Hope everyone had a decent commute yesterday morning despite of the crazy incident at the Port Authority! I am grateful that no one was injured other than the suspect himself!
NOW, onward to some fun! Are you ready for open mic coming right around the corner THIS FRIDAY!!!!??? Pick a song, festive for the holidays or otherwise and JOIN US!
Our featured musical director for this month is the multi-talented Gregory Toroian.
Many of you may have seen him perform but how many of you know him? I certainly am one of the ignorant ones until recently!
Gregory Toroian is an accomplished and popular musical director, arranger, accompanist, and songwriter in New York City. In addition to working with such musical luminaries as Jon Hendricks, Cab Calloway, Donna Summer, and Tony Bennett, he has appeared in almost every jazz club and cabaret (major and minor), in New York, and made numerous radio and television appearances. He has toured with principal dancers from the New York City Ballet and served as musical director for recording artist Jane Olivor. The AGBU, (Armenian General Benevolent Union), commissioned Gregory to create, produce, and musically direct a revue of Michel Legrand’s music called How Do You Keep the Music Playing, which has been performed in New York City, Toronto, Chicago, and Lake Placid.
His work on the debut CD of multi award winning singing artist Sue Matsuki, for which he was arranger, producer and pianist was highly praised as “perfection” by Art Hilgart, Journal of International Association of Jazz Record Collectors. Gregory & Sue also won the MAC award for Best Duo/Special Production celebrating their 10 years performing together. It is now 24 years! Gregory’s vocal arrangements have also been featured on a series of albums in the U.S. and Japan, by the vocal group String of Pearls. He co-wrote the song “The Joy of Sox” for a documentary of the same title, about the Boston Red Sox.
When not performing, he teaches various jazz and pop workshops covering the areas of “Jazz Vocal”, “Scat”, “Harmony”, “Phrasing”, “Style”, etc. Gregory is also busy coaching singers privately, arranging and composing. He has been on the faculty of The New School University, Lee Strasberg Institute, and Helen Baldassare’s Cabaret Performance Workshop in NYC. In his spare time, he conducts workshops and master classes around the country. You can find him at: gregorytoroian.com
Quite a few of my friends have worked with Gregory and all had good things to say about him so I was excited to ask him my interview questions. Being the busy man he is, the interview was an impromptu one that took place when I bumped into him over the weekend at Sue Matsuki's Christmas show!
Here are the questions I asked:
1) Can you share with us an interesting fact that most people don’t know about you?
I am a Red Sox Fan.
2) Over your years of music, do you have a particularly interesting story that you'd like to share with the readers?
Some years ago, I did an all-Latin gig in Miami with a 7-piece band. Huge party hall--hundreds of people. Well, as it turns out, this was OBSCURE Latin music, not Jobim, etc. Only the guitar player knew the songs. The drummer played along and I tried to fake it. But everyone else turned down their amps and just pretended to play--for 4 hours!! Nobody ever caught on.
3) What motivates your creativity and passion for life? What inspires your music?
Life experiences are what feeds the art.
Name three things that never fails to put a smile on your face!
My wife, my puppy, and my piano.
4) Share with us what you have in the pipeline for us to be on the lookout for!
Two singers I've been working with will be finishing up and releasing CD's that have been sitting on the shelf for a while early next year
I have a full schedule of workshops with Deb Berman starting in January.
I've heard through the grapevine that Gregory Toroian is quite the expert of Christmas music (even obscure ones that many of us don't know)! Perfect for the upcoming holidays! I am fascinated!
Have I tickled your interest? Come join us THIS Friday to sing with Gregory Toroian!
See you ALL at the SPOTLIGHT THIS FRIDAY!!!