The Ed Palermo Big Band

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Together since 1980, The Ed Palermo Big Band has been playing and honoring the music of Frank Zappa since 1994.

Their CD, The Ed Palermo Big Band Plays The Music Of Frank Zappa, is a concept of love for the complex music of Frank Zappa. These crafty interpretations, all arranged by Ed Palermo, stand as a testament to the longevity and originality of Zappa and his music. This music drives on its spontaneity and unpredictability. Palermo and his band bring this volatile music to life in a deft and powerful way, making it their own.

Made up of top New York musicians, the band also features guest soloists: "Zappa-alums" Singer and woodwind player Napoleon Murphy Brock, guitarist Mike Keneally as well as singers Candy Zappa (F.Z.'s sister), Deb Lyons, harmonica player Howard Levy, vibraphonist Dave Samuels, saxophonists Bob Mintzer and Chris Potter and guitarist Mike Stern.

Quotes from Ed Palermo about Zappa

KS: "What's your favorite Frank Zappa album?"

Ed Palermo: "200 Motels".

KS: "I know 200 Motels is one of the more divisive albums (as is the Flo & Eddie era, even) -- what is it about the album that makes you rate it as your favorite? Do you enjoy the film as well?"

Ed Palermo: "I didn't like the movie. It didn't make sense to me. I just watched it again recently to see if my mind has changed. It hasn't. The reason I like the soundtrack is the orchestral pieces. It has some of the most beautiful and soulful pieces Frank wrote in my view. Those pieces went over my head when I first heard the music back in '71 or '72. Back then (when I was in high school) I liked Hot Rats, Uncle Meat and Burnt Weeny Sandwich the most. And Lumpy Gravy! But years of listening to classical music opened up my ears so now the music of 200 Motels hits me really hard now."

KS: "Are there any pieces by Frank that you'd like to perform but haven't been able to get to work?"

Ed Palermo: “Amnerika”. And I'd like to arrange the piano intro to “Little House I Used To Live In” for my band like I did for Zappa's “Sleep Dirt”. I just don't have the time."

KS: "What other contemporary composers do you put in the same league as Frank?"

Ed Palermo: "Mike Keneally is the only one who comes close. I sure don't."

KS: "If you could put together a dream version of the Mothers with all the various Zappa albums, what would it look like?"

Ed Palermo: "Mike Keneally, Napoleon Murphy Brock, Arthur Tripp, Ian Underwood, Max Bennett and Chester Thompson."

KS: "How did you get in touch with Candy Zappa and how did she come to perform with you?"

Ed Palermo: "Nigey Lennon was the hook-up there. I befriended a great talent by the name of John Tabacco who works a lot with Nigey, who is a really talented songwriter. Nigey used to live in LA and used to date Zappa and even wrote a book about it called Being Frank - My Time With Frank Zappa. Nigey and Candy are very close friends. My band was playing regularly at NY's Bottom Line nightclub, so Candy flew in, did a rehearsal and did a couple shows with us. I love Candy's voice!"


KS: "What's the hardest song you've had to transcribe?"

Ed Palermo: "The hardest would probably be "For Calvin (And His Next Two Hitch-Hikers)" from The Grand Wazoo album. It's arranged really dense, so to pick out the notes was a bitch. My version isn't nearly as thick."

KS: "If you could play with anyone, living or dead -- who would it be?"

Ed Palermo: "Frank Zappa."


Records With Zappa Musicians


Ed Palermo (arranger, alto saxophone, guitar); Palermo has recorded two other critically-acclaimed big band albums. He has worked with Tito Puente (for three years), Tony Bennett, Mel Torme, Lena Horne and many other musical greats. His approach is influenced by Todd Rundgren, Cannonball Adderley, Neil Young, Edgar Winter, Nelson Riddle, Charles Tolliver, Gene Ammons and "heavy-duty" Brian Wilson. His devotion to eclectic roots also includes classical composers such as Prokofiev and Shostakovich.

Cliff Lyons (alto saxophone, flute, clarinet)

Ben Kono (flute, clarinet, tenor saxophone); Multi-reed instrumentalist Ben Kono has an active career as performer and educator, both internationally and in his home town of New York City. With degrees from the Eastman School of Music and the University of North Texas, he has performed and recorded with such notable artists as Michael Brecker, Freddie Hubbard, Toots Thielmanns, Bob Berg, David Liebman, Michel Legrand, and Hugh Jackman, and can be heard on various Broadway cast recordings, including the Grammy-nominated "The Boy From Oz". A veteran of big bands, he completed a year long tour with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, and for four years held the lead alto saxophone position in the U.S. Army's premier touring jazz ensemble, The Jazz Ambassadors. In New York, Mr. Kono is a member of the BMI Jazz Composers Orchestra, Numinous, the John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble, the Ed Palermo Big Band, and the La Cage Aux Folles orchestra on Broadway. As an educator, he has been on the music faculties of University of North Texas, Morgan State University, and Queens College. Currently he teaches and coaches ensembles at the Packer Collegiate School in New York City.

Bill Straub (flute, tenor saxophone)

Barbara Cifelli (piccolo, flute, baritone saxophones, clarinet)

Phil Chester (piccolo, flute, soprano & alto saxophones); Studied at North Texas University and Univ. of Texas. Toured with Glenn Miller Orchestra in the mid 80's Played with NJSO, St. Luke's Sym. Orchestra, New Jersey Pops Played and toured with numerous Broadway shows. Currently playing "Phantom of the Opera." Frequently appears at productions at the Papermill Playhouse in NJ. Frequently appears at the Rainbow Room with the New Deal Jazz Orchestra. Composes for and leads own quartet.

Ronnie Buttacavoli (lead trumpet)

John Hines (trumpet); John Hines has been busy freelancing in New York since his arrival in 1999. He is originally from the upstate city of Albany , where he played full time and often performed with Nick Brignola. John has played lead trumpet for many on and off Broadway shows and has played lead trumpet for The Temptations, Aretha Franklin and Burt Bacharach. Charlie Gordon(trombone)

Joe Fiedler (trombone); Since moving to New York in 1993, trombonist Joe Fiedler has performed in a wide array of musical settings within both the Jazz and Latin music scenes. In addition to leading his own groups, he has performed or recorded with Lee Konitz, Kenny Wheeler, Cecil Taylor, Anthony Braxton, The Mingus Big Band, Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, The Maria Schneider Orchestra, Myra Melford, Roswell Rudd, and The Lionel Hampton Orchestra. Currently, he is a member of pianist Andrew Hill's Sextet+11, the new group Fast and Bulbous-The Captain Beefheart Project, co-led by guitarist Gary Lucas and saxophonist Phillip Johnston, saxophonist Chris Jonas' innovative group, The Sun Spits Cherries, drummer Ed Ware's Tree, and big bands led by pianists Jason Lindner and Satoko Fujii, among others. He has appeared on more than 60 recordings, including his 1999 debut CD as a leader, 110 Bridge St., for the CIMP label and his upcoming 2005 release for the Clean-Feed label, Joe Fiedler Plays the Music of Albert Mangelsdorff.

Matt Ingman (bass trombone); Matt Ingman is a freelance musician in the New York metropolitan area, where he performs on bass trombone and tuba in a variety of musical settings including Broadway pit orchestras, recording studios, and the big bands of Tony Corbiscello, Ed Palermo, Yumiko Sunami, and Dale Wilson. He also performs on tuba and contrabass trombone in The Gotham Wind Symphony ( Matt's varied career has included stints with the United States Military Academy Band, The Dallas Jazz Orchestra, and Maynard Ferguson's Big Band. In addition to his busy musical life, Matt spends his days chasing his very active two year old son, Nate, around South Nyack. Matt has not slept in the previous two years, four months, six days and eleven hours

Bob Quaranta (piano); Bob received his B.A. in Music Theory from the Philadelphia College of Performing Arts. For over ten years, he was a member of Mongo Santamaria's band and served as musical director. Additionally, he composed songs for the band, five of which appeared on Mongo’s recordings. Two recordings Bob appeared on with Mongo were nominated for Grammy Awards: “Mongo Magic” and “Espiritu Libre”. Bob has also performed and/or recorded with: Dave Valentin, Willie Colon, Ray Barretto, Tommy Igoe, Angel Canales and "Jellybean" Benitez. With John Scofield, he recorded on the Yamaha instructional video "The Drumset, A Musical Approach". Other studio sessions include TV commercials for I.B.M. and soundtrack work for Vestron Video. Bob has also recorded a piano disk for the Yamaha "Disklavier". He appears on the "Drummers Collective 25th Anniversary Celebration & Bass Day 2002" DVD and CD. Bob continues to serve as an integral member of the Ed Palermo Big Band and currently is on the faculty at The Collective in New York City. He is also playing piano with Andrea Brachfeld and the Phoenix Rising Latin Jazz Ensemble. In his book Latin Jazz: The First of The Fusions, John Storm Roberts described Bob’s playing as “magnificent”.

Ted Kooshian (harpsichord, organ, synthesizer); Originally a native of sunny California, San Francisco Bay Area, Ted Kooshian has been living in New York since 1987. During these past eighteen years, he has apportioned his time among jazz gigs, composing, Broadway pits, tours, recording, and club dates. In the New York area, Ted has performed at Radio City Music Hall, the Rainbow Room, BB King’s, Birdland, and Jones Beach. He has played for several Broadway shows, including “The Lion King” and “Aida.” He has played at the JVC Jazz Festival, Sun Valley Jazz Festival, and the Panasonic Jazz Festival; also jazz festivals in Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia. He has been to all the continents on our planet except for Antarctica. He once played a jam session with Frank Foster at the former Latvian Prime Minister’s house. In 1986 he had Easter dinner on the South Pacific island of Tonga, as a guest of the prince. Once he was kidnapped in Manila, the Philippines, and he once broke his right foot in Bahia, Brazil. He has toured or played in concert with Aretha Franklin, Chuck Berry, Toni Braxton, Marvin Hamlisch, Sarah Brightman, and “Blood, Sweat, and Tears.” Some of the more unique vocalists Ted has accompanied on piano are Meryl Streep, Coach Tommy LaSorda, and Michael Anderson (the dancing dwarf from “Twin Peaks”). Ted is on several recent jazz and pop CD’s, including Palermo drummer Ray Marchica’s “A Different View” and “The Burridge-Palermo Sextet,” both CD’s of which feature Ted’s compositions. Ted Kooshian's name is engraved on the two microchips of the STARDUST spacecraft, which was sent into space to return a sample from a comet (the first such sample returned). STARDUST reached the WILD 2 Comet on January 2, 2004, and has sent one of the microchips with Ted's name on it back to Earth (to return on 1/15/2006), along with the comet samples, while the other microchip will stay on the spacecraft forever and head further into outer space. Ted cites Spider-man, Donald Duck, and Captain James T. Kirk as his major influences.

Paul Adamy (electric bass); Paul has been playing bass with the EPBB since 1994. Paul has also found time to play on TV themes, Broadway shows ("Mamma Mia", "Seussical", "Saturday Night Fever", "Jesus Christ Superstar", "Footloose", "Smokey Joe's Cafe", "Kat & The Kings"), radio jingles and record dozens of CDs. Paul was the bassist for the "Cosby Show" for four years and went on to play bass on the spin-offs "A Different World" and "Here & Now", both on NBC. His bass can also be heard on "Extra", "People's Court", "Jenny Jones Show", "ABC's Wide World of Sports", "CBS This Morning", "Street Stories" with Ed Bradley, "Good Morning America", "The Today Show", "The Early Show", and "The Jane Whitney Show". Paul has also played with artists as diverse as Carly Simon, Art Garfunkel, Little Anthony & The Imperials, Jennifer Love-Hewitt, The Paul Winter Consort, Gladys Knight, Freddie Jackson, Dave Weckl, Judy Collins, Angela Bofill, Ben E. King, Alvin Ailey and Was (Not Was). He has appeared at the Lilith Fair & Woodstock (1998) Festivals. His bass can also be heard on many CD's on the Palmetto label with Loose Shoes, Matt Balitsaris, Mindy Jostyn, C'est What?!, Lili Anel, Cornelius Bumpus, Arthur Lipner and more.

Ray Marchica (drums); Ray Marchica is one of the most diverse drummers in New York City. He is the leader of his own group, and freelances in all different types of settings. Ray is a graduate of Brooklyn College where he studied percussion with Morris Lang, and received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Music Performance. He has recorded with James Brown, Little Richard, Dan Hartman, and Earl Klugh. He was the drummer on The Rosie O’Donnell TV. Show for it’s entire run, where he performed with: Phil Collins, Tony Bennett, Bette Midler, Cher, Marc Anthony, Robert Palmer, Jennifer Holiday, Chaka Kahn, and Neil Diamond to name a few of the many guests that appeared on the show. He is a member of The Mike Longo New York State of the Art Jazz Ensemble, and The Gary Morgan Pan Americana Big Band. Ray has toured with guitar greats Roy Buchanan, and Johnny Winter. He has also worked and toured with Bernadette Peters, Shirley Bassey, Michael Feinstein, Betty Buckley, and Jimmy Webb. He was the drummer for the Broadway productions of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Damn Yankees, and The Will Rogers Follies. He is currently the drummer for Mamma Mia.

Carl Restivo (guitar & vocals); During the last two years, Carl Restivo was the vocalist and lead guitarist of Klick’s former configuration, Colfax Road, as well as a solo artist. Restivo lit up New York’s music scene and Klick’s music was selected amongst thousands of artists by ASCAP as “one of the most creative new artists in the country”. Born in California, raised in New Jersey, based in Brooklyn, NY, Carl Restivo has years of impressive producing, writing, musician and singing credits on his resume. 2003 was an exciting year for Carl who played a significant contributing role on Wyclef Jean’s album, “Preacher’s Son”. Carl walked into Wyclef’s studio one day to play Clef some tracks and Clef quickly said “it was the most innovative rock music I had heard in the last ten years”. The two of them proceeded to co-write the song “Hip Hop In Morning" and "Cinderella" for Klick, and eventually "Linda” for the new Wyclef album. Clef was compelled to have Carl play guitar and sing on tracks throughout the album. Carl then got involved with producing and singing alongside Patti Labelle and Buju Banton for the album as well. Recently, Carl has been in the studio producing and co-writing tracks (Producer aka: Mr. Wizard) for Patricia Bernetti, the new songstress under Steve Rifkin’s Label SRC, as well as Meleni Smith, a new artist on Columbia Records. He has also co-produced the rock remix of “Gimme what you got” for rapper Kurupt featuring Xzibit. Last summer, Carl joined his childhood guitar idol Nuno Bettencourt on a tour of Europe playing bass for Extreme, and ended up co-writing 3 songs with him for Klick.


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