The Rockit Live Foundation announced its collaboration with the Les Paul Foundation through a grant awarded to educate their students at Count Basie Center for the Arts, with a course of study regarding the life and legacy of the musician, innovator, and inventor. This study included workshops and video presentations about Les Paul, detailing his strong will and creative drive which led him to a sea of inventions that transformed the music industry; most notably sound-on-sound recording, and the solid-bodied Gibson guitar played by both rock stars and guitar lovers. “It’s an honor for me to carry forward Les’s story and his music style”, said Pallo, “We’re going to teach the arrangements as the songs were interpreted by Les”
The courses culminated with a live performance at The Cutting Room in New York City, including the Rockit Live Foundation’s students in combination with Les Paul’s Trio, led by Lou Pallo (Les Paul’s longtime sideman), bassist Gary Mazzaroppi, guitarist Frank Vignola, Vinny Raniolo, and special guests, Susan & Eddie Brigati, Steve Miller, Jon Paris and Johnny Farina.
Guests of the venue joined in to sing “Happy Birthday” to the one and only Lou Pallo, who had celebrated his 84th birthday at the event. The president of the Les Paul Foundation, Michael Braunstein, stated that he had “not seen Lou smile that big in years.” Lou was floored by the students’ talents and stage presence. The Rockit students were fully aware and appreciative to have the privilege to share the stage with these world-class musicians. “This is a superb opportunity for our students to learn directly from and perform with world-class musicians, and for this we are grateful”, said Bruce Gallipani, Rockit’s Founder and Executive Director. Proceeds from the concert benefit the Rockit Live Foundation’s Scholarship Fund.
Les Paul was a major advocate for music education. For more information, visit lespaulfoundation.org
Photography By Mark Weiss