George Michaels Gioiella (joy-ella)- Music Biography    

George�s musical career began at a young age. Beginning in the seventh grade at St. Frances of Rome Grammar School in the Bronx under the direction of Professor James Moore who provided weekly music study, voice classes and directed the choir  This coupled with the extensive musical background of his mother�s family and exposure to the big bands and 50�s music inspired an early love and feel for music. It set the stage for a marvelous career; at least for George.  

On his mother�s side of the family were several generations of serious and gifted musicians, Alfred Corrado, Alfred was an NBC Studio Musician and played under Paul Whiteman and Arturo Toscanini. Donald Corrado another master on the French horn played with all of the majors. Grandmother�s brother Sal DeRisi played trumpet as did both his sons, Al and Anthony. Until his death in 1982 Anthony was a successful NYC club date musician with an office working under the names of Gene Michaels and Cisco.  Al DeRisi was an NBC Studio Musician worked with the best of the best, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Peggy Lee, Mitch Miller, Bob Brookmeyer, Quincy Jones, Judy Holiday, Charlie Barnet and Benny Goodman. To those who know the business, these musicians stand alone and the list of their achievements is legend.  

How did George Michaels come about? While working a show at the Chateau Pelham with five hundred people in attendance, after taking her bows a marvelous dancer Zafrana, wanted to acknowledge George�s contribution. She quieted the audience and explained how difficult it was to find percussionists that could read and have a feel for the music. She turned to George and asked his name. He froze. The leader, Buster Luongo was about to say George Gioiella when George jumped in and said George Michaels� after his Cousin Anthony. Gioiella is too difficult to pronounce � try it! The name stuck and he never changed it. Recently because there is a younger singer with a similar name George added Gioiella so now its George Michaels Gioiella (joy-ella).

There were many who inspired and contributed to George�s musical development, but the most influential was his mother's brother percussionist Uncle Bill Petilli a/k/a Brad Wellington Scott III. Besides being a delightful character with a marvelous sense of humor Uncle Bill was a top notch musician, teacher (Julliard) and serious golfer. The advent of four children limited his sixty year career to club dates (Gene Krupa wanted him to go on the road with his big band) but family came first. Most of his work was at affluent Westchester County Country Clubs with the Lenny Page Trio. Uncle Bill was a tough task master.

Growing up in New York City in the 1950�s provided broad exposure to many types of music and opportunities. It seemed every corner had a bar or lounge with small dance bands, jazz and fifties groups. They all had some sort of live entertainment. Juke Boxes were reserved for breaks in the live music. These clubs and neighborhood dances provided a venue for young musicians to find themselves and acquire a mentor. Music stores abounded and one learned a lot from just �hanging out�.  

When Freddy Milano of the Dion and the Belmont�s moved a few doors up the street George became inspired with their unique music and harmony. Dion arriving in his blue T-Bird always made time for the younger musicians.  

In George�s case his primary mentor was the very talented songwriter, singer and performer, Ray Allen (Albanese). Ray wrote songs for Lou Monte and Connie Francis. Originally known as The Gumdrops  a/k/a The Ray Allen Trio with Joe Nicoletti on the bass and Harold Stone on the piano had a style that you could listen to all night five nights a week. Ray worked some of the finest clubs and lounges in the NYC and Westchester area and packed them for forty years.  

In the early 60�s while George was still in high school the Ray Allen Trio worked the lounge at the Westchester Towne House. In the main room were shows produced by Minsky�s Follies. The likes of William Bendix, Eddie Fisher and Jane Mansfield always stopped in the lounge to do a song. It was a small stage and they had to stand next to George and his cocktail drums.   

Ray introduced George to live radio talk shows and the recording studio. Also musicians like, Vinnie Bell, Love Theme from Airport ; Tito Puente, Gary Chester and Gene Krupa. Gene lived a few blocks from Trinchi�s and would stop by, sit in and give George a lesson. Gene was brilliant and inspirational.  

This is a Billboard review of one session George was on drums:

Note: The scan did not pick up the entire write-up. It should read "As for rhythm "Guaglione" is a gem

In 1966 George hooked up with one of the great performing groups from Brooklyn, The Make Believes, with the incredible genius Johnny Solo, (John Foca) on accordion, the incomparable Vinny James, (Vincent Musto) on guitar and Jimmy Piero on bass and vocals. These fellows could play some jazz and John Foca rounded out George�s schooling.  

By the late 1960�s George had to decide if he wanted to be a full time studio musician and chose otherwise. 1972 he permanently switched to guitar and vocals and formed the George Michaels Trio. No matter what course his life took until 1987 George worked with the trio and solo. By 1990 George retired from music, but he is back now and his smooth style, large repertoire and tasteful commentary will once again delight audiences.  

Comments from George:  

�A few years ago I finally figured out why I never want to become a star. I did not want to give up my freedom� and still don�t. I just want to work and interact with the audience on a special level and in my own way... someday I will get it right� 

Thanks to Uncle Bill Petilli for the patience and effort he put into my musical education and instilling a deep respect for music and musicians. My special thanks to Trinchi (Amadeo Trinchitella) for my early street and business education and for giving me a shot all those years ago to be a house band at Trinchi�s in Yonkers, NY. Trinchi was the consummate restaurateur/nightclub owner and Democratic activist. How he put up with me I shall never know, but will always be grateful...especially for all those great times! Morris Levy of Roulette Records for being a good friend and never providing a dull moment. Laura Boccia for my Italian song repertoire; Baldo Baldi, (La Scala Di Milano) for the early vocal coaching and later on the talented Alaina Warren Zachary for getting me back on track in the 80's. Ray Gabriele for his tasteful piano and arrangements. Bob DiTota for putting up with me for forty plus years and always being there. 

George Michaels Gioiella (joy-ella)

 

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