"Joe Midiri is one of the great swing clarinetists of the past 30 years ... also an excellent alto-saxophonist" "Paul Midiri is an inventive swing vibraphonist, a colorful drummer and a fine trombonist." - Scott Yanow
As many know, my association with Joe and Paul Midiri goes back to Triton Regional High School in Runnemede, NJ, where we met, in the 1970's, and formed our first musical group. We have had our own musical paths/careers, with many (and sometimes prolonged) intersections along the way. Back in the day, the Brothers led a very popular big band and sextet, first in the Atlantic City casinos (and greater area) in the 80's and 90s, then breaking into the tradition minded national jazz festival circuit moving into the 2000's, securing many loyal followers (which you'll get a sense of by searching for videos of them on YouTube, which are copious, and almost all posted by fans!). When I joined the touring group for a few years in the mid-2000's, we revived the trio, to the point of recording a 30 year (at the time) reunion CD: "The Other Brother" (message me if you are interested in a physical copy). Fast forward to the present, and as we approach the 50(!) year anniversary of forming our original teenage group, we are dedicating ourselves to continuing to find new spaces with this fun configuration that, frankly, never grows old. A potential 50 year anniversary tour is in the works (stay tuned). So this page has been created to highlight the original trio, still going (or still crazy) after all these years. :)
The embedded video above is an archived livestream of a June 2022 concert, reviewed by jazz journalist Scott Yanow (below):
"Pianist Joe Holt first met the Midiri Brothers in 1974 while in high school. They played together as teenagers and kept in touch. Holt featured the Midiri Brothers on his 1998 album Avalon as part of a sextet plus six songs as a trio, and he recorded with the Midiri Brothers Orchestra in 1999. More years passed and all three have had rewarding careers.
The pianist hosted a weekly Monday night music series at the Mainstay in Rock Hall, Maryland during 2016-20 until the pandemic shut it down. It has been reborn as the monthly series First Fridays With Joe Holt. Earlier in 2022, Holt invited the Midiri Brothers to join him for a First Friday performance.
Joe and Paul Midiri are twin brothers with many musical talents. Joe Midiri is one of the great swing clarinetists of the past 30 years, infusing the Benny Goodman inspiration with energetic and creative ideas. He is also an excellent alto-saxophonist who at times recalls Tab Smith and Johnny Hodges. Few musicians look less like Louis Armstrong than Midiri but he does a very close imitation of Satch’s singing which never fails to surprise audiences. His brother is also a triple threat for Paul Midiri is an inventive swing vibraphonist, a colorful drummer and a fine trombonist.
At the Mainstay, the trio put on a memorable show. Most of the songs featured the clarinet-piano-drums trio but Joe also doubled on alto and Paul played a few tunes on vibraphone. The night began in relaxed fashion with “Smiles” (which gradually became hot as it progressed) and a sensitive rendition of “Imagination.” An uptempo “China Boy” was reminiscent of the Benny Goodman Trio with Teddy Wilson and Gene Krupa. Paul Midiri switched to vibes for a rollicking rendition of “’S Wonderful.” During a tradeoff by the three musicians, Holt at one point quoted “Rhapsody In Blue” so Joe Midiri answered him by playing the piece’s famous clarinet introduction. Joe switched to alto for a sweet version of “I’m Getting Sentimental Over You” and then the first set concluded with the clarinet-piano-drums trio playing a rather dramatic “Palesteena.”
The second set started with the ironically-titled “Sleep” which was taken at a blazing tempo. Joe Midiri switched to soprano for two songs: a slow and emotional “September Song” (the final bent note was particularly impressive) and Sidney Bechet’s obscure swinger “What A Dream.” A tasteful and relaxed “Indian Summer” preceded the alto-vibes-piano trio on “Just You, Just Me.” The latter had arguably the best piano solo of the night, one propelled by Holt’s left-hand basslines and filled with creative ideas. Joe Midiri did his humorous vocal imitation of Louis Armstrong on “Pennies From Heaven” and then the fun evening concluded with a hot version of “Soft Lights And Sweet Music.”
The reunion of Joe Holt with the Midiri Brothers was a happy occasion, one that hopefully will be repeated often in the future whether as a trio or a sextet. - Scott Yanow
See the Midiri band full schedule here: http://midiribros.com