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The Uptown Horns 2000

They are talented. They are perfectionists. They are closet comedians. They are nuts. The Marx Brothers without dialogue or Equity cards… Let me tell you, these boys can rock ‘n roll.

– Details Magazine

The Uptown Horns

Listen to the Uptown Horns on Thorne‘s albums:  Sprawl and The Contessa’s Party

The Uptown Horns are:
Bob Funk: Trombone

Bob at the Stereo Society Sprawl sessions, September 1998

Bob Funk plays trombone solo on:
Intro: Coming Quietly
Fire
Can Catch

Bob Funk

Bob Funk was trained classically by his father, a professional violinist with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra and a variety of teachers ranging from his Cheyenne Mountain High School, the University of Denver under Tasso Harris, the prestigious Interlochen National Music Camp and the Aspen Music Festival before coming to NY to study at The Julliard School and the New School for Social Research. Before, during and after college, Funk was one of the youngest members of the Colorado Springs Symphony, the Colorado Brass Quintet, the Aspen Festival and Chamber Orchestras. He also participated in regional performance groups in Colorado and the Western united States including the Ophelia Swing band at the Aspen & Telluride Jazz festivals and The Orchestra of Clouds in Boulder, CO.

Bob Funk“My father was really my greatest influence,” comments Funk. “We would attend all the jazz concerts that came to Colorado: Duke Ellington, Jack Teagarden, Count Basie, Miles Davis, JJ Johnson. Later on I would see Cream, Willie Nelson and Boz Scaggs, too. We were a real musical family: my Dad on violin, my mom on Piano and my younger brothers on sax and clarinet. We always joked about how Sundays are for Mozart and Miles Davis.” A major inspiration was sitting in with Willie Dixon and the Mothers of Invention band. “I was surprised Dixon would even let me, I was such a kid, that really changed my life.” Another key influence was Dr. Per Brevig, principal trombonist with the NY Metropolitan Opera and a professor at Julliard.

After graduating, Funk joined the Mozart Opera Orchestra, and appeared on the Donald Fagan-produced original soundtrack album of the Broadway hit, “Gospel at Colonus.” He also performed in productions for the Houston Grand Opera and the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

During the mid-70s, Funk went to Los Angeles to join the band, Bazuka. “They were a one-hit band, but at least it was top ten!” Their song “Dyno-mite!” taken from the then popular TV sitcom star Jimmie Walker afforded them the opportunity to tour the country opening for acts Al Green, the Ohio Players, and the Average White Band. “It was a great experience,” remembers Funk. Drawn to NY after exhausting every festival and musical outlet in Colorado, Funk met Cioe, Hecht and Litteral trio at Max’s Kansas City, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Crispin Cioe:

Alto and Baritone saxophones

Crispin at the Stereo Society Sprawl sessions, September 1998

Crispin Cioe plays alto saxophone on: Pretty Vacant (with Arno Hecht)
Black Lace Shoulder (with Arno Hecht)
Sexual Terrorist (alto saxophone solo)

Crispin Cioe

Crispin Cioe (pronounced See-o) grew up in Chicago near legendary Maxwell Street, an outdoor mall which attracted late night impromptu jam sessions by Blues greats ranging from Muddy Waters to Willie Dixon. After a brief year in New York City, his family moved to Motor City. “In the early ’60s, Detroit was a center of rock ‘n roll My dad worked at one of the top ‘rock’ stations, and I would spend hours looking through their record collections and hanging out in the studio while the deejays were spinning. One of the jocks also had an ‘American Bandstand’ type of TV show that I would hang out at with my friends.”

“I knew I always wanted to be a writer, so I studied journalism at the University of Michigan/Ann Arbor. After my third year of college I realized what I really wanted to do and quit with only one semester left. I spent my money on a sax and music studies at Wayne State and the Berklee College of Music in Boston. When I ran out of cash I moved back home and joined a soul band called Radio King & His Court of Rhythm.” More…Burnzy’s Last Call is a feature film airing repeatedly this year on the Sundance Channel.As the film´s composer, Crispin created a full playlist of imaginary hits by fictional one-hit wonders. In doing so, Crispin convinced some very famous singers and musicians to write songs and perform — not as themselves, but as artists from the a parallel universe.

1. INTO THE MIRROR
Performed by Nik Gentry (Smithereens)
(Diken/DiBelia) Donnaelaine Music, BMI

2. SPACE MONKEY
Performed by Little John Nancy (David Johansen)
(Cioe/Gilmore/Johansen) Buster Poindexter Inc, Crispin Music, BMI

3. SO WE DANCED AGAIN
Performed by Nancy John (Deborah Harry)
(Cioe/Gilmore/Harry) Crispin Music BMI, TriTone Tunes, ASCAP

4. WHAT WILL I DO WITH MY HEART
Performed by the Boleros (Dennis Diken & Pete DiBella)
(Diken/DiBelia) Donnaelaine Music, BMI

5. CHILDHOOD SWEETHEART
Performed by Wally & the Wankers (Graham Parker)
(Graham Parker) Ellisclan Ltd, Adm. by Bug Music

6. BABY YOU’RE A DRAG
Performed by the Spirochaetes (Evan Dando & Adam Roth.)
(Adam Roth) Mustang Louie Music/BMI7. WAITING FOR THE PAIN
Performed by Melvyn Straight (Dennis Ray & the Uptown Horns)
(Cioe/Gilmore) Crispin Music, BMI

7. WAITING FOR THE PAIN
Performed by Melvyn Straight (Dennis Ray & the Uptown Horns)
(Cioe/Gilmore) Crispin Music, BMI

8. GIBLETS
Performed by Duke Duckworth & the Mallards (Crispin Cioe)
(Cioe/Gilmore) Crispin Music/BMI

9. SMALL TALK
Performed by, Judy Paris (Soozie Tyrell)
(Cioe/Gilmore) Crispin Music, BMI

10. I CAN’T STOP THE RAIN
Performed by Frankie Modesto (Lou Christie)
(Lou Christie) Lightning Strikes Music, BMI

11. I’VE GROWN USED TO LOSIN’
Performed by Skinny Blackmon (George Gilmore)
(Cioe/Gilmore) Crispin Music, BMI

12. I WANT TO BE AT MY OWN FUNERAL
Performed by Louie “Segundo” Due (David Johansen)
(Gilmore/Johansen) Buster Poindexter Inc, Crispin Music, BMI

13. LAST CALL
Performed by Steve Gourmand (Hank Bones)
(Cioe/ Brad Ford) Crispin Music, BMI

Larry Etkin:

Trumpet and Flugelhorn

Larry at the Stereo Society Sprawl sessions, September 1998

Larry Etkin plays flugelhorn and trumpet on:
Self- Imposed Exile (trumpet solo and flugelhorn)
Toys Take Over (trumpet solo)
Ships That Pass In The Night (trumpet solo)
Black Lace Shoulder (trumpet solo)

Larry Etkin

Larry Etkin was a friend and fan of The Uptown Horns for nearly ten years. But even before this, Etkin and Funk met at the prestigious Interlochen National Music Camp when they were in junior high school. “I knew Bob,” laughs Etkin about Funk’s clean-shaven head, “when he had dandruff.” Etkin was also the best man at Paul Litteral’s wedding and was often asked to sub for Paul and/or supplement the groups with a second trumpet. He was the natural choice to replace Litteral.

Etkin was born in NYC and at age 6 moved to a house filled with music in Larchmont, NY. His mother was an opera singer with the Philadelphia Opera Company while his sister is a cellist with the Maggio Musicale in Florence, Italy. He graduated from Brown with a BA and studied at Juilliard under William Vachianno, the first trumpet in the NY Philharmonic, and session player Ray Crisara. After college, Etkin freelanced, performing and recording with groups ranging from the O’Jays (Family Reunion arena tour) to Billy Joel (Innocent Man tour). “My biggest memory was the O’Jays refused to fly, so we lived on these tour buses for months and months. Here I was the only white guy straight out of an Ivy League college, with these gun-toting Superflys. It was quite an experience … the music made it fun.”

Etkin moved to Los Angeles for three years doing session work for records and television (including Sunday morning cartoons). Having his fill of tofu and bean sprouts, Etkin returned to New York and non-stop work doing jingles, Broadway shows, and sessions ranging from Buster Poindexter to Peter Allen, Louis Bellson’s Big Band to Buddy Rich. He performed under the batons of conductors Eugene Ormandy (Philadelphia Orchestra), James Levine (Metropolitan Opera), and Pierre Boulez (NY Philharmonic). Etkin was enlisted to supplement The Horns on the James Brown “Gravity” LP and “Living in America” LPs, and joined them in performance with Joe Cocker. “Being on my own for so many years as a freelancer, it’s great to be a part of this first-class musical family,” admits Etkin. “These guys are, quite simply, just the best!”

New Yorker Arno Hecht has been in bands since age 13. A history major at Columbia University, Hecht earned his way through college playing in various rock groups. After college, Hecht tried a “real life” job before returning to his musical roots. After playing in numerous bar bands, he joined a new wave group, Brend and the Realtones. He recalls, “Brenda had been in a couple of Warhol films so these 6’5” transvestites in leather mini skirts would show up at her gigs. It was very surreal. But what a band! Later on, I brought in Paul Litteral and sometimes Crispin Cioe whom I met at a gig at Max’s Kansas City, he was the only person I’ve ever met who knew all the lyrics to the Coasters’ song “Shopping for Clothes.” All in all, it was a very cool group.”

During this period, Hecht was studying “Uptown” with “dean of arranging” Don Sebesky while jamming with a bunch of Horn players at the Lynne Oliver “jazz workshop and finishing school” on West 90th Street. “I had this dream to create The Uptown Horns but the horns kept leaving to pursue their own gigs,” he remembers. When Brenda got caught up in the “scene” and not the music, the Realtones left to work as a separate entity backing up top R&B acts such as Rufus Thomas, Carla Thomas, Don Covay and Solomon Burke.

In 1980, Hecht and Litteral left the Realtones to play with a “punk soul” band called the Nitecaps. One night after a gig, Iggy Pop offered the trio a session if they could find a trombone player. Funk was enlisted and soon all four were jamming as one horn section.

Not long afterwards, the newly sworn-in members of The Uptown Horns began a weekly jam at Tramps with visiting dignitaries ranging from Southside Johnny to David Johansen. Their Uptown Horns Party continued for almost two years. The party was over when J Geils Band keyboardist/producer Seth Justman and managers stopped by Tramps to enlist the horn section for their “Freezeframe” album and 1982 world tour.

The Uptown Horns with Les Paul

The Uptown Horns sit in with Les Paul on his 78th birthday party, at Fat Tuesday’s, New York City, June 9 1993.
Harmonica player is Jon Paris, milling crowds unidentified.

The Uptown Horns at the Bottom Line, NYC

The Uptown Horns Revue, October 1994, at the Bottom Line, New York City. Just after the release of their second album.
photo: Liz Knight

 

Albums

The Uptown Horns Revue
© 1994 Uptown Horns Records

1. Sugar Melts When It’s Wet
(Albert Collins, Vocal and Guitar)
2. Never Goin’ Down That Road Again
(Ben Houston, Vocal – Arno Hecht, Tenor Sax Solo)
3. Imaginary People
(Bernard Fowler, Vocal – Crispin Cioe, Alto Sax Solo)
4. Tell Me What You Want
(Soozie Tyrell, Vocal – Danny Draher, Guitar Solo)
5. Trust Me
(Peter Wolf, Vocal – Keith Richards, Guitar)
6. You Don’t Realize
(Bernard Fowler, Vocal)
7. Marylou’s
(Soozie Tyrell, Vocal – Arno Hecht, Tenor Sax Solo-Crispin Cloe, Baritone Sax Solo Charlie-Giordano, Piano Solo)
8. I’m Dealin’
(Albert Collins, Vocal & Guitar)
9. Open The Door To Your Heart
(Bernard Fowler, Vocal – Bob Funk, Trombone Solo)
10. Odds Are Good That The Goods Are Odd
(Ben Houston, Vocal – Larry Etkin, Trumpet Solo)

Tracks1,2,4,5,6,8 & 10 – Written by Crispin Cloe, Bob Funk,
Arno Hecht and Paul Litteral. UHB Music/Lew Bob Songs (BMI)

Track 3 Written by Dan Hartman, Charlie Midnight. EMI April Music,
Second Nature Music (ASCAP), EMI Blackwood Music,
Janiceps Music (BMI)

Track 6 Written by Mike Bloomfield, Albet Music Corp. (BMI)
Track 9 Written by Darrell Banks, Revilot Music (BMI)

Produced by the Uptown Horns and engineered by Carl Beatty
This album is dedicated to the memory of the great Albert Collins.

The Uptown Horn Band: A Shot In The Dark
© 1987 Roadside Records

The Uptown Horns:
Arno Hecht: Tenor Sax/Background Vocals
Crispin Cioe: Alto and Baritone Sax/Lead and Background Vocals
“Hollywood” Paul Litteral: Trumpet/Lead and Background Vocals
Bob Funk: Trombone/Background VocalsAdditional Personnel:
Stuart Ziff: Guitar/Lead and Background Vocals
Jimmy Ripp: Guitar/Guitar Synthesizer/Background Vocals
Chris Bishop: Bass/Lead and Background Vocals
Phil Ashley: All Keyboards/Background Vocals
Bobby Kent: Drums/Simmons Drums/Background Vocals
**Track 1 & 6
Produced by Mike Thorne and engineered by Carl Beatty
Assited by David Young
Recorded April 1984 at Skyline Studios, NYC1. You’re Cute (But Not That Cute)
Ina May Wool Voice of Binky Music (ASCAP)

6. Things That Howl In The Night
Arno Hecht/UHB Music, Inc. (ASCAP)

Sic F*cks
© 1982 Sozyamuda Records

Russel Wolinsky: Lead Vocals
Tish: Vocals
Snooky: Vocals
Bob Hopeless: Guitar
Dick String: Lead Guitar
Stink: Bass
Harry Viderci: Drums

Guest Musicians:
The Uptown Horns: 
Arno Hecht: tenor sax; Paul Litteral: trumpet;
Crispin Cioe: alto and baritone sax

Produced by Andy Shernoff for Swingtime Productions
Recorded at Chelsea Studios, New York, NY
Engineered by Bob Clifford
Mastered by Greg Calbi