If Joe Martini has his way, the Tri-City Elks Lodge in Warwick could become known as the West Shore Show Place.
“The Elks do a lot for charity,” said Martini, who is Lodge 14’s House Committee Chairman. “So why not include the arts? After all, people love music, they love to dance.”
Next Friday evening, March 9, people will have an opportunity to listen and dance to one of the hottest rhythm and blues horn bands in the country at the Tri-City Elks Lodge 14 on West Shore Road.
Roger Ceresi’s All Starz & The AllStar Horns will kick off this new concept with a program especially designed to pay tribute to such great music legends of the 1950s and ’60s, such as Louis Prima, Fats Domino, Elvis, Chuck Berry, B.B King and Ray Charles, just to name a few.
“We’re honored and thrilled to have Roger Ceresi’s band playing here. The group has performed at many impressive venues throughout the United States and Europe. And just this week, the All Starz announced they’ve been invited back to Waterfire for an unprecedented eighth straight year,” said Martini.
During those Waterfire events, Ceresi’s All Starz has turned the Sovereign Bank Plaza in Downtown Providence into an outdoor ballroom, where hundreds upon hundreds of people have enjoyed and danced to their music.
Said Gary Calvino, an executive staffer after one of last summer’s Waterfires, “A million thank you’s for your great outstanding performance this past Saturday [May 28]. You put on an amazing show that kept the entire crowd dancing and smiling.”
It’s all systems go for March 9 and Martini is hoping that “this is the start of something new and exciting in the way of a concert series featuring great music people can dance to.”
Tickets are priced at $12 per person for what Martini is calling “a special premier” at the (Elks) Lodge. Martini said that only 220 tickets will be sold and the event will run from 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.
When asked what kind of music Roger Ceresi’s All Starz play, Martini said, “Nothing but the greatest!”
He added, “Roger’s got powerful vocals that lead the way and his ability to motivate and incite crowd participation is special. The All Starz will deliver high energy jump blues, rhythm and blues with a bit of rock and roll.”
Just who makes up Roger Ceresi’s All Starz?
The horn section includes Carl Queforth on trombone, John Abrahamsen on trumpet and Barry Fleischer on saxophone. Then there’s “Riverside Rob” Nelson on guitar and vocals, Papa Dick Souza on upright bass and electric bass, Matt McCabe on electric piano and Joey Sullivan on drums.
Queforth, in fact, produces all the group’s CDs and is a Grammy-nominated producer. He and McCabe also played with the famed Roomful of Blues. And during the show, each of the All Starz will be in a solo spotlight.
“All Roger’s guys have quite a list of credits,” Martini said. “They’ve all played with such legends [as] Stevie Ray Vaughan, Lou Rawls, Pat Benatar, Martha Reeves, Gladys Knight ... the list is almost endless. We are very excited about March 9.”
The same holds true for Ceresi, a Hall of Fame-quality performer who has enjoyed a highly successful 30-year career as an artist.
“I’ve lived in Boston, Los Angeles and played all over the country ... from the East Coast to the West Coast,” Ceresi said. “It’s been a great ride and we’re still going strong.”
Ceresi’s musical interests date back to when he was just 5 years old, but he didn’t play his first instrument – a trumpet – until the fourth grade. The horn, though, was soon replaced by drums.
“I could truly excel on the drums,” Ceresi said. “The drums were also an instrument that gave me an outlet to release my spirit in a powerful and energetic way.”
Ceresi took drum lessons with several great drummers like Rocco Ruggiano, Arti Cabral and the world renowned Allan Dawson. He majored in classical piano and voice at Rhode Island College where he was offered a scholarship in classical voice. He then went to the famed Berklee College of Music, where he majored in piano and arranging and composition.
From there, Ceresi went on to play drums for many years in rock, jazz, horn and show bands. There was a time when he used to come out front and do an Elvis impersonation. That’s when he realized that fronting a band was where he felt most alive.
And from then on Ceresi never looked back. He began studying voice with Boston’s Dante Pavone, who tutored artists such as Michael Jackson, Diana Ross and Steven Tyler, and then in Los Angeles with Seth Riggs, who taught all the musical greats.
Ceresi was with the rock and roll band The Breakers during the 1970s and ’80s, which played up and down the East Coast. He headlined other groups like the Good Thunder and Freeway Philharmonic in Los Angeles.
But for the past decade it has been Roger Ceresi’s All Starz & AllStar Horns, a mighty eight-man music machine that next Friday, March 9, will kick off a program that Martini hopes becomes a summer concert series and turns the Tri-City Elks Lodge into a special venue known as the West Shore Show Place.
People who’d like to purchase tickets may call the Elks Lodge at (401) 737-9510.