Hudson Valley Musicians
From classic rockers to child prodigies, the Valley is home to a seemingly endless number of gifted musicians representing every genre and age group. This all-access pass introduces some of the area’s leading established artists, each paired with a promising local up-and-comer. Take a glimpse at some of the hottest talent north of NYC
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Saxophonists Myles Mancuso and Sal Giorgianni
Photograph by Michael Polito
Currently lives in: Highland Falls Hometown: Wurtsboro
Even if you’re not quite familiar with his name, you’ve likely heard Sal Giorgianni’s smooth sax sounds: He’s played with an array of legendary jazz and blues greats, and has a few noteworthy albums of his own. Whether he’s performing for foreign royalty or touring the Valley lounge scene, Giorgianni’s fervent passion for music and explosive style of playing make him stand out from the rest.
What do you love most about performing? I believe music is a bridge between the heavens and Earth, so to touch people with this music is the most important thing I can do with my life, outside of raising my son. I love seeing people enjoy the music so much that they forget the problems they brought with them when they came out to the venue. Your musical influences? There are many: John Coltrane, Maynard Ferguson, Jimi Hendrix, Mozart. That’s a wide range. I know, but it’s the music I grew up listening to, and it’s more about what I’ve taken from their music — the fire, the drive — than the style itself. Ever perform with any of your favorites? I played with Maynard Ferguson for the King of Thailand — he was a big fan of jazz. A police brigade was all around us on the way to the palace and the king closed all the highways; nobody could go anywhere. It was crazy. I remember thinking “This must be what it felt like to be Elvis.” Proudest musical moment? I played on an album for Myles Davis and Quincy Jones called Live at Montreux that won a Grammy for Best Ensemble Performance. I was in Europe and my brother called me and said, “The album you played on won a Best Ensemble Grammy! That’s you!” We were so excited, it was great. Current projects? I am finishing up two different albums, hopefully to be released sometime next year on my own label, Windhouse Records. Besides tenor sax, what other instruments do you play? Alto sax, flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, piano, and varied percussion. I have been playing most of these instruments for more than 20 years. Other hobbies? I really enjoy old sports cars, sailing, and cooking Indian food. I have also recently begun to take on teaching private students at my studio. Best thing about the Hudson Valley? I feel a wonderful peace here. I can really relax when I need to from a very busy life.
Myles Mancuso and Sal Giorgianni
Hometown: Beekman Age: 14
Not only can “Mojo” Myles Mancuso make music on a slew of different instruments, he can play them with the style and ease of a seasoned professional. Mancuso is quickly becoming a favorite in the Valley’s live music circuit; the Mojo Myles Band (he plays guitar, while his dad Nick bangs on the drums) performed at this summer’s Mountain Jam festival, where he jolted the sleepy crowd awake with his fiery guitar solos and soulful-blues crooning.
Tell us about all these instruments. I started on drums at age three but only picked up the sax a few years ago. I also play guitar, piano, bass, and drums. How many do you own? A tenor and an alto sax, eight guitars, three pianos, two drum sets, and one bass guitar. Anything else you’d like to learn? Maybe the flute. I heard it played at a funk show and it sounded great. I’d probably try to incorporate it into rock music, like Jethro Tull. Who influences you? Ray Charles, Maceo Parker, King Curtis, Larry Carlton, and John Mayer. Favorite thing about performing? The feeling I get when I know I’m making a person’s day with my music. Coolest place you’ve performed? The Sarasota Blues Festival in Florida — it’s a major blues fest and it was my first time in Florida; I really liked it there. How was your first Mountain Jam? It’s one of the best festivals I’ve ever played at. Everyone was so nice and the stature of musicians was incredible. I really liked Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi’s set. She has such a beautiful voice. Hobbies? I like throwing a football around. I also like to watch a good Seinfeld episode — but who doesn’t? Do you have a favorite? The Soup Nazi one. Are you any good at the game Rock Band? Oh, no — I’m terrible! It’s way different than playing the real thing. Upcoming gigs? We play the first Friday of every month at Keegan Ales in Kingston, and Junior’s Lounge in Poughkeepsie every third Saturday. We’re also playing Mesier Park in Wappingers Falls on August 13. Future plans? To play music professionally. I feel like it’s my calling and my gift.
For other up-and-coming artists and bands around the Valley seeking a space to rehearse — or even better, record an album — here’s a listing of local studios where you can jam out and prepare to share your talent with the world.
Applehead Recording & Production
1835 Rte. 212, Saugerties
70 Upper Hook Rd., Rhinebeck
Electric Faith Studio
47 S. Plank Rd., Newburgh
Levon Helm Studios
160 Plochmann Ln., Woodstock
39 North St., Middletown
Millbrook Sound Studios
Rte. 44, Millbrook
1 Artist Ln., Saugerties
Sonart Recording Studio
Young Love Recording Studio