Joseph Leo Bwarie
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Joseph Leo Bwarie

Los Angeles, California, United States | INDIE

Los Angeles, California, United States | INDIE
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Christopher Loudon on new album from singer who plays Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys

Sinatra and Nelson Riddle, Ella and Buddy Bregman, Anita and Billy May, Sarah and Quincy Jones; richly symbiotic relationships between singer and arranger that rather magically prove the old adage about the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. Such sublime marriages are less common than they once were. You can still hear it when Michael Bublé teams with Bill Holman and in Streisand’s works with Johnny Mandel. And its also now evident throughout Nothin’ But Love, the debut album from Joseph Leo Bwarie and arranger/producer Charles Calello.

If you’ve seen the touring production of Jersey Boys then you’ve likely seen Bwarie in action. The California-born dynamo has been crisscrossing North America for nearly five years, earning rave reviews for his portrayal of legendary Four Seasons lead singer Frankie Valli. Among the 27 songs Bwarie sings in the show, many of the best known and loved — including “Walk Like A Man,” “My Eyes Adored You,” “Let’s Hang On” and “Working My Way Back to You” — were originally arranged by Calello. He was, in fact, a founding member of the Four Lovers, but quit before the New Jersey foursome changed its name to the Four Seasons. He returned as the group’s arranger in 1962 and briefly reappeared in its performing lineup in 1965. Since then he has become one of the most successful independent producer/arrangers of all time, scoring 15 Grammy nominations, placing more than two-dozen pop hits in the Top Ten and shaping albums for, among others, Ray Charles, Neil Diamond, Streisand and Sinatra.

Bwarie and Calello met backstage at a Jersey Boys performance in 2009 and hit upon the idea of collaborating on the singer’s first solo project. Calello produced the album, wrote all 13 arrangements and also served as conductor, fronting a 40-piece orchestra augmented by two special guests: guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli and Brazilian percussionist Paulinho da Costa.

The results are consistently stellar. Bwarie has a voice designed to sell to the balcony, which is precisely what he does six times a week. But, thanks no doubt to Calello’s deft stewardship, he sidesteps the habit too common among musical theater stars of overselling in the studio. The upbeat numbers — “Old Devil Moon,” “Frenesi,” “A Lot of Livin’ to Do,” a hard-swingin’ “Night and Day” — come wrapped in the sort of big, brassy arrangements that were Billy May’s trademark. The ballads are just as sparkling, but seem cast more in a Don Costa or Neal Hefti mould. Though Sinatra at the height of his ring-a-ding-ding prowess is clearly the blueprint, Bwarie more strongly suggests a potent blend of Bobby Darin and Mel Tormé. There’s also a significant enough hint of Chet Baker on “I’ve Never Been In Love Before” to suggest that Bwarie closely studied Baker’s classic 1956 recording.

Though Bwarie nods to the Four Seasons era with two Brill Building gems — Lieber and Stoller’s “Stand By Me,” cleverly reinterpreted as a mid-tempo swinger, and Gerry Goffin and Carole King’s “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” (the latter perhaps included in thanks to King, who recommended him for the Valli role back in 2005) — the bulk of the album is vintage Tin Pan Alley, including a superbly tender “What’ll I Do” and a bossa-fueled “Falling In Love With Love.” Harold Arlen’s too-rarely covered “When the Sun Comes Out” is given the same sort of towering treatment that made Judy Garland’s interpretation so powerfully affecting, and “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” sparkles with Connick-esque panache.

Nothin’ But Love is a sensational effort, unquestionably as good as anything Bublé has delivered, with credit equally due Bwarie and Calello. Here’s hoping it paves the way for a Bublé-sized recording career.
- Jazz Times - Christopher Loudon


JOSEPH LEO BWARIE NOTHIN' BUT LOVE
Red Bannister Productions
By Rob Lester

A 13-track look back at yesterdays ends with "Will You Love Me Tomorrow?"—a hit for The Shirelles in 1960, the year its co-writers Carole King and Gerry Goffin were married—and it makes a point about the durability of the selections on Joseph Leo Bwarie's buoyant and boyish big band CD. The song became a part of King's album, one of the all-time best selling recordings. In between, other cover versions made the Billboard charts a few times, including a #24 positioning in 1968 by The Four Seasons. Mr. Bwarie has been playing the role of that group's lead singer, Frankie Valli, and a first guess might be that his solo album would draw more from that group or the 1960s/early '70s boom of memorable pop songs. No, he reaches back further, including much material that graced Broadway productions: from the 1920s, Irving Berlin's lament "What'll I Do?" and Jimmy McHugh/Dorothy Fields's "I Can't Give You Anything But Love"; from the 1930s, Rodgers & Hart's "Falling in Love with Love" from The Boys from Syracuse and Cole Porter's "Night and Day" from The Gay Divorce; from the 1940s, Finian's Rainbow's "Old Devil Moon"; from the dawn of the 1950s, "I've Never Been in Love Before" from Guys and Dolls; from the beginning of the 1960s, Bye Bye Birdie's "A Lot of Livin' to Do." He even adds his own fun extra lyrics to the latter selection. And the present and past collide cutely with a song recorded by contemporary R&B artist Rihanna, "Umbrella," going retro brassy, alternating in a medley with Irving Berlin's old shy courtly courting song, "A Fella with an Umbrella." The combination with the assertive recent piece makes for an odd couple, but an oddly charming one.

This CD is a lot of fun. It sparkles. Although lyrics are not explored in the deepest ways, with the big-band ethos and bang and sweep, that does not appear to be the agenda. Although sincerity comes through on the ballads, even lingering in dreamy sentimentality, it's more broad strokes than nuanced drama. Joseph may touch your heart, but won't break it into smithereens. Melodies' legato qualities are respected, rather than turning them into choppy ruminations or long stops at the philosophy filling station to pump out perspective.

A large orchestra with some big league players, hardly the norm for debut CDs nowadays, shares the spotlight and provides much of the aural pleasure. The up-tempos swing agreeably, and the lovey-dovey stuff is lovely instead of overly syrupy. The singer's very youthful sound comes off as an asset, and the old songs don't sound creaky or need-to-be-retired in these back-to-basics, basically uncomplicated arrangements. There is zest in his singing. There is also a blessed lack of smarm and smug brashness that can infect some younger male singers.

A few of the tracks feel a bit long, with about half nearing or surpassing the four-minute mark. However, one notable quality is that they have strong, satisfying endings without indulgence in much overkill for build. There's an ease and comfort. Veteran Charles Calello, whose resume includes settings for Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra and Laura Nyro, as well as several albums by The Four Seasons and Frankie Valli's solo work, is arranger, conductor, orchestrator and producer. More than three dozen players are in the orchestra, with a large string section. They successfully make "Stand by Me," the standard of soulfulness, into a slam-bam swinger. Another grand master of music, Bucky Pizzarelli, brings his tasty guitar to spice up "Frenesi" where the slightly tentative singer ventures south of the border to do some of it en español. This is one of several tracks where the arranger gives credit where credit is due, to earlier arrangements of an old song (in this and another case, the late, great Don Costa).

Although we've had many resistible sound-alike efforts by younger singers trying on the clothes of the old songs and their musical forefather vocalists, this one is well done, well produced and enthusiastically rendered by Joseph Leo Bwarie. As a line in "Frenesi" (which translated, according to the song, means "please love me") goes, "So how was I to resist?" The past need not be dusty or sacred territory.

- Rob Lester - Talkin' Broadway


By Lance Avery Morgan

Imagine this: on stage you play legendary Frankie Valli, of the Four Seasons singing group fame. You keep the audience enthralled night after night on stage as a new-found crooning and swooning sensation. What do you do next if you’re Joseph Leo Bwarie? Record an album of standards that rivals any classic singer, as well as the current Michael Buble’ and Harry Connick, Jr. Call it Nothin’ But Love and let the fun begin.

The album’s Hollywood-heydey sound and lush orchestration is setting the music world a buzz with Bwarie’s vintage-inspired mellifluous vocals. “I would have recorded this in 1965, but my parents hadn’t even met.This record is like a classic cocktail,” confides heart throb Bwarie.

Joseph Leo Bwarie, second from left, in Jersey BoysThe ironic thing of Bwarie’s ties to the hit Broadway musical is that the album is produced and arranged by original Four Seasons member and Billboard hit-maker Charles Calello. Nothin’ But Love offers a sensual point of view on the swingin’ Capitol Records “sound.” Calello was obviously taken with the young songster’s presence in the show. “It’s not often I record a singer that covers all the bases. [Bwarie] can swing, rock and tear your heart all within three songs … what a voice and what a gift,” he says. He goes on to say, “Although I produced the CD,” Calello continues, “Joey had his hand in everything. Most great artists I’ve worked with motivate the creative people around them and that’s what Joey did to me; he never settled. He challenged me to push my pen to a higher level and I’m glad he did because, I’m proud of this one.”

It’s clear that Bwarie is inspired by the past – he sings with who brought him, so to speak, yet he has deftly creates new modern classics in a Sammy Davis-like, finger-popping manner reminiscent of the Rat Pack’s fabled golden era in Vegas. The album is a tour de force of a “big” sound since it has a robust 40-piece orchestra featuring legendary jazz guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, with Latin percussion by the world-famous Paulinho da Costa. Luxurious is a word that first comes to mind about it.

Bwaries’s impassioned song skills elevate the romantic classics including: “Night And Day,” “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love,” “If I Had You,” “When The Sun Comes Out,” “What’ll I Do?,” “Frenesi” and the album re-imagines the Broadway songbook with: “A Lot Of Livin’ To Do,” “Old Devil Moon,” and “I’ve Never Been In Love Before.” Bwarie swings the Motown hits “Stand By Me” and “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” and creates a 50-year music collision with his re-mix of “Umbrella/A Fella With An Umbrella.”

This trajectory to the top had start somewhere, though. Following professional gigs with industry legends David Foster, Michael Feinstein, producer Garry Marshall and Michael Crawford, legendary singer/songwriter Carole King stopped Bwarie and told him of a show in La Jolla, California, titled Jersey Boys and that she thought he should be playing Frankie Valli. The following year, a series of auditions and callbacks in Los Angeles and New York culminated in Bwarie landing the coveted role of iconic, falsetto-singing Valli. Approximately 1,500 days, 1,000 shows, and 3,000,000 audience members later, JLB continues to sing 27 hit songs a night, six nights a week across America. Now that’s entertainment.

Expect big things from Bwarie (*BW is the sound in ‘Buenos’ and ARIE rhymes with ‘airy’ or The Four Seasons’ song “Sherry.”) – he performed live at the 63rd Academy Awards, the 63rd Annual Tony Awards and the 63rd Annual Horatio Alger Awards. (He hopes to break the 63 streak with the Grammy Awards, as the 63rd Grammy Awards are not until 2021). We look forward to a lifetime of Bwarie serenading us with his dreamy voice and we think you will, too.

Nothin’ But Love is available on iTunes, CD Baby and AmazonMP3 and JosephLeoBwarie.com. - The Society Diplomat


By Laura Stillo
July 1st, 2011 at 12:08 pm

Press play on Joseph Leo Bwarie’s debut album ‘Nothin’ But Love’ and you are instantly transported to the 1950s; the Big Band era when lovely ladies swooned for Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack was on the radio. Days started with mom’s homemade pancakes and ended with the family watching the Johnny Carson Show in front of a black and white television.

Fast forward 60 years and the music we listen to has transformed from triumphant arrangements to three and a half minutes of the same techno-beat pulsating on a single frequency. Yawn – when did our music lose its soul?

Bwarie is in the midst of a stunning career; you may know him from a variety of roles he has played on the big screen, some of the most recent being Valentine’s Day and Princess Diaries 2. If neither one of those titles rings your bell loudly enough, he is currently starring as Frankie Valli in the Broadway tour of Jersey Boys.

‘A Valley boy from CA who plays a Valli boy from NJ,’ reads Bwarie’s Twitter bio. “I’ve been playing the role of Frankie Valli for four years now,” says Bwarie, “knowing that I’ve been doing it that long, it still is shocking, knowing that I’m in the shoes that I’m in. That I embark on the journey of the Four Seasons every night – and the audience – they go nuts! The music is awesome. It’s still such an honor to be playing this living legend. This group [Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons] changed music history in America.”

He has been playing the role of Frankie Valli for so long (Jersey Boys was a part of Dallas Summer Musicals in 2008), people sometimes confuse Bwarie’s voice with Valli’s and are surprised to learn that he has a distinct singing voice all his own – in somewhat of a lower register.

His debut solo album Nothin’ But Love is a 13-track compilation of Bwarie’s picks from the Great American Songbook. “Frank Sinatra, Rosemary Clooney; they were all singing the same songs but they were interpreting whatever arrangement was created for them. I love that at that time, it was about great songwriters and great singers.” He chose his songs wisely – the album is currently #5 on the iTunes Jazz chart.

Today’s singer-songwriters, those who write their lyrics down on paper and immediately dash to the guitar or piano to draw out their own melody, have seemingly taken the forefront of the music stratosphere. Nothin’ But Love is a strong nod to the brilliant songwriters from the 20th century. “I am a singer – so when I got to explore that huge songbook, I thought, I want to do songs that I really love and maybe that aren’t as common as they are today,” he says.

Backed by an impressive 40-piece orchestra, the clarity of Bwarie’s voice is pure and flawless. With his impeccable technique, Bwarie’s stunning voice captivates the listener and invites them to experience something we haven’t heard from singers in decades; honest, heartfelt and romantic songs.

“My name is on the album and it is me the singer, but it was truly a collaboration with Charles [Calello, Producer, Arranger] – he has decades of experience – he’s the one who arranged “Sweet Caroline” for Neil Diamond – he worked with Sinatra and Paul Anka and Barbara Streisand. To get to work with someone who has this passion for music; it was great to have someone who knew the business inside and out, who could give me pointers along the way,” says Bwarie of the recording process.

His debut album includes soulful renditions of the romantic classics: “Night And Day” and “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” as well as Motown favorites “Stand By Me” and “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?”. Says Bwarie of his selections, “I think the music that I made is definitely an expression of an ideal time in a part of very glamorous history.

It’s been amazing what Michael Bublé, Diana Krall and Harry Connick, Jr. have done today – they have been a part of a movement to bring this era back. I wanted to add my two cents – I wanted to do it my way. When it came to the song selections, I wanted it to have a modern feel, even though some of the songs are from the 1920s. They don’t feel old on the album, they feel fresh to me.”

Bwarie has a smooth way of combining the classics with modern songs, such as track “Umbrella/A Fella With An Umbrella.”

“Charles Calello kind of looked at me like, Rihanna? Yeah! It’s got a great song, melody and message – what if we take it apart and put it together ‘JLB’ style?

The 1940s and 2007 together – the new term is ‘mash up’ but we used to call it a ‘medley’ – songs don’t have to stand on their own, they can be a combination.”

Clearly inspired by the true entertainers who came before him, Bwarie knows exactly what time period he’d transport himself to, given the option. “Oh – easy,” he says, “I’d want to hang with Sinatra and Dean [Martin] and those guys. I’d want to be dressed up in the suits like Mad Men. I think there are aspects of that coming back to fashion.”

With a sparkling resumé, Bwarie is a true, rare talent. “My personal mantra is work hard and work so hard that there’s no reason that you couldn’t get whatever you wanted. A Broadway career is not easily achievable. It is completely doable if a person puts in all their energy, has a strong work ethic, and doesn’t let rejection bring them down,” is his advice to actors and actresses hoping to break into the entertainment business.

With a soulful mastery of his craft, Bwarie echoes a young Dean Martin on his debut album. “Deana Martin loved the record Nothin’ But Love; it was almost like Dean Martin patting me on the back saying, ‘Nice job kid.’”

Though Nothin’ But Love is Bwarie’s debut album, he presents his listener with a sublime execution and charming voice unparalleled by singers today.

Song to listen for: Bonus track “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” as made famous by The Shirelles

‘Nothin’ But Love’ is available on iTunes, CD Baby, AmazonMP3 and www.josephleobwarie.com

Jersey Boys arrives at the Winspear Opera House June 12-July 15, 2012.

Laura Stillo is the Arts & Entertainment Writer and Creative Social Media Producer for YouPlusDallas. Follow her on Twitter at @laurastillo.
- YouPlusDallas


MUSIC MUSE
By Rachel Benavidez

In a 2010 interview, Joseph Leo Bwarie promised us a knockout solo project and he delivers withNothin’ But Love, a 13-track collection of romantic classics, Broadway and Motown that Bwarie says was influenced by his time in San Antonio. The California native got to know our city while touring with the Broadway production of Jersey Boys, playing Franki Valli. “For me, a city is inspired by the food and the music. San Antonio is full of both,” he says. “There is such a heartbeat in San Antonio. People really know how to live.” Nothin’ But Love is available on iTunes, CD Baby, AmazonMP3 and at JosephLeoBwarie.com. - San Antonio Magazine


MUSIC MUSE

In a 2010 interview, Joseph Leo Bwarie promised us a knockout solo project and he delivers withNothin’ But Love, a 13-track collection of romantic classics, Broadway and Motown that Bwarie says was influenced by his time in San Antonio. The California native got to know our city while touring with the Broadway production of Jersey Boys, playing Franki Valli. “For me, a city is inspired by the food and the music. San Antonio is full of both,” he says. “There is such a heartbeat in San Antonio. People really know how to live.” Nothin’ But Love is available on iTunes, CD Baby, AmazonMP3 and at JosephLeoBwarie.com. - San Antonio Magazine - Rachel Benavidez


MUSIC MUSE

In a 2010 interview, Joseph Leo Bwarie promised us a knockout solo project and he delivers withNothin’ But Love, a 13-track collection of romantic classics, Broadway and Motown that Bwarie says was influenced by his time in San Antonio. The California native got to know our city while touring with the Broadway production of Jersey Boys, playing Franki Valli. “For me, a city is inspired by the food and the music. San Antonio is full of both,” he says. “There is such a heartbeat in San Antonio. People really know how to live.” Nothin’ But Love is available on iTunes, CD Baby, AmazonMP3 and at JosephLeoBwarie.com. - San Antonio Magazine - Rachel Benavidez


MUSIC MUSE

In a 2010 interview, Joseph Leo Bwarie promised us a knockout solo project and he delivers withNothin’ But Love, a 13-track collection of romantic classics, Broadway and Motown that Bwarie says was influenced by his time in San Antonio. The California native got to know our city while touring with the Broadway production of Jersey Boys, playing Franki Valli. “For me, a city is inspired by the food and the music. San Antonio is full of both,” he says. “There is such a heartbeat in San Antonio. People really know how to live.” Nothin’ But Love is available on iTunes, CD Baby, AmazonMP3 and at JosephLeoBwarie.com. - San Antonio Magazine - Rachel Benavidez


MUSIC MUSE

In a 2010 interview, Joseph Leo Bwarie promised us a knockout solo project and he delivers withNothin’ But Love, a 13-track collection of romantic classics, Broadway and Motown that Bwarie says was influenced by his time in San Antonio. The California native got to know our city while touring with the Broadway production of Jersey Boys, playing Franki Valli. “For me, a city is inspired by the food and the music. San Antonio is full of both,” he says. “There is such a heartbeat in San Antonio. People really know how to live.” Nothin’ But Love is available on iTunes, CD Baby, AmazonMP3 and at JosephLeoBwarie.com. - San Antonio Magazine - Rachel Benavidez


MUSIC MUSE

In a 2010 interview, Joseph Leo Bwarie promised us a knockout solo project and he delivers withNothin’ But Love, a 13-track collection of romantic classics, Broadway and Motown that Bwarie says was influenced by his time in San Antonio. The California native got to know our city while touring with the Broadway production of Jersey Boys, playing Franki Valli. “For me, a city is inspired by the food and the music. San Antonio is full of both,” he says. “There is such a heartbeat in San Antonio. People really know how to live.” Nothin’ But Love is available on iTunes, CD Baby, AmazonMP3 and at JosephLeoBwarie.com. - San Antonio Magazine - Rachel Benavidez


Discography

1. “NOTHIN' BUT LOVE” (June 2011) on independent label: Red Banister Productions, Inc.
Radio airplay across the the U.S. (siriusly Sinatra/high standards and many local NPR stations nationwide including interviews with Bwarie)
Internationally: Spain, Canary Islands, Canada and the U.K.
Current on-line play:
www.popjazzradio.com
www.nicenoise.net
www.capradio.com
www.bluesjazzradio.webs.com
www.jazzradio.com
www. sky.fm
"Nothin' But Love" is in consideration for a GRAMMY nomination in 5 categories.

2. "SEASONS GREETINGS - JERSEY BOYS CHRISTMAS" (October 2011) Rhino.
track 3 - "Little Drummer Boy"
track 7 - "Jingle Bell Rock"
Plus other features on a one-of-a-kind recently released holiday album produced by Bob Gaudio for Gaudio/Valli Productions.

Photos

Bio

Hollywood icon, director/producer Garry Marshall recently declared 'Joseph Leo Bwarie' as: “Three of the most exciting words in show business.”

With the release of his debut album, NOTHIN' BUT LOVE (now 15 weeks at #1 on popjazzradio.com) and his current starring role as Frankie Valli in "Jersey Boys," Bwarie's voice is already being heard by hundreds of thousands.

Born in Pasadena, California, to a family of entrepreneurs, Bwarie got his first “gig” at four years old: little Joey was put to work organizing the sprawling candy aisle at his parents’ store – a job that sometimes found his face smeared with “missing” chocolate bars. But from the start, he had an audience: employees, customers, salespeople and the celebrity clientele that would frequent the family business. It was routine for Joey to be asked to sing, and sing he did.

At just nine years old, Bwarie sang his first studio session for Highway to Heaven followed by Michael Feinstein’s children’s album "Pure Imagination." By twelve years old, his resume showcased "Radio Flyer," "The Power of One," "Last of the Mohicans," "Alien 3," and "Batman Returns." He voiced the theme to the TV series seaQuest DSV; and sang countless songs on the new Sherri Lewis’ "Lamb Chop’s Play-Along."

By sixteen, Bwarie was a seasoned studio singer and had recorded with "The Manhattan Transfer" and with Michael Crawford on David Foster’s "The Christmas Album" - sealing the deal that the world of entertainment was not a hobby, but a dream becoming reality.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting from Boston’s Emerson College, he returned to California where director/producer Garry Marshall recognized Bwarie’s onstage talents, and in 2005 cast him as Fonzie’s cousin ‘Chachi’ (opposite Joey McIntyre) in the world premiere musical "Happy Days."

Legendary singer/songwriter Carole King stopped Bwarie after a performance of "Happy Days" and told him HE should be playing in a show they are trying out in La Jolla called "Jersey Boys." In 2007, Bwarie landed the coveted role of iconic, falsetto-singing Valli.

1500 days, 1000 shows, and 3,000,000 audience members later, JLB continues to sing 27 hit songs a night, six nights a week across America.

It seems all of the above lead to 2010 when (after a chance meeting) Bwarie teamed with Billboard hit-man, arranger/producer Charles Calello, (renowned arranger for Sinatra, Streisand, Neil Diamond, Barry Manilow, Laura Nyro and Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons) and began work on his debut album NOTHIN' BUT LOVE.

Recorded in Miami at Criteria Recording Studios (The Hit Factory), NOTHIN' BUT LOVE features legendary jazz guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, world famous Brazilian percussionist Paulinho da Costa, plus Calello conducting a 40-piece orchestra. The session dates were recorded live capturing the authentic big band swing sound and vintage microphone bleed - as Bwarie knew the album should feel (and sound) like the records he played in his grandparents’ home.

He has performed live at the 63rd Academy Awards, the 63rd Annual Tony Awards and the 63rd Annual Horatio Alger Awards. (JLB hopes to break the streak of “63" as the 63rd Grammy Awards are not until 2021.)

In his October 2011 blog entry, "UMBRELLA, ELLA, ELLA, ELLA, ELLA" on www.josephleobwarie.com Bwarie wrote:

What is not to love about music? It makes us feel. All sorts of feelings. Motown. Big Band. 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s jams (you know what I am talking about). Disco. Rock ‘n’ Roll. Rockabilly. Classical. Country. Broadway musicals and movie scores. Oldies and Doo-Wop. Barbershop. Funkabilly (yup, Funkabilly). Music has been coined as the universal language. Sometimes I am fluent. Sometimes I crack open the old textbook. Sometimes I make it up as I go. It is a constant in my life and connects us in a way that I respect highly. I like listening to a folk singer in a coffee shop or a new artist at my buddy Max’s bar “Hotel” on Vine Street. I really dig great seats at the Hollywood Bowl on Polynesian night. I appreciate the guy playing the saxophone in front of the Bushnell Theatre in Hartford and hearing the marching bands live on Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena as the Rose Parade passes on New Year’s morning. I like to put a vinyl record on my grandmother’s record player and relish the imperfection. I happen to be intrigued by what happened to music when folks like Dean, Frank, Sammy, Mel Tormé, Benny Goodman, Billy May, Nelson Riddle, Rosemary Clooney, Nancy Wilson, Bobby Darin, Nat “King” Cole and Lena Horne stepped into the studio. And that is just the short list of a long list of names that continue to influence me. I could listen to Ella Fitzgerald for days on end.

JOSEPH LEO BWARIE (to pronounce Bwarie, the BW is the sound in ‘Buenos’ and ARIE rhymes with ‘airy’ or The Four Seasons’ song “Sherry").