Solitaire Miles' Christmas Show at The Jazz Showcase in Chicago.

What do Solitaire Miles and Jen Zias have in common?...They were high school friends in Erie, Pennsylvania, they were both at Chicago's Jazz Showcase last night, and Oh yea, they sing a bit too!

Solitaire Miles
 What do Willie Pickens (piano), Robert Shy (drums), Jack Gallagher (baritone trumpet & vocals)Dave Gordon (piano) Brian Gephart (tenor sax), Chris Greene (soprano sax) and Brian Sandstrom (bass) doing what he always does keeping everybody together...have in common?
Jack Gallagher, baritone trumpet & vocal.

 ...they are all musicians, Yes! you got it. But if you were at the Showcase last night you would also know how "straight up " jazz is supposed to be jammed, as they took turns WOWin' their Christmas week audience. 

The event put together by Solitaire, stressed the '"Holiday Spirit" as much as the jazz....
"play it like it should be" attitude. Everything from Coltrane to White Christmas was on the bill.

This wonderful ensemble rotated solos, shared the stage and demonstrated their understanding of swing,
with a touch of progressive as they ran away with a list of the classics and some holiday tunes: "Christmas Time Is Here", "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To", "Let It Snow", "I Can't Give You Anything But Love", "Santa Baby"...done so sassy and sexy by Solitaire...and "Baby It's Cold Outside" a duet with Solitaire and Jack Gallagher...once again Solitaire putting together a book of just the right tunes for the event.

Brian Gephart
 Vocalist, Jennifer Zias, took her jamm in set II, with a wonderful, respectful swing version of "White Christmas"it was spirited and her range and wonderful crisp sound was a holiday treat.

So many good things happened at this show musically, it would violate the Cardinal rule of blogging, (to be brief), if I went on and on.
A perfect event for the season, I'm looking forward to more of the same in 2012, what a great show!

BTW, the sugar cookies and cup cakes and gingerbread cookies baked by Solitaire took their solo at the intermission, they were also well received! 

So get out Chicago! see Solitaire's next gig...and make sure you stay for the second set!!

Solitaire will be at:  Andy's...  Hubbard Street, Chicago  -Feb 16th & 17th

I'm Pete, follow me at:



"My love is a voice, it's a sound, if you hear it then it's yours too. And it's coming to remind you of your own voice"...On.

 "On" a unique, talented sound brought to my attention by another of New York City's unique personalities Sara Zar *

To get acquainted with "On" I spoke with  Naaran Barzilay.
...and asked him to answer the two question I ask everyone.

If you were leaving the planet and could take only one album with you, which would you take?
Naaran...this album will be an old record that I would find in the street
and pick it up just because of his unusual cover... it will have female voices followed by strings and orchestra of drums and pianos.... it will be so beautiful that right away I will look for the artist name
and surprisingly there will be none, just an underline for the listener to name it himself :)

If you could perform with anyone who would you choose?
Naaran...We would love to preform with great inspiring artists that are unfamiliar to us...
the things we already know are less exiting then what we're about to learn:)

"On's" current album is "A Box of  Costumes" is the current video from it "It's Good You're Here"

 "On" will be at: Rockwood Music Hall, March 16th.

I'm Pete, follow me...


Sinatra '66 12/12

...I met Sinatra on two occasions, briefly, once in Atlantic City and once in Vegas.
On both occasions he went out of his way to stop and chat...but

...the time when I knew history was being made was 1966 in the Copa Room at the Sands.
It was one of my first moves to Vegas from New York City.  Sinatra was there for five days, that meant five shows, he only did one a night, others did two. No dinner show, too much noise for the man!

I was young and dumb but one thing was clear, this was the end of an era. The corporate powers to be would soon turn the town into a get 'em in get 'em out cash machine, and the days of seeing Sinatra, and Basie for a few bucks and two drinks in a cozy venue was on death watch.

I was with strangely enough with a girl from Hoboken! She had never been more then twenty miles from home so for her to be in a room with every mob guy in America, Grace Kelly, Betty Grable, Joe Di Maggio, Liberace, Judy Garland was well, huge!

We did not have reservations for the show, but I caught a monster hand at the crap table and slipped the MaitreD $50 at the door he called a Captain and said G2 for Mister C, as we walked to G2, I slipped the Captain another $50, he went off the floor and came back with two piano like chairs and put them and us right up against the stage, our elbows could rest on stage..Remember this is 1966, $50 was like 200 now.

One of the shows that week was recorded and little did I think I would have it on a disc playing on a desktop or in my car 45 years later. 

To hear the Basie Band, Sinatra, with the Count at the keys, and the great Quincy Jones as a young man conducting and writing the charts...well, I knew this was something to savor, as the Beatles and the bubble gum music was about to fill the airways. was January '66, from the stage Francis announced that he had fallen off the wagon the night before, and this night he was gonna celebrate his 51st, birthday three weeks late.
...he introduced Quincy as a "bright new star" in the music business.
..he explained his bad luck at the tables had spread to his personal life, he said him and Basie went up to see the Grand Canyon, and it was closed!

The band did several tunes alone, and Frank fired five or six classics then the band again, a full show was what they ovation as the intro to each number started, and another at it's conclusion!
I've heard the Basie Band of the late 50's early 60's many times live, and the sound is still fresh in my head today, but at this show,  Vegas, The Sands, everyone was at the top of their game, it was "that moment".

If I remember right, excluding the $100 zuk, the total tab was like $23!
So this is my small tribute to the "man" ...The show was billed as "The Man and His Music"

...this is my favorite Sinatra number, when done with Basie....It's an old Don Costa arrangement that was given a "Hip" transplant by Quincy Jones... was the show stopper! (this Vid is not from the show, but the same era)

...this is one of the only videos I could find that is from that show at The Sands...

 So, for the many, many great memories...Francis, on the day of your birth, 12/12..."cent' anni"

I'm Pete, follow me at...


"Right On Time"... by Mary C me, a guy weened on R&B back in the day,  
Mary C is like finding an uncut diamond!

 I was in New York City for a week back in November. My time was all accounted for, except for Sunday afternoon. So, as I am always looking to contact new talent to bring to you, I looked on line to see if I could find a set to see. Mary C had a gig at 5 PM. most great things happen purely by chance, I stopped in to see Mary C.

We chatted for a minute and then she hit the stage, for a set without her full band.

From the jump, her stage presents, her beauty, her music and her pipes rocked the room!

Since, Mary has sent me an online preview of her soon to be released CD "Right On Time"

The CD is perfect...what does that mean? I mean I can not recall a Funky, Soulful, R&B CD that I have ever owned in which every tune hits the mark!

"Get Me Through" ...the opening high -energy number will get you movin',  a solid, solid get up and move
piece of funk!

"Love Automatic"...Mary's performance here is the ultimate sassy, soulful, attitude of a "got to have it" woman, in an "Automatic" affair, I really loved this tune!

"Paper Moons"...gets down as deep as soul can get. Mary's range and ability to funkify the phrasing of her terrific lyrics make this tune special. "I just want to be with you... under a paper moon, ...dancin' in the night, while you hold me tight....wish you knew my name."

"Out of My Mind"...another bulls eye! up beat 21st Century neo/soul...this one could be bound for the Dance Charts.

"Changing Spaces"...could be the "ever green" tune of this work. Mary's universal words of a broken heart are lent to a melody of passion. "Hear the sound of my heart break"  "Love or hate" "Gone or hold on"
...she tells it like it can be, and we have all been there.

...Seven tunes in all, on the preview I reviewed, all written by Mary C.

This CD just confirms what I saw live;
Mary C, expresses her emotions and keeps the music as real as it can be. She is able to blast her stage presents out like an explosion and yet maintain an intimacy with her audience!

...for me this work came "Right On Time"!


Mary C
Mary C has a great show planned for: Pianos, NYC, December 13th 7PM.

I'm Pete, follow


Clara Lofaro's "Perfekt World"

..."Perfekt World" Clara Lofaro's wonderful CD, that preceded her current work the self titled "Clara Lofaro", is an eclectic shotgun blast of what "Pop" music is today!
...on Clara's bio, it refers to her as a "tiny powerhouse"-not! she runs marathons so she is fit, but there is nothing tiny about her. Her voice is as large as a Rainbow, and it bring just as much joy when you hear it. Her heart is a big as a truck, she is always helping others... a percentage of "Perfekt World"
goes to fight hunger, and Clara was part of a massive effort to send relief to the victims of the recent tragedy in Japan.

Perfekt World;
"Birds of a Feather" the first cut is a sample of Clara's agility. A simple tune that will stick with you all day, and have you tapping your foot, with lyrics that give you a picture of a world that you can relate to...and maybe fill it some thoughts of your own, as Clara paints a picture for you.

"No Way Home" is a cut that seems a bit "Punky" to me as the shotgun blast of Miss Lofaro expanded, and I loved it. Several rhythm changes and a heavy bottom from the rhythm section, and the classic Clara lyrics telling the story; "you don't wanna marry me, I've lived my life too be a mother and a friend, and trust our love will last!

"Blue"....there is not much I can tell you about this tune, but.....this is my favorite Clara Lofaro, she sits at the piano and her words jump out from her  "tiny powerhouse" being and win your heart! I've been listening to music for six decades and seeing Miss Lofaro working her magic on the keys and poring out her soul, she is as good as anyone.

The title tune "Perfekt World", well here it is enjoy:
...this is a testament, to the heart and soul of this wonderful artist.

When Clara handed me this CD several weeks ago she said; "I want you to have this one" full knowing that I loved "Clara Lofaro". I see why now, it's a different side of her. This album comes on full force, no holds barred, a side of Clara I had not seen, and I love it!

I hope you enjoy "Perfekt World", with artists like Clara Lofaro, one day we may have one! are previous reviews... 

Clara Lofaro will be at;  Hugh's Room, Toronto, Dec. 13th, 2011.

I'm Pete, follow


Simona D, "Start to Fly"

Simona D, "Start to Fly"
 Let me introduce to you, Simona D...

A graduate of Berklee College of Music, Simona D currently lives in New York City where she is an active singer, cellist and writer.

 ...let me share with you a chat we had recently..
....I asked her what was happening in her career in
NYC, and what to expect from this bright young artist?

Simona: Right now I am working on my studio album that will come out later next year. I’ve been writing a lot of music and it's been an exciting creative process. I love writing as much as singing and working in the studio is always thrilling for me. I cannot wait to share my music with the world!

As always I asked my usual two questions:
1. If you were leaving the planet and could only take one album with you, which would you take?

Simona: Very hard question for a musician...actually for anyone who loves music! But if I had to choose one album it would be the first one I ever bought: Queen's "Greatest Hits II" I fall in love with it every time!

2. If you could work with anyone, who would it be?

Simona: The list of artists I would love to perform with is very long…there are too many musicians I admire and constantly inspire my music. If I had to chose I think I would probably say Babyface. I grew up listening to his music and had the chance to meet him once. He is such an incredible musician and beautiful person!

I asked Simona about her composition  "Start to Fly" written as part of the score to the upcoming movie "Drifting".

Simona: “Start to Fly” is a very simple interlude. The melody is clean and so are the lyrics. I wanted to keep it essential to better express the message of the song.
It represents hope, when you are in those situations you feel overwhelmed, when it’s hard to project a positive vision for the future, because you are stuck in the negative of the present and that is all you can see in that moment.
It is by knowing the strength you have within yourself that you can face any situation and by having the capacity of dreaming that you can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

...Then I asked how the feel of NYC effects her music and life in general...

Simona: New York is an amazing place to live! It is tough, it is real and the energy is incredible. I’ve been so fortunate to meet wonderful people and friends and many talented musicians and artists that always inspire me. Living here made me stronger and aware of who I am and what I want to be.

Simona D,
 Simona has a classy smooth style, combined with great vocal range, and writes simple but universal lyrics, a wonderful combination!

here is a sample of Simona's great style!

...I can't wait to see Simona D perform live, on my next trip to NYC!

 I'm Pete, follow


It All Started With Greta! Three Years Ago.

...the question I get most about this blog and what I do is: "Why are you doing this and how did you get started?"

Greta's Bakery, Greta Panettieri
The answer is in this photo...

I was writing free lance, sports and politics, for several publications and web sites. Two of the sources I was writing for decided to add music to their content. Being a closet musician and lover of "live" music of all genre,
I said I would write reviews and do interviews, they were paying me to write, cool!
As all corporations they were full of it!

I was on a trip to New York City about three years ago, I was meeting people from LA, Vegas and Atlantic City. Me being the native NYer, I was given the job of entertainment person, pick a place where we could see some great music, and liquor up after dinner.

After searching the net for weeks, youtube and all the venues I clicked on a group called Greta's Bakery.
Greta was so damn delightful, and when I heard her sing...I decided that's who we would see.

The people with me, trusted me, but I could tell they were not sold on going to see some group that none of them had ever heard of, after all it was NYC and there were dozens of musicians all over town??

So after we were out drinking and eating all day, I dragged them all to see Greta at eight o'clock.
...after about 8 bars of the opening number everyone was knocked out by her amazing talent and that smile!!

I spoke with Great before and after the show, introduced myself and told her I would have reviews up the next day in Vegas, and NYC...she was a delight and we have been friends ever since..but the powers to be saw it different.
One site I was working for just refused to print the review, (even though they paid me for it) the publication put it on their site two weeks later, and you had to click so far back into the site to find it, I'm sure it was never seen.

So that's how I got started. I quit working for anyone and started this blog with a new and updated review of Greta and Greta's Bakery. It's non profit, but I could not be happier. I write what I want, when I want, and answer only to myself.

It's been a wonderful three years!

When Clara Lofaro tells me I put a tear in her eye when she read my first review of her..that's a pay check!

When Nadia Ackerman emails me and tells me she was just signed to a record contract, but keep it quiet till it's official...that's a pay check!

When Gio Moretti hugs me...that's a pay check!

When I see fire in Kalen's eyes...that's a pay check!

When Nikki Yanofsky & mom say meet us in the hallway between shows to say Hi!..that's a pay check!

When Eleanor Dubinsky and I share a bottle of wine...that's a pay check!

When Joe Alterman graduates NYU and becomes a Jazz Star in NYC...that's a pay check!

When I meet Yula Beeri & Sarah Zar purely by chance, and discover all the amazing people of the eXtended Family, and the amazing things they do...that's a pay check!

When I show up at the wrong time for a gig and discover a future Jazz Hall of Famer like Johnathan Parker...that's a pay check!

When I tell Emily Wolf I hear some Nancy Wilson in her songs and jazzman Joe tells her the same at a later date, and she sees it herself for the first time...that's a pay check!

When Eleanora Bianchini tells me she is moving back to Italy and I'm sad...that's a pay check!

When I can sit for four hours with Champian Fulton and Dad, Steve and talk about and listen to their great jazz...that's a pay check!

When Jade Simmons tells me she liked my analogy of a "bridge" that I used in her review, and she grew up listening to Oluatunji...that's a pay check!

When Amy Regan's hands are bleeding because she is giving 200% on stage and she never uses a guitar pick...that's a pay check!

When jazz vocalist extraordinaire Solitaire Miles says my review was insightful...that's a pay check!

When a major league artist like Jennie Booth considers working on a project with me (even though it didn't happen, this time )...that's a pay check!

 When I can get Tammy Scheffer to sing a few bars at Marie's Crisis, even though I don't think anyone else heard her...that's a pay check!  

When I can get thirteen of New York City's most talent women to do a benefit for me and donate their
talents, and they all loved each other...that's a pay check!

When I find Vividly Dim  a group of talented young kids giving their all to make it in the music business, again by accident...that's a pay check! 

When I hear Kristin Hoffmann sing her fantastic "Song For The Ocean"...that's a pay check!

When Bekka Lindstrom opens the "Singin 4R Sisters" show with words and music that sends chills through the audience...that's a memory forever! 


........So Greta and Andrea, you have made me rich! I have had more than my share of pleasurable experiences  since our meeting of destiny! 
.......However this story does not have a happy ending...yet..
.......You see my friends, Greta has moved back to Italy.
.......So my little saga is incomplete, to be finished when Greta returns!!
.......and you are all invited!!

Here is the video that started it all, when I came across it, I had to meet her!

Greta Panettieri

follow me...


The Art of Getting Out, It's easy!

...If you live in New York City, Chicago or another Metropolis, how often do you get out to see live music? Local live music?

Like, Emily Wolf, Jazz
 ...Oh no, don't tell me you are one of the main stream music lovers who spend anywhere from two hundred to three hundred dollars to see a concert! You know the "over the hill" bands that are running through every city all the time. Or perhaps you spend more then that on a "Top40" show with lights, fireworks, and a crowd of paid shills in front of the stage screaming at every word. Well let me help you save some $$$$ and enjoy you music just as much....get out and see some local artists!

Like the "passione & soul" of Gio Moretti
 Don't let the corporate "pushers" get you hooked on their "junk", try some mom and pop (local) artists...
...they are more educated in music and are as dedicated as all the "stars" the record companies force you to listen too!

Like, the wonderful lyrics and melodic lines of Clara Lofaro go for the $8 cover charge, buy a drink, leave a tip, get close to the stage and enjoy a night out, AND
I promise you, when you get home you'll be on line buying some of their work.

Start here:   

                and a few others you will love.....



                              In Chicago;          

Like, the fire of Kalen!
                                            ....Oh yea, they are all easy on the eyes too!              


Rachel Epp...Songs from her heart.

Rachel Epp (photo: Leah Young)
American singer-songwriter, Rachel Epp, is no stranger to the country. Having been raised on a farm in Maryland, and growing up in Virginia, Rachel was bred on gospel, country and folk music.

It says "Nostalgic Folk Rock" on Rachel's page, I guess that fits, but what I hear is just a young lady singin' from her heart, with yea, a folk sound, and some wonderful original tunes.

Here's a sample...

To break the ice I asked my usual two questions of Rachel.

1. If you were leaving the planet and could only take one album with you, which would you take?
Rachel:  If I were leaving the planet and could only take one album with me, it would be Patty Griffin's "Living With Ghosts"
Ten songs of just her beautiful voice and her guitar. The songwriting on that album is incredible.

2. If you could play with anyone, who would you choose?
 Rachel: This is such a hard question haha...can I pick two? Sharing a stage with Dolly Parton and Kathleen Edwards would be the absolute best!  The first concert I went to was Dolly Parton, and even though I was barely eight years old, I remember feeling so excited and inspired by her and her music.
I discovered Kathleen's music much later on an indie radio station in Virginia, and ever since I've been smitten. Her songwriting and melodies are beautiful, and there's a mix of purity and rawness in her voice.

I asked Rachel if  she could say something to my readers to introduce herself, she replied:

""I would like to add "thank you's" to everyone who has been so encouraging and supportive of my music thus far.  It's truly moving when people connect with what you do, no matter what profession you're in.
Also, future goals would include touring more and collaborating with musicians that have inspired me.  Also, singing at Farm Aid would be an absolute dream come true. I grew up on a farm in Maryland (and Virginia), so that background has a lot to do with who I am today as a person, and as a songwriter. Sharing my passion for the land, whether it be farms or just green space, is important to me, and combining my passion for music would be the ultimate.

...I'll be reviewing Rachel live soon, but if you are in NYC get out and show Rachel and all the other young artists some support!! can catch Rachel at:  Caffe Vivaldi, NYC, Nov. 18th, 7 PM
                                              The Bitter End, NYC, Dec 8th, 8 PM

...her EP is "Rosary" get it here:

...I'm Pete, follow me here:


Gabrielle Aimee, is on the rise!

Gabrielle Aimee is like a tremor, about to become a major rumbling!
The Singer/songwriter and actress has just released her latest single "I Know Better"
Gabrielle Aimee "I Know Better"

After a hectic few weeks for me, I caught up with Gabrielle last week in NYC.
...and this wonderful young lady took time to answer some questions so you , my readers could get to know her....and you need to know her, and her talents.

As an actress she has an accomplished resume.
...but her real fire burns for her music.

To start I asked Gabrielle the two questions I ask everyone...

1. If you were leaving the planet and you could only take one album with you, which would you take?
Gabrielle: That is the most impossible question!  It’s almost cruel to ask that.  It would have to be something I could sing along to. I’d say Trio, by Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, and Linda Ronstadt.  Paul Simon’s Graceland, is a close second.

2. If you could perform with anyone who would it be?
Gabrielle: Dolly Parton.  She is a beautiful singer, a beautiful songwriter, and she has this vibe; you just know she’d be warm and open, and she’d really make music with you, really connect with you.

Then I asked, because you have shown talent also as an actor where does the fire burn brightest in you, acting or music?
Gabrielle: Singer/Songwriter, without question. I’ve been singing since I was three. Growing up, I was terrified to act. Now that I’m more comfortable in my own skin, acting is this amazing, in the moment, kind of experience that you have with your fellow actors. I wouldn’t want to give either up, but music will always be my first and deepest love.

Gabrielle admits that advice from her great friend, Nadia Ackerman, who has had a remarkable year in the business, helped keep her music career on track.

Gabrielle's latest single "I Know Better" is a wonderful tune, the words are a universal story, the melodic line is so brilliantly simple it sneaks into your physique and you find yourself carrying it around with you for days!  Check it out..

So get out New York, and catch Gabrielle Aimee...
her next gig is; Saturday, Nov 26th, 5 PM at Rockwood Music Hall, NYC.

You will be hearing lots more about Gabrielle here, I will have a live review coming soon!!


I'm Pete, follow me at: 



Gio Moretti's "Meeting Point"

...has your heart ever been broken? Do you sometimes wonder if you will get over it and find another? Or as Gio Moretti puts it on the first cut of this CD "To Say Goodbye" (in the Moonlight)...
"don't want to feel the same again today, I will find a better place, along the way" 

Gio Moretti, CD, "Meeting Point"

 I sat down to write this review three times before, I could not begin.

...I always listen to the work as I write, Gio's lyrics and enchanting voice took me back to times in my life ...and I sat here reminiscing of my loves and losses, holding back tears. You see I have come to know Gio and I see how these words she is sharing with us all are so heart felt to her. I told her that and she said..
"Dear Pete, thanks for your words, I'm glad that I still can move some hearts with my music and that is the main reason I'm still making music, to try to give something special for the soul.."

Special for the fitting for this wonderful CD, "Meeting Point".
...and yes Gio you have found a better place, stay with us and keep the music coming!

The CD has several duets with Ernesto Leite, who after writing with Gio via email and skype, met in New York, thus "Meeting Point".
Ernesto and Gio are a perfect blend. Their Brazilian touch fulfills the romance of this great work.
Cut ten "Still Walking Alone" puts them together with a jazzy Latin rhythm...Perfect!!

"Another Star Falling" cut 3 on the album is a simple, but brilliant tune. It speaks of falling in love, but experience show it's head and the doubt arises, as Gio puts it .."Let's dance to the rhythm that is moving my world...If you can't say it, the words I want you to say, I'll just keep looking to the stars in the sky."

Cut #7, "Otherwise We'll Fall" is a song with a message for us all "You can create a miracle...It's time, 
to know who we really are...Through the voice of your heart...It's not too late to hear the call. The world is reaching out for us all"

...and if you just want to hear a tune that will let your imagination take you where ever you desire, Gio's "Freedom" is the one, it's cut six.

This work is truly a work of "love" the songs and the dedication of Miss Moretti, bursting out to tell us of love and it's ups and downs. Miss Moretti's words to conclude her thanks to all involved say it best......................
     "Thanks always to my family and old and new loves that keep inspiring me."                                                ***************
I wanted to review both of Gio's CD's...she was very smart she gave me "Animacoustica" first you see, she loured me in with the "passione" of that CD....see that review here:

....and now she breaks my heart with "Meeting Point". can also see my interview with Gio here:


I'm Pete...follow me


Mary C...a must see!

Mary C, at Rockwood
I did manage to catch a peek at one performer I had not seen live yet on my trip to NYC this time....
...Mary C, and she was DYNAMITE!

...just want to give you a heads up about her, I'll have a full review of her CD coming...

...if you're an R&B, Soul, or knock 'em down kick 'em in the chest Blues lover like me, and you want to see a beautiful lady takin' some of it and putting a 21st Century touch on it, get out and see Mary C!

She told me it would be an "acoustic" set, well if that was acoustic, I can't wait to see the full band!
They had the room jumping, with a solid sound and Mary's wonderful pipes... her stage presents makes you think you are back in the Golden Age when R&B ruled the charts....but at the same time she hits you with some 2011 energy and style.

Thoroughly Enjoyable!!
 check out her great web site:  (make sure your speakers are on!) 
......stay tuned here for more from Mary C..

Mary C will be at: Pianos, NYC, December 13th!

by Pete Carma, follow


Abby Ahmad, "Curriculum"

I recently came across a very talented young songstress named Abby Ahmad,
her CD is "Curriculum".
Abby Ahmad, CD "Curriculum"
...First things first, this is a beautifully packaged CD, one of the best I've seen. A great cover shot, complete lyrics, and the insert contains even more wonderful photos of Miss Ahmad in various New York City locations, and one of her as a child. The photos were the work of Erica Simone.

Reading through Abby's facebook, I see her #1 influence is Dylan. I go further, Dylan tweeted me a few months ago when I did a feature for his 70th birthday, it said "we are on the same page Bro"...well Abby has jumped on the same page as Mr. Dylan, and I've never said that of anyone before.

I'll stick my neck out here and say Abby's tune, "Landing Gear" is as good as any protest song, or political critique or as prolific a statement that has ever been put to music!
Written in 2005, it fits in my top three with Dylan's "The Times They Are a-changin" and Barry Mcguire's
"Eve of Destruction".

This composition could very well be the theme of the "Occupy Wall Street, 1%" protesters. It tells of all the division in our Nation today.

"Everyone's now at attention, since a nation's been derailed...Divided we stand, United we failed"

"So I brace myself for the breakdown, With wings barely intact, Desperately decoding candor,
Weeding out the fiction from the fact"

This is how Abby wrote "Landing Gear"...
Abby... "Landing Gear was written in 2005 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. I had just moved to NYC a week before and was exploring parallels between our uncertainty as a nation at the time and my uncertainty being a NEW New Yorker seeking my individual and musical identity. It was a scarily transitional time both personally and politically."


It took me a couple of days to listen to the rest of the CD, I was captivated by "Landing Gear".
Not only the lyrics but the crescendo of the melodic line that makes you "feel" the impending turmoil, of which Abby speaks. What a great commentary this tune is.

"Habit" is a cut that speaks of the "habits" of passion we can sometimes fall into.
"I want you when I'm hungry, but I crave you when I'm full"...
"You're two chocolate bars and a cigarette away from being lethal"

"Lost On Me"...Abby slows it to a ballad, but the lyrics are just as powerful...
"I cannot stand here, Awaiting the day...That your actions match the words you say"

Ten original tunes on the CD, all are wonderfully done.
....take away the melodies that match each composition, and Abby's powerful voice that leads you to the meaning of the lyrical content, and you have what you have with Dylan tunes...insightful social commentary, and prolific prose!


I asked Abby the two questions I ask everyone when I write about them...

1. If you were leaving the planet and could only take one album with you which would you take?
Abby... What an excruciating scenario! My tastes are so eclectic, the thought of narrowing it down to 1 album seems impossible. I suppose it would come down to a standoff between Nina Simone's "The Blues" and Led Zeppelin "III". Both have had significant longevity/relevance in my life and musicianship. Patty Griffin's "Living With Ghosts" would be up there too...

2. If you could perform with anyone who would you choose?
Abby... If I could perform with anyone currently alive, I think I'd choose Thom Yorke. His magnetism and presence are inimitable. Deceased: John Lennon or Howlin' Wolf.

               .......Welcome to New York, Abby!! can catch Abby at:  
River Street Cafe, Wilkes/Barre Pa.  Oct 28th, 8 PM
Rockwood Music Hall, NYC, Nov 9th, 11:30 PM

get the CD... 

by Pete Carma, follow


Solitaire Miles at The Jazz Showcase

Wednesday night Chicago's Solitaire Miles took the stage at The Jazz Showcase, to deliver her new CD..."Melancholy Lullaby"....
It was JAZZZZ, no holds barred, pure and passionate.

...It was one of those show I dread, a nightmare for me...
You know, when the show is sooooo good you can't take you eyes and ears off the stage, so you can't take notes, and then when you sit down to write about it, you wonder how you will tell the readers just how terrific this show was!
Solitaire Miles, CD "Melancholy Lullaby"

It was a CD release show for Solitaire's new CD "Melancholy Lullaby".
...the room was packed...

The best way to explain is  E=mc2..
That's right, I remember from my school days hearing Albert Einstein
explaining his theory...The Universe is like a speeding train moving at the speed of light...if humans could travel as fast they could jump on or off the train at different points in the history of our Universe.

Wednesday night Solitaire Miles was the engineer of that train.Taking us from the 1930's to the twenty first century, with a few stops in between, and a brief stop over in Brazil.

Surrounded by a sextet for set one that grew to an octet set two, Solitaire presented a wonderfully diverse cross section of the American Song book.

Starting with her opening number "Exactly Like You" set one, I knew I was in for something special. "The Night Wind" another gem from the 40's was done in set one to a wonderful chart, that would have made lyricist Eugene Field stand and applaud.

Solitaire's "style" if you can call it that, I kinda think she is actually living the songs she sings...and singing them with a passion for jazz, and...the history attached to each and every one that literally takes you on and off that "train" that covers jazz history.

Song after song, taking tunes from the 30's and 40's and treating them to a "massage," with love and respect.
..."Two Close For Comfort" ...was swung with a wonderful up beat rhythm, not to fast as most do, but this wonderful group of musicians hit it dead center!
..."Tenderly"...this evergreen was a showcase for Solitaire's range...and again a perfectly done chart!

...if that was not enough, Solitaire and the band took Duke Ellington's "Nothin But The Blues"
right down to where it should be, and stomped on it! (this was the show stopper for me).

...the show closed with "Bye Bye Blackbird"...swingin' and jumpin'... 

...the band? I would need two more columns to tell you how great they were ( I may do just that).
Riff after riff, solo after solo, they were showered with exuberant applause from the crowd. 

Drums.. Mike Raynor, Piano..Dave Gordon, Bass..Marlene Rosenberg, Sax/flute, Jim Gailloreto, Trumpet/flugelhorn..Art Davis, Guitar..Neal Alger, Bongos..Heitor Garcia...also guitar and vocals, Paulinho Garcia. A joy to listen to all of them!

"in my 67 years I have seen ALL the jazz greats, this show was as entertaining as any of them".

The CD contains these and a few other renditions of  more jazzzz classics.

have a listen here;
get the CD here;

The delightful, "Solitaire"

"the venue"  it was my first visit to The Jazz Showcase. Best venue I've been to here in Chitown so far...
every seat has a great view of the stage, even the bar, and the sound was as good as it gets...
we had wonderful service from Jennifer, or hostess, get out to the "Showcase" you will love it!

by Pete Carma   ...follow


"Artists In New York" Part VIII... Kalen.

 I have been listening to music for a long time, when I heard Kalen's hit single "Rabid Girl"
it became one of my all time favorites. It "is" New York City. She paints a picture I have seen so many times in Da Apple with her words, and a melody with a rhythm of the Metropolis.

Kalen is about to start her fall "gigs", after a summer of work and fun! is a bit about her and her music as a New Yorker, and life in the city.

Q; Your lyrics, especially your great hit "Rabid Girl" ooze great words of New York City, how much does the city and it's adrenalin influence you and your work?

Kalen...I’m very influenced by environment. NYC is an overwhelming place, rich with poetry and profanity, at once exhilarating and exhausting. I am a country girl at heart and find that I continually return to themes of sea and sky. I long for the natural world when I am in the city because of the contrast with the cacophony of the urban center. Being in NY day in and day out, though, I am consistently driven to try to capture and comment on the experience. I feel a connection with the thousands of artists in the city and those artists who have come before and who have tried to capture the shifting, ephemeral essence of NYC. “Rabid Girl” is a piece about a young lady who is an extreme product of her environment. She reflects the city that has shaped her as well as being a player within its scenery, perpetuating its madness. Painting a picture of place was essential to capture the essence of the song. 

Q; You are from New Hampshire, a graduate of Penn, but I know from experience living in Brooklyn is an education in itself. What were the things about living there that surprised you the most?

Kalen...Observing how quickly things can change and shift in NYC and Brooklyn has been fascinating. People and place really can reinvent themselves here. There is an incredible regenerative life force coursing through the city at all times. There is a dark side to this opportunism, however. If one is not careful, he’ll get swept up in others’ talk and veer off course from one’s own dream and integrity, talking the thieves’ talk and walking a wayward walk. The constant metamorphosis of place and peers can catalyze an unconscious personal distortion, which I’ve seen in many and caught in myself, but is also an opportunity for personal and creative innovation and refinement.

Q; Looking at your music FB "favorites" I didn't see any classic artists, are there any you admire or who had an influence on your work?

Growing up in the country, I had a different relationship with music than
 many of my New York peers. So many of my friends were savvy about the music they loved from a young age and were avid listeners and collectors. That’s closer to how I was with fine arts. Improvising on the piano with little vocal melodies was an organic expression of what I was feeling and thinking about. I wasn’t trying to emulate or appropriate in any conscious way as a young girl when I first fell in love with music. I would, however, listen to my mother’s Motown and classic rock along with jazz piano albums my piano teacher recommended to me. Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Bill Evans, Dina Ross and The Supremes were favorites. Through later chapters of my life, as I got more seriously into collecting music, I began to add funk, trip hop and Afro-Cuban music in my regular rotation.

Aside from music and other music artists, however, traveling, nature, books and fine artists influence me most. My family lives on the ocean in Maine and I’m inspired by the sea, though I love being outdoors in general. Traveling and seeing new things (which happens in New York City constantly) is another never-ending source of inspiration and experience outside of myself. Italo Calvino’s wacky book, If On A Winter’s Night A Traveler and James Baldwin’s short story, Sonny’s Blues are two of my favorite books. On the art front, I absolutely love Austrian and Germany Expressionist painting.

Q; What's next for Kalen? New releases, gigs, anything we should know about?

Kalen...Presently, I am building a band around my solo work, creating a live experience that moves beyond the singer/songwriter sets I have been doing this last year, returning to a bit more of the performance zaniness from which I temporarily retired with my last project, Ladybug Stingray. I am recording my next EP, "Fallen From The Sun" that will include the spoken word single, “Rabid Girl”. I am also collaborating with some great young producers and songwriters around NYC, some on live shows, others in the studio.

Q; The next time you walk past a coffee shoppe will you get a black&white cookie and take a big bite and think of me?

Kalen...Happily. Though, I must share that my favorite New York cookie is the chocolate chip cookie that hails from the heavenly City Bakery.
Kalen is one of those people who make me smile, if I hear her music or see her, I just smile.

Kalen will be at;  Caffe Vivaldi, NYC, Sept 28th, 7 PM...
                              Parkside Lounge, NYC, Oct 13th 8 PM



Nadia Ackerman..."Mary Jane" & "Ebony Road"

From the versatile musical talents of Nadia Ackerman, some amazing new work!
 ...the sound track to a new film with an exciting new director "Ebony Road"
 ...and the first single and video, from her new album "The Ocean Master" ..."Mary Jane"
 ...will be available on Sept.11th from,  ITUNES ....

see the details here...and a link to her site... 

The first singWORL09/11/11

The first single and music video from "The Ocean WORLDWIDE 09/11/11


Gio Moretti, Artists in New York Part VII

Gio Moretti, photo by Monica Castiglioni
Gio Moretti, "life" is her inspiration. And it is the driving force in her beautiful music!

Gio's wonderful CD, "Animacustica" was my first connection with her. An inspiring work that I enjoyed very much...
here is that review...

From Bergamo, Italy and now an American citizen, Gio has made New York City her home. Here are her thoughts of life in the Big Apple.

Gio speaks many languages including Bergamasque and her accent is charming, so I left the dialogue exactly as she told it to me...enjoy!

Q; Talk about New York City and how coming here has changed your life?

Gio...New York City...where the dreams may come true. Just say it, I guess I was bored, needed inspirations, motivations, fresh air...but now I feel that I pay every single day, this air...not so fresh anymore.
I love NYC but it's a tough place to be, make a living, raise a child, try to be successful...I don't know...after 11 years I'm still try to figure out why I want to leave NYC..
I guess I'm still waiting for "That Day" happens.

Q; You just became a citizen, how does it feel?
Gio...Finally done with the immigration! No more questions, no more lies...and I can hear a voice..."Welcome back to the United States".And I can finally vote...Obama, oops, can I say that???

Q; How do audiences respond to you here in NYC?
Gio...I got inspired from my audiences, they always warm and curious, doesn't matter what language I sing
I feel connected to them, that probably why I love to give everything I have or that I can give that night.

Q; Any experiences you have that are unique to NYC, that you want to share with us?
Gio...Oh my God! so many...1. From running away in the middle of the night from a room I was renting in the public houses in Harlem...I was on the 18th or 19th floor, with all my stuff, including an entire sound system
and the elevator stopped working...I had to use the fire escape stairs!
 2. Singing an entire solo of "Take Five" for Al Jarreau. And 3...I fall in love (unfortunately or fortunately we are not together anymore)

Q; Your wonderful son, and how NYC effects his life?
Gio...I think NYC it's a place where he can get lots of opportunities, he is still so young...he already know what he really like to do, play drums and be a musician! I like the effect that he has a chance to live in a Cosmopolitan City that embraces different races, style of music, different foods, and girls...(maybe this for his future).

Q; Anything in the future we should know about?
Gio...I don't think at the future, I can't. Tomorrow is the far future that I can think about it!
Today is a new day, let's focus on today in this moment, everything can possible change, how can you make plans?

Q; You are a very inspired artist, where does it all come from?
Gio...LIFE! I love my life, I like to take chances, take risks, try new things. I see a lot of colors in my life, and everything around me keeps inspire me. LOVE! I like to write about LOVE, because I LOVE!!! And I will always LOVE!  I don't trust as much as I use to, I got some deep scars, but now I see myself in a new chapter of my life, so I am very optimist and sure, I am always open to learn something new, or looking for something new.

Gio thank you for you candor and I will see you in NYC soon!,

Gio will be at...our benefit

Gio's music..Enjoy:: This video:

Gio's page:: AnimAcusticA

follow me::  Pete Carma


Sarah Manning's, "Dandelion Clock"

Sarah Manning, a new and very exciting artist on the jazz scene. She's bold and inventive, and she will give you a "Master Class" with this new album, "Dandelion Clock"

I started this blog to promote young artists of the 21st Century who are "keeping the music alive".
I just hit the jackpot again!! Sarah Manning is a young lady who has the poise and skill of a seasoned jazz vet.
She is as dedicated and as involved in the genre as anyone. She respects it and delivers with an intelligent take
and a great album loaded with her original charts.

Dandelion Clock is the work; and it is a good one.

"The Peacocks" a cut that Sarah controls from start to finish. She makes the Sax talk, if the instrument truly were vocalizing, it would be a Carmen Mcrae like mellow but sassy, top to bottom phrasing, with clarity
and precession. A terrific piano riff comes through in the middle of the tune. A very nice chart.

"Phoenix Song" with breathless riffs and an intelligent melodic line, I really had to pay attention on this wonderful tune, there is lots going on.  For me this tune was reminiscent of the progressive sounds of decades ago, with a brand new spin. Sarah seems to be exploring and creating something new, with a refreshing confidence here. Pay attention on this one, if you are an old fogy of jazz, like me, you will love it.

"Windmills of Your Mind" the classic melody by Michel Legrand gets a workout by Sarah on this album too. She takes the classic tune for a ride into the Stratosphere, circles the Earth and returns it just as Legrand wrote it  Both are picked up by the Mother Ship and all is well again.

"Dandelion Clock" the number of puffs it takes to blow away all the filamentos of a Dandelion will tell you the hour, you remember that from your childhood? The title tune will paint a picture of that for you, it's light at times and there are passages when you can just imagine the flower flowing and then wilting. This is another terrific piece. What a great new addition this album is to my Ipod!
.....can't wait to see her live soon, stay tuned!

Sarah Manning will be at;  Tanglewood Jazz Festival, Sept. 3d,  2011

purchase Dandelion Clock

Sarah's site; 

by Pete Carma, follow Pete


Artists in New York, Part VI, Bekka Lindstrom

..."an actor, who makes her living as a graphic artists, even though she is a writer who sings"
Bekka Lindstrom

 That's how Bekka describes her life in New York City, on her Facebook. But let me tell you, it's not that easy to describe her talents. I have seen her act, sing, create videos, and her art, and all are excellent.

Her are some of Bekka's thoughts on all of that, and of course living in NYC, because that what this series is all about.

Q; Your FB says you are "an actor who makes her living as a graphic artists, even though she is a writer who sings" I love that because I know what you mean, ...can you explain it to my readers who may find it a bit confusing...and how living in NY allows all of that to happen?
Bekka... This is the sentence I came up with when faced with this blank on Facebook. And I wanted to keep it to one sentence.
I'm very focused on being an actor. Yet most of my life I've made my living as a graphic artist. However, I hate to discount the writing I've done. And then I remember, I'm so happy when I'm singing. And while you often don't make a dime at singing or writing or acting or the graphic arts – you have to practice them quite a bit to be good at any of them. You have to do them. Practice.
When I was a little kid I didn't care for practice. I didn't see the fun in it. Now that I'm older and time moves faster, I'm able to see the difference that practicing makes sooner. So, I stick with it.
I write every morning. I have clients that pay me to think about positive and negative space and move bits around (graphic design) -- nearly every day. I try to sing a little bit every afternoon. And the thing about singing is, it's better to get in singing shape and stay there than it is to fall in and out of it. To sing you have to be physically alive. Head clear. Throat open. Heart strong. Lungs fierce.
Willa Cather said somewhere, in order to write you have to be "fit enough to sing." And I agree with her. And since one state enables two activities; might as well practice both.
I also follow another guide, Joni Mitchell, who when asked about being both a painter and a composer pointed out the importance of crop rotation. I grew up in farmland. I know what she means. Being able to cross disciplines means you always come up with something. Sometimes corn. Sometimes beans.

Q; How long have you lived in NYC and do you think you could live anywhere else at this point in your life?
Bekka... I've lived 27 blessed years in Gotham and treasured each moment here. And the answer is no. No where but NYC. I was made for New York. And New York was made for me. We heart each other.
One of the infinite things I love about this town is the vibe on the street. You feel it the minute you land here. Like an electrical charge, and you have to adjust to the increase in input or you just can't sleep or walk or complete a thought. Once the adjustment to the incredible humm that is New York City is made, for some of us, it is a life force. That enables us to do incredible things.
Every place has a specific feeling. (Even if it's numbness.) Paris also has a feeling that I love. In my dreams, I could live in Paris. With no bounds, I would be living in Paris on cigarettes, wine and espresso. But it ain't so.
So I live in NYC on local organic vegetarian fare. Which is pretty heavenly. And I don't partake of tobacco, alcohol or caffeine. And English remains my second language. Images being my first.

The one, the only>Bekka

Q; I've seen you sing-beautifully, and act wonderfully, you also have degrees in Cinema at NYU, Designing, Religion, Art, Philosophy, and you enjoy gardening and carpentry... if you were kidnapped by aliens and taken to another planet where you could only do one of the above which would you choose? Or would you have to be a rebel and do more?
Bekka... I'd sing "If I Had A Hammer" as a prayer to not lose my mind while I designed an escape route using what I learned from "Grand Illusion," "Stalag 17," "Shawshank Redemption," and "Battlestar Galactica."

Q; You are married to another talented woman Donna Jean Fogel, so I must ask you your thoughts on the recent legislation passed by NY State, on same sex marriage.
Bekka... Mainly -- thank you for the question. That's the blessing in this. That gay rights are being put into the public eye and all is terrific. Every time it happens more people figure out it's okay if we're not all alike.
Weird part-- the personal part is, using the word "wife." For some of us women, that word is charged with some not so hot undertones. Some of us, never set out to be some body's "wife." It's been a word that often cut a person short of their full being. So it's been interesting taking that word back. Because it IS the most accurate and swift of all our choices. "Partner" is too confusing. "Spouse" is so check-the-box. "Wife" is understood immediately. Guys get "husband." The ladies get "wife." So we're going to take it and fill it out. Change it up. Rehab it. Like we do neighborhoods. When the breeders come back in, it'll be better than before.
One thing I have noticed lately, straight couple have a real disadvantage. For same-sex couples, there's a wonderful clarity that comes from not being able to blame stuff on gender difference. It seems to me a lot of stuff gets blamed on being different genders that really has to do with being different people. This assumption that men always... or women never... is very misleading.

Q; Are you part of any band or group that performs together regularly? And if you r I want to review them!
  Bekka...Working on that.

Q; Any future plans for the wonderful production of MoM A Rock Concert Musical...and is it as much fun doing it as it is to watch.
Bekka...Things are looking up for MoM. There's going to be a tour coming up. MoM's gonna hit the road! ... that's all I can say for now. Much more to follow.
And YES it is crazy FUN to do the MoM show. Being in a play is a blast. And being able to play music together with a bunch of people is really a special experience. To combine the two is just -- out of this world.
I feel incredibly fortunate.


...We could wrap this up right there, but you urged me to tell you about anything on my mind, so I wanted to tell you about this remarkable thing that's happened. It means telling a story. I hope you don't mind. Here goes.
I went to college in Iowa, because I grew up there. I'd pretty much finished my art major, and practicality not being one of my interests --I was backing that up with a major in philosophy & religion. One of the last classes I took was "Film Appreciation." It was the first time I ever saw a film made by a woman. It was an old black and white. "Meshes of the Afternoon" made in 1943 by Maya Deren. I was mesmerized. Only 14 minutes long.
You know that feeling like you've been dropped back into your seat when the lights go on after the film is over? Dazed, I looked around the room and noticed people in the class were staring at me. The professor said, "Yes, it's true, class. Bekka does look a lot like Maya Deren, doesn't she?"
(This was back before my hair went suddenly blond. ;^ ] )
I'd found my path! I wanted to know more about film. Films like Maya Deren made. So, after a brief 4 year stint of being employed in retail (!),-- I managed to get into New York University's Cinema Studies program and I moved to New York City. I got my master's in film studies.
My first film was a letter to Maya Deren. It began with me writing on a piece of paper, "Dear Maya, I thought this might be the best way to get in touch with you." Turns out it wasn't.
Then,- then the rent was due. Again. You know what I mean? I finished my degree and became a magazine art director. And then I did design work freelance. Fast forward many years and finally I decided I really want to pursue acting... (I know, I know. One practical idea after another. Can you imagine what it's like to be my parents? Bless them.)
Anyway -- I am a member of this tribe of Catskill lesbians. And most every year we (Linda, Pattie & Carol)celebrate the new year by starting this barn fire down by the Esopus River. It's customary for us to write our gratitude's and wishes on sticks and then throw them in the fire. We've manifested jobs, homes, mates for all sorts of people. And for ourselves. (We could scare the hell out of Michele Bachmann. I went to grade school in Waterloo, Iowa. We turned out very differently.)
New Year's Day, two years ago, I wrote on a stick my great gratitude for the luck I've had on stage. I've gotten to play pretty wonderful roles in the theater. Thank you very much. And I wrote that I would like to be in a film of real merit. And meaning. Threw it into the fire and went into the house to get warm.
My hosts, sweet friends from way way back, introduced me to a new comer --- Barbara Hammer. ! The first out lesbian filmmaker. I studied her work at NYU! I tell her, "I KNOW who you ARE!" We hit it off and chatter away -- I wind up telling her about the first time I saw "Meshes of the Afternoon" --- she says, "Yes, you do look like Maya Deren. Say -- I'm making a film about finding Maya Deren's sink. And we have permission to go film in the house where "Meshes" was made. Do you want to play Maya?"
I'm pretty sure the fire was still embers down by the river.

So, all that to say -- "Maya Deren's Sink" by Barbara Hammer got made and played at the IFC here in NYC for the last week.
No kidding. I had to share that. It's been a remarkable experience.
Yes, I would say I feel very fortunate.
 .....Thanks soooo much Bekka, for a great read!!!

by Pete Carma..  follow Pete