S.E.A. Wind: Out of the Blue

Improvisation 101: How Music Works

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It started in third grade in Yonkers, New York. The teacher's questionnaire asked “Would you like your child to play a musical instrument?” I wanted to play the drums, but living in an apartment surrounded by neighbors made that impractical. My father, a product of “The Greatest Generation,” was a huge Benny Goodman fan. He convinced me to try the clarinet. The saxophones and flute followed. 

I never had to be forced to practice, and took to the instruments as fish take to water. Vinny Riccitelli, a graduate of the Juilliard Conservatory of Music, was my private instructor from the age of 8 through graduation from high school. He was the person responsible for teaching me the fundamentals of how music works. 

There was one place I wanted to go after high school – the renowned Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. It was there where I honed my skills under the tutelage of Joe Viola, Gary Burton, and Herb Pomeroy. At Berklee, I shared classes with Joe Lovano, John Scofield, Bill Pierce, Philip Glass, Abe LaBoriel and Claudio Roditi.

After leaving Berklee, I had the extraordinary opportunity to perform with Tito Puente lasting 4 years. That experience allowed me to play all over the world with some of the finest Latin musicians ever to live including  Carlos Santana, Mongo Santamaria, Ray Barretto, and Cal Tjader.

My wife and I moved to South Florida in 1980 where she taught third grade while I carved out a wonderful living in the music business as a performer, bandleader, arranger, and educator. After our move to Florida, I toured with Lou Rawls, The Spinners, The Four Tops, and Tavares. Joining the renowned Boca Raton Symphonic Pops Orchestra gave me the chance to play with some of the world’s brightest stars in show business including Henry Mancini, Burt Bacharach, Marvin Hamlisch, and Tony Bennett. Since I wasn't traveling as much, I was able to maintain an extensive private teaching practice. 

In the late 80’s, I started my own music company - S.E.A.Coast Music, Inc. and  became the music director at the Marriott Harbor Beach Hotel, a five-star resort on Ft. Lauderdale beach, contracting and performing with my own band for hundreds of corporate and social functions.

As S.E.A.Coast Music grew, my private teaching declined, but I always felt that I needed to give back a little something that I was given. As the business began to sustain itself, I started teaching in several schools as an adjunct clinician and as a result, my private teaching practice once again took off.

In 2007 my wife retired and we relocated to Carmel, Indiana - her hometown. I performed extensively throughout the midwest, and at the same time, I was the woodwind instructor at Lawrence Central High School in Indianapolis as well as an adjunct instructor at both Earlham College and Indiana University East in Richmond. Although I've enjoyed a wonderful career as a musician, the one regret was not having a degree. When the offer came to finish my schooling through online courses, I accepted, and after finishing the required course work and a final project, I now have a bachelor's degree in Professional Music from the renowned Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. My journey continues as I embrace the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.