2015-2016 Season

Luna Stage Production History. Celebrating 26 Seasons!

October 25, 2015

Charlie Apicella & Iron City

"A Tribute to Grant Green"

Charlie Apicella - guitar
Dan Kostelnik - organ
Mayra Casales - congas
Alan Korzin - drums

Tickets $18 in advance; $20 at the door.

Curator Sanford Josephson's new book, "Jeru's Journey: The Life and Music of Gerry Mulligan," will be available for sale in the lobby.

Production Photos

Charlie Apicella & Iron City
Charlie Apicella & Iron City
Charlie Apicella

Guitarist Charlie Apicella is the leader of Iron City. His third CD, Big Boss, is his first on ZOHO Music and his debut as producer. He has been mentored in improvisation and composition by Yusef Lateef, Pat Martino, and Dave Stryker.

Charlie Apicella is an Eastman Guitars Featured Artist, a Guild Guitars Artist, and a ZT Amplifiers Official Artist. He has written lessons for DownBeat and Just Jazz Guitar magazines and has been profiled in Vintage Guitar and Hot House magazines.

"I think you will find that "Sparks" will light the artistic fires of the soul and intellect." - Heartfully, YUSEF LATEEF

"As a player, Apicella immediately brings to mind Grant Green. He's funky, he's bluesy, and he's not afraid to get dirty at times. The perfect illustration of how great this band is together is Charlie's "64 Cadillac." Apicella and band have that perfect jazz rapport that allows them to be tight as hell and play off each other beautifully." - JOHN HEIDT, Vintage Guitar Magazine

"Apicella's playing shines...[he] is aware of the straight-ahead tradition, showcasing his Wes Montgomery influence... Apicella's guitar sound is bright and clean, and easily cuts through the huge sound of the organ." - TIM FISCHER, Just Jazz Guitar Magazine

"Apicella is a lithe, swinging guitarist with an affinity for the contrasting styles of both Grant Green and Wes Montgomery... An all-around impressive debut by a guitarist of substance." - MARK GARDNER, Jazz Journal


Read about Big Boss, the band's new record on ZOHO Music.

Charlie Apicella was featured in the August issue of DownBeat.

About Grant Green

Grant Green

A severely underrated player during his lifetime, Grant Green is one of the great unsung heroes of jazz guitar. He combined an extensive foundation in R&B with a mastery of bebop and simplicity that put expressiveness ahead of technical expertise. Green was a superb blues interpreter, and while his later material was predominantly blues and R&B, he was also a wondrous ballad and standards soloist. He was a particular admirer of Charlie Parker, and his phrasing often reflected it.

Grant Green was born in St. Louis in 1935 (although many records during his lifetime incorrectly listed 1931). He learned his instrument in grade school from his guitar-playing father, and was playing professionally by the age of thirteen with a gospel group. He worked gigs in his home town and in East St. Louis, Illinois -- playing in the '50s with Jimmy Forrest, Harry Edison, and Lou Donaldson -- until he moved to New York in 1960 at the suggestion of Donaldson. Green told Dan Morgenstern in a Down Beat interview: "The first thing I learned to play was boogie-woogie. Then I had to do a lot of rock & roll. It's all blues, anyhow."

During the early '60s, both his fluid, tasteful playing in organ/guitar/drum combos and his other dates for Blue Note established Green as a star, though he seldom got the critical respect given other players. He collaborated with many organists, among them Brother Jack McDuff, Sam Lazar, Baby Face Willette, Gloria Coleman, Big John Patton, and Larry Young. He was off the scene for a bit in the mid-'60s, but came back strong in the late '60s and '70s. Green played with Stanley Turrentine, Dave Bailey, Yusef Lateef, Joe Henderson, Hank Mobley, Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner, and Elvin Jones.

Sadly, drug problems interrupted his career in the '60s, and undoubtedly contributed to the illness he suffered in the late '70s. Green was hospitalized in 1978 and died a year later. Despite some rather uneven LPs near the end of his career, the great body of his work represents marvelous soul-jazz, bebop, and blues.

Although he mentions Charlie Christian and Jimmy Raney as influences, Green always claimed he listened to horn players (Charlie Parker and Miles Davis) and not other guitar players, and it shows. No other player has this kind of single-note linearity (he avoids chordal playing). There is very little of the intellectual element in Green's playing, and his technique is always at the service of his music. And it is music, plain and simple, that makes Greenunique.

Green's playing is immediately recognizable -- perhaps more than any other guitarist. Green has been almost systematically ignored by jazz buffs with a bent to the cool side, and he has only recently begun to be appreciated for his incredible musicality. Perhaps no guitarist has ever handled standards and ballads with the brilliance ofGrant Green. Mosaic, the nation's premier jazz reissue label, issued a wonderful collection The Complete Blue Note Recordings with Sonny Clark, featuring prime early '60s Green albums plus unissued tracks. Some of the finest examples of Green's work can be found there.

Charlie Apicella & Iron City