The Musicians’ Voice

Volume 112, No. 9September, 2012

The Musicians’ Voice is an open forum for discussion about the state of union affairs. The letters here do not necessarily express the views of Local 802. E-mail letters to or write to Allegro, Local 802, 322 West 48th Street, New York, NY 10036. Letters must be no more than 300 words.

Local 802 should do more to promote film and TV recording in New York

The news that the New York chapter of the RMA is taking action to promote film and TV recording in New York through the existing New York state tax credit program is, hopefully, good news for New York’s long deteriorating recording industry. But as one familiar with these issues, I’m concerned it’s happening very late in the process. Also, I’m concerned that the planned action is not going far enough.

Our recording opportunities have significantly lessened, largely the consequence of outsourcing. Unfortunately, Local 802 has been slow, or ineffective, to adapt. Case in point is this tax program. While clearly working for actors and crew personnel for years (New York is experiencing “record production”), it’s likely that the music won’t be done in New York. It’s nothing less than outrageous that our tax dollars fund this program whose intent is to create New York jobs, but it’s perfectly acceptable to outsource the music.

So what’s the answer? Our union must effectively lobby the state and city to fine-tune the law to see that New York musicians get their fair share.

Furthermore, the union’s advocacy should be extended to other recorded media, especially commercials – New York’s traditional base.

And why stop at the state and city level? “Progressive taxation” and programs exist on the federal level for other industries – oil and agriculture are prime examples – so why not for the music/entertainment industry too? “Outsourcing” has been a prominent national issue recently.

Considering how much work we’ve lost, our union should be doing everything it can do for us through these various programs.

–Dave Weiss
The writer is a member of the New York chapter of the RMA.

Remembering Iz Rosovsky

I was saddened to learn of the passing of Isador (Iz) Rosovsky over the summer. I first met him in 1982, during his (and my) involvement in the Members Party’s second Local 802 electoral campaign that year.

As a Local 802 member, Iz was, among other things, a music copyist. His focus in the election campaign was on the Local 802 music preparation department and its supervision of New York’s arrangers, orchestrators and music copyists.

He and fellow copyist Lilette Hindin helped to plan the prospective structure of that department under the new administration and the party’s music prep election platform.

Iz was also a bass player and, after the election, I occasionally worked with him in the Herb Meyers orchestra with which he subbed from time to time.

He was a pleasant, jovial man and, although I lost contact with him over the past several years, I remember him fondly.

–Jack Gale

Thanks to Local 802

On behalf of myself and my family I would like to thank Local 802 for the $500 donated to me by the Anne Walker scholarship fund. It will ease the financial burdens of my undergraduate music studies in the studio composition program at Purchase College considerably, and I intend to study music for years to come.

–Josh Arbo

Dick Lieb and Bob Alexander (wearing hat)

Tribute to Bob Alexander

Bob Alexander, 91, a trombonist and a member of Local 802 since 1945, died on June 19. The first time I met Bob was in 1956 at the Columbia 30th Street studios in New York. I was playing bass trombone with the Kai Winding Septet in Chicago and Kai flew to New York, taking me with him. We were to record some tracks for Tony Bennett’s “Beat Of My Heart” album.

Bob became one of my best friends over the following years. He was very helpful to me by introducing me to other musicians and also by letting people know about my arranging abilities.

It was Bob who first brought my work to the attention of Skitch Henderson while he was playing with Skitch on the Steve Allen show. This eventually resulted in me getting a job playing on the Tonight Show with Skitch and later in life being used by Skitch as one of the arrangers for the New York Pops.

Bob was one of the top studio trombonists in New York and played on the Perry Como show and the Tonight Show as well as doing many recording sessions. He was a beautiful ballad player with a great sound.

Bob played with everyone from Jimmy Dorsey to Frank Sinatra, with whom he toured when he was in his 70s. He maintained a rehearsal band for ten years and some of the best players in New York came through his band.

Bob lived on the Upper East Side and could often be seen walking around the neighborhood wearing the sea captain’s hat he liked so well.

He should be remembered as one of New York’s finest trombonists and one who helped many young players. He was one of my best friends and I’m sorry he’s gone.

–Dick Lieb

A moving story

I read Dave Roth’s story about his iPod drive for Alzheimer’s patients in the July/August issue of Allegro. I thought the story was very moving, and I appreciate the amount of work that Dave is putting into this project that is so important to him personally and so helpful to the people it serves. It’s always nice to hear about someone taking the time to give back.

–Ann Gerschefski

The Springfield Rifles, circa 1946. From left: Hal Serra, Chuck Andrus, Joe Morello, Phil Woods and Sal Salvador

I remember Hal

The pianist Hal Serra (1928-2012) was my neighbor in Springfield, Mass., and my first guru. He took me to New York to study with Lennie Tristano. I am now the last of what the jazz press called the “Springfield Rifles”: Joe Morello, Sal Salvador, Chuck Andrus, Hal and I.

Once, Hal and I were studying with Lennie. He said to us, “Want to come down to 52nd Street? I’m opening for Charlie Parker at the 3 Deuces. Do you want to meet him?”

I said to myself, “Well, I always wanted to meet God!”

We showed up, and Lennie’s bass player took us behind the stage. (There were no dressing rooms in any of those jazz clubs on 52nd Street.) There was Bird sitting on the floor.

“Hi kids!” he said to us. “Want a piece of pie?”

And I said, “Oh, Mr. Parker, cherry is my favorite flavor!”

“Well, sit down and I’ll give you a big slice,” said Bird. And he did!

I’ll always treasure that moment, and thousands more that I shared with Hal Serra. I’ll miss him.

–Phil Woods

Senior Musicians Association votes in a new board

On June 26, the Senior Musicians Association of Local 802 held an election to select a board of directors to succeed Mr. Stanley Koor upon his retirement. The three of us – Gino Sambuco, Gilda Glazer and Avron Coleman – were overwhelmingly chosen to serve as members of the board. Subsequently, Doris Goltzer was appointed secretary.

We will proceed to expand the orchestra committee with the ultimate goal of maintaining the integrity and viability of the Senior Musicians Association and to continue to perform concerts as the orchestra has done since 1981.

We wish to extend to Mr. Koor our gratitude for his yeoman’s service on behalf of the Senior Musicians Association and wish him well on the occasion of his retirement.

Serving this wonderful orchestra is a distinct honor and privilege and truly a joint venture with each and every one of us cooperating and passionately involved.

–Gino Sambuco, Gilda Glazer and Avron Coleman

The Stu I knew

It’s hard to know where to begin talking about Stu Satalof (1953-2012) or, as I used to call him, Stuey. He was a complex and private person but also an extremely compassionate and generous one. I met Stu at Temple University in Philadelphia. Once we met, it seemed like we had known each other forever. I first heard him play lead on Buddy Rich’s “Big Swingface” and thought, “Wow! I’d like to have a clear, open sound like that.” I hadn’t played much lead up to that point but he encouraged me to do it and would pass lead charts to me to play. He had more confidence in me than I did; but I learned.

He loved everything about the trumpet – playing trumpet, being a lead trumpet player and listening to other trumpet players, especially other lead players. He was a trumpet geek, plain and simple.

During all of the years that we were friends, we rarely played together and had never done a Broadway show together until “Anything Goes.” It was the best! We even carpooled for the run of the show, which was unbelievable because I usually don’t like to carpool. One of the guys in the band called us Thelma and Louise. I was fortunate to be able to spend so much time with him at the end of his life.

The funny thing is that Stu was younger than I but always seemed much older and wiser. He was very knowledgeable. Mention a topic and 99 percent of the time he knew something about it. And, if you needed something done, he always had a “guy” who could help.

The Stu that I knew loved his wife, Sally, and loved being a dad to his daughter, Sydney.

That’s my Stuey and I miss him.

–Earl Gardner

Local 802 member named in Obama bio

How many Local 802 musicians do you know who have been interviewed for a presidential biography and actually quoted for the book? Well, if you know guitarist Steve Bargonetti then you know at least one!

David Maraniss, author of “Barack Obama: The Story,” interviewed thousands of people for this book, hoping to get insight into the making of a president from boyhood to adulthood. Maraniss is an associate editor at The Washington Post and a Pulitzer Prize winner.

Steve Bargonetti graduated from Columbia University around the time President Obama transferred there. Steve has a similar bi-racial heritage as Obama and, at the time, was the leader of the premier jazz fusion group So What on the Columbia campus.

Maraniss felt Steve offered great perception into Columbia University’s campus life – socially, politically, and racially.

As Steve says in the book, “There were racial inferences from both sides which were completely disavowed once we started bringing people together via music. So What was popular among blacks and whites.” Steve goes on to say: “So more power to good music.”

The book is filled with riveting stories, shrewd observations and fascinating details documenting Obama’s journey to the highest office in this nation. Steve was honored to participate in this venture and reminds musicians to let the overtones of their mellifluous voices reverberate in harmony – because you never know who is listening!

–Dr. Diane Gioia-Bargonetti (Dr. Di)