Twins team up to make Showboat swing
by Charles Einstein, for the Star Ledger, May 21, 2000
"Did you hear why the Siamese twins moved to London?" a local man asked Paul Midiri.
"No," Midiri responded politely. "Why?"
"So the other one could drive."
Again politely, Midiri laughed. Truth be told, at 41, he and his identical brother, Joe, have by now heard every twin joke ever told.
Paul plays trombone and vibes, and at times the drums. Joe does clarinet and sax, as leader of an extraordinary jazz/swing/Dixieland combo that also includes Jim Lawlor on drums, Jack Hegyi on string bass, and Rich Budessa on piano.
Along with other groups, the Midiris adorn Orleans Square, and occasionally the front lobby as well, in free afternoon and evening performances at the Showboat, and no one can tell them apart. On scattered occasions, they'll split up, one working the front lobby and the other far down the promenade at Orleans Square, a tactic leading one wandering well-oiled patron to ask Joe, "How did you get here so fast? And what happened to your trombone?"
Siamese they're not, but if not attached at the hip, they are surely hip in big-band Benny Goodman style.
. . . It remains altogether proper to regard the Midiris as lineal descendants of Benny Goodman, for his was the clarinet sound on a New Year's Eve radio show when they were 16 that first turned them on.
These days their music reflects not just the Goodman instrumental side but the vocal as well, this thanks to the singing of Lori Dobson, a wondrous Atlantic City favorite.