Meet The Windy City Band of Brothers
Born and raised in Baltimore's Little Italy, Carmine has been playing the drums since he was 6 1/2 years old. He attended the Peabody Conservatory and Towson University, where he studied composition with Hank Levy. and percussion under Dale Rauschenberg. He also performed with the Towson University Jazz Ensemble for 4 years as a conga player and latin percussionist, and appears on the '76 & '77 albums.
After graduation he began his career as a full time 6-night a week gigging drummer, which lasted for over 21 years. He's played with the Baltimore/DC areas most well-known and prestigious show-bands—Brass Menagerie, the "2nd Coming" band and the "Admirals", and is a 3-time inductee in the Maryland Entertainment Hall of Fame. He is the founder and leader of this madcap organization we call Windy City.
Music has never been a job for Norm…it’s more of a passion. Whether it started at the age of 3 banging on toy drum sets, or using keyboard toys to mimic TV theme songs, Norm was destined to be a player...and what a player he has become!
He became a huge Chicago fan around age 13, and discovered the guitar and Terry Kath, which surely sealed his musical direction. Piano and organ lessons, drumming videos from Danny Seraphine and Dave Garibaldi, all sparked the incentive and have influenced Norm along the way, making him into one of the most well-rounded players in the Windy City organization. And when you combine the drive, the talent and the versatility, you get one of the deep core members who strengthens the rhythm section both inside and out. He's also a taskmaster for getting things right the first time, which makes Windy City a cut above.
If you could play guitar like Terry Kath, people would say that’s an amazing accomplishment. If you could sing like Peter Cetera, you would most likely be considered a top-shelf entertainer. But if you could do both, and perform them both equally as well? That’s a “one of a kind” entertainment package, whom Windy City simply refers to
Paul has music flowing his veins. His grandfather composed and directed a local theatre group from the 30’s through the 50’s. His father sang barbershop and performed from the 1970’s. Paul has appeared in musical theater, pop groups, and even sang the national anthem for "Cal"ebration, honoring Cal Ripken. More recently, Paul had the opportunity to meet and perform with Jason Scheff from Chicago, igniting the flame that brought him to Windy City. When you hear Paul perform, you'll know you're hearing the real deal! Oh, and thanks Jason, Windy City owes
Another inductee into the Maryland Entertainment Hall of Fame, Phil was born and raised in Dundalk, MD. Phil started playing at the early age of 10. But it wasn’t bass guitar that called him. It was mandolin. And his first band, the "Premiers”, was a traveling talent show band, performing for the troops at various army bases. Later, at the ripe old age of 16, he began playing bass and joined the Jetsons, the Tangiers, (who later became the Civics), and performed at all the local venues around town, including some of the most prestigious venues available
Phil and Carmine produce the pulse and heartbeat of Windy City, and you just couldn't ask for a more solid foundation to an already amazing band. On a lighter note, Phil claims to be the oldest and shortest member of the band, but age has proven to be irrelevant in this amazing group of players. And when the opportunity presents itself, we just have him stand on a box to see the audience. LOL
As a trumpet player with over 40 years of experience, Ray has had a long, and successful career. Graduating from Towson University, Ray studied jazz improvisation and arranging with the world-renowned composer, Hank Levy, and from 1975-1978, and again from 1997-2003, he performed with one of Baltimore’s premier pop show-bands, the “Admirals”. He too, is an inductee in the MD Entertainment Hall of Fame.
For the last 20 years, Ray has been active producing, composing, and arranging film scores, jingles, and Radio/TV Spots with Sonority Records, his recording and production facility. Among the clients are the National Institutes of Health, IBM, CNN, U.S.I.A., GTSI, The Learning Channel, U.S. Naval Academy, and many others.
Ray is currently principal trumpet with the Baltimore Philharmonia Orchestra, lead trumpet with Doc Scantlin's Orchestra, jazz soloist with the Hank Levy Legacy Band, and the solo trumpet voice of the Windy City band.
Bob is a man of few words but speaks loudly through his playing. Covering all the saxes and flute has been and will be his specialty with Windy City. He too was a product of the Hank Levy era at Towson University from 1975-1976. As you can see, he’s in good company with Ray, Carmine and Steve, and adds a solid foundation to round out our 3 man horn section,
Bob has performed with many jazz standards groups ranging from trios to large swing bands. But jazz is only one facet, as he has performed with rock and pop bands from the Baltimore/DC area, playing for special events at the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore Museum of Art, and "Die Musik". He has been a member of the Blue Moon Swing Band, The “Admirals” showband, Gazze and the “Jury”. Have you noticed a common thread here…the “Admirals”, the “Jury”, Hank Levy….most of us all been traveling a common road, forming our Windy City band of brothers ideology.
Griz Gifford has enjoyed a truly blessed musical career. He met the members of Chicago when he was just out of high school and the band he played with opened for Chicago at one of their early concerts. He went on performing at the highest levels with the BSO, the Maryland Ballet and the Chesapeake Opera. When in New York City, he played Broadway, and even a jazz gig with Wynton Marsalis. His performance credits include: Michael Jackson, Liza Minnelli, Tom Jones, Jerry Lewis, Redd Foxx, Mel Torme, Glen Campbell, Patti LaBelle, Diahann Carroll, Johnny Mathis, Dionne Warwick, Robert Goulet, Liberace. He has also played with top Motown artists, including the Temptations, The Four Tops, the O’Jays, Gladys Knight, Aretha Franklin, and Isaac Hayes. But Griz cut his teeth playing the music of Chicago, so it is fitting that he has come full circle, back to the music he first fell in love with as a young trombonist.
Griz is the Music Dept. Chair and Band Director at Friends School of Baltimore. He is a truly a welcomed addition to the Windy City lineup.