PHOTO GALLERY 2
I had the pleasure of playing in the horn section for Susan Anton, for the first time in 2001, at the Desert Inn. We had a 5 week engagement. After the third week, the management came to us and told us that we were doing so well that they were giving Susan and open ended contract and this would be our new home. After the fourth week, the management came to us and told us that the next week would be our last week, as Steve Wynn had purchased the casino and would be closing it down shortly. It was a real shame, as Susan is one of the true class acts in show business. Our Las Vegas horn section has worked with Susan several times since then and look forward to a long, enjoyable relationship.
I worked with Jenifer Green during the 1980's. She is one of the most talented vocalists I have ever worked with. Unfortunately for us, she moved back to Australia. She has become a producer in Sidney and, with her husband, has a very successful production company. She opened for Donald O'Connor and for the Donald O'Connor/Mickey Rooney Show and was a never ending source of amusement for the entire cast. She is quite a character.
Tammy Walker is a great singer and also the younger sister of Tonja Walker. I have had the good fortune to work and be friends with both. They are a pair of very talented and beautiful ladies. I worked with Tammy in Beverly Hills, at a new night club. We worked for several weeks before Christmas one year and had a short break and were due to reopen the Tuesday after Christmas. Tammy and I went to check out the changes to the room, as the owner was doing some remodeling and we found the club empty. The sound system, the piano and all the lighting was gone. The owner was apparently a con man and had run his club for a few weeks and when the bills came due for all the equipment, he packed up and moved everything to some state in the south. We got paid before he left or we would not have played our last night. Lucky us. The band also did a New Years Eve in Buffalo, which was a nice trip and the musicians Tammy hired were spectacular to work with. She is now a rising star in Nashville and deservedly so.
These were the guys who talked me into going to the Berklee College of Music. This is WOODY HERMAN'S THUNDERING HERD as they were in 1970 at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. I was invited down by Forrest Buchtel, Woody's lead trumpet player, to meet the guys and see the show. They were in Nero's Nook, the small showroom at Caesar's. The show was Woody Herman, Duke Ellington and Dionne Warwick. What a great show. I got to meet Duke. What a character he was.
I had the privilege of conducting the COUNT BASIE ORCHESTRA at the San Francisco Jazz Festival, with Donald O'Connor. The guys were great and I must say that the band was the best I ever heard them. The were great.
I met Darlene Cease when she was with the New Christy Minstrels in Rochester, New York. The were opening for Donald O'Connor at Kodak Park. We had a marvelous time and Darlene and I worked together for several year after that. She is a wonderful person and I will always cherish the time we spent together.
While we were working in Rochester, Donald and I were invited to a restaurant called Valente's. It was owned by Frankie Valente Jr, son of reputed east coast mob boss, Frankie Valente. Frankie Jr was a big O'Connor fan and a very nice man. Donald and I were sitting having dinner when a young, well dressed young man came in, with a couple of thugs at his side. He came over to the table and said hello to Frankie and introduced himself to Donald and myself. After a few minutes, the young gentleman invited us to go to the opening of a new club in town and I noticed that Frankie had left the table and was calling me over to the bar. I went and was told by Frankie to go nowhere with the young man. Frankie was very insistent and I returned to the table and told Donald we had to leave. He said that we were going to go to the club opening, for a short while. I told him again, more sternly, that we had an early show and had to go back and get some sleep...now! He finally got the point and we walked back to our hotel, leaving our host and the young man behind at the restaurant. I got Donald back to his room and went to the room next door to mine and began playing backgammon with our road manager Murray Becker. After about a half hour, there was a loud boom and the hotel shook. Murray said "What the hell was that?" I turned white as a sheet and turned on the TV. A few minutes later the show was interrupted by breaking news that Sammy G, a reputed mobster, had just been blown up in his car, outside Valente's restaurant. Thank you Frankie Valente Jr.
Program of one of a multitude of Police benefit shows I conducted at the Anaheim Convention Center and Shrine Auditorium in L.A.. Phil Hartman was the host, prior to his starring in "NEWS RADIO" and "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE". He was very funny and a very nice man.
My first band, while going to school at Berklee. The band was Myself, Ted Wolff on Vibes, Joe Coroniti on Bass and Rick Rutolo on Drums.
My first experience conducting a show was on "ROY RADIN'S WONDERFUL WORLD OF VAUDEVILLE", at the Playhouse on the Mall, at the Bergen Mall, in Paramus, New Jersy. The show starred Georgie Jessel, Pat Suzuki and Steve Condos and Joey Fay, doing old vaudeville sketches. It was a very fast paced show and a hell of a way to cut my teeth.
Las Vegas Jazz singer -- ERIKA
A marvelous talent who is trying to make it in Las Vegas. She called me just before New Years Eve and asked me if I wanted to do a jazz gig in Boulder City for New Years Eve. I had a couple of other offers for more money, but did the crappy paying jazz gig instead and am very happy I did. Erika works harder at her career and deserves to become a big star.
WAYNE DOBA and his wife ANDREA
Wayne is an amazing tap dancer, who did the "Great Performances" concert tour of Northern California with Donald O'Connor and myself. He had Donald's funny bone, which was not easy for a dancer. Wayne did a comic tap act that had both of us in hysterics for the entire run of the tour. He was also one of the nicest, most sincere people one could ever hope to meet, which is a trait I have found to be true of truly talented people. He has a great act and was a joy to meet and I am thrilled to still be in touch with him. I wish him nothing but success and happiness.
Buddy Rich was probably the greatest drummer of all time and we all loved to listen to him.
His screaming and yelling at the musicians was legendary. He was a perfectionist.
One of his musicians took the time to put together a tape of rantings and put it to music.
Click on this picture and you will see why it was so tough to work for him.
Parental discretion is advised in listening to this.
Walter White arranged and performed everything on this recording himself. A great tribute and a moving memorial to one of the greatest. Click on the link above and just listen.
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