In leading the Boilermaker Jazz Band for over 20 years, I have had the privilege of performing with many wonderfully talented musicians. Of course my regular “gang”, featured on this recording, is always ready to make some hot music! They are a group of consummate professionals who travel across the globe to bring the great sound of jazz and swing to audiences everywhere, and join me in the studio with their unique talents and enthusiasm. I am always grateful for their efforts on and off the bandstand.
Along the way, the band occasionally has the opportunity to perform with a “guest star” and over the years, we have enjoyed the company of some fantastic musicians. Playing jazz is a very personal art form- the improvisation cannot be planned, and everyone has to be on the same “team” for it to work. And when it does work, it is magic. We feature 3 of our friends on this recording, and each musician brings an added dimension to the Boilermaker Jazz Band ensemble.
Michael Hashim- Alto Saxophone. Based in New York City, Michael is the featured soloist with many great bands including the Harlem Renaissance Orchestra, the George Gee Orchestra, and his own Billy Strayhorn Orchestra- a tribute to the great composer from Pittsburgh. Michael brings amazing energy to his performances, which you will note here in his endlessly inventive solos, and soulful backing of the vocalists. It was fun to play off Michael on some ensemble passages as well- it felt like a conversation between two old friends!
Jon Erik Kellso- Cornet. Also based in New York City, Jon is currently a featured soloist with Vince Giordano’s Nighthawks, has appeared on “Prairie Home Companion” and can be heard on the sound tracks of “The Aviator” and “Boardwalk Empire” among others. Jon Erik is one of the most sought after “trad jazz” performers and has made numerous recordings. Jon Erik’s sparkling tone is one part New Orleans, and one part Harlem- a truly tasty combo!
Joe Negri- Guitar. What need be said about the “Handyman”? Like many other people of my generation, I grew up knowing Joe as the Handyman on the Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood program (where I not only heard Joe play the guitar, but also the great Johnny Costa on the piano!). It is a thrill and an honor to have Joe record with my band. A true jazz legend, Joe continues to teach and perform a full schedule (jazz musicians don’t retire!!) and adds his beautifully lyrical guitar to this recording.
I hope you will enjoy hearing these sessions as much as we enjoyed recording them.
Paul Cosentino, Leader, clarinetist.
Boilermaker Jazz Band