Richie Kaye

is creating Music, Video, Comedy
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A download card enabling the patron to download the digital album, A NYC Subway Christmas.  Click this to hear clips.
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One hard copy of our delightfully tasteful and subtly demur first CD, "Richie Kaye's Music & Mirth!"   Click this to hear clips.

Richie Kaye’s Music & Mirth
Freshen Up Records

Street Date September 1, 2011
Richie Kaye – archtop guitar, voice;
Tony LaVorgna – clarinet, saxophone, piano;
introducing Sam Kuslan – piano, percussion

Classic American Jazz: All Melody, All the Time

Finalist Nominees in the 10 th Independent Music Awards, Jazz Song Category
Connecticut State Performing Artists

If you think jazz musicians don't play the melody any more, this little jazz group will surprise and please you. Richie Kaye’s Music & Mirth debuts a duo (and sometimes trio) of musicians who breathe new life into old melodies. Richie Kaye and Tony LaVorgna play the great songs of classic American jazz of the 1920s to the 1960s in a buoyant and bouncing style that sounds at once traditional and refreshingly revived. The boys believe that they bring the essence of these songs to life again in a new vein, so that the everyday listener of today can enjoy them at home, in the car, at the office: anywhere a little upbeat happiness is needed.

“When they leave the theater, we’d like the audience to be smiling more broadly than they were when they entered,” says Richie of the group’s performances. “And we set about making this recording with the audience’s pleasure first in our minds.”

Often witty, always well-played, their music scintillates with variety: swing, ballads, bebop, rag, showtunes, even novelty numbers. But not all of the songs they’ve selected are well-known. The group’s recording of “Tiny Capers,” nominated as a finalist in the 10 th Independent Music Awards, Jazz Song Category, is a Clifford Brown tune rarely performed or recorded since it was written in 1957. And, even though jazz fans will immediately recognize “Paper Moon,” “Love is Just Around the Corner” and “My Foolish Heart,” they might never have heard “Sweet Tooth” – also known as “My Sweet Tooth Says I Wanna (But My Wisdom Tooth Says No).”

You'll hear the songs you know and love, melodies that still inspire played on haunting clarinet or soaring saxophone -- all grounded by a swingin' rhythm guitar that just bounces along. And you might find yourself singing along with the lyrics that still make us chuckle, move the heart or delight with turn of phrase. No odd times, nothing avant-garde -- just the sweet tunefulness that makes American music the gem that it is, played with an occasional comic twist.

RICHIE KAYE (guitarist, voice) 

TONY LAVORGNA (saxophone, clarinet, piano) was on the road by age 19 with the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra and more recently the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra as featured soloist. His own CD, “The Atlanta All-Star Quartet Plays Bill Evans” won the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences award for best jazz recording. He is the author of the comic book, “Bebopman,” as well as the musical, which has been workshopped with New York theatrical talent.

SAM KUSLAN (piano, percussion), 17 at the time of this recording, is an incoming freshman at Loyola University School of Music and Fine Arts in New Orleans. Sam has performed at the New Britain Museum of American Art and the prestigious Young People’s Performance Series at New York City’s Steinway Hall.
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One hard copy of our totally super fun and most recent CD, "The Last Whoop-dee-doo!"   Click this to hear clips.

Freshen Up Records Street Date May 1, 2014
Richie Kaye’s Music & Mirth
Richie Kaye –guitar, voice
Tony LaVorgna –clarinet, saxophone
Sam Kuslan –piano (tracks 12 & 20)

Down in the dumps? Need a pick-me-up? You've got a smile-maker in your hands! 25 tracks of classic American jazz for your entertainment and delight. No heavy lifting needed with this album. It's all melody, all the time.

Lyrical and fulfilling, with the occasional comic air that will make you say, I'm glad I listened! Go ahead, put this album on your player! You'll hear two (and sometimes three) happy-go-lucky music-makers who play acoustic instruments without modern gimmicks. Guitar and saxophone aren't often recorded together so simply and plainly --not since the swing era --just these two make a really full sound. Almost like an entire (gulp) orchestra!

"We know that people are aching to hear familiar, upbeat American song," says Richie Kaye. "We know because they tell us so, wherever we play, even in the subway," where the duo performs with the Music Under New York program. "The biggest tips are given whenever we play something upbeat and positive, something that reminds people that life is pretty darn great." Whether that tune is "The Days of Wine and Roses," the opening number of this album, done in a spirited Latin style, or "Put on a Happy Face," from the 1957 musical, Bye Bye Birdie, with its jaunty, peppy hook and abundant good feeling -- listeners relax their tense shoulders and smile, oh, so broadly. Hey, I'm happy!

The Duo That Sounds Like an Orchestra (almost)!

And the musicality of this duo (and sometime trio) is spectacular, as you can hear in the virtuosic saxophone playing of Tony LaVorgna on "I Can't Get Started," amply complemented by Richie Kaye's nuanced rhythmic support on archtop guitar. Sam Kuslan adds a delightful touch of youthful and spirited piano excellence in "On Green Dolphin Street," moving it forward with a pulse which will make you want to get up and dance. Once in a while, the duo ventures into the bittersweet of life with moving renditions of "Black Orpheus," from the Brasilian movie of the same name, one of the few recordings on which clarinet plays the melody, and "Over the Rainbow," from the 1939 film everybody loves, "The Wizard of Oz." Tony's haunting tone echoes a humanity that is entirely captivating. The duo love to play what used to be called "novelty numbers" in variety performance --a genre that has all but disappeared. Going down south for an old time revue number, "Way Down Yonder in New Orleans," you might imagine yourself in a club in the French Quarter. And how many jazz musicians have ever recorded "I Love Lucy?" Richie does a mighty fine Ricky!

Listeners will love the variety: ballads, swing, stage numbers, novelty, Latin, comedy. This album has something for everyone. If you listen to it, you'll be smiling. And then you'll listen again and again!

RICHIE KAYE (guitar, voice)

TONY LAVORGNA (saxophone, clarinet) was on the road by age 19 with the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra and more recently the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra as featured soloist. His own CD, The Atlanta All-Star Quartet Plays Bill Evans won the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences award for best jazz recording. Tony recently recorded with Benny Goodman band bass player, Bill Crow.

SAM KUSLAN (piano, tracks 12 & 20) lives in New Orleans, where he plays piano and sings. He was 17 at the time of this recording. Sam has performed at the New Orleans Jazz Festival, New York City’s Steinway Hall.the New Orleans Mint and clubs in the French Quarter.




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About Richie Kaye

Let me entertain you.  I use that word in an rather old-fashioned sense: to delight.  Honest fun that leaves the cares of the world behind, if only for a few moments.  

This means, in my case, something involving the guitar, my voice and wacky comedy.  My own personal in entertainment taste favors the traditions of what is now considered classic American.  Or "old hat," if you live by fashion.  Let us not forget that America that made it through the Depression with the great good spirit that we can still watch in the upbeat entertaining productions of the era.  So, I'll tend in my work for you towards traditional musical ideas and the comic delivery the 1930s-1950s were known for.  

However, since I was living on this planet at that time (nor any other), I do have contemporary ideas to express. Indeed, I may surprise you later in the year with out-there electric music that even I don't understand, even though it comes through me.  I've recorded several demo tracks and everyone who has heard them tells me to "...keep recording this material."

So, you may get what you expect or you may get what even I don't expect.  But in any case, I think you will be amused.  if you are willing spend a few moments with me and a few dollars on me, I'd love to amuse you! 
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