Reviewed by Dr. Frank Forte MD. on Just Jazz Guitar - August 2004 Issue
Ramo Guitar Night “Tribute To Rich DiCarlo” May 5th, 2004
Once a month, Michele Ramo has been hosting a guitar night. The last one was
at Tango Mambo on Queens Boulevard in Forest Hills. It’s now being held at
Trumpets in NJ. Local players are invited to play, and then a jam session
May 4 was a special guitar night, because it was a tribute to the guitar
maker Rich DiCarlo. Rich is a Brooklyn boy living in Massapequa Park,
who turns out beautiful classical guitars. In addition, he has made Michéle
a seven-string and an eight-string model, and he makes a jazz model with
nylon strings. Every guitar is unique, and they are all highly playable and
quite beautiful to hear. The guitars actually influence the players and add
some dimension to their playing.
This was a special night, designated ‘Robin's Song’, because the
proceeds that were collected were designated for a fund in memory of Robin
Posler, who died of a severe muscle disorder. Robin was a guitarist-singer
from the Detroit area, a friend of Michéle and Heidi Ramo. Robin’s husband
has given up his occupation to become involved in the raising of funds for
research into this disorder, and in the care of afflicted patients. Michele
invited a number of people to play, all of whom own a DiCarlo guitar.
The first player was Jack Wilkins. He has a beautiful model with a deep
cutaway and 32 frets, giving 4 1/2 octave range. Jack used them all nimbly
on jazz standards. Scott Dubois, who has a cutaway guitar, played with
Jack, and proved to be an able accompanist and soloist in his own right.
Michael Belajonas is a classical guitar master and a professor at the
Long Island College. He played a classical guitar with a cedar top. The
sounds were beautiful. Michael's selection of pieces were just the right
music for a cedar top guitar.
Vic Juris and wife Kate Baker performed some Brazilian tunes; Vic on his
DiCarlo guitarfingerstyle as well as with pickand Kate sang her beautiful
tunes, including ‘Madalena’, which is one my favorites. Rich Jacobowski is
another classical guitarist, and he performed beautifully as well. Don
Witter is probably one of the best flamenco players in this country, and he
performed on a flamenco model of Rich's craft. Joe Carbone played a
beautiful solo on ‘Your Own Sweet Way‘. Joe is well known for his work on
archtop guitar, and his playing on nylon string is really a sweet awakening.
Carl Barry and Bob Gallo played as a duo, and this was an amazing
compilation of beautiful modern jazz and bop solos on standard tunes. Both
of them played with pick, and the sounds were unbelievable. I performed an
original, called ‘Here's to Gene’ and his own arrangement of ‘Bookends’ on
an amplified cutaway guitar.
The highlight of the evening was Michéle playing his eight-string
guitar, which sounds like an amplified acoustic bass and a classical guitar
played together through his amplification system. He played some beautiful
pieces, including ‘Church Bells’, a version that he has written.
He is at home in jazz, classical and most other styles.
The night was a big success. There were many guitar players in the
audience, and many people jammed after the show. I suspect that his guitars
have been made for each person with their particular playing in mind. Three
of the people played on guitars that they received from Rich that
night Carl Barry, Bob Gallo and Rich Jacobowski. Imagine the excitement and
challenge of performing with a new guitar for the first acquaintance with
Heidi Hepler-Ramo sang in her own unique style with Michéle, and this
was the finale of the show, not to be upstaged by the wonderful birthday
cake for Michéle's 40th birthday. What a wonderful night. Michéle is
continuing monthly guitar nights at Trumpets Jazz Club in New Jersey. Check out the
schedule on his web site: www.ramomusic.com and catch him at the Hilton hotel
in Short Hills, NJ where he is doing a solo gig every Friday and Saturday.
Reviews Press Stories
Review "Tribute to Rich DiCarlo"