ITEAOnline Audio Library: Harry Salotti
ITEA News Headlines
Harry Salotti, Jazz Tuba: Full Swing Ahead
(Available at www.tubastudio.com & www.cdbaby.com/cd/harrysalotti) It was my goal on this recording to present the tuba in a broad variety of musical roles within a jazz context. This was only possible by playing with a truly gifted group of musicians: Joe Midiri on clarinet and saxophones, Paul Midiri on vibes, Grant MacAvoy on drums, Pat Mercuri on guitars and banjo, Steve Shaffner on trumpet, Gary Cattley and Kevin MacConnell on string bass, and Rosemary Benson-Salotti on vocals. Their versatility and talent gave me the many shades of sound needed to create these arrangements. I’ve had the pleasure and honor of performing with them for over twenty years. Full Swing Ahead is an autobiography told through music. I chose these songs for the memories and people they remind me of. I first started playing with Joe and Paul Midiri in September of 1978. I could barely play a two beat bass line in the Dixieland band we formed. Paul played trombone along with Joe on clarinet and a great trumpeter named “Woody” Woodcock. "Just a Closer Walk with Thee", "Struttin with Some Barbecue", "The Preacher" and "Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans" were all part of our repertoire. I wrote "A Mardi Gras Parade" in this great New Orleans tradition.
At Glassboro State College Paul and I played in a small combo directed by Al Stauffer. Paul played drums and I had my first taste of playing swing and bebop in the front line along with a trumpet and violin. Among the tunes we played were "Blue Bossa" and "There Will Never be Another You".
Paul and I also played in the school’s big band directed by jazz legend Manny Albam. We played the music of Ellington ("In a Mellow Tone"), Basie, Thad Jones, Stan Kenton ("Here's That Rainy Day"), and many of Manny's own great charts.
In graduate school at Indiana University I studied tuba with Harvey Phillips and played in the school's big band directed by David Baker, who wrote tuba parts for all of his original charts. After graduate school I played string bass in the Midiri Brothers Orchestra. My arrangements of "On a Slow Boat to China" and my own song "Full Swing Ahead" are meant to portray this big band style.
I wrote the vocal arrangements for "Just a Closer Walk with Thee", "Dream a Little Dream of Me", "Here's That Rainy Day" and "On a Slow Boat to China" specifically for Rosemary's unique talents. I feel if you didn't know Rosemary was the only singer on this CD you might think there were four great vocalists instead of one.
You may notice that the tuba is not always the primary focus on a few of the tracks. Just remember that you don't have to be the guest of honor to have fun at the party.
For the past twenty years Harry has performed in the Philadelphia and Atlantic City areas on the tuba and the bass. Some of his credits include: Barnum; Chicago; the Seacoast Brass Quintet; the Bay Atlantic Symphony; Randy Newman at the Mann Music Center; Jimmy Dorsey and Guy Lombardo Orchestras; and the sound track to the PBS documentary Prisoners among Us. Harry’s Etudes with Style, a collection of original tuba etudes with performance CD, won the International Tuba-Euphonium Composition Competition. Tracks 3 and 10 on Full Swing Ahead are derived from this collection of etudes.
Tracks donated to the ITEA MP3 Library:
Just a Closer Walk with Thee
Struttin' with Some Barbecue