Mario DeCiutiis featured in Digital Drummer E-Zine

 

digitalDrummer: How did you get started as a percussionist?

 

Mario DeCiutiis: My entrance to music was when my uncle gave me a drum set while still in grammar school. I fell in love with drums then and knew from that early age that playing music was going to be my life's occupation.

 

 

 

Hartford Courant article-Japanalia Eiko By Owen McNally

 

Argiro At Japanalia
..... pianist/composer James Argiro leads his quintet in a salute to Shearing's silken, swinging signature sound Friday, March 8, at 8 p.m. in the "Music@Japanalia Series" at Japanalia Eiko, 11 Whitney St.

 

Although he was born and raised in Springfield, Mass., and lives in Agawam, Argiro performs frequently in Hartford with Paul Brown, Norman Gage, Rob Zappulla and Tony Allen. Noted as a strong soloist and a savvy accompanist and arranger/orchestrator, he's regarded by his peers as a craftsman of the first order.

 

Argiro's resume includes positions as music director for such stars as Bernadette Peters, Joan Rivers, Juliet Prowse, Leslie Uggams, Florence Henderson, Marlena Shaw and Carol Channing. As a sideman, he's worked with many jazz greats including Cat Anderson, Shelly Manne, Teddy Edwards and Karrin Allyson, and with famous big bands under the banners of Harry James, Alvino Ray, Ray Anthony, Richard Maltby, Pat Longo and Buddy Morrow when the trombonist/maestro and New Haven native was leading the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra.

 

As a teenager, Argiro led an R&B and blues band in the latter half of the 1950s that backed an array of doo-wop and early rock 'n' roll performers, including the great Screamin' Jay Hawkins, The Moonglows, The Cadillacs, LaVern Baker, The Drifters and the majestic Ruth Brown, among others.

 

His studies included an invaluable period at The Hartford Conservatory where his mentor was the late, great jazz pianist/pedagogue, Ray Cassarino, who advocated an over-arching architectural approach to creating music.

"Ray is the guy who really put me on the path that I'm still on today," Argiro says by phone.

"I owe him so much. What I got from Ray was the way to approach what you're playing or composing with a concern for structure," he adds.

 

While Shearing is one of Argiro's favorite keyboardists, he didn't really get into the blind, British pianist's style until later in his own career when he was living in Santa Barbara and formed a Shearing-like quintet with its quintessential cool blend of piano, vibes and guitar.

 

For the Japanalia homage, the Argiro Quintet plays transcriptions, i.e., note-for-note re-creations of such Shearing Quintet classics as "September in the Rain" and Shearing's signature jazz anthem, "Lullaby of Birdland."

A noted jazz educator and vocal coach, Argiro will sing a few songs as part of a varied repertoire, which includes fresh renditions of Shearing-styled material, covering everything from classic ballads to jazz standards, from Monk musings to sensuous sambas.

 

Argiro's collaborators are: Mario DeCiutiis, vibraphone; Rich Goldstein, guitar; Jason Schwartz, bass; and Ben Bilello, drums. 

Highlights - Springfield Jazz & Roots Festival

 

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The Quintet was prominently featured throughout this feature film that has won many awards of excellence.

 

Recently, Chasing Rainbows had its London Premiere and won six awards including merits for feature film as well as for the  lead and supporting actors...

 

Bronze Medalist at Global Music Awards

Global Music Awards vets and honors highly talented artists.

Robert Fritz & James Argiro, film  Chasing Rainbows , original score/soundtrack and female vocalist win bronze medal.