Posted by: seanoldblog | 2010/09/01

2. Iridium Jazz Club with The Little Big Band

The old joke: “how many guitarists does it take to screw in a light bulb? Ten – one to do it and nine to say ‘I could do that’” is actually based on a primal feeling at the root of what drives us to do this thing to begin with.   The ‘I could do that’ part is not, at least in my case, as competitive as in the joke.  Rather, it is a gut level compulsion to be in it.  To have a guitar on and playing with the people you’re watching or listening to.   A mirror-neuron recognition of the electric experience those groovin’ cats must be having right now.

This is the feeling I had the first time I saw Terese Genecco’s Little Big Band playing at Iridium Jazz Club on Broadway in New York City’s Times Square.   A small group of us crashed the joint after an appearance at the interminably long Bistro Awards ceremony.  “What, an after party? Let’s go see Mark Miller! He’s in this really cool band…”  So Doug, Karen and I fell into their last set and ordered from their fantastic menu (including an imaginative selection of single malt Scotches).  Mind you, we already had our own party going on. But when they kicked into gear, all I could feel was “I have GOT to play with this band”. But there wasn’t even a guitarist…

Fast forward a few short months and after a recording session, Terese approached me about joining the Little Big Band for a show and see how it goes.  We had so much fun that soon I became a regular part of the band.  While I was honored and happy and validated and all that – you never know what she’s gonna’ say on stage.  Sometimes I turn purple with embarrassment, and other times I try to hang in there with her, only to end up turning purple with embarrassment.  After all, she’s got the mic.

To friends I describe her as a stocky little dyke with beautiful brown eyes, bursting with personality, that wears a spankin’ suit and sings Rat Pack songs with pretty accurate big band arrangements.  This is public though, so I should probably find a more tactful description.  Produced by ScoBar Entertainment, they hit the stage on the last Tuesday of every month with two shows, at 8 and 10 pm.  We see a lot of the same faces each month as once you come you have to come back again, much as I did.   Only if you want to sit in on the guitar chair, your sight reading chops better be pretty solid…

This particular night had Skip Ward in on bass for the regular Tom Hubbard.

Also in the band are Barry Levitt [p], Cliff Lyons [s], Kenny Lavender [tp], Joe Abba [dr], and Mayra Casales [pc].

Each month Genecco hosts a special guest.  Past guests have included Marilyn Maye, Mark Winkler, Karen Mason, Steve Rossi, Mike Berkowitz, and Judy Gold. Last night it was our very own producer Scott Barbarino, who spiced up his act with the lovely Tropicabana Girls.

Terese was trying on a new character for the evening, complete with hip flasks, skinny ties, and backstage smooches all over her face. My only hope is that these antics were as entertaining to the audience as they were on stage. We were rolling…

Here are some candids from the evening:

Kenny Lavender [tp], and Mark Miller [tb]

Terese and the Maestro Barry Levitt preparing charts…

T. and the Tropicana Grrrls getting it just right…

Andrew Smith: The Best Bartender On The Planet – visit him and you’ll agree.  He also fronts a hard rock band called Sonic Rebellion.

They even added a desert to the menu in honor of Ms. Genecco: Strawberries Terese.  Sweet with a kick.  Go figure.

I love this gig.



  1. A MOSTLY accurate account of all things *little big band* with a few corrections: 1) I only need one guitar, ever, and that is Sean Harkness! 2) I have a blue shirt but my eyes are brown. 3) Barry Levitt is spelled Barry Levitt. 4) Andy Smith is in a rock band called “Sonic Rebellion” and most definitely is the best bartender in the world. Great blog, Sean! Can’t wait till next month w/ special guest Todd Murray in from L.A. on 9/28! Hey, send me those pics in hi-res when you get a shot. They’re awesome! XO T

    • Thanks T! I was counting on you to fill in my banks, etc.
      Musta been yer eye shadow that night…
      Thanks for everything.

  2. Sean..What a terrific post and review you wrote. Terese, my favorite performer.
    and it was written today,,,,my birthday,

    • Happy Birthday! Thanks for visiting and leaving a note. See you again soon, I hope.

  3. […] at Iridium with Terese Genecco and her Little Big Band.  I’ve written about this one before [link], and told in detail how much I enjoy this gig.  I might have overenjoyed this particular week – […]

  4. […] at Iridium with Terese Genecco and her Little Big Band.  I’ve written about this one before [link], and told in detail how much I enjoy this gig.  I might have overenjoyed this particular week – […]

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