Sep 19, 2012 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
Nowadays, Vincent Falcone plays piano for some of the brightest stars of show business. Not only does he flat-out rock on the 88s, Falcone also organizes the material and conducts the band.
The Syracuse native worked as Frank Sinatra’s musical director for eight years, and also conducted orchestras for Pia Zadora, Tony Bennett, Diahann Carroll, Connie Stevens, Robert Goulet and Al Martino.
Before he relocated to Las Vegas in 1970, Falcone played with jazz groups at dozens of Central New York nightclubs.
Falcone returns to his jazz roots when he appears at next weekend’s Jazz’N Caz festival at 9 p.m., Friday, Sept. 21, at the Catherine Cummings Theatre, 16 Lincklaen St., in Cazenovia. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted; 655-7238.
—7:30 p.m., on Thursday, Sept. 20 a the Brae Loch Inn. Gent Treadly will perform. Open Hand Theatre puppets will stroll the lawn during the evening.
—The 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21 at Catherine Cummings Theatre. Nicki Parrott will play with Bucky Pizzarelli and Chuck Redd. At 9 p.m. Vince Falcone, Bobby Militello, Danny D’Imperio and Linc Milliman will take the stage. Theatre Manager Colleen Prossner will join Falcone for a few numbers.
—7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22, Gap Mangione and the New Big Band take the stage. Cazenovia College Artist in Residence David Lowenstein and the Caz High School Vocal Ensemble will sing from the repertoire of Jimmy Van Heusen.
—10:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Jazz After Hours will be held at Seven Stone Steps in the Lincklaen House.
Since moving to Nevada 42 years ago, Falcone has performed several times in CNY with artists such as Sinatra, Zadora and Goulet, but at his Cazenovia concert he’ll lead a quartet featuring drummer Danny D’Imperio, saxophonist Bobby Militello and bassist Linc Milliman, all top-shelf jazz performers.
Over the years, Falcone has shared the stage with such jazz artists as Steve Gadd, Joe Labarbara, the Condoli Brothers, Scott Hamilton, Terry Gibbs, Sonny Stitt, Jack Sheldon and Mark Murphy.
In his marvelous musical memoir, “Frankly Just Between Us,” Falcone reminisced about playing Syracuse jazz clubs with groups such as the Tony Leonardi Trio in the early 1960s. At the start of that tumultuous decade, he dropped out of Syracuse University where he’d bumped heads with his know-it-all music professors.
“I just wanted to play piano and I wanted to make a few bucks,” he recalled in his 2005 book co-authored by Syracusan Bob Popyk. “To make it as a musician you need to play all kinds of places with all kinds of musicians,”
The word wasn’t yet in regular usage, but he knew he needed to network.
Even in sleepy Syracuse, Falcone found plenty of opportunity. “I had no lack of musicians to play with and places to play – places like the Coda, Luigi’s, Lorenzo’s with Bobby Doyle and Carl Mano, the Brown Jug, the Clover Club, the BelMar, the Casablanca, Drumlins (where we played jazz on Sundays), Three Rivers Inn owned by Dominick Bruno, jazz at the Dinkler Motor Inn, Soo-Lin American-Chinese Restaurant and Art’s Townhouse. To end the night we would often go to Poodles & Jim’s on North Salina Street for peppers and eggs at two o’clock in the morning.
“A lot of great musicians came out of Central New York. They included Chuck and Gap Mangione, Sal Nistico, Nick Brignola, Sam Noto, Sy Simpson, Danny D’Imperio, Jimmy Cavallo, Anna Marie Genovese, Calvin Custer, Tony Leonardi, Tony Riposo and many more.”
Much of the text of “Frankly Just Between Us” deals with Falcone’s lengthy stint as Frank Sinatra’s bandleader, hence the book’s title.
During his formative years in the Salt City, Falcone sold pianos for Clark Music by day while at night he often backed up the big stars at Three Rivers Inn, recording artists such as the McGuire Sisters, Steve & Eydie and a young Broadway star named Robert Goulet.
For info about “Frankly Just Between Us,” call 1-800-7-2852, or visit musicdispatch.com.
Russ Tarby is a contributing writer at Eagle Newspapers. He can be reached at email@example.com.