February 17 – Midiri Brothers Sextet with special guest Jeff Barnhart

Stu Ingersoll Jazz Concert





The Midiri Brothers have had a long and celebrated career honing their craft in jazz, big band, swing music, and classical.  As regular performers at jazz festivals across the nation, the Midiri Brothers have entertained audiences with their creative style and energy.  Joe Midiri is considered a virtuoso of clarinet and saxophone and a noted jazz educator.  Paul’s varied talents include vibraphone, drums, and trombone.  The flexibility and caliber of performers of the Midiri Brothers group has earned them a reputation for excellence and creative style.

Co-sponsored by The Clark Group and Tower Laboratories, Ltd.

Where and When:

John Winthrop Middle School School
1 John Winthrop Middle School Drive, Deep River, CT
Click here to view in Google Maps

Sunday, February 17

Concert begins at 3:00 pm; doors open at 2:00 pm

Concert Program:

The phenomenal Midiri Brothers bring their swinging sextet (including our jazz advisor Jeff Barnhart) to EWS in a concert featuring the music of reeds giants Benny Goodman, Jimmy Noone, Artie Shaw, Sidney Bechet and more!  Expect to hear great selections such as Star Dust, Begin the Beguine, Avalon, Moonglow, Stompin’ at the Savoy, and many surprises in the most talked about jazz program of the year!

Artist Biography:


Paul Midiri: Co-Leader, Vibraphone

Paul Midiri, along with his brother Joe, co-leads the 16 piece Midiri Brothers Orchestra as well as various small group ensembles. The Midiri Brothers Sextet performs jazz arrangements of standards, clasical music, as well as originals, many of them arranged by Paul.
His many instrumental talents lend a special versatility to the Midiri Brothers unique sound. His specialty is jazz vibraphone with the sextet. Paul’s love of the vibes, and xylophone has led him to arrange numerous pieces for the sextet to give these instruments a proper setting. His extended virtuosity includes playing trombone and drums with the sextet where his brush work is often featured. Paul can be heard performing with the sextet across the country in many jazz festivals including the Sun Valley Jazz Jubilee, Pismo Jubilee By The Sea, the Capital city Jazz Fest as well as performer/clinician for the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Camp.

Joseph Midiri: Co-Leader, Reeds

Joseph Midiri is an instrumentalist on the clarinet, alto, baritone and soprano saxophones.  Not only featured as a classical soloist in several orchestra performances, he is also the leader of the Midiri Brothers Orchestra.  The Midiri Brothers Orchestra is a sixteen piece big band featuring authentic yet creative performances of the music of Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Fletcher Henderson, and the Dorsey Brothers, including the orchestra’s own special arrangements in the tradition of the swing era, all under the direction of Mr. Midiri.

In the classical world, Mr. Midiri has performed as soloist with the Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia, the Tri State Philharmonic, the Venice Florida symphony and the Bucks County Symphony Orchestra. Also, Mr. Midiri has performed at various music festivals including the Pensacola Jazz Festival, the Trenton State College Jazz Festival, the Pennsylvania Jazz Festival, Sun Valley Jazz and Music Festival and the Pismo Beach Jubilee by the Sea.

The Midiri Brothers latest independent recordings “Simply Splendid” and “City Lights” are featured as part of the regular programming of nationally syndicated radio programs such. Joseph Midiri has also authored two clarinet methods, currently in use by students through out the country, and is currently working on a jazz etude book due out this summer.  He is also active as both a performer and clinician in schools across the country.

Danny Tobias: Jazz Cornet, Trumpet

Danny Tobias is an old-fashioned jazz player in the best modern way, at home in any swinging jazz context. Like his heroes Buck Clayton and Ruby Braff, he loves melody, his improvisations have a beautiful shape, and he is always recognizably himself. Danny didn’t learn his jazz from a textbook but through experience – early gigs with Ed Metz Jr., Joe and Paul Midiri, Joe Holt, and a fifteen-year musical apprenticeship with drummer Tony DiNicola and master clarinetist Kenny Davern. Danny’s quietly lyrical cornet can be heard at jazz festivals across the United States. www.DannyTobias.com

Pat Mercuri: Guitar, Banjo

Pat Mercuri plays guitar with the Midiri Brothers.  On guitar, mandolin and banjo, he is also one of the Philadelphia area’s most experienced free-lance musicians. Along with his jazz concerts, travel and recording with the Midiri Brothers, Pat engages in a wide range of performance activities, playing jazz, pop and classical music.  In addition, he has frequently played guitar, mandolin and banjo for The Philadelphia Orchestra, for the New York Philharmonic, and with a variety of opera and ballet orchestras.  Pat also has long experience playing for theater and show orchestras in Philadelphia, Atlantic City and New York.

Over the years, Pat has appeared on network TV, accompanying English singer Russell Watson both on his PBS special and on ABC’s Good Morning America.  He also composed and performed music for a PBS documentary which aired in 2007.

Over the years, classical music concerts with Orchestra 2001 have taken Pat to some interesting places: St. Petersburg and Moscow in Russia, as well as England, Denmark, China and Cuba.  He also traveled to Switzerland, Germany and England to play for the 2006 European tour by The Philadelphia Orchestra and to Shanghai in 2017 with the New York Philharmonic.

Pat also enjoys performing music from the Italian-American experience.  Playing both mandolin and guitar, he has led his Sounds of Italy ensembles for countless private and public events throughout the Philadelphia region.Traditional jazz is another specialty for Pat, with countless performances as a member of Jerry Rife’s Rhythm Kings, the Blue Skies quartet, Ed Wise’s New Orleans Jazz Band and The Dixie Kings. Pat continues to perform and to teach private lessons while also teaching instrumental music for the Hamilton Township, NJ public schools.

Jack Hegyi: Bass

Since 2003, Jack Hegyi has performed as the traveling Bassist for Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme. A veteran showroom bassist in Atlantic City, Jack has played for hundreds of stars, including: Anthony Newley, Bob Hope, Billy Eckstine, Ray Anthony Big Band, The Smothers Brothers, Jackie Mason, Connie Francis, Glen Miller Orchestra, Bobby Rydell, Patti Lupone, George Benson, Tony Orlando & Dawn, Kathy Lee Gifford & Regis Philbin, Debbie Reynolds, Charo, Eddie Rabbitt, Loretta Lynn, Lesley Gore, Danny Thomas, Joel Grey, Rich Little, Carol Channing, Jerry Vale. Sid Caesar, Carol Lawrence, Michel Legrand, Frankie Avalon, Helen Forest, Al Martino, Jerry Vale, and Mel Torme. Book shows include: Meet Me in St. Louis, Little Shop of Horrors, City of Angels, My One and Only, Some Like It Hot, Ziegfeld- a Night at the Follies, Gypsy, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Sugar Babies, Fiddler on the Roof, The Sound of Music, Forever Plaid, Nunsense, Legends in Concert and Guys and Dolls and many others.

Jack over the years has been part of the Worship Teams in the Home churches that he and his family have attended and has played with some of the wonderful Christian artists as well. Currently Jack performs duties as bassist for the wonderful Midiri Brothers, City Rhythm Orchestra of Philadelphia, the Barbone Street Jazz Band, and the Eric Mintel Quartet, and Joe Mancini at Steve and Cookies By The Bay, in Margate, NJ.

Jim Lawlor: Drums

Jim Lawlor came to music performance late at age 20. He had moved to the new gambling “mecca”, Atlantic City NJ, in 1979 from his native Philadelphia and found it bursting with anticipation. After navigating some rough starts, he found his mentor, local legend Chris Columbo, who had been a long time drummer with the famous Louis Jordan’s Tympani Five, and had a house band at Harlem’s Savoy Ballroom in 1937. He was also the father of Count Basie Orchestra drumming legend Sonny Payne. A strong friendship grew between them and Chris freely shared his great knowledge of jazz history, having been a big part of it himself. He helped Jim learn how to approach drums from a fully musical direction, centering on the supportive and dynamic playing drummers need to perform in a band setting, as well as an intense education in how to “swing” a band.

The strong musical scene at the time gave Jim free access to a never ending list of greats from which to glean information directly, or to just hang out, and quietly listen. He befriended several of them, and he feels deeply indebted to their kindness and to their memory.
Jim became a familiar face in many Casino lounges and clubs from Philly to “A.C.” as well as up and down the Jersey Coast. He spent several years in a band with his great guitarist brother and singer John, performing swing music in an era that much predated the swing revival, even out-drawing local seashore rock venues (including one featuring “The Hooters”).

He first played with the Midiri brothers on New Years Eve 1988 at the Sands Hotel in Atlantic City, and the rest is history. Successful runs with their small groups and large orchestra ensued, and it is a musical and personal friendship that endures. They travel the country together, often to the west coast, performing in concerts and jazz festivals.

Jeff Barnhart: Piano

Jeff Barnhart is an internationally renowned pianist, vocalist, arranger, bandleader, recording artist, an ASCAP composer, educator and entertainer.  Jeff began his professional career at age 14 playing and entertaining four nights a week in a restaurant in his home state of Connecticut. Here he began to learn the classic swing, jazz and ragtime repertoire of the early 20th century. The 21st century has found Jeff constantly appearing as a soloist and band pianist at parties, festivals, clubs and cruises throughout the world.  In addition, he leads two bands in the UK: the Fryer-Barnhart International Jazz Band, which concentrates on hot music of the 1920’s, and Jeff Barnhart’s British Band, which performs small group swing of the 30’s. Due to his versatility, vast repertoire and vibrant energy, Jeff is in constant demand as a participant in international jazz events as either a soloist or as pianist in All-Star Jazz ensembles. In addition to his widely acclaimed solo and band appearances, Jeff is enjoying great success performing with smaller groups, most notably Ivory&Gold®, a group he co-leads with his talented wife, flutist/vocalist Anne Barnhart. Ivory&Gold® has become a mainstay at many jazz and ragtime festivals throughout the US, the UK and Europe.

Jeff enjoys playing dual piano and has done so with such jazz luminaries as Ralph Sutton, Neville Dickie, Louis Mazetier, John Sheridan and Brian Holland. In addition to his own label, Jazz Alive Records, Jeff plays piano and sings on the international labels GHB, Summit-World Jazz Records, Music Minus One, and the two largest jazz labels in the UK, Lake Records and P.E.K. Sound.  In 2006, Jeff joined the roster of artists featured on the Arbors Records label, with 4 recordings currently available:  the most recent featuring jazz legends Bob Wilber and Bucky Pizzarelli. Jeff has recorded as both pianist and vocalist on over 100 full-length albums.  He averages 40 weeks a year on the road, bringing his music to all corners of the globe. Music composer, performer and reviewer Jack Rummel, recently summed up the reason for Jeff’s popularity, averring, “When it comes to talent, speed, versatility, creativity, mastery of multiple genres and just plain entertaining zaniness, Jeff Barnhart stands alone”.

In addition to his active performance and recording schedule, Jeff is a dedicated and enthusiastic educator.  His double BA in Music and English, combined with his MA in Education, make Jeff a formidable and entertaining force in the clinic, master class and inspirational speaking forums. In the first quarter of 2015, he and Anne have appeared as clinicians at Lone Star College in Kingwood, TX, The University of Colorado Denver and Mississippi State University.

Contact Information

Essex Winter Series
PO Box 383
Essex, CT 06426


Email: office@essexwinterseries.com

Tickets and Subscriptions

Memberships, Program Advertising and all other inquiries

Our Venues:

Valley Regional High School
Kelsey Hill Road
Deep River, CT 06417

Click here to view in Google Maps

John Winthrop Middle School
1 John Winthrop Jr High School Drive
Deep River, CT 06417
Click here to view in Google Maps

Old Saybrook High School
1111 Boston Post Road
Old Saybrook, CT 06475
Click here to view in Google Maps








© Copyright 2017 Essex Winter Series. Essex Winter Series is 501(c)3 non-profit organization that has provided quality arts presentations for the Connecticut River Valley and Shoreline communities since 1978. EIN#06-0991889.