Living For The City

March 7, 1983, Stevie Wonder is inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame!


Got a busy weekend and have some preparing to do.  Saturday night the Stingers are playing in Philly at the Kidney Foundation Gala and we’ll be backing Bobby Rydell and Dweezil Zappa and I want to make sure all that music is in order and everyone is prepared including me.

It’s an important gig. Well all gigs are important, but this is a fundraiser and its an important cause!

One of my favorite, ok my absolute favorite special event to musical direct and play is the MMRF Gala and I played Living For The City with Michael McDonald for the Stevie tribute on that event and its one of my best musical memories!

I gots to run.  The television is calling my name.  Or maybe that is my wife.

I Just Called to Say I Love You

October 13, 1984 Stevie Wonder started a three week run at #1 on the US singles chart with I Just Called To Say I Love You! (via

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Last year I musical directed the MMRF Fall Gala and played with Stevie Wonder!  What a great gig that was and the event raised a TON of money!

This year’s lineup is pretty fierce, too!  Entertainment for the MMRF Fall Gala 2012 includes Jennifer Hudson, Jermaine Paul (winner of The Voice, season 2) and Earth Wind and Fire, and it’s gonna be a another great night and raise boatloads of money!  I’m busy writing arrangements for this show – a tribute to all the artists that Clive Davis discovered and whose careers he began!

I will keep you all posted on what’s happening with this night as it is taking up every waking moment of my time in preparation!

Here we go for today in music, I Just Called to Say I Love You!


Reach Out I’ll Be There

September 3, 1966 The Four Tops’ Reach Out I’ll Be There enters the charts

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My favorite version of this song is sung by another one of my favorite singers Michael McDonald.

And as Stevie Wonder said of Michael McDonald, “He’s got that thang in his voice!” That thang is soul.

I’ve worked with Michael and he is a great guy and a natural talent. I had the honor of doing 3 pianos with myself, Stevie and Michael. We were supposed to be playing all Stevie songs when Stevie stopped the show and started playing Michael’s Takin’ it to the Streets. Pretty amazing.

Michael did 2 albums of Motown songs which I use as a reference for hip motown arrangements  and blue eyed soul singing.

OK. Summer’s over.  It was a rainy Labor Day. We didn’t get to swim but went to lunch and relaxed.  Claudia and her dad fed watermelon to a family of deer at our front door.

Back in the city now! Tomorrow I’m going to clean my work area and get recording my vocals on Claudia’s and my original stuff. I figure if I write that I’m going to clean, then I will. So remember I said I’m going to clean, damnit.

Here’s my version of Reach Out I’ll Be There.  More tomorrow.  🙂

Time After Time

June 9, 1984 Cyndi Lauper’s Time After Time started a two week run at #1.

the MMRF Gala

My favorite version of this song is the Javier Colon version.  He sang this song and Adam Levine picked him on The Voice.  No damn wonder he won that first season.  He was fierce!  I met Jav on the Stevie Wonder gig last year for the MMRF Annual Fall Gala.  First of all, he’s the nicest guy and second, he sings his ass off.  We did Sir Duke and he tore it up, singing all the horn lines and riffing with Stevie.

Then in January he called me to music consult on his tour.  I spent a fun four days with him and his band at the Ridgefield Playhouse. His show and tour were fantastic. Near end of his set he sang Time After Time by himself, solo guitar, and the place would go wild.  It was great working with him.

Now Cyndi Lauper is no joke. She can sing! Listen to her on We Are the World.  Fierce.  Her voice cuts right through all those singers. And it has such character, just like her looks and personality.

A complete package.  Love ya Cyndi and love this song.

I Wish


The first time I met Stevie Wonder was in my Sweetwater days. He came in to hear our Motown show, and a couple of times for other acts.  I always played a few instrumental  songs before each show, so I asked him if he minded if I played one of his songs.  He said no problem so I played I Wish.

Fast forward to when the Stingers and I were playing the Paul Newman event (Hole in the Wall) at Lincoln Center.  I had a killer line up that night  – Ty Stephens, Dachonne Rucker, Stanley Hopkins, Walter Smith, Carla Scott and Cindy Mizelle.  We were rockin the house when I see a big crowd gathering on the side of the stage.  My trumpet player Shareef Clayton (great player) comes over to tell me its Stevie, so I start a vamp –

I wish those days would come backI wish those days would come back

Stevie comes up on stage,  leans in to me and says, “Signed Sealed Delivered in F”

So we ripped the roof off the house. (click here to see the video of that night) I love me some Stevie.

Today, for his birthday, I recorded I Wish!