Press Release (ePRNews.com) - NEW YORK - Feb 13, 2017 - Kenneth Lee “Kenny” Ascher (born October 26, 1944 in Washington, D.C.) is an American jazz pianist, composer, and arranger who is active in jazz, rock, classical, and musical theater genres — in live venues, recording studios, and cinema production. He is widely known for co-writing, with Paul Williams, “Rainbow Connection” from The Muppet Movie. Both Williams and Ascher received Oscar nominations for the 1979 Academy Awards for Best Original Song (“Rainbow Connection”) and Best Original Score (The Muppet Movie Soundtrack). The song was also nominated for the Golden Globes for “Best Original Song” that same year.
Ascher’s work through the years has included keyboard parts and string arrangements on John Lennon’s albums Mind Games, Walls and Bridges and Rock ‘n’ Roll and Yoko Ono’s A Story, music for several songs from Barbra Streisand’s remake of A Star Is Born (where he also served as music coordinator), and arrangements for portions of Jim Steinman and Meat Loaf’s masterpiece Bat Out of Hell (produced by Todd Rundgren). Ascher’s own rendition of The Rainbow Connection was featured in the closing credits of The Break-Up (starring Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston). Ascher is the pianist with the Birdland Big Band, which performs Fridays from 5:15 to 7 at Birdland in New York City. The Birdland Big Band performs The Rainbow Connection, arranged by Lew Anderson.
In the latter 1960s, Ascher played piano and arranged for the Woody Herman Orchestra. Herman hired Ascher — on the advice of Frank Foster — to replace Nat Pierce, who had departed. Ascher has been a member of ASCAP since 1968. (Source: Wikipedia)
Ron Aprea: composer, arranger, producer, saxophonist, clarinetist, and flutist, has performed with Woody Herman, Les Elgart, Tito Puente, Frank Foster, Buddy Morrow, Billy May, Charlie Persip, Nat Adderley, Lionel Hampton, and Louis Armstrong, among many others.
In 1974, Ron Aprea recorded with John Lennon and Elton John on the album entitled, Walls and Bridges. The all-star horn section included Howard Johnson, Frank Vicari, and Steve Madeo. Ron was a featured soloist on the jazz-gospel album, Free to Be Free. He also wrote, arranged, and produced his own album, Ronnie April’s Positive Energy Volume 1. Ron had his own TV special on WNYC, and was a featured soloist on Broadway’s Song of Singapore.
Angela DeNiro: is a native New Yorker, earned her degree in Music, and is a composer and arranger, as well as vocalist. In addition to Angela’s jazz singing and scatting abilities, she has also done extensive studio work, with various jingles to her credit. She is currently performing in New York jazz clubs with saxophonist Ron Aprea. Their quintet features Angela scatting along with the alto saxophone, performing the music of jazz greats Charlie Parker, Thelonius Monk, and Duke Ellington, as well as such classic composers as Irving Berlin, Sammy Cahn, Tad Dameron, and Michel LeGrand. She also has a thriving voiceover business, which keeps her very busy these days!
Ms. DeNiro was the featured opening act at the Seaford Jazz Festival, performing with jazz great Bobby Forrester, and was featured with the Dennis Wilson “All-Star Big Band”, whose roster included Jerome Richardson, Benny Powell, Ray Mosca, Earl May, Ron Aprea, Jimmy Owens, and Spanky Davis. She has performed at the Rainbow Room, and many major New York hotels, and was frequently found rattling the walls at Long Island’s favorite jazz club, Sonny’s Place.
Angela DeNiro’s first CD, Just for the Fun of It, with the Ron Aprea Orchestra (16 piece band) was released in 1994, and its success led to her 1997 recording, Swingin’ With Legends. Legends had eight Grammy nomination entries. In addition to the star-studded Ron Aprea Big Band, this recording featured legendary jazz greats Lionel Hampton, Frank Foster, and Lew Tabakin.
Angela DeNiro and her husband, Ron Aprea, co-hosted a weekly jazz radio show on WSHR, 91.9 FM, New York, for two years. Their show, Rush-Hour Rendezvous, featured the music of jazz greats old and new, as well as interesting conversations and interviews with legendary jazz artists. In January 2001, Angela performed on BET-TV. This nationally televised program, Jazz Discovery, featured vocal and instrumental jazz artists in competition. The panel of three judges included jazz legend Chick Corea…Angela, with Ron’s band, won first prize! http://ronaprea.com
GingerNewYork found on Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN) since launching in November, 2010, has been showcasing the “Kool Kats…Gotham Nights” greats of music and culture of New York and beyond. What defines GingerNewYork is its host Ginger Broderick’s unique insight, connection to and pulse on the music and culture of Gotham making GingerNewYork one of the most sought after programs to appear on.
GingerNewYork can be seen in Manhattan on Time Warner Cable Channel 34 and HD Channel 1995, Fios Channel 33, and RCN Channel 82, every Friday afternoon at 2pm EST. It can also be seen live streaming on the Manhattan Neighborhood Network’s website, www.mnn.org, Channels 1 and 5.
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Photo of Ms. Broderick Courtesy of Rasheem Morris
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