Last Updated: February 1, 2013
Joe Muccioli is an internationally known conductor, orchestrator, musicologist and producer. Muccioli is co-founder and artistic director of the Jazz Arts Project, Inc. and its flagship ensemble the Red Bank Jazz Orchestra, an all star line up of the finest jazz musicians in the NY/NJ metropolitan area. He is also conductor and music director for Actor/Entertainer Joe Piscopo, with performances in Atlantic City as well as touring the US and Abroad. Muccioli has presented many heralded performances bridging the gulf between European influenced concert music, symphonic presentations and classic jazz rooted in the American tradition. He has conducted major symphonies and jazz orchestras throughout the world, including the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, the Duke Ellington Orchestra, the Chicago Jazz Ensemble, the BBC Big Band, the Wuppertal Symphony (Germany), the London Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in the UK; and has been featured on TV and radio broadcasts including NPR, the BBC in the UK, SVT in Sweden and all over northern Europe, and the WDR in Germany and the Adelaide Symphony in Australia.
He is perhaps best known for his thorough and accurate reconstructions of major works from the classic jazz repertoire, including the entire series of Gil Evans/Miles Davis collaborations, Miles Ahead, Porgy & Bess, Sketches of Spain, and Birth of the Cool, all of which have been praised and performed throughout the world. It was this effort that first allowed these masterworks from the jazz repertoire to be performed for the first time in over 40 years since the initial recordings.
Muccioli's work is evident in every aspect of the music industry from live concert performances to recordings, television, movies and Broadway shows, including various publications, CD's and DVD's available Internationally. He supervised the music preparation for the Miles Davis performance at one of his last appearances at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland (available on Qwest Records), and was a consultant on the 1997 CD box set issued by Sony Music Miles Davis and Gil Evans The Complete Columbia Studio Recordings. Heprepared, edited and engraved the score to the 1997 Pulitzer Prize winning composition Blood on the Fields composed by Wynton Marsalis.
His work also includes concerts, recordings and other projects with such artists and composers as, Miles Davis, Paquito D'Rivera, Jon Faddis, Randy Brecker, Marvin Stamm, Barry Harris, Quincy Jones, Ann Hampton Callaway, Gerry Mulligan, Buck Clayton, Lew Soloff, Wynton Marsalis, and Clark Terry.
The Red Bank Jazz Orchestra, led by musical director Joe Muccioli, was primed to impress and never let the audience down. - Dw. Dunphy, Little Silver-Oceanport Patch
“In a concert in Birmingham's Symphony Hall ... (conductor) Joe Muccioli, took a mezmorized audience through the Miles Davis classic album Sketches of Spain. It was a true honor for JazzMouse to be involved with this production for BBC Radio 2. - JazzMouse.co.uk
Randy Brecker in front of the Burlington Discover Jazz Orchestra, capably conducted by Joe Muccioli...was the highlight of the evening. Muccioli provided just the right blend of music history and solo acknowledgment as the musicians worked through selections of “Porgy & Bess” as well as a complete reading of “Sketches of Spain.”
- Paul Kaza, Burlington Free Press, Burlington Vt.
…on this CD, showcased by consistently original arrangements by Joe Muccioli, and a septet of fine musicians including veteran guitarist James Chirillo and a special guest Warren Vache’ on Cornet… Although much of the musical territory on All About Love is well trod in the jazz idiom, Muccioli has an uncanny knack of finding new ways to crack old chestnuts…
- CD REVIEW: Tony Motolla, Jersey Jazz Editor
“Guest Conductor Joe Muccioli with the Bohuslän Big Band, not only successfully presented Evans moving style, but in an impeccable way.”
- Lennart Blomberg, Göteborgs-Posten (Sweden)
“Joe Muccioli’s reconstruction reveals facets of the adaption (of Porgy & Bess) that aren’t entirely clear on the legendary Columbia recording.”
- Donald Rosenberg, The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio
New Yorker Joe Muccioli was making his debut with the BBC Big Band. The conductor and Miles Davis historian made an eloquent host, as well as being a precise baton-wielder and sympathetic custodian of the trumpeter's music.
Muccioli wove a web of connections around the first half's Ellington warm-ups. Harlem pictured an earlier New York scene, Concerto For Cootie illustrated how a piece can be specifically tailored for its intended trumpeter and Duke's arrangement of Gershwin's Rhapsody In Blue used Paul Whiteman as a go-between. To complete the spectrum, there were also several pieces taken from the Birth Of The Cool sessions, using a nonet line-up.
The second half was dedicated to a loving reproduction of 1958's Porgy & Bess, in its entirety. Conventional jazz ranks were augmented by a row of French horns, the Gershwin re-arrangements reproduced with glistening precision. The pinnacle was reached during the mid-point Prayer, a majestic building of blues passion, and one of those almost mystical instances of supreme musical convergence.
- Martin Longley The Birmingham Post (England)
“...this performance of “Sketches” [with trumpet soloist Randy Brecker, and conductor Joe Muccioli] may go down as one of the finest jazz performances the Lehigh Valley has ever had the good fortune to hear.”
- Tim Blangger, The Mornin Call, Bethlehem. Pa.
STRIKE UP THE BAND - Hip City Jazz, 2012
Red Bank Jazz Orchestra, Conducted by Joe Muccioli
WOODWINDS: Andy Farber, Alto Sax, Flute, Clarinet; Bruce Williams, Alto Sax, Soprano Sax, Alto Flute, Clarinet; Dan Block, Tenor Sax, Flute, Clarinet; Marc Phaneuf, Tenor Sax, Flute, Clarinet; Kurt Bachur, Bari sax, Flute, English Horn, Clarinet;
TRUMPETS: Bob Milikan; Brian Pareschi; Shawn Edmonds; Irv Grossman; Dave Trigg on Tracks 1,2 & 12 ; Joe Scanella on tracks 1,2 & 12,;
TROMBONES: Wayne Goodman, Dion Tucker, Bruce Eidem, Jack Schatz;
PIANO - Steve Ashe; GUITAR & BANJO - James Chirillo; VIBRAPHONE: Tony Miceli on Tracks 8 & 12; BASS - Bill Moring; DRUMS - Steve Johns, Drums & Bongos; (Mike Nigro on tracks 1,2,7 & 12)
The Red Bank Jazz Orchestra boasts an all-star roster, a veritable ”who’s who” in a generation of jazz greats. Each of these top echelon professionals have impressive credentials and are among the“first call” musicians in the NYC/NJ metropolitan area. The RBJO is known for accurately recreating the sounds and spirit of the legendary and historic jazz orchestras of the past, such as those led by the likes of Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey and of course Count Basie. Under the direction of conductor Joe Muccioli, the RBJO has performed with numerous artists and entertainers such as Joe Piscopo and Natalie Cole and has appeared on such diverse stages as NYC’s Waldorf Astoria, the Count Basie Theatre, and the Two River Theaters in Red Bank, the historic Paramount Theater in Asbury Park, and the House of Blues in Atlantic City.
Produced by Joe Muccioli
Recorded by Bil Emmons & Andrew Williams at Water Music Studios, Hoboken, NJ
Assistant Engineer: Sean Kelly
Mixing and Editing by: Bil Emmons, Adam Vaccarelli & Joe Muccioli, At Retromedia Studios, Red Bank, NJ
Mastered by Andrew Williams
Production Assistant: Peter Laurance
Graphic Design by Hannelore Schaffner
Cover Photo by Gary Wasylyk
Session photos and others by Roberto Muolo
℗ & © 2011 All Rights Reserved
Liner notes for STRIKE UP THE BAND CD
by Tom Chesek
Deep in the heart of New Jersey, just 30 miles from Times Square and a shell's throw from the Atlantic Ocean, there's a happening little town called Red Bank. A destination town; where folks flock to the many shops, restaurants, bars, parks and theaters that have made this riverfront community one of the cultural hotspots of the Garden State. The place dubbed Hip City also happens to be the provenance of one William "Count" Basie — the globetrotting jazz ambassador, superstar bandleader and Kid from Red Bank whose name adorns a park, a street, and a world-class performing arts stage. It's at places like the historic Count Basie Theatre (and its spanking-new sister venue, Two River Theater) that you'll find another Red Bank kid — jazz scholar, conductor, arranger and producer Joe Muccioli — keeping the jazz torch burning, in the borough that birthed the great Basie.
As founder and artistic director of the nonprofit Jazz Arts Project, the man called "Mooch" has put Red Bank on the jazz map with an annual Sinatra Birthday Bash, an all-star Summer Jazz concert series, a "Talkin' Jazz" Lecture series and a Jazz Arts Academy program for young musicians — all this when he's not conducting major symphonies and jazz orchestras around the world, or working with everyone from "Q" to comic actor and nightclub entertainer Joe Piscopo for whom Mooch serves as music director and conductor.
Best known for his acclaimed reconstructions of the Gil Evans/ Miles Davis collaborations and other masterworks of classic jazz, Muccioli entered into a new labor of love when he opened up his formidable "little black book" of contacts and put together the first edition of the Red Bank Jazz Orchestra back in '06. Honoring the big sound and lasting legacy of the Basie bands and other "marvelous organizations," the RBJO is a veritable Who's Who of "first call" musicians on the greater New York scene — an all-star roster of pros who regularly perform in top-tier recording sessions, Broadway shows, Jazz festivals and major concerts all over the world.
As a unit, the 17 piece Red Bank Jazz Orchestra has worked with numerous artists including Natalie Cole and the aforementioned Piscopo; not only in Red Bank and the historic Asbury Park Paramount, but at the House of Blues Atlantic City and the legendary ballroom of New York's Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Separately, players like lead trumpeter Bob Milikan, alto/ soprano sax specialist Bruce Williams and plunger-trombone virtuoso Wayne Goodman have played with everyone from Sinatra to Streisand to Springsteen; from Ray Charles and Quincy Jones to Shakira to the actual Count Basie Orchestra.
With Strike Up the Band, the Red Bank Jazz Orchestra makes its recording debut as a unit, with Joe Muccioli at the helm and conducting a baker's dozen standards of the classic jazz repertoire, from the era of the best-loved big bands and beyond. It's a mostly instrumental set that pays tribute not just to Basie (the signature "One O' Clock Jump" and, of course, "The Kid from Red Bank"), but to Duke Ellington ("Such Sweet Thunder," "The Mooche"), Tommy Dorsey ("I'll Never Smile Again," featuring Wayne Goodman on smoothly muted trombone), and artists that range from Art Blakey and Bessie Smith to George Gershwin and Charlie Chaplin.
Even with all that assembled instrumental awesomeness, it would be a shame to leave the singers sitting on the sidelines, so Mooch and the boys have generously set up the mic for next-generation jazz vocal ace Champian Fulton, who scats up a storm on the Sarah Vaughan-Benny Carter essential "After You've Gone." Another young powerhouse, pianist-singer Tony DeSare, delivers a crisply confident take on Frank Loesser's "I Believe in You" from How to Succeed — and Joe Piscopo, that Saturday Night Live Sinatra turned seriously swingin' "Vice Chairman of the Board," puts a playful spin on "Come Fly With Me," a song custom-crafted for Old Blue Eyes by the great Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn.
Recorded in classic "old school" style at Watermusic Studios in Sinatra's hometown of Hoboken, NJ, Strike Up the Band harkens back to the energy, enthusiasm and "live in studio" camaraderie that made those vintage Basie sessions so great — while seeming like a refreshing new alternative to the over-processed, auto-tuned, digitally tweaked pop records of today. If you've been searching for signs of intelligently swinging life on the jazzband landscape, you'll surely enjoy this maiden release on the new Hip City Jazz imprint — and if you're in the market for more where that came from, pay a visit to Red Bank, and tell them Mooch sent you.
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