Musician

  • Interview with Jay Dodge

    3-11-14 Audio Interview
    Until he saw Wirlie Morris (who produces for Charlie Wilson) play the bass Jay Dodge thought he was going to be a baseball player. But there was something so mesmerizing about the way Wirlie played that Jay immediately picked up a bass and started to fool around with it. Then a miraculous thing happened; listen to Jay describe how his pastor laid hands on him and pronounced that he would play the bass. The rest is history – well baseball was history anyway. As he progressed on the bass Jay knew for sure that he had found his destiny. Listen to him tell the story of how, although he had never musical directed, he became the Musical Director of the West Coast Black Theater Troupe in Sarasota Florida. Today he is also the company’s Project Manager. Currently Jay is Musical Directing the WBBT production of Harry and Lena. Listen to this gentle, thoughtful, optimistic man talk about his life and his relationship to music.

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  • Interview with Wayne Adams Part 2

    11-12-13 Audio Interview Part – 2

    In this second part of my interview, Wayne Adams continues to relate his remarkable life. Listen to him describe his delightful meeting with legendary acting teacher Maggie Flannigan; and how his production of Ralph Pape’s Say Goodnight, Gracie directed by Austin Pendleton, resulted in his determination to bring Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company to Broadway; first in the production of True West with John Malkovich and Gary Sinise and then in the Lincoln Center production of And a Nightingale Sang with Joan Allen. Wayne says “I’m interested in being the human being that I am,” and he reminds us that “life is taking chances, not doing what someone else thinks you should do but doing from yourself honestly according to your own instincts.” Listen and be inspired.

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  • Interview with Wayne Adams Part 1

    11-5-13 – Audio Interview Part 1

    Actor, Director, Broadway Producer, Lighting Designer, Art Gallery Owner, waiter, server in an upscale tie store and more, octogenarian Wayne Adams did everything with passion, commitment and panache. Adopted by an extraordinary couple who wanted him to experience everything and encouraged him to “be himself, and to take responsibility for everything he attempted,” Wayne has done just that. A musician, an artist and an actor as a boy, Wayne majored in commercial design and minored in history of architecture at Ohio University, and although he never took a “theater course” he was in 11 productions during his four years at school with the result that when he graduated he knew that after his mandated stint in the Air Force he would go off to NY to pursue a career as an actor. Listen to the remarkable diverse jobs he tackled – all with the same commitment to excellence and hear how he discovered “what it really means to be an actor.”

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  • Interview with Joyce Valentie

    9-3-13 — Audio Interview

    Two and a half year old Joyce Valentine would stand by the piano and listen to her music teacher mother give lessons. Although shocked when she heard little Joyce playing the song she’d just taught to her seven year old student, Mom began to teach her remarkable little girl and by the time Joyce was three she was playing and singing on the radio, and by four she was performing on The Children’s Hour. Not surprisingly from then on Joyce’s life has been about playing the piano. Listen to her talk about the up’s and down’s, and all the hard work. Hear her describe how, while a student at the Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri at Kansas City she was asked to learn the Beethoven A Major Piano and Cello Sonata overnight, because none of the professors wanted to try it and how that experience introduced her to a lifelong friend, Cellist, Debbie Brooks. And listen to these remarkable musicians play one of Joyce’s original compositions in their joint creation of the CD Reunion.

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  • Interview with Elliott Raines

    7-16-13 – Audio Interview

    Elliott Raines grew up in what says is “now called the East Village, but when I grew up was called a slum.” Second generation, born to parents who believed in giving their children a “well rounded education,” Elliott studied piano and music theory, spent a year at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and most of his high school years in Drama Club, chorus and plays. He got a BA in Theater and an MFA in Acting, taught acting at his alma mater, and had some success as an actor. However at age 28 Elliott realized that the thing he hated most was looking for work, and acting – no matter how successful you are – is always about looking for the next job. Having realized this Elliott promptly went to Law School. He spent a career in law – with forays into acting and directing. And now having retired is once more able to pursue his passion for the theater. Elliott is currently directing The Boys Next Door at the Players Theater.

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  • Interview with Zak Edwards

    6-18-13 – Audio Interview

    Do you like toe-tapping music, incredibly clever lyrics, and exuberant choreography performed by a remarkably talented ensemble? Then run right down to Florida Studio Theater’s Gompertz Theatre to see The World Goes Round a revue of John Kander and Fred Ebb’s music – much of which will be familiar to you as it comes from Chicago and Cabaret and many other of their splendid musicals. And in that delightful revue (which has been extended through June 29th) you will see the very talented Zak Edwards who says he was “always a musician,” having begun piano lessons at 5 years old and performing professionally by the time he was in the 4th grade. Listen to this skilled performer talk about his recognition of what he was meant to do and be, and hear his interesting explanation of what it means to be the dance captain of a show.

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  • Interview with Mike Markeverich (re-run)

    3-26-13 Audio Interview

    If you live in or around Sarasota you and have probably heard extraordinary Jazz pianist Mike Markeverich play. Although blind from birth Mike was trying to play the songs he heard on the radio on his toy piano by the time he was three years old. A neighbor generously provided little Mike with his first piano but pursuit of the music that would become his life was very challenging. Listen to this extraordinary man describe the dedication with which he pursued his passion and experience his delightful sense of humor. Also listen to cuts from his CD “Solid” You can hear Mike play solo piano Thursdays & Fridays: 5 to 8 PM, @ Caragiulos Restaurant, 69 South Palm Avenue, 941-951-0866 and Saturdays & Sundays: 7:30 to 11 PM: @ Euphemia Haye Restaurant, 5540 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key 941-383-3633. On Wednesday April 17, 2013, the Munchtime Musicales Concerts will be presenting the Mike Markaverich Trio with Ernie Williford, Bass & Vocals & Johnny Moore on Drums, @ David Cohen Hall, from 12 to 1 PM.

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  • Interview with Jgar Hellwig

    3-5-13 – Audio Interview

    Jgar Hellwig discovered very young that he was “different;” he liked to invent characters, have conversations with the trees and talk to his imaginary friend. Even though his family was “not artistic,” they appreciated, enjoyed and encouraged his talent as a performer and by the time he was twelve he was playing the guitar and entertaining his family and friends with his remarkable voice, which he understood even then, was his “ticket.” Although he had a teacher who criticized his voice Jgar was able to overcome this criticism and continue to do the thing which brings him not only work and recognition but extraordinary pleasure – sing. Listen to him tell his story and hear that remarkable voice in a cut from his CD. Also come see and hear him as the outrageous Miles Gloriosous in the delightful and hilarious Manatee Players production of “A Funny Thing Happened on The Way to the Forum.”

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  • Interview with Michael Rice

    12-18-12 – Audio Interview

    Michael Rice’s parents brought a piano for his older sister but it was little Michael who at 5 was immediately drawn to it and immediately began to pick out songs. Since then, when it comes to music, Michael has done it all. He was a music therapist ; he played in the most famous piano bars in New York, he accompanied cabaret acts and ballet classes. But he was also passionate about composing and so adapted and wrote the music and lyrics for Berthold Brecht’s “The Good Woman of Szechwan.” And also for a pastiche play called “American Beauty” which including pieces by Pulitzer Prize winning author Romulus Linney and Drama Desk Award nominee Jack Hefner. Michael began his musical director career as part of the original creative team of the musical “Nunsense,” which won four Outer Critics circle Awards, and went on to become the second-longest-running Off Broadway show in history. Today Michael is, for the second time, Musical Director for the Musical 1776, this time at the Asolo Repertory Theatre. Listen to this delightful, ingenious man talk about the way he followed his heart. Knowing from the age of 5 that he was born to make music and taking every opportunity to do just that.

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  • Interview with David Brunetti

    11-20-12 – Audio Interview

    David Brunetti’s musical ability came easily and naturally. He was only 5 when the church gave his family a piano and he immediately sat down and began to “pick out songs.” Despite his obvious musical talent David “wanted to be Al Pacino,” so he majored in acting, but although he tried to create a career as an actor he just kept getting jobs as a musical director. Finally realizing that he could combine his two talents, David created a coaching practice called Acting Songs, in which he teaches actors, singers and “regular people” to act their songs; to bring their songs to life. He wrote a book about his technique and while based in New York he teaches all over the world. Every year David teaches a master class in “acting songs” at the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training in Sarasota, FL. This year you can observe this master at work and benefit the Conservatory at the same time.

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  • Interview with Corinne Aquilina

    11/13/12 – Interview

    Currently running at FST’s main stage is Smokey Joe’s Café. In this show you can hear the Musical Director, Corinne Aquilina, who was the arranger/music director for the long running, Off-Broadway show Menopause, The Musical, and played in the Broadway pit of Boy From Oz, talk about this play which she has “gotten up” several times and this particular production. Then listen to the funny, passionate and exuberant Arthur Marks, one of the remarkable players appearing in Smokey, talk about his journey to becoming the versatile and in demand performer he is. When Arthur was 5 he heard his mother sing in church. Without a mike the former Opera singer’s glorious voice filled the room and seeing that the congregation was just as “moved and captivated” as he was, Arthur decided that he too would do that. He made his debut the next year at the same church. And at 6 ½ had his first professional job as a boy soprano in a production of The Magic Flute – for which he sang in German. Gene Kelly’s Singing in the Rain made him want to dance and he studied ballet, tap jazz etc. He studied the piano and the viola (because everyone else was learning the violin.) When the band needed a trombone player he volunteered to learn it, when the symphonic band needed a Bassoonist – ditto. He says he was like a sponge. Listen to him talk about a life filled with the joy of performance and come see the result of all that rigorous training on stage in Smokey Joe’s Café.

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  • Interview with Noah Racey

    4-10-12 –Interview

    When he was just three years old Noah Racey’s Dad gave him a snare drum and was stunned to hear, within the first week, his infant drummer playing an entire John Phillip Souza album. Discovering a place to put his excessive energy and deriving a feeling of belonging and pride at being allowed – by age six – to play with his father’s drum circle, Noah put his foot on the path that would define his life; a life that has grown to include tap dancing, acting, and the creation of his own company of triple threat performers, all in the service of storytelling.

    Noah has danced in or choreographed for Fine and Dandy, Curtains with David Hyde Pierce, Busker Alley, Where’s Charley?, Babes in Arms, Do Re Mi, Never Gonna Dance, Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Baby and Johnny Project, and Look Ma, I’m Dancin’!, among others. In 2012 he will appear in 1776 at the Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota as well as debuting his original dance creation “Pulse” which will directed by Jeff Calhoun.

    But perhaps the thing that most defines Noah Racey is his love of his life, his passion for his work, his spontaneity and his exuberance. Listen to the roller coaster ride of joy and fun that is Noah Racey, and watch his tap dancing magic.

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  • Interview with Graham Dechter

    3-27-12 – Interview

    Family stories say that at the age of 2 or 3 little Graham Dechter would sing along with the records his parents played or the music his film arranger Dad was composing. “It just came naturally” he says. It was not that he thought of becoming a musician, it was that he always was a musician. And he discovered his own way to make music. His first piano teacher objected when ­­five year old Graham refused to bring in the Bach piece he was asked to learn and instead brought in a John Williams film score – Raiders of the Lost Ark. So Graham changed teachers. And although he learned piano and violin it wasn’t until he picked up the guitar – “just to fool around with,” that he discovered his instrument. Listen to Graham talk about the way he learned to play by ear and the unique way he found to play the guitar which is “not how any other guitar player plays” and of course listen to a cut from his CD where he is backed by jazz greats John Clayton on bass, Jeff Hamilton on Drums and Tamir Handelmen on piano.

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  • Interview with Katherine Michelle Tanner

    3-13-12-Interview

    Katherine Michelle Tanner is one of the lucky ones; with an actress mother, artist father and concert pianist grandmother, she grew up surrounded by, and encouraged to, experience the all of the arts. As a result she’s played with and mastered virtually all of them; a dancer, who convinced her ballet master to take her on before she reached the mandatory age, a pianist, violinist, artist, singer and actor, Katherine is currently part of the ensemble cast of Next Fall at Florida Studio Theater. Listen to Katherine talk about the intricacies of this play – it will make you want to run out and see it and her.

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  • Interview with Frank Wildhorn

    11-15-11 Interview

    Continuing my series of interviews with the creative team and stars of Bonnie and Clyde The Musical which opens on Broadway December 1, 2011- is my interview with the composer Frank Wildhorn. Frank says “As soon as my hands hit the keys, although I didn’t know what I was doing, I knew I was making music.” He was 14 and living in Hollywood Florida where his family had relocated, and although terrifically enjoying all the things his new Florida home had to offer, Frank’s future was sealed; he would make music. One after another mentors came into his life; a friend’s musician father cautioned him to avoid having ‘something to fall back on’ as his parents had urged, because he said “if you do, you’ll fall back on it.” Miraculously, famous, talented and accomplished mentors like actor/director John Housman and lyricist Leslie Bricuse came into his life and “took him under their wing” Listen to the mysteriously directed life and the glorious music of Frank Wildhorn.

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  • Interview with Jazz Musician Benny Green

    9-27-11

    Benny Green is in love with jazz music. A student of the roots of jazz, Benny says that while the people who created it were often despised, their music was beloved, even by those who despised its creators. And so he calls it a “victorious music.” As a small child Benny picked out notes on the piano that he heard on the Thelonious Monk records his father loved to play. His fate was sealed – he would be a jazz musician – the real thing. Benny says he was fortunate enough to be “lead” to teachers, mentors, and “musical parents” like Ray Brown, Oscar Peterson Freddie Hubbard, Art Blakey, and Betty Carter, who validated his place in jazz music. Listen to this gentle yet passionate musician talk about the music and the culture of jazz, and hear his remarkable fingers on the piano when I play a couple of cuts from his most recent CD called Source..

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  • Interview with Jazz Pianist Eric Scott Reed

    8-30-11

    Interview with the talented and engaging jazz pianist Eric Scott Reed who made the seasoned musicians at the Newport, CA Marriott Jazz Party take notice by playing both rapid fire jazz and achingly sweet melodies, like his version of the classic Thelonious Monk tune ‘Round Midnight’ from his tribute album to Monk called The Dancing Monk, which I will play as well original compositions from his CD Stand. Two year old Eric began fooling around with his neighbor’s piano while they were babysitting for him. He was always surrounded by the music his parents loved and his experience with his neighbors piano led him to try to play whatever he heard on the radio or the record player. He would pick out the notes he heard and it wasn’t long before he was playing full songs. His parents finally decided to give five year old Eric piano lessons. Listen to Eric talk about his parents, who although raised poor and black in the south, were able to give him and his siblings love, acceptance, discipline and faith. And in Eric’s case to have nurtured a thoughtful and talented professional musician who is dedicated to sharing the gift of his music in every way that he can.

     

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  • Interview with Graham Dechter

    3-28-11 – Interview

    Family stories say that at the age of 2 or 3 little Graham Dechter would sing along with the records his parents played or the music his film arranger Dad was composing. “It just came naturally” he says. It was not that he thought of becoming a musician, it was that he always was a musician. And he discovered his own way to make music. His first piano teacher objected when ­­five year old Graham refused to bring in the Bach piece he was asked to learn and instead brought in a John Williams film score – like Raiders of the Lost Ark. So Graham changed teachers. And although he learned piano and violin it wasn’t until he picked up the guitar – “just to fool around with,” that he discovered his instrument. Listen to Graham talk about the way he learned to play by ear and the unique way he found to play the guitar which is “not how any other guitar player plays” and of course listen to the compelling music he makes on that instrument.

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  • Interview with flutist Holly Hofman

    Show # 150 3-29-11 Holly Hofmann

    Is the flute a jazz instrument? Can a female flutist play jazz with the boys? When Holly Hofmann began her career most people – especially male jazz musicians – said an emphatic “no” to both questions. And they backed up their opinion with cruelty and rejection. But the talented Holly had been playing flute since she was six years old, she spent every night after dinner learning jazz licks from her jazz guitarist father. And Holly’s family motto is we aren’t quitters, so Holly persevered, and along the way garnered support from some wonderful people including legendary bass player Ray Brown, with whom she toured and recorded. Listen to her inspiring story and some wonderful music from her CD “Live at Birdland.”

     

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  • Interview with jazz musician Anat Cohen

    3-15-11 Anat Cohen

    Like her two brothers Anat Cohen is a jazz musician – she plays clarinet and saxophone. Music was always a part of her family life and her parents, who spent years chauffeuring their three children back and forth to lessons and concerts, never suggested that they find another way to spend their lives. For Anat music is not simply her work, it “is never not a part of my life.” When you watch and listen to Anat play you can feel her joy, see that the music inhabits her body – she is one with it. And not only the music she is playing but the music others are playing around her. Although she admits that making a life with music can be challenging – “the source of her pleasure and her misery,” – it is worth whatever sacrifice she makes for it – and we, as her audience, are grateful that she does. Listen to cuts from Anat’s CD “Notes From The Village.”

     

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