Category: Press

Hear Tony on Chris Tedesco’s “Living the Dream”
By Nicholas F. Mondello

Nick Mondello is a pro trumpeter, writer and marketing/PR consultant to musicians worldwide.

tedescoIn “Living the Dream”, Los Angeles-based trumpeter / contractor / producer Chris Tedesco proves that he is a consummate multi-tasker. He leads his L.A. Jazz Big Band and Orchestra admirably, contracted the sessions, arranged a selection, composed four originals, engineered, edited, and produced the CD. The result of this array of endeavors is a slick, swinging, throwback salute to hip, straight-ahead big band jazz in the tradition of the great Doc Severinsen and the Tonight Show Orchestra.

This ten-tune disc offers a mix of fine originals and well-known jazz classics, all done in a marvelous style. While there’s no avant-garde, ultra-outside hip, breakthrough stuff here, there’s no need. This recipe works very well, so revolutionaries and outsiders should look elsewhere. Living the Dream is utterly purist in proudly bowing to the classic big band and vocalist/orchestra formats. The balance here—between Tedesco’s leading and playing, individuals’ solo performances, ensemble playing, and the great arrangements—is near-perfect.

Tedesco, an “Upstate Burner” originally from Niagara Falls, New York and, for two-plus decades, a first-call fixture on the L.A. studio scene, plays marvelously in a very Severinsen-esque style. His sound is full, engaging, chock-full of chops, and his technique is terrific. The inclusion of fine vocalist Tony Galla and string orchestra into the mix and the incorporation of Jim McMillen’s tasty, intelligent, no-clichés arrangements—his pen spewing lines of intelligence and challenge throughout—show Tedesco’s swing savvy and production smarts.

The opener, “Shuffle This,” sets the CD table and the menu is swing, served four-star hot. The funky street-beat strut of “Get on Board” features a nice gut-bucket trombone solo by Jim McMillen and some hot Tedesco sauce. “Race to the Bottom” is a fun speedball with “Sing, Sing, Sing” percussive overtones. Tedesco opens up his solo jazz chops nicely, while Brian Scanlon’s scatting sax solos wail, as do Glenn Berger’s and Rick Keller’s. “I’ve Got Some Kind of Rhythm” flows nicely with a nice tongue-turning by trombonist Bob McChesney. The ensemble playing across the session is articulate and never too studio tight or sterile. The rhythm section drives and never intrudes.

Song stylist Tony Galla gets the what used to be called “Cadillac touch” and a spotlight (with Tedesco fills) with string orchestra on “Willow Weep for Me” and big band on “Learnin’ the Blues.” Galla has a versatile, full, classic—yet soulfully hip—voice, with shades of Tony Bennett, James Brown, and two “Kings”—Nat “King” Cole and King Pleasure. He’s a deft phrase-turner with an elegant lyric touch.

Tony….You completely blew me away with your interpretation of “Moody’s Mood For Love”. Your voice, a magnificent arrangement and Chris Tedesco’s mellow playing gives me goose bumps each time I listen to it. The album is getting a lot of play time here in the Tampa Bay area on Public Radio along with some very nice compliments. I’ve also emailed Chris not only to buy the album but to share my feelings on this beautiful album. A topping on the cake would be well deserved Grammies for both you and Chris…. – Dave H., Venice, Florida

The production values on Living the Dream are excellent and the black “vinyl” CD plays shrewdly to the classic production package. To paraphrase the title of an old Guy Lombardo tune: “Did You Ever See a Dream Swinging?” Here it is. Buona sera!

Track listing: Shuffle This; Get on Board; Willow Weep for Me; Learnin’ the Blues; Race to the Bottom; I’ve Got “Some” Kind of Rhythm; It’s a Man’s World; The Opener; Lewistonia; Moody’s Mood for Love.

Personnel: Chris Tedesco: trumpet, flugelhorn: Harry Kim: trumpet; Bill Churchville: trumpet; Lee Thornburg: trumpet; Dan Fornero: Larry Williams: trumpet; Bruce Otto: trombone (1,4); Jim McMillen: trombone; Bob McChesney; trombone; Dave Ryan: trombone; Ira Nepus: trombone:(5,9) Charlie Morillas: bass trombone; Brian Scanlon: alto sax, soprano sax; Rusty Higgins: alto sax; Phil Feather; alto sax (5, 8); Glen Berger: tenor sax; Rick Keller: tenor sax; Glen Berger: baritone sax; Jeff Driskill: tenor sax (2); Corey Allen: piano; Jon Kurnick: guitar (10); Kevin Axt: bass; Dave Tull: drums; The angel City Studio Orchestra, Massamici Amano, conductor (3,7): John Wittenberg: violin/concertmaster; Kathleen Robertson, Phillip Vaiman, Kristin Fife, Cameron Patrick,Chris Reutinger,Isabelle Senger, Anna Kostyuchek, Zina Kostyuchek, Vladimir Polimatidi; Carolyn Osborne, Jackie Suzuki, Charlie Bisharat, susan Chatman: violins; Miriam Mayer, Margo Aldcroft, Adriana Zoppo, Novi Novog: violas; Peggy Baldwin, stefanie Fife, Jan Kelley, Kevan Torfeh: celli; Phil Feather: oboe; Bob Shulgold: flute;Joe Meyer: french horn; Paul Klintworth: french horn; Richard Geere: piano; Adrian Rosen: bass; MB Gordy: drums; Jon Kurnick: guitar.

After 50 News – March 2007

Tony Galla Concert Review

after50Let me refresh your memory just in case you forgot. The evening of February 16th, 2007 was a typical February Buffalo night. Wind chill below 0, blowing snow, and most of us still feeling the ill effects of a sugar- and champagne-induced Valentine’s Day buzz. A perfect excuse to stay home, toss down a couple Excedrin, throw an extra log on the fire (or turn the electric blanket on simmer), and chill out. It was too easy to stay home, that is, easy unless you’re a Tony Galla fan!

Freezing cold outside, smoking hot in! But let me regress… back to the 60’s. I was a vocalist in a lounge-style cover band (top 40). On my only night off, you could find me grooving to the music of Tony Galla and the Rising Sons, or later The Gingerbread Express, Gaberals Gate, The One Eyed Cat and other Buffalo venues he “owned” the stage, blowing you away with his powerful rich wide range vocal ability. Can you tell by now I am a huge fan?

But all good things must end. Tony packed up his family, and caught the last train for the coast. That, for me, was the day the music died, until a few weeks ago when Tony came back to town for a fund-raising event for Cardinal O’Hara High School. Tony was surrounded by native Buffalonians, the great sax player Bobby Militello and percussionist extraordinare Tom Walch.

That is where my entire story goes from elated to euphoric! You see Tom Walch, Tony’s drummer, was my drummer in the 60’s. You can only imagine my level of excitement when I weasled my way backstage and found the band in the ‘green room.” Tom was just as shocked to see me as I him. So we played catch-up on the last 30 some years, until, that is, Mr. Galla walked in and I ditched Tom, and immediately introduced myself to Tony. Wow—30 years melted away and I was back at the Inferno in Williamsville.

I held back from gushing too much, but still went on and on. He was humble and grateful for my patronizing ramblings. And just one request from this old fan… I mean lifelong fan: Please play his hit song “In Love.” He said it will be part of the next set. Upon departing, Tom and I exchanged emails and vowed to keep in touch. I was walkin’ on cloud 9.

What more can I say, Tony Galla’s mastering of everything from up-tempo blues to beautiful ballads and Old Italian classics is mind-boggling. What a great, great vocalist. My mission is to bring him back, not just for the Italian festival—or fundraising—but for an evening with Mr. Tony Galla in Kleinhans with our incredible BPO. If only the 800 people who screamed for more a few weeks ago would write, call, email, or send up smoke signals to BPO management. We may well get to see him in our beautiful concert hall with the world class BPO—complementing each other, where he belongs. Now that’s something to look forward to.

The Buffalo News – September 25, 2000

Story by Garaud MacTaggart

Tony Galla and friends

buffalonewsTony Galla has one of those rich, full bodied, soul searing tenors that parts its sonic surroundings like the proverbial hot knife through butter. He also possesses a fairly diverse artistic palette, alternating gigs between blues, Italian flavored songs, and gospel inspired material, ranging between the three idioms with surprising comfort and conviction. Galla has lead a fairly active life on the West Coast studio session scene and was joined Friday night by a few of his Los Angeles area compatriots (including bassist Bruce Atkinson, keyboard player Mark LeVang, and Buffalo expatriate Tommy Walsh on drums). Tralf co-owner and longtime Dave Brubeck associate Bobby Militello was also on the bill as the saxophonist while Galla and Western New York stalwart Doug Yeomans played guitars. Area blues fans should have been in attendance for his Friday night show at the Tralf as the band played to a full house of friends, family, and admirers. Galla is not only a strong, noteworthy vocalist, he has a solid, broad toned guitar style that serves as the perfect accompaniment for the songs he sang. Standards like “Stormy Monday” sounded quite comfortable next to self-penned cuts from his latest blues-inflected album (“A.S.A.P”) and the occasional flashback to lounge jazz artistry (a suprisingly up tempo rendition of “Misty” that featured Militello singing). In fact, although Galla was the featured performer, everybody on stage got their share of the spotlight, showcasing their formidable talents. Atkinson sang Robben Ford’s “Prison of Love”. Militello, in addition to blowing some absolutely righteous alto solos, got to display his fluid jazz vocal phrasing, Walsh got to cut loose with some tasty percussive accents and Yeomans managed to snap off a few brisk riffs that showed he belonged up on stage with all the heavyweights. Special guests, singer Mike Costley (soon to show up at the Tralf with his Louis Prima inspired big band) and the amazing jazz accordian player Frank Marocco, also added to the evening’s fun.

The Buffalo News – November 23, 1998

Story by Jim Santella

Tony Galla and Gary Mallaber, formerly of Raven, returned home for a concert late Friday night at the Tralf.

buffalonews

On Friday and Saturday, Buffalo-born Tony Galla, Gary Mallaber, Ernie Corallo and Bobby Militello – with a little help from Bruce Atkinson and Mark LeVang – packed the Tralf with friends, relatives and the cream of Buffalo musicians for a night of memorable, magical and magnificent blues. Galla was in superb voice, evoking the spirit of master blues singers form New Orleans’ Johnny Adams to B.B. King. Mallaber’s drumming was indomitable. He’s the Rock of Gibraltar that sparks pop legends such as Bruce Springsteen, Van Morrison and Steve Miller. Bobby Militello practically blew the pads of his alto as he walked the walk, talked the talk and proved why a recent tour of England found critics raving about his playing. Ernie Corallo is one of those slinky guitar players so facile on his instrument that he drops musical pearls as easy as rain falls on an April morning. The rhythm with Atkinson’s bass playing and LeVang’s keyboard grace following the snap, crackle and pop of Mallaber’s drums was the epitome of intuitive support. There’s no overpraising Galla’s voice; it has range, tone and sincerity. Despite masterly playing, it was the emotional depth of the music that set the tone. “The Blues Would Slip Right In” was an autobiographical blues that described Galla’s journey from singing gospel songs with his family through his days with Buffalo’s Raven to his success in Los Angeles. But it was “She’s My Angel of Mercy”, filled with a gospel intensity and a long jam on Steve Miller’s “Fly Like an Eagle” that raised the bar of musicianship up and beyond Olympian heights. It even included one of Mallaber’s rare drum solos – a barn-burning exercise in technique and taste. It was a night of unparalleled brilliance.