As I've promised, I'm trying to add new voices to Jazz@Rochester. I've heard today's guest post writer, drummer Mike Melito, a lot over the past few years, playing with various groupings with Bob Sneider and Phil Flanagan and others at the Strathallan, and sitting in with a number of other artists such as James Moody and Benny Golson at the RIJF. I've heard him enough that I can recognize Mike's style even before I see his smiling face. He's just a great guy and I'm glad he's willing to write some stuff for my readers. I asked Mike to write a bit about being an jazz artist here in Rochester and he sent in the following:
I’ve been a professional jazz musician in Rochester for 25 years. The jazz scene here has changed quite a bit over the years. Some years there would be all kinds of gigs and other years not as many. I would do quite a bit of driving between playing gigs in Buffalo, Syracuse and Utica as well. I can say that today Rochester probably has the most venues for jazz out of all those cities. I’ve been asked many times by people why I never moved to NYC? There are a few reasons but the main reason is the players I get to play every week here are every bit as good as most guys in NYC. I think there is a misconception about New York. People think if you live in New York you must be great. That is totally not true!! I’ve played with many guys who live in NYC and make a good living in jazz that can’t touch the guys I play with here every week.
My regular Strathallan gig has been going great! We’ve had some great guests come in to play with us. Guests have included Vincent Herring, Grant Stewart, Ralph Lalama, John Nugent, John Swana, Peter Bernstein, Ken Peplowski, Harry Allen, Don Menza, Frank Strazzeri, Rachel Z, Todd Coolman, Gerry Niewood, Pat Labarbera and many more. Bob Sneider has done a TREMENDOUS job with booking all these guests. Look for many more guests to come as well. The next guests to come are three on the same weekend! Trumpeter Jim Rotondi, bassist Lee Hudson and my brother drummer Tom Melito all play the Strathallan the weekend of April 11th and 12th. That should be a GREAT weekend! Having Bob Sneider, Paul Hofmann or Bill Dobbins on piano will be equally exciting! We play every Friday and Saturday night from 8:30pm to 12:00 am. No Cover!
I recently recorded a new CD that should be out in the summer. It’s called In The Tradition and features Grant Stewart on tenor, John Swana on trumpet, Bob Sneider, Paul Hofmann and bassist Neal Miner. I’m very proud of this record. It came out well! There are some great tunes by Hank Mobley, Sonny Clark, Tadd Dameron, plus some originals too. Stay tuned . . . .
Watch for Mike's album on my Rochester Sounds page in the future and check out his albums now on CDBaby.com. I'm sure we'll hear (and read) more from him in the future. By the way, feel free to leave a comment and let me know who you'd like to hear from and I'll see if I can get them to write something up.