Rudy’s arrangement of Brubeck’s “Take Five”, which was in four, and then Rudy played the melody to the lovely ballad “My One and Only Love”.

At this point I called a switcheroo from the planned program, and we played Chick Corea’s classic “Spain”.  We then played the Ray Brown arrangement of “Summertime”, which is a funky version, and ended the show with an up tempo Richard “Groove” Holmes tune, which featured a Hammond B3 sound.  I wanted to do this tune because I used to listen to Groove Holmes when I was young, and it turns out Rudy toured with him for a while.

This show had a particularly spontaneous feel to me, because we didn’t finalize the set list and order until just before the show, and even then it wasn’t final.  I think that’s par for the jazz course, and adds a certain kind of energy to a performance.  It’s always a pleasure to work with and listen to our good friend Mr. Rudy Turner,  a uniquely talented man based in Ocala, FL.  He plays around town as a one man act, and worth catching it if you can.

In February we’ll be playing on Thursday the 26th, and will have an unusual line up featuring two artists.  Sheryl Genco will join us on violin, playing excerpts from Claude Bolling’s “Suite for Violin and Jazz Piano Trio”, popular in the 70s.  Then Phil Caltabellotta and his magic harmonica will share the stage with the trio performing jazz standards.  If you’ve never heard Phil, you’ll be amazed at the virtuosity of a world class player on his instrument.

Our best regards to all who were there for this show, thanks for coming and we hope you enjoyed it.  If you’re planning to see us Feb. 26th, please buy your tickets soon because I understand it’s 2/3 sold out already.

John Huber, Rudy Turner, Thomas Pizzi, Jerry Bruno

John Huber, Rudy Turner, Thomas Pizzi, Jerry Bruno