Music & Mirth with Tony LaVorgna

July 8, 2022

Richie Kaye’s Music & Mirth with Tony LaVorgna
Freshen Up Records
Street Date September 1, 2011

Click the album to hear these songs in iTunes.

Richie Kaye – archtop guitar, voice; Tony LaVorgna – clarinet, saxophone, piano;
introducing Sam Kuslan – piano, percussion

Classic American Jazz:  All Melody, All the Time

Finalist Nominees in the 10th Independent Music Awards, Jazz Song Category

If you think jazz musicians don’t play the melody any more, this little jazz group will surprise and please you. Richie Kaye’s Music & Mirth debuts a duo (and sometimes trio) of musicians who breathe new life into old melodies.  Richie Kaye and Tony LaVorgna play the great songs of classic American jazz of the 1920s to the 1960s in a light and bouncing style that sounds at once traditional and refreshingly revived.  The boys believe that they bring the essence of these songs to life again in a new vein, so that the everyday listener of today can enjoy them at home, in the car, at the office: anywhere a little upbeat happiness is needed.

“When they leave the theater, we’d like the audience to be smiling more broadly than they were when they entered,” says Richie of the group’s performances.  “And we set about making this recording with the audience’s pleasure first in our minds.”

Often witty, always well-played, their music scintillates with variety: swing, ballads, bebop, rag, showtunes, even novelty numbers.  But not all of the songs they’ve selected are well-known.  The group’s recording of “Tiny Capers,” nominated as a finalist in the 10th Independent Music Awards, Jazz Song Category, is a Clifford Brown tune rarely performed or recorded since it was written in 1957.  And, even though jazz fans will immediately recognize “Paper Moon,” “Love is Just Around the Corner” and “My Foolish Heart,” they might never have heard “Sweet Tooth” – also known as “My Sweet Tooth Says I Wanna (But My Wisdom Tooth Says No.”

You’ll hear the songs you know and love, played on haunting clarinet or soaring saxophone  with melodies that still inspire — all grounded by a swingin’ rhythm guitar that just bounces along. And you might find yourself singing along with the lyrics that still make us chuckle, move the heart or delight with turn of phrase.  No odd times, nothing avant-garde — just the sweet tunefulness that makes American music the gem that it is, played with an occasional comic twist.

RICHIE KAYE (guitarist, voice) was seen on vaudeville stages in a past life. Awarded the Gold Medal in Tokyo TV’s famed singing competition, he’s been musically mirth-making in clubs and on TV internationally.  His voice-over and accent work has been heard on scifi.com, USA Network, Colorado Public Radio and other media outlets.

TONY LAVORGNA (saxophone, clarinet) was on the road by age 19 with the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra and more recently the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra as featured soloist.  His own CD, “The Atlanta All-Star Quartet Plays Bill Evans” won the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences award for best jazz recording.  He is the composer of the musical, “Bebopman,” which has been workshopped with New York musical theater talent.

SAM KUSLAN (piano), 18, an incoming freshman at Loyola University School of Music and Fine Arts in New Orleans, has performed at the New Britain Museum of American Art and the prestigious Young People’s Performance Series at New York City’s Steinway Hall.

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