Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving Everybody!
I thought I would take the time to write a holiday themed update in all its cliched glory!
2013 has been pretty good for my music. I have been gigging the most I have ever in my career. I’ve also had the pleasure of working with some very talented and fine musicians in the Nutmeg State.
Currently the quartet has been enjoying its residency in New Haven playing standards and acoustic jazz alongside ‘plugging in’ and playing rock oriented grooves at clubs in state and beyond. In fact we have our Boston debut in December in Cambridge and I am very excited about it. Hopefully we will be on and the crowd will dig our thing. Lots to look forward to!
Take the time to enjoy the little things and hug those close to you tight. The holiday season is among us so get out and see some music in between all the shopping!

I grew up Punk Rock and it spoiled me rotten.

The first time I started going to see bands was in high school. I was 15 years old and as far as I was concerned the garage bands in my town were the best in the world and their members were who I envied the most.

I grew up in suburban Connecticut which meant a lot of punk rock shows. Most of the bands in my high school were filled with kids like me: dark jeans, chain wallets, t-shirts with band names on them and cheaply dyed hair. I wanted to be these kids so badly.

Then I got my chance in the fall of 2001 when I joined a ska band playing trumpet. My dream came true and I spent the next 5 years playing countless shows across the country while I balanced a lack luster love life and college studying.

Like most former members, I didn’t leave The Flaming Tsunamis on very good terms. In fact I have only kept in touch with one of members since I left. Our music was terrible and our live performances were sloppy but I grew up in those years and I am grateful for that.

The punk and ska scene was a sight to see no matter where you were. From Connecticut to Kansas to California to Canada you always had a friend at a punk rock show. Whether it was at a VFW Hall or a club, the scene was strong with supporters.

Key word: Supporters 

I remember being late for a show in Topeka, Kansas by 3 hours. 3 hours!! And when we rolled up the venue was still packed at 11pm. The whole town came out and waited for us to play because they liked our music and knew there was a good chance we would never be back again. For me at least, that was true.

The Punk scene is a music community that works more efficiently than the municipalities they exist within. Bands have a chance to be showcased and the fans are always welcoming to anyone starting out. You always have a second chance in punk. I can’t tell you how many musicians were in multiple bands, trying and retrying new things just to make some music people would enjoy.

Fans bought all your merch! They wore your t-shirts and bought your CDs and helped you find a place to crash. I slept on more couches of strangers between the years 2003-06 than I ever will for the rest of my life. Moms from all 50 states cooked me food because I played her kids’ show and knew it was days since my last real meal.

You were in it for the friends and the music. 

So then my question is this: Why is there such little scene support in the Nutmeg State? There are so many great artists and bands playing all kinds of styles in various venues and far too many times the audience is bare boned. (Most of these venues are restaurants where only straight ahead groups can really get their foot in the door. Also a built in audience with diners and patrons on a daily basis.)

And that is where my point leads to. There is just not enough support in the jazz scene. I’ve been to too many shows, primarily at the Outer Space, where there are no more than 3 people in the audience.


I honestly don’t get it and I have been trying to figure out a plan to fight this lack of attendance for 2 years now. I’ve brought in special guests, thrown festivals and booked bands both local and from far and still every week we scrape by with a joke in terms of numbers. The best part is, there are so many great things happening!! So many cats are playing hip original music and I’ve witnessed tons of excellent shows!

Why don’t people come out?

There’s no cover, there’s tons of great beer, good atmosphere and a welcoming staff and still nothing. I understand life gets in the way and I’m not asking for the same people to come every week but come on. (Its also funny that the more demanding musicians are the ones who never come at all.)

I hate to think its the lack of money. I have this conversation/argument with a lot of cats. Believe I AM always going to work to get my band members paid for their work, but I also love to play jazz music. I take a restaurant gig when I want to make some scratch and then I take a venue like the OS and make money off the door. (And if it is about money, then we should  be working together to get fair and even wages instead of stabbing each other in back.) The joy of playing is sometimes plenty enough. I mean, I gig in NYC frequently and have never been given a guarantee. I play those gigs because I want people to hear my music and I want to make music with like minded people. The Outer Space doesn’t guarantee money to bands and God Dammit that’s how it works in the rock world! You play for the door cover!! Why is that so hard to accept?? You’re not playing for free. Its not a bar that makes money off of a steady stream of patrons, its an arts space.

And a damn good one if you ask me.

I’m grateful for having a place like the Outer Space to perform in.

..and it sickens me knowing so many take it for granted.

The Beatnik, Digitized.

Good morning everybody!

I wanted to announce that my album The Beatnik is now available as a digital download on my Bandcamp page. Real copies are still available if you send me an email requesting one but if you’re one of those “I gave up on physical media,” check out the site and download it.

Thanks, as always for supporting niche-indie-real-nonautotuned music!


Too Big For Their Britches

Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!

Did anyone realize how unimportant their music is in this world? Music?! Stop there! I should say Total Existence on Planet Earth!

Whether you come from a small, tight knit suburban music scene or a tight middle sized New Haven-esq type scene or a “little fish in a big pond major city” type music scene, let’s face it: Reputation Matters.

Not just, reputation but the way in which you treat others. I work and live within the confines of a tight middle sized music scene in the New Haven area. Many of the musicians in these parts know and work with each other in some degree or fashion. I’ve even known some of these musicians since high school and our garage band days. In fact I’m quite proud to see some of the guys I first played with grow into serious musicians and see their success. Some have even made it a habit of working with some heavy hitting groups and artists. Just recently I got to talk with a pal who I haven’t seen in years but is climbing his way up the indie rock ladder. I’m sure some of you have heard of The Stepkids. Great band and its awesome talking with their drummer Tim, a classmate of mine in college and talking shop. Don’t forget the little people when you spend a day in your gold plated jacuzzi someday!

Since creating the Jazz Series at the Outer Space in Hamden in the winter of 2011, I have been able to work with many more musicians from all around and see the business side of the scene from a different perspective. I started to realize why so many talented musicians never seem to get the amount of work that you would expect. Mostly, because they act like jerks to people.

You wouldn’t believe the demands I receive from musicians when booking a date for the series. From money to food to crowd expectation. I mean don’t get me wrong. Musicians deserve their earnings. I support that just as much as anyone else. However, I know when not to be an asshole to people. Talking down to a fellow musician or booker while talking yourself up, is no way to make a career. I learned from Eddie Henderson once: “You never want animosity on the bandstand, because its the music that suffers the most.” Can’t get any more simple than that.

We all have stories to tell and retell again and again of a time someone was a serious dumb ass on a gig. (I won’t get into firing a bandmate when I found out he said some inappropriate stuff to my friend’s girlfriends…. and mine own… at the same party.) But honestly, are these cats aware of their behavior? Sometimes I hope not because it would be quite irritating knowing they’re aware of it and think its ok.

Maybe I’m just a bleeding heart liberal who thinks of a perfect society where a jazz club exists on every block and every musician treats each other fairly and the gigs are plentiful and the money is astronomical and there’s free candy day and gas costs barely anything and you can watch Looney Tunes  again and your girlfriend doesn’t turn the TV off when you want to watch Lethal Weapon for the 2nd time that day in between Rocky marathons!

I digress.

Let me get to the point of this post because if you’ve read this far, well, I owe you.

When a musician treats you badly, you can just hire another. Simple. When a show promoter treats you badly. It affects the scene. We have such a show promoter in the Nutmeg State. Someone who thinks they are the only game in town and just because they work within the network they can treat people like shit. It grinds my gears this Naplolean-God like complex and I’ve noticed that some club owners embrace it because let’s face it, the organizer brings business. I can’t blame the club owners for it, I want them in business just as much as anyone else. But, I can bitch about it on the internet! Booyah!

I like to think that I treat each musician I work with, whether on the bandstand or as a booking agent for the series, equally. I offer them the same fair deal as everyone else and do my best to spread their sound when I can. But the organizers of one particular booking agency in Connecticut (face it, we all know who I’m talking about) need to realize you can’t act like an asshole to people. It creates negative karma for you. One day there will be a young kid like you, trying to do the same work and they’ll have a better situation because they’ll know your reputation and how 99% of the people who work with you think you’re a fucking scumbag. Lastly, stop treating people like dirt because its only a matter of time before someone “socks you in the mouth.”

Just be cool, people.

Breaking into the scene.

Hey folks

I’m writing to you on a beautiful day in Somerville, MA. Despite the tragedy that occurred two days ago during the marathon, there’s a sense of community happening. The two best parts of the day so far is the sense I feel like I’m back home in New Haven, and the guy next to me is reading this month’s Avengers. I took time off from comics a couple of years ago because big boy adult bills needed my money’s attention. He was kind enough to give me an update on what’s going on with my favorite Marvel heroes.

Ok so the point of this post is to just get some ideas out in the internet about how freakin’ hard it is to book gigs in other cities. I remember back in my old ska-punk days we used to play shows in MA, RI, NY and NJ all the time and I mean our music was pretty terrible, and our stage show was even worse. Yet how did we manage to play to so many audiences. I began to ponder.

First off, I realized most shows in the punk scene are put on by show promoters renting out a local VFW hall. Most of the profit went to paying for the space and the rest divided amongst about half a dozen bands who got to drive 60 miles to play a 30 minute rushed set to a bunch of sweaty teenagers who were certain no one felt the pain that they did.

So ok, I won’t be bringing my band into any VFW halls any time soon but I did open my eyes when I thought about how many times my old ska band tried desperately to get a club date and didn’t succeed. We opened for Rise Against in GA agreeing to play for only 15 minutes. Fuckin’ desperate times.

I have been emailing and calling so many venues in the northeast its insane. It seems like everyday I’m either sending a follow-up or a brand new email to a venue. It’s funny how you have to talk yourself up so much, but in the end the club just wants to know if you’ll help them make money. Not being local is not a good thing to admit. The club assumes immediately that you won’t draw and they’d hang up the phone if they knew I couldn’t guarantee a draw back home.

Also, when you are networking a venue in another state you don’t get the chance to sit in with a band or go on a busy/dead night, have a drink and bullshit with the owners. Sometimes its worth the investment to have a couple rounds and get the vibe of the joint before you play there. You never know who you’re talking to. Once I was having a drink at a bar, minding my own business when I started chatting with a woman next to me. I thought she was a cougar on the prowl which at the time I was totally cool with….turned out she was the owner’s wife and put in a good word for me. Needless to say I got some work out of that joint and I’ll let you decide if I saw her again.

So anyway, I’ll quit here before I really start to rant but wish me luck. If you know any club owners in Boston and Providence, I’d appreciate any good words you can throw in.



Been busy

Hey folks-

I just finally found a moment to sit down and update the website and here goes my attempt at any kind of informational harbinger for all of you to enjoy… because I know you all have been waiting to hear what I’ve been up to.

The newest news! I have yet another album out. This time its by one of my many side projects with Jeff Cedrone and Mike Rasimas called the Zero Dollar Trio. We recorded a live performance at The Outer Space, Hamden’s and perhaps Greater New Haven’s best and only legit jazz club.

The trio plays completely free and full of every genre and style you can think of. Jeff is a gizmo guy who often times also shreds your face off with his riff, Marc Ribot style guitar playing. On the album he also doubled on synthesizer which was absolutely killer to improvise over. Mike Rasimas is one of the best drummers I’ve ever worked with. He’s one of those few drummers who listens to everything you spill out and knows how to support you and give the occasion push off the cliff into musical bitchin’-ness.

The three of us don’t get to play together too often due to our pursuits so its a very exciting feeling to release a record together. Having it from a live gig also makes it enjoyable because any musician can attest to the energy you feel from a crowd.

You can check out the record at

So the snow ruined a lot. Haha, in fact my life is over. Ok, not really.

So in February, we had a record setting blizzard. 30 inches of snow in less than 24 hours. Needless to say it was pretty nuts. It took me three days to shovel out. The snow cancelled 4 gigs in a row including the Winter Jazz Festival we were on the line up for at The Outer Space. The show had us with 4 other groups and all the profits were going to be donated to Jimmy Greene and his family in memory of his daughter. I was so pumped to play the new quartet album for potentially a huge audience. Luckily though, the snow did not cancel the CD Release party the following weekend.

The response to the new album, The Beatnik, is really positive. Modestly I’ll admit people have been saying they not only like the over all sound but the compositions and the playing. Doesn’t get any better than that!

We have gigs every saturday this month so I’m looking forward to playing the material and getting more copies to more, and especially new, sets of ears!

Lastly in terms of new albums, I’m planning another live record for this summer. I’m hoping to do a sextet date with an added tenor saxophone and trombone and play some new originals and lesser known jazz classics. I’ve been obsessed with Herbie Hancock’s Speak Like A Child and am in the process of arranging it so it can be played with the band in the same style we play Toys. In the same vein I’ve been writing new compositions in the style of Mwandishi, and early electric Miles. I really don’t mind it that my influences are so obvious in my sound. They made me who I am and how I play right? Let my voice evolve from that.

I’ve been on a quest to get the band or at least myself in other cities. My ultimate dream is to gig in Portland, Seattle and Frisco with a local rhythm section and hopefully one day my own. In the mean time I’ve been networking for gigs in Philadelphia, Providence and Boston. Being an unknown jazz musician makes it tougher than ever. We’ll see but the more I network and sit in with other bands the better chances.

Well that’s good for now. See you in the funnies.


Winter Festivities

I’m definitely looking forward to this weekend.

We will be a part of the Winter Jazz Festival at the Outer Space club in Hamden, CT. The Outer Space is a great club in the greater New Haven area that we frequent quite often. In fact we recorded a live album there last year, released last October, entitled: Still Cool: Live at The Outer Space.

We will be joined with 4 other Connecticut groups: Ian Haile 5tet, Shane Peters Trio, MLB Trio, and Tre Bella. I am so excited to hear these groups take the stage.

Hope to see you there,

The Buttonwood Tree last weekend

I am still feeling the great vibes from last Saturday night!

The band performed at Middletown’s Buttonwood Tree. Its a performance space right on Main Street that neighbors many local bars and restaurant. I’ve played at TBT numerous times with my quartet and my experimental group, The Zero Dollar Trio.
Most times there hadn’t been much of a crowd. It always felt like there would be a couple people who politely listened for a tune or two then left. In terms of ZDT, we actually made 4 people walk out due to the absence of open mindedness and musical taste.

This last weekend was a very different surprise. We had one of the most receptive audiences I’ve ever had. Normally I don’t care if there’s people listening; the band is always playing our hearts out regardless but I mean come on, let’snot kid ourselves here.

We played music from the two albums and two brand new compositions that had only been played once before. The band aced them like they had been in the book for years!!

One of the new compositions was the Mwandishi influenced ‘Esoteric,’ a tune with multiple cued sections that rely more on group improvisation than changes and structure. The other, ‘Brand New Package’ is more along the lines of an early 70’s funk tune a la “Willie Nelson,”  “Its About That Time,” or “Spanish Key.” I was very pleased by the results.

Although the CD release is coming up, it was the first gig that our new record was available at and the response was incredible. People have been commenting on the “fluid and original” writing of the compositions and the high level of playing. I can’t not stress how humble and in awe I am. I can’t wait for the CD Release!


Some Upcoming Events

Hey folks!

Happy New Year!

Lots going on. The live album (Nick Di Maria Quintet Still Cool: Live at the Outer Space) got a great reception from those who listened to it. Many people were telling me that they wanted a physical copy so the band and I decided to have it pressed. Hopefully it will be out and in stores soon.

Speaking of albums, the next studio release The Beatnik is now coming together and I can not stress how proud of this project I am. The band sounded great and I am very grateful for all the help we got from Firehouse 12 in New Haven.

I’m looking forward to 2 big shows that are going on at the Outer Space in Hamden, CT. On 2/10/13 we will be part of the Outer Space Winter Jazz Festival a day long event with 4 other local acts. All proceeds will go to donation. The band is also welcoming saxophonist Greg La Pine to join the stage with us.

The other big event is the Outer Space Presents Saxophonist Wayne Escoffrey. For the last year, the Outer Space Jazz Series has been bringing in talent from the NYC jazz scene. Wayne is the next veteren to show us how things are done in Hamden.

I hope the New Year is treating you all very well. Hope to see you at some shows.

Come hang.