August 2001, we still had about a month of innocence left before our world, and our world-view was to change, forever, on September 11. I found myself on a sunny and warm Sunday afternoon, sharing a blanket, a bottle of locally produced wine and and a picnic lunch with an attractive friend of mine, all the while looking forward to an afternoon of jazz and hopefully.......what might be coming my way afterwards! (....yes, the friend was female, yes the jazz was beyond my expectations, and no, there was no afterwards!!). The day started out perfectly, overlooking Seneca Lake; we were there to see the Yellowjackets perform, this was when they had just settled upon Marcus Baylor to take over the drum duties and they were between labels. It wasn't the Yellowjackets, or the way in which the sky opened up and drenched the two of us with torrential rain that stand out in my memory; rather, it was the opening act, The Zone, that I will forever link to this day. One of my greatest joys, is the discovery of a new group, especially when comprised of local or unknown, under discovered musicians, who turn out to be killer! Maybe readers of this blog have figured out by now, that at one time, I lived in Western New York, and so far, a lot of my writings have had a decidedly homegrown bent - true, for now. In any event, I was surprised to find out that afternoon, that The Zone hailed from Buffalo, NY; although I was familiar with most of the members of the group, as individuals, I had not heard of the group, until now. Excellent CD, and outstanding original compositions; my only criticism, where's the follow-up recording! I love these guys, Tony Scozzaro on guitar, I had picked up Tony's solo recording, No Brakes, a few years earlier and was aware that he had joined up with Gamalon. The Fadale brothers, Paul and Rick, well I had been listening to them since 1980, and will address that in another post very soon on this blog. It was keyboardist Jay Willis that I was unfamiliar with; I could be wrong, but I think, Willis and Scozzaro continue to perform under the name Rush Hour- if anyone has any further info or is aware of any additional recordings, please let me know.
Well, here's to sunny afternoons, filled with hope and promise of things to come.........in the end, it all works out! Listen to 'Lake Erie' and 'I've Asked For Change'.