The Midiri Brothers Orchestra

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Memorable concert by Midiri Brothers at Pastorius
by Michael Caruso, excerpt from Chestnut Local, August 12, 1999

Last Wednesday evening's concert in Chestnut Hill's Pastorius Park was special, indeed. Not only did the Midiri Brothers Sextet present one of the most distinctively memorable programs that help define the very character of Chestnut Hill, Fred Williams, was honored with a citation from Philadelphia City Council.

. . . For this, the tenth program of the season, the Midiri Brothers Sextet - comprised of Joe Midiri on clarinet and sax, Jim Lawlor on drums, Paul Midiri on vibraphone, trombone and drums, Pat Mercuri on guitar and banjo, Dan Tobias on trumpet and Bruce Kaminsky on string bass - offered a program that splendidly displayed their eclectic style as well as their impressive mastery.

This group brings together an engaging blend of big band swing and Dixieland, performing selections such as "Washington and Lee Swing," "Tin Roof Blues," "Palm Springs Jump," "Sunny Side of the Street" and "Carioca".

In each and every number, all six of the musicians stepped forward as stunning soloists just as they proved themselves secure supporters of their colleague's solo efforts.

Joe Midiri's clarinet playing, in particular, was nothing short of magnificent. Not only did he command the full range of the instrument's voice, both in register and dynamics, but he blended mesmerizing brilliance with melting lyricism more smoothly and convincingly than I've heard in many a moon. I hasten to add that his sax playing was no less noteworthy for its energetic sultriness. Dan Tobias' trumpet work was equally deserving of praise, for he produced a tone that was both clear and smooth, powerful yet unforced. Bruce Kaminsky provided, along with Jim Lawlor on drums, a sure foundation through pungent yet expressive work on doublebass, while Paul Midiri and Pat Mercuri did excellent work in support of their fellows as well as whenever they took their own solo turns.

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