Primary Instrument: Band/orchestra
Lulu’s Ascent Jazz Flavored Jam Band Delights Live Music Fans
Original sounding music is in short supply these days, so it’s little wonder that Lulu’s Ascent is making a name for itself in the Hudson Valley and NYC area. Crossing the lines between pop, jazz, rock and jam band while maintaining a consistent style is quite a feat; yet, they cannot be labeled “eclectic” because they always sound like themselves---often boldly going where no band has gone before. And they actually write great, singable, memorable songs with interesting changes, textures, and dynamics. Only together a few months, audience response to Lulu’s Ascent’s performances has been wildly enthusiastic.
It all started when singer/songwriter LuAnn Arena performed at the Woodstock Guitar Festival in 2004 with drummer Steve Olenski. He was so taken by her voice, songs, and bass playing that he immediately invited her to jam with him and guitarist Tom Desisto. The blend of LuAnn’s sultry voice and funky bass with Tom’s liberal use of jazz harmonies floating over Steve’s unconventional grooves was an immediate revelation for all three players and they committed to forming a band within an hour. The more they perform the more the sound emerges and their excitement snowballs like a team of scientists about to find a cure---they know they’re onto something.
As a solo act, LuAnn Arena traveled the US extensively. She has opened for well-known acts such as Martin Sexton, Tower of Power, Melissa Ferrick, King Missile, Erica Wheeler, Southern Culture on the Skids, Jon&Mary (10,000 Maniacs duo) and the Woggles. LuAnn has been a finalist in the famed Eddies Attic songwriter shootout in Atlanta and a recipient of ASCAP’s Popular Awards panel distributions for independent writer members. Ellen Geisel wrote in Art Times, NY that LuAnn “never ventures into expected territory”. Frank DeBlase of the City Newspaper, Rochester, NY described her as having “the seasoned muscle of a pro....and the seductive lilt of a fallen angel...”.
Guitarist Tom Desisto has played on, composed, and produced every kind of music one could imagine and has enjoyed a multi-faceted career. Jonathan Demme included one of his songs “Hey Natty” on the soundtrack to “The Truth About Charlie”. He co-wrote two songs with the famed Ben E. King for a recent album entitled “I’ve Been Around” . He was twice nominated for Emmy Awards for his compositions used on the CBS soap As the World Turns. Tom has scored films and commercials for such varied clients as NASA, AT&T, Barbie, Bain Du Soleil, and many others (visit www.desistomusic.com for a full resume) and has been the recipient of an Art Director’s award and a Gold Special Jury Award at the 2002 Houston Film Festival.
Drummer/Percussionist Steve Olenski is one of the Hudson Valley’s most popular drummers. He has performed with a variety of acts and has been in the pit for several local performances of Broadway Shows. Steve has also made a name for himself as a drum tech and is often called into recording sessions as a “Drum Doctor”. The original style and sound that he creates is an integral ingredient in Lulu’s Ascent’s musical stew. Steve is a studying music therapy and hopes to combine performing with this valuable service.
Personnel: LuAnn Arena: bass, vocals, Tom Desisto: guitar, Steve Olenski: drums.
Record label: self-released
Year Released: 2007
Tracks: Track 1: Closer, Track 2: Day 19, Track 3: Hear Me, Track 4: Land of Make Believe, Track 5: Nothing Makes Sense, Track 6: Walking On the Moon, Track 7: Ixtlan, Track 8: Make Me Real, Track 9: Over Coffee, Track 10: Got My Attention, Track 11: Mantra
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