SmoothJazz.com Reviews "Three Before Midnight"
Composer and keyboardist Al DeGregoris scores big here with an album of originals that combines traditional melodic jazz licks with the contemporary sensibilities of Smooth Jazz. The Long Island, New York native started it all at the age of 4, when he first played piano. From there it was sax at six, writing his first song and starting his first band at 7, and his first paid gig at 13! Intensive musical studies in both classical and jazz piano, designing and building his own studios, wowing audiences in some of New York’s most posh venues, and winning numerous awards for his compositions and performances has led at last to this dazzling debut recording, THREE BEFORE MIDNIGHT. Everything on this album is an original composition, and every instrument you hear is played by DeGregoris. He writes lush, compelling melodies, and combines them beautifully with an assortment of happening urban, hip hop, and Latin grooves, bringing everything from an uptown NYC feel to tropical Afro-Cuban and Brazilian vibes. This project is loaded with the good stuff… from the soft, pensive “Finding Forever” to the beguiling title track to the exuberant “Hot Potato,” plus everything in-between. I especially like the lyrical “Day Dreams,” the cinematic “Into the Light,” and the festive “BC’s Bounce.” THREE BEFORE MIDNIGHT from Al DeGregoris is great music from an extraordinarily talented musician! ~SCOTT O'BRIEN, SmoothJazz.com
A major keyboard talent and Smooth Jazz musician/composer, Al DeGregoris can conjure up images of Oscar Peterson or Joe Sample with his cool, inventive playing, which merges traditional melodic licks with a modern chromatic concept.
Al started playing piano at the age of 4, saxophone at the age of 6, wrote his first song and formed his first band at the age of 7, and did his first paying gig at the age of 13. While studying with notable local musicians Charlie Hoffman, Esq. and Gerard De Angelo, Al continued to perform at local functions honing his performance skills with the help of his cousins “The King’s Men”. At the age of 16, Al was leading his own band and was asked to perform at his high school faculty’s New Years Eve party. The gig was a huge success!
While continuing to perform professionally, Al earned a Bachelors Degree in Music at Hofstra University and performed with the Hofstra Jazz Repertory Company, under the direction of Emeritus Professor Herbert A. Deutsch (co-creator of the Moog Synthesizer). During his college years, Al studied Classical Piano with Professor Valentino Marconi, and after college Jazz Piano with the late Professor Arthur Doolittle. During that time in various groups with his college peers, Al began to experiment with Contemporary Jazz writing and recording several Contemporary Jazz compositions.
Al began experimenting with recording technology and built several studios ranging from 2 to 8 tracks. He then designed, built and operated Star Mix Recording Studios, Ltd., a commercial 48-track recording facility, which was featured on the inside cover of MIX MAGAZINE’S Northeast Studio Directory Issue. During that time, Al composed, arranged and produced several Dance and Pop tracks with various vocal artists and wrote several commercial jingles including the score for a Guess Sportswear television commercial.
Al continued to wow audiences all over New York with his killer chops and feel, as he continued to perform many gigs at some of New York’s hottest spots, including The Waldorf Astoria Hotel, The Plaza Hotel, The Rainbow Room, The Tower Suite, The River Café, The Water Club, etc., while continuing to write and expand his musical concept.
In 2001, with guitarist Joe “the Man” Bivona, Al formed the Smooth Jazz group “Deja Blue” and performed with them at many venues including BB King’s Blues Club and Grille, The Peconic Bay Winery, Ospry’s Dominion Winery; Town of North Hempstead Concert Under the Stars Series, Nassau County Noontime Concert Series, etc.
Al, an accomplished composer, is an American Song Festival Contest Winner, 2-time Billboard Magazine World Song Contest Top 500 winner and Norwegian Cruise Lines Star Seeker winner. His original compositions meld modern Urban/Hip-Hop/Latin/Brazilian/Afro-Cuban grooves with lush compelling melodies. Check out a few clips from his debut solo CD by following the “Music” link on this site!
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