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Looking forward to subbing in the pit orchestra for Bronx Tale on Broadway in New York City

Looking forward to subbing in the pit orchestra for A Bronx Tale on Broadway in New York City. Getting ready for that tuba part with some low long tones. Wheee!!!

Rehearsing with The Seaton Hall Faculty Ensemble

Nice rehearsal with the Seaton Hall Faculty jazz ensemble. Looking forward to our concert on march 21 at SOPAC (South Orange PAC.)

I am subbing for the great Douglas Purviance so I’m playing my bass trombone.

Another successful subbing experience at “Sunset Boulevard” on Broadway in NYC

There are strict rules governing when a substitute musician is allowed to play on with a Broadway orchestra.  One of the rules is that in a given section, if there is a 1st time sub, all the other musicians in that section must be  a regular member OR a substitute that has been designated “as good as the regular player.”

Usually a person is not designated until they have played the show quite a number of times. In my case, I’ve played the show three times and tonight I was playing in the section with a first time lead trumpet player.

Although playing with a 1st time lead trumpeter can be nerve wrecking, I took it as a compliment to my playing.  All went very well.

Tonight I’m back at the wonderful show “Sunset Boulevard” staring Glenn Close. 

Looking forward to performing with one of Broadway’s most fabulous Orchestra’s at “Sunset Boulevard” tonight.

Vanguard Jazz Orchestra performing “Cherry Juice” by Thad Jones

Vanguard Jazz Orchestra performing “Cherry Juice” by Thad Jones

 

Monday night with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra

Monday night with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra

Join our weekly gig at the Village Vanguard.
We will perform the compositions of Thad Jones, Bob Brookmeyer, Jim McNeely and others from our library of over 300 tunes!
Sets 8:30pm and 10:30pm. Door open 7:30

Age limit: All ages

Excited about my performance tonight with the CompCord Big Band at The Cutting Room in NYC. Great new works by renown Composers to be premiered by an all star ensemble. 

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Composers Concordance

Gene Pritsker, Dan Cooper – Directors
Milica Paranosic, Peter Jarvis, Melissa Grey, Svjetlana Bukvich – Associate Directors

– CompCord Big Band –

Friday, March 3rd, 2017 at 7:30pm The Cutting Room
44 East 32nd Street, NYC

Featuring: Vesselin Gellev – violin, Melanie Mitrano – voice, Gerson Galante – clarinet, Sebastian Pritsker – voice, & Charles Coleman – conductor.

CompCord Big Band: Livio Almeida, Gerson Galante – alto saxophones;
Andrew Gould, Jay Rodriguez – tenor saxophones; Mercedes Beckman – baritone saxophone; Franz Hackl, Wayne J Du Maine, Peter Oswald, Jonathan Finlayson – trumpets;
John Clark – horn; Jason Jackson, Mike Seltzer – tenor trombones; David Taylor – bass trombone; Gene Pritsker – guitar; Carlton Holmes – piano; Laurence Goldman – bass; & Joe Abbatantuono – drumset.

Program
1.) Groove From The Louvre – John Clark
2.) ADDIYO * – Alon Nechushtan
3.) Vav Hey Vav – Dan Cooper
4.) Three Paintings ‘Bout New York by Kostabi * – Gene Pritsker 5.) Waltz Heteroclite – David Taylor
6.) Forgotten Peoples – Anthony Branker
7.) Meu Adorado * – Melanie Mitrano / Gerson Galante

8.) Resist * – Joseph Martin Waters
9.) CLIMATE (a nasty woman’s guide to surviving the apocalypse) * – Marie Incontrera 10.) 139th Street – Kinan Azmeh
11.) New York, New York * – John Kander / Lyrics: Fred Ebb / Arrangement: Gene Pritsker

(* denotes a premiere)

Back at “Beautiful The Carole King Musical” tonight. Looking forward to some nice “phat” pedal Bb’s on the bass trombone and some popping horn section lines on the large-bore tenor trombone.!

 

Back at Beautiful tonight where the book calls for doubling on large-bore tenor trombone and bass trombone.  We are going to make some “Broadway Magic!”

Rehearsing with Gene Pritsker’s  CompCord Big Band ‘NY NY’ for our concert this Friday, March 3rd @ 7:30pm, Cutting Room, 44 E 32nd St, NYC

 

This video is from our rehearsal with Gene Pritsker’s CompCord Big Band ‘NY NY’ for our concert on March 3rd @ 7:30pm, At the Cutting Room, 44 E 32nd St, NYC

Composers:
David Taylor, Gene Pritsker, Dan Cooper, Joseph Martin Waters, Marie Incontrera, Alon Nechushtan, Anthony Branker, Kinan Azmeh, Franz Hackl, Melanie Mitrano/Gerson Galante, John Clark.

Performers:
CompCord Big Band, Vesselin Gellev – violin, Melanie Mitrano – voice, Gerson Galante – clarinet, Sebastian Pritsker – voice, Charles Coleman – conductor

Obout the concert:

Composers Concordance’s 6th annual festival, entitled ‘New York // New Music’, will be held from March 3-12, 2017, and will feature new music about NYC by more than 55 composers. The six-concert festival will launch at The Cutting Room, with the CompCord Big Band premiering 12 compositions. Composers will include Kinan Azmeh (“intensely soulful” – The New York Times. “spellbinding” – The New Yorker), as well as Dan Cooper, Dave Taylor, Franz Hackl,, John Clark, Anthony Branker, Joseph Martin Waters, Marie Incontrera and Alon Nechushtan. Composer-vocalist Melanie Mitrano will bring her “swinging, clean, cool and refined” vocals. Violinist Vesselin Gellev, Sub-Leader of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, will premiere Gene Pritsker’s violin concerto with big band. This new composition is about three paintings by New York artist Mark Kostabi, whose canvases are permanently featured at The Cutting Room. A new Arrangement of ‘New York, New York’ will be the finale and feature the voice of 12 year old Sebastian Pritsker. Gerson Galante will be the clarinet soloist and Charles Coleman conducts.

 

 

Subbing at “Beautiful the Carole King Musical” for a couple of shows this week with the great lead trumpeter Jeff Wilfore

Subbing  at “Beautiful the Carole King Musical” for a couple of shows this week with the great lead trumpeter Jeff Wilfore.

Another incredible experience subbing at “Sunset Blvd.”

Another wonderful experience subbing at “Sunset Blvd.” last night.  The full symphony orchestra on Stage sounded wonderful.

Glenn Close is amazing in this drama.

Last night I played with the Grammy Award Winning Vanguard Jazz Orchestra at the 50th Elmhurst College Jazz Festival near Chicago.  The audience gave us a standing ovation. 

The picture shows me sitting next to Scott Wendholt (Trumpet,) and Chris Byars (Sax,) packed in a passenger van leaving the hotel on our way to the 50th Elmhurst College Jazz Festival with the Grammy Award winning Vanguard Jazz Orchestra

The band was in rare form last night.  The students and teachers gave us a rousing ovation after our set.

Performing as a substitute with the orchestras of “Kinky Boots,” and “Sunset Blvd.” (starring Glenn Close) on Broadway for the first time this week. 


This week I joined the orchestras of two hit Broadway shows back to back; “Sunset Blvd.” and “Kinky Boots.”  For those of you who don’t know what it means to sub on a Broadway show for the first time, It may be interesting for you to get my perspective. 

Playing a Broadway show for the first time is like walking a tight rope 50 feet in the air with no net.  There is no rehearsal with the band. You get the music and you prepare as best you can without actually playing with the orchestra. 

The notes (although absolutely important to NAIL) are the least of your worries.  It is the unknown variables that you don’t find out about until you actually get on stage and perform.  Theater is live, you never really know what is going to happen.  In the case of “Subset Blvd,” some of those variables included the following.  

One of the big challenges for all the orchestra members is a lack of space to play your instrument.  This is a problem in almost every pit I have played in.  While playing the 1st trombon chair at “Sunset Blvd.,” if you move a few inches from side to side, your instrument will hit parts of the set. 

Anothe unknowable variable was the music stand being inches from my face.  This makes it difficult to see the notes at the top, bottom and sides of the page while trying to follow the conductor.  Oh yes… and  you can only see the conductor on a small video monitor above the stand which is difficult to see and hard to follow while reading the music that’s too close to your face.  

In addition,  the trombone section mate (the bass trombonist) was suiting in front of me with a felt curtain between us. 

The level of musicianship on Broadway is exceptional.  Tonight, my section mate (the bass trombonist) had only played the show once before.  In other experiences, this could definitely make my job harder.   Luckily “my man” did his homework and played beautifully.

From the conductors perspective, all of these variables are the subs problem.  The maestro wants to hear the same thing that the regular musician plays. 

It might sound a little stifling to the reader if they have never experienced this level of chaos when they go to work. For the Broadway sub, this is well within our wheel-house. We deal with all of these variables because this is how we make our living.

Tonight the conductor was thoroughly pleased with my performance. To me that means I could be called back. That is the paramount goals. 

It’s not all about getting a gig though. The orchestra at “Sunset Blvd.” is one of the best orchestras I have played with. It is also one of the largest.  There is a full string section, brass, winds, percussion/drums, and even a harp. Most Broadway shows have less that half of the musicians that are in the “Sunset Blvd.” orchestra. It was truly a joy to play with this fine ensemble. 

It was also cool to see Michael Douglas hanging near the musician are.  When he saw me and a group of musicians (wearing our tuxes) he said to us “The orchestra sounded beautiful!”

“Kinky Boots” had a whole other set of variables. 

Preparing the music was essential, but it is only part of the skill set needed to thrive as a Broadway sub.

Happy to be playing my steady gig with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra tonight at the Village Vanguard in NYC

I’m standing next to the lead player with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Nick Marchione. One of the best lead trumpet players around.

The City College of New York/The Lion King

Excited to start teaching at the City College of New York today.   I love teaching because it forces me to put into words my own technique so that the student can understand it and benefit from it. This process makes me a better musician.  It is also important for me to give back since people gave to me when I was a young student.

After teaching, I’m headed to perform with the pit orchestra at The Lion King for their evening performance tonight.