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Cory Pesaturo, Jacki DePiro and the Rick DePiro Trio at Vibrato

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Cory Pesaturo, Jacki DePiro and the Rick DePiro Trio
Vibrato Grill Jazz
Bel Air, CA
April 22, 2014

There's an old joke which states "the definition of perfect pitch is throwing an accordion out the window." That said, most Jazz records or concerts don't traditionally feature accordion or the combination of B-3 and accordion, but this amazing night featured both at the Vibrato Grill Jazz and everyone in the packed house was glad it did. There were also the amazing vocals of someone who Nancy Wilson,Ella Fitzgerald, Dianne Reeves, Sarah Vaughanand Shirley Horn not only inspired but, in the case of Nancy Wilson and Shirley Horn, also mentored. Jacki DePiro sang with a great band this night and in particularly great voice, was compelling and totally engaging.

Cory Pesaturo was the accordionist, an award-winning jazz player from Rhode Island in his late twenties who has performed and taught at some of the most celebrated venues and schools in the world. Rick DePiro, Jacki's brother and aka Ricky Dee—Country singer-songwriter, was the notable organ (B-3)player (and pianist).

Surprising and possibly a bit off-putting for "true Jazz" fans was the mix of popular jazz standards, a bit of funk and Latin Jazz, as well as a surprise feature performance by newly signed JaRic Records recording artist Michael Mancuso. Mancuso sang a sad and moving original about losing a loved one called "Just to See You Smile," written and arranged by Rick DePiro. He had a smooth, powerful and "present" voice, a polished smile and a warm stage presence, which all hopefully indicate a great career in front of him and at only nineteen, he has time to prove me right! Overall, the tasteful mix of music genres proved most enjoyable and the musicianship was world-class.

The backing trio consisted of: Ryan Cross (bass) Gary Gibbons (drums) and Mark Vincent (guitar). All of them, although considerably older than nineteen, had great chops and played great solos which only come with years of stage experience. Watching Cory Pesaturo and Rick DePiro showed that you had to be in an "elite players league" just to keep up. The tempos at times were mesmerizing.

Pesaturo opened the night with the backing trio on a slow jazz waltz that I didn't recognize and frankly sounded a bit soft and ineffective, but he played it well. He then followed with a couple of ballads including "Falling Grace," the Steve Swallow tune, executing each of them beautifully. At that point it was off to the races. DePiro joined him on stage, playing a modern looking "B-3 type" organ. They kicked off Chick Corea's "Got A Match" at a clip that made the entire room stop and take notice. Each solo was top notch. Jacki DePiro soon took center stage, belting jazz classics including "Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me," "Where I hang My Hat Is Home" and "Exactly Like You," along with deep, rich ballads like Nancy Wilson's "When October Goes," and Latin Jazz songs like Frank Wildhorn's "Last Tango," knocking them all out flawlessly.

The audience seemed thrilled with each song DePiro sang. Her brother sang the standard "More" in a fast swing and did a fine job, considering his singing is usually country. It was also entertaining listening to the DePiro's stage banter, which often proved amusing, yet never inappropriate.

The packed house, applauding often with enthusiastic satisfaction, included Vibrato general manager and jazz bassist Pat Senatore, luminaries such as actor/writer Seth McFarlane, wealthy Beverly Hills philanthropists Stanley Black, Larry Field, and Dizen Shami and several others, all apparently thrilled with the music.

It was an enjoyable, inspiring and worthwhile night with good food and great music. Kudos to these fine musical artists.

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