Northwestern Press

Sunday, April 22, 2018

DiBussolo ‘Jazz Upstairs’ to swing Christmas

Thursday, December 14, 2017 by GEORGE VANDOREN Special to The Press in Focus

Miller Symphony Hall will be swinging in a holiday way Dec. 15. The Frank DiBussolo Philly Reunion Group presents “A Swinging Philly Christmas” as part of the “Jazz Upstairs” series in the Rodale Community Room starting at 7:30 p.m.

DiBussolo is a veteran jazz guitarist who has performed with Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, and Diana Ross, among other famous singers. He has been a featured soloist with the bands of Buddy Rich, Dizzy Gillespie, Art Blakey, Bucky Pizzarelli, Howard Alden and Lester Lannin.

He received an undergraduate degree from Weidner University and a masters and a doctorate in music from Combs College of Music, Philadelphia. DiBussolo teaches at Swarthmore College, Moravian College, Lehigh University and the Combs College. And he’s an eight-time Grammy nominee.

DiBussolo notes that the group members have been playing together for decades. “We give the music a spontaneous feel. We surprise each other, create a musical environment with a lot of give and take. There’s very cohesive communication, constant feedback. We try to make the music transparent, like a conversation.”

Of the Allentown concert, he says, “There will be traditional holiday music like ‘I’ll be Home … ,’ ‘White Christmas,’ ‘Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire,’ but in a jazz style with a bossa nova here and there. We’ll do a samba version of ‘Jingle Bells.’”

DiBussolo adds that the group will play two of his holiday compositions, “Every Snowflake Needs Christmas,” co-written with Anthony Crisafulli, and “It’s Christmas Time This Year.”

Joining DiBussolo will be Philly friends, James Dell’Orefice, piano; Dave DePalma, woodwinds; Bruce Kaminsky, bass, and Bruce Klauber, drums. “They’re all first call players in Philadelphia, Atlantic City, and New York.”

Dell’Orefice has a BA in performance and composition from the University of the Arts and a masters in composition from Combs College. He’s a composer and arranger and has performed in many music venues.

DePalma plays multiple reed instruments and has performed with Frank Sinatra Jr., Al Martino, and Phil Woods. He has also performed with the Florida, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Reading and York symphonies.

DiBussolo notes that he and Bruce Kaminsky “have been playing together for 40-plus years. Bruce plays everything from folk to Middle Eastern and everything in between.” Kaminsky is an adjunct professor at Montgomery County Community College and the University of the Arts. He is music director of the Spice Route Ensemble.

Bruce Klauber received doctorates in musical performance from Combs College and Temple University. He has played with Charlie Ventura, Joanie Sommers, and Milt Bucker. He co-founded the All-Star Jazz Trio. He is an author, having written a biography of Gene Krupa and is producer-writer of the Warner Brothers “Jazz Legends” DVD series.

As for “A Swinging Philly Christmas,” DiBussolo says, “I expect everybody to share in the joy of the season and enjoy the venue.”

Tickets: Miller Symphony Hall box office, 23 N. Sixth St., Allentown; allentownsymphony.org; 610-432-6715