MILFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — This morning, we are Cruisin’ Connecticut to Milford, home of the Milford Performance Center.
Steve Cooper runs the organization, and is bringing a little New York State of Mind to the Parsons Auditorium in Milford.
Lords of 52nd Street includes members of Billy Joel’s original band, led by: Richie Cannata on tenor saxophone, Liberty DeVitto on drums and percussion, and Russell Javors on rhythm guitar. I sat down with Cannata to chat about their record-breaking careers.
Cannata explains how his affinity for the saxophone began:
I felt this really strong connection to the instrument and the sound of it. Although I was listening to John Coltrane, and Charlie Parker, and all of these great saxophone players… but I wanted to have my own sound.
Cannata was doing an overdub recording in the studio, when the engineer mentioned the name of an up-and-coming artist:
He said “oh… my brother just started working with this guy, Billy Joel. And they’re looking for a sax guy that can play keyboards.”
Billy went to watch Richie at a show, and then they recorded their first song together: New York State of Mind – you might’ve heard of it.
With all of the hits with Joel, one song stands out to Cannata:
I would say “Scenes From an Italian Restaurant” is my favorite because it’s a huge signature that I did. Although before the “Still Rock N’ Roll” chorus, he says “alright Rico.” And I became this person Rico.
Unlike guitarists, who go through countless instruments, Cannata, has used the same saxophone since recording with Joel:
It’s something that you don’t share with anybody. And I only have one saxophone that I really use… and it’s this one.
Joel’s album “The Stranger” just reached a 40 year milestone since it was released.
Think about how old you are now, and 40 years from now, people still talking about something that you did today. Right now… 40 years later, this music is more popular than when we recorded it.
You can watch Cannata, live in concert with Lords of 52nd Street at the Parsons Auditorium in Milford. Tickets are available here.
Also, click here to learn more about the great work Steve Cooper is doing with the Milford Performance Center.