The new DUOS series at the Metropolitan Room got off to a rockin’ start on Thursday, May 3rd with Nina Henessey and Brian Camelio as my first ever guests.  T

here was much spontaneity, audience interaction, intimacy, exploration, and gorgeous music.  Brian and I have known each other for many years and he remembers stories I kinda’ wish he didn’t.  Nina was the lead in my first theatre production in NYC back in 1994 and we covered some very fresh ground in a duet.

Brian is one of my favorite guitar players – always fresh, sincere, and inventive.  He is also the creator of ArtistShare – the original, and multi-Grammy winning internet platform for fan funding.

Nina has way more up her sleeve than being a Broadway diva – she improvises beautifully in any genre, as evidenced by her work with Andreas Vollenwieder and Craig Peyton.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Thursday, June 7 DUOS Show saw Kj Denhert and Mimi Jones, two of the most dynamic women on the scene here.  They both compose, they both sing, they both play the bejesus out of their respective instruments [guitar/bass], and they both take the audience for a thrill ride.  It was a magical night.

KJ and I met through my first ever roommate [at Berklee College of Music in Boston] Etienne Stadtwijk.  He is her current pianist and bandleader.  He invited me to come sit in with her and I ended up a fairly regular part of her band.  She won’t let me ‘learn’ her music from charts or recordings – it must be ‘by ear’.  A first for me, and I LOVE the trust.

Mimi and I met at the Edison ballroom on a Gregory Generet show with Doug Oberhamer at the musical helm.  We sparked.  She plays in my band, I play in hers, we do duets [such as Top Of The Rock, and H2 CD release in NYC], and the result is always greater…

 

 

 

The first Thursday in July, DUOS was supposed to be Ian Herman and Martha Redbone.  At 4:00 that afternoon Martha called to cancel due to a powerful flu bug.  That had to be a hard call, poor dear.  She will be in soon, so stay tuned.  In the meantime, the effervescent Valerie Ghent jumped in last minute and literally rocked the house.  Ian’s compositions and stunning piano playing required at least that for proper balance.  It was incredible.

I played in Val’s band, she played on a record I was producing, we have so many mutual friends – so glad we could bring this to life.  Her new CD is out and her star is on the rise.  See also her Songwriter’s Beat and Feel The Music non-profit.

Ian is a rare and precious human with both a musical skill honed by untold years of diligence and a sense of humor that makes my ribs hurt.  We did a duo concert at Iridium in May and we’ll be recording our collaboration very soon.  Venture capital welcome.

 

August 2nd I was star struck by Karen Akers and Len Cariou on stage with me for the DUOS show.  They each had stories and songs to inspire people of all walks of life.  This show is developing beyond my dreams already.

Len and I met at Mark Janas’s 60th birthday bash.  Getting to know each other has been very enjoyable.  When I asked him how he knew his star was on the rise he told me some wonderful stories about performing with his childhood idols on Broadway in a show created for him … That would do it!

Karen is the prototype of a Performing Artist.  Her every move, gesture, facial expression, vocal timbre, are all part of an ongoing work of pure Art.  I am captivated by her very presence.  Len and I did actually appear on a stage together once before DUOS, so he just gets in under the wire – but Karen actually broke the rule.  We never worked together!  This was our debut.  She’s going to break the rules again, though, as she will be back as a recurring guest on DUOS.  You’ll know all about it, I promise.

 

 

The next DUOS show on September 2nd has Yaron Gershovsky and Steve Doyle.

Yaron and I met for the first time back in 1988 when Smadaar and Rueven Yaari came to NYC from Amsterdam to record with him.  I was living in Boston again at that time, but had worked extensively with Smadaar and Oshri Even Zoar while living in Amsterdam, so a trip down to The City was required.  He probably doesn’t remember that, though.

We met more recently in an airport on the way to a concert with Debbie Friedman.  I had started out as a sub for Alex Skolnick and eventually became the regular.  Yaron took over after David Bravo, and we did a few shows together in New York and other cities.  We actually spend more time talking about jogging than music, but we’ll do our best to rein it in for this show.

Steve Doyle and I met the way most folks meet him – at Birdland Jazz Club’s Cast Party with Jim CarusoSteve plays with all sorts of cream of the crop artists.  He recommended me for a few acts – Todd Murray’s Croon, Collen McHugh’s Calendar Girl, and Karen Oberlin among them.  I have much to thank him for, and helping him to spread the good word about his delicious new recording is the least I can do.  We have a right natural ball playing together with him on bass, and his talents on piano and vocals transcend that by a good margin.  In other words, he rocks.

The November installment of DUOS [actually happening on Wednesday, October 31st] will be a complete groundbreaker – I will have onstage with me violinist Shem Guibbory [Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, ECM Jazz, Suzanne Vega…], and legendary flutist Paula Robison.

Every show is new, spontaneous, virtuosic, and audience-interactive [you might be called upon to give the chords or melodic elements for a spur of the moment composition].  Nothing happens the same way twice.  We already have many return visitors.  I hope you’re next!

Looking forward,

Sean

[here are composite pictures from past episodes of DUOS:]

 

 

 

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