Ed Palermo Big Band

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The Ed Palermo Big Band
Background information
GenresJazz, rock
Years active1977–present
LabelsVile Heifer, Pro Jazz, Astor Place, Cuneiform
  • Ed Palermo
  • Ronnie Buttacavoli
  • John Bailey
  • Charlie Gordon
  • Joe Fiedler
  • Matt Ingman
  • Cliff Lyons
  • Phil Chester
  • Ben Kono
  • Bill Straub
  • Barbara Cifelli
  • Bob Quaranta
  • Ted Kooshian
  • Paul Adamy
  • Ray Marchica
  • Bruce McDaniel
  • Katie Jacoby

The Ed Palermo Big Band is a big band that has been active for over thirty years, playing the compositions and arrangements of their leader, saxophonist Ed Palermo. The band is known for Palermo's arrangements of the music of Frank Zappa.

Ed Palermo[edit]

Ed Palermo started playing the alto saxophone and the guitar in high school. By that time he knew he wanted to be a musician. Early influences that pushed him in that direction were the Beatles and the Mothers of Invention.[1] Palermo also discovered a love for the music of Edgar Winter while in high school. This inspired him to emulate musicians such as Cannonball Adderley, Phil Woods,[2] and Charlie Parker. In college he switched from alto saxophone to tenor saxophone due to influences from John Coltrane, Michael Brecker, and David Liebman. After graduating college, Palermo moved to New York in order to become a jazz tenor saxophonist. At this point, an album called "Impact" by Charles Tolliver inspired him to try his hand at arranging. Palermo looked to his friend Dave LaLama, already an arranger, for advice and he began to compose and arrange music.[3] Soon he began playing with Tito Puente, and during this time, assembled a group which later expanded into the big band bearing his name.[4]

Early years[edit]

In 1977 Ed Palermo assembled a nine-piece band to play his own compositions. The small group expanded into a big band and began a three-year residency at a New York club called Seventh Avenue South. During this time the band played primarily compositions by its leader along with his arrangements of other music. After three years, they were replaced by Gil Evans.[3]

In 1982 they recorded their first LP and released it as Ed Palermo under a label called Vile Heifer. Later the LP became known as Papier Mache after the first song on the album. This LP featured guests such as Randy Brecker, David Sanborn, and Edgar Winter. The material on this album was mostly Palermo's original work, except for a few pieces that were co-written.[3]

Due to the hassle involved in producing an album under one's own label, the Ed Palermo Big Band did not release another album until a record company showed interest. This happened in 1987. Ping Pong was released by Pro Jazz Records and featured much different material from the first album This album featured less complicated music and more swing. From 1987–1993 the band alternated performing at the clubs Visiones and the Bitter End.[3]

Recent years[edit]

After Frank Zappa's death in 1993, Palermo decided to play a show of all Frank Zappa music. Before the show, Palermo posted a notice on an internet bulletin board. The turnout to the show was the largest that the Ed Palermo Big Band had had to date.

"Up until then, my own shows at The Bitter End were drawing next to nobody," said Palermo. "For some reason, the word got out about the Zappa show and the place was swamped. And it was incredibly exciting—people there were Zappa fanatics."[5]

The idea was for only one tribute concert. But the band was contacted by Alan Pepper of The Bottom Line which led to a nine-year residency. For these shows they played primarily arrangements (done by Ed himself) of Frank Zappa songs, however each show was different from the one before. The band often featured special guests at these shows such as Zappa alums Mike Keneally and Ike Willis.[6]

In 1997 they recorded their first Zappa album, The Ed Palermo Big Band Plays the Music of Frank Zappa, also known as Big Band Zappa, was released on Astor Place.

After nine years at the Bottom Line (1994–2003) they took a break from regular shows for a period of about a year.[7] After that they began another series of regular shows at the Iridium in New York City. This series of shows has lasted for ten years and features primarily arrangements of Frank Zappa music.

In 2006 they released their second CD, Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance under the label of Cuneiform Records. In 2009 the group released their third CD, Eddy Loves Frank, also on Cuneiform. In February, 2014, OH NO!! NOT JAZZ!! was released to rave reviews, including a four-star review in Down Beat magazine. In 2015, the band released the album One Child Left Behind, featuring Napoleon Murphy Brock and Frank Zappa's sister Candy Zappa. In 2016, the band released the albums The Great Un-American Songbook, Volumes 1 & 2, also featuring Napoleon Murphy Brock, which also received a 4-star review from Down Beat Magazine. Volume 3 will be released in 2018. Eddy Loves Frank, Oh No!! Not Jazz!!, One Child Left Behind, and The Great Un-American Songbook were all produced by the band's guitarist & vocalist, Bruce McDaniel.

Palermo teaches music at Hoff/Barthelson in Scarsdale, New York. 2018 Ed's band made Downbeat Poll's Rising Star category as 3rd best band on the rise.


Name Instrument(s)
Ed Palermo Arranger, Alto Saxophone, Guitar
Ronnie Buttacavoli Trumpet
John Bailey Trumpet
Charley Gordon Trombone
Mike Boschen Trombone
Matt Ingman Bass Trombone
Cliff Lyons Alto Saxophone, Clarinet
Phil Chester Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Clarinet, Flute
Ben Kono Tenor Saxophone, Flute
Bill Straub Tenor Saxophone, Clarinet
Barbara Cifelli Baritone Saxophone
Bob Quaranta Acoustic Piano
Ted Kooshian Synthesizer
Paul Adamy Bass Guitar
Ray Marchica Drums
Bruce McDaniel Guitar, Vocals
Katie Jacoby Violin[8]



Papier Mache (Released as "Ed Palermo")

1982 Vile Heifer

Song Title Featured Soloist(s)
Papier Mache Edgar Winter (Alto Sax and Organ)
Complete Control Ed Palermo (Alto Sax), Kim Plainfield (Drums), Bob Quaranta (Piano)
Before Max Ed Palermo (Alto Sax), Randy Brecker (Trumpet)
Dusty Jim Clouse (Soprano Sax)
Different People Differently Dave Glenn (Trombone)
An Escape Nonetheless David Sanborn (Alto Sax)

Ping Pong

1987 Pro Jazz Records

Song Title Featured Soloist(s)
Ping Pong Rick Savage (Trumpet)
All Out Ed Palermo (Alto Sax)
3 Views of a Secret Chuck Wilson (Alto Sax)
Who's the Goose Rick Savage (Trumpet)
Ratphobia Bud Burridge (Trumpet)
Mood for Maude Matt Finders (Trombone)
Darkness Tom Malone (Trombone)
Perry Mason Chuck Wilson (Alto Sax)
Goodnight Al Hunt (Oboe)
Bitch's Crystal Bob Quaranta (Piano)
Your Spleen Perhaps Ed Palermo (Alto Sax)
I.G.Y. Jim Clouse (Tenor Sax)

The Ed Palermo Big Band Plays the Music of Frank Zappa (aka Big Band Zappa)

1997 Astor Place Records

Song Title Featured Soloist(s)
Peaches en Regalia Mike Keneally (Guitar)
Toads of the Short Forest Bob Mintzer (Tenor Sax), Ed Palermo (Alto Sax), Ted Kooshian (Organ)
Who Are the Brain Police? / Holiday In Berlin (Excerpt) Mike Stern (Guitar)
Twenty Small Cigars Dave Samuels (Vibraphone)
King Kong Bob Mintzer (Tenor Sax)
Aybe Sea / Inca Roads (Excerpt) Mike Keneally (Guitar)
Waka Jawaka / Son of Orange County (Excerpt) Chris Potter (Tenor Sax)
Sofa No. 1 Ed Palermo (Alto Sax), Dave Samuels (Vibraphone)
The Little House I Used To Live In / Mother People (Excerpt) Mike Stern (Guitar)
Heavy Duty Judy / Grand Wazoo (Excerpt) Ray Marchica (Drums), Ed Palermo (Alto Sax)
Carnival of the Animals (Finale) Ted Kooshian (Keyboard), Bob Quaranta (Keyboard)
We Are Not Alone Mike Stern (Guitar), Mike Keneally (Guitar), Ed Palermo (Guitar)
wai, fn?

Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance

2006 Cuneiform Records

Song Title Featured Soloist(s)
RDNZL Ed Palermo (Alto Sax), Charles Gordon (Trombone), Bob Quaranta (Piano), Ted Kooshian (Synthesizer), Ray Marchica (Drums)
Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance Joe Fiedler (Trombone), Ben Kono (Tenor Sax)
Dwarf Nebula Procession March & Dwarf Nebula Cliff Lyons (Alto Sax)
Pound For A Brown On The Bus Ray Marchica (Drums), Ed Palermo (Alto Sax), Ted Kooshian (Synthesizer), Bill Straub (Tenor Sax)
Sleep Dirt Phil Chester (Soprano Sax)
Gumbo Variations Dave Riekenberg (Tenor Sax), Carl Restivo (Guitar)
Mom and Dad / Oh No Carl Restivo (Vocals), Ed Palermo (Alto Sax)
Moggio Ted Kooshian (Synthesizer), Bob Quaranta (Piano), Ray Marchica (Drums)

Eddy Loves Frank

2009 Cuneiform Records

Song Title Featured Soloist(s)
Night School Ed Palermo (Alto Sax)
Echidna's Arf (Of You) Cliff Lyons (Alto Sax), Bill Straub (Tenor Sax), Charles Gordon (Trombone), John Hines (Trumpet)
Regyptian Strut Phil Chester (Soprano Sax), Joe Fiedler (Trombone)
Don't You Ever Wash That Thing? Ben Kono (Tenor Sax), Ray Marchica (Drums), Ted Kooshian (Synthesizer), Ed Palermo (Alto Sax), Bruce McDaniel(Guitar)
Dupree's Paradise Bob Quaranta (Piano)
What's New in Baltimore Bob Quaranta (Piano), Ben Kono (Tenor Sax)
Let's Move to Cleveland Ted Kooshian (Synthesizer), Ronnie Buttacavoli (Trumpet)
America the Beautiful Ted Kooshian (Synthesizer), Bruce McDaniel (Lead Vocals)



SONG TITLE Featured Soloist(s)
INCA ROADS vocals:Napoleon Murphy Brock; solos: Bruce McDaniel (guitar), Ed Palermo (alto sax), Bob Quaranta (piano)
THE UNCLE MEAT VARIATIONS solo: Bruce McDaniel (guitar)
LITTLE UMBRELLAS solo: Charley Gordon (trombone)
THE DOG BREATH VARIATIONS solos: Joe Fiedler (trombone), Phil Chester (soprano sax)
CHUNGA'S REVENGE solo: Katie Jacoby (violin)
LUMPY GRAVY solos: Ronnie Buttacavoli (trumpet), Bill Straub (tenor sax)
THE BLACK PAGE solo: Cliff Lyons (alto sax)
AMERICA DRINKS AND GOES HOME vocals: Mike James; solos: Phil Chester (soprano sax), Bill Straub (tenor sax)


SONG TITLE Featured Soloist(s)
MOOSH solos: Katie Jacoby (violin), Ed Palermo (alto sax)
PRELUDE TO AN INSULT solos: Barbara Cifelli (bari sax), Ed Palermo (alto sax)
WHY IS THE DOCTOR BARKING? solo: Ted Kooshian (organ)
PRELUDE TO A CATASTROPHE solo: John Palermo (mandolin)
LET'S REPRODUCE solo: Ray Marchica (drums)
AN ESCAPE NONETHELESS solo: Bill Straub (soprano sax)
NOSTALGIA REVISITED (for Susan) solo: Ed Palermo (alto sax)
THE INSULT solo: Ed Palermo (alto sax)
GOOD NIGHT, EVERYBODY! GOD LOVE YA! solo: Charley Gordon (trombone)
SHE'S SO HEAVY solos: John Hines (trumpet), Joe Fiedler (trombone)


  1. ^ Avedissian, Eric (May 25, 2006). "O.C.'s Ed Palermo has new CD out. Big Band: 'Take Off Your Clothes When You Dance'". Ocean City Sentinel.
  2. ^ Palermo, Ed (December 23, 2007). "Zappa and Jazz". All About Jazz. Retrieved April 17, 2009.
  3. ^ a b c d Colli, Beppe (July 12, 2006). "An Interview With Ed Palermo". Clouds and Clocks. Retrieved April 18, 2009.
  4. ^ Stewart, Zan (August 7, 2008). "Palermo inspired by music of Zappa and Butterfield". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved April 18, 2009.
  5. ^ Wheeler, Drew (December 14, 1998). "Ed Palermo Big Band Still Freaking Out the Bottom Line". Retrieved April 17, 2009.
  6. ^ Taylor, Joseph (April 15, 2008). "Zappafied". www.SoundStageAV.com. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
  7. ^ Carr, Brian (July 25, 2003). "The Ed Palermo Big Band Plays the Music of Frank Zappa". The Bottom Line. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
  8. ^ Adamy, Paul. "Band Members". EPBB Homepage. Retrieved April 18, 2009.

External links[edit]