Erich Cawalla Quartet
Friday, March 17, 2023, 7:30 pm
Erich Cawalla | sax and vocals
Steve Rudolph | piano
Bennie Sims | bass
Marko Marcinko | drums
Boscov's Berks Jazz Fest Kick-Off Event
Frank Sinatra. Tony Bennett. Frankie Valli. If they sang it, Pennsylvania’s own Erich Cawalla plays it. Song infuses his sax and vocal stylings. So his survey of The Great American Songbook is certain to be special.
Pennsylvania native Erich Cawalla makes a very busy living as a full-time musician. As an extremely versatile vocalist and instrumentalist, his performing style invokes a jazz swinging yet contemporary R&B sound mixing some of his biggest influences including Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Smokey Robinson, David Sanborn, Chet Baker, Frankie Valli, Kenny Rankin, and John Pizzarelli, to name a few.
In 2006, Cawalla started The Uptown Band, becoming extremely popular as a featured act headlining hundreds of shows and numerous charitable functions in the Northeast. After achieving success as a cover group, The Uptown Band began recording original music in 2008. The group's recordings have received critical acclaim throughout the world with the release of 2 full-length albums including Waiting for Her in 2008 and Heart, Soul, Body, & Mind in 2014. Special Guests on the band's albums have included Will Lee, legendary bassist for the CBS Orchestra on the former Late Show with David Letterman, trumpetist and founding member of Tower of Power Greg Adams, and legendary percussionist Doc Gibbs, former Musical Director on The Food Network's Emeril LIVE. "Waiting for Her", the band's 2008 title track written by Cawalla and Marty Mellinger, received airplay on Music Choice's Smooth Jazz Channel on National Cable TV. "SJ3", written by Cawalla and the band's Producer and The Three Degrees' Musical Director Bennie Sims, rose as high as #9 in the country on the Groove Jazz Radio Chart. Most recently, the band released a cover of the Maxi Priest hit "Close to You" which charted as high as #27 in USA Today's National Contemporary Jazz Chart. Cawalla and Sims, along with Curtis Harmon (drummer for Contemporary Jazz legends Pieces of a Dream) wrote "BJF25", a commemorative song celebrating the 25th Anniversary of their hometown Boscov's Berks Jazz Festival. The recording features Cawalla, Sims, and Harmon performing alongside Contemporary Jazz Heavyweights Rick Braun, Chuck Loeb, and Brian Bromberg.
Erich again teamed with Sims and released his first solo Contemporary Jazz release "222 South" in 2017. The song, written about his hometown highway in Reading PA, charted on the nationally-syndicated Smooth Jazz Network, receiving significant radio airplay throughout the world.
After numerous delays due to Covid-19, on May 9th, 2022, Erich nationally released his first full-length solo recording "Erich Cawalla - The Great American Songbook" via Chicago-based BluJazz performing original arrangements by Dave DePalma of classic standards. The album includes an All-Star 17-piece Big Band with strings that features Erich on lead vocals and saxophone. Special Guests on the album include legendary Trumpeter Randy Brecker, Violin Virtuoso Karen Briggs, Percussionist Doc Gibbs, and many others! The album was released locally in front of 700 people on March 30th, 2022 at Erich's Alma Mater Governor Mifflin Senior High School during the Berks Jazz Festival with a 26-Piece All-Star Big Band and Orchestra. Erich has dedicated his album to his arranger Dave DePalma who passed away unexpectedly during the completion of the album.
Erich is a BMI-affiliated songwriter and a Grammy Voting Member of the National Recording Academy. Live performance credits include performing in the bands of Marie Osmond, The Skyliners, Bill Haley's Comets, The Coasters, Marty Haggard, and Larry Chance & The Earls, as well as opening for Jeff Dunham, Martha and the Vandellas, Gene Chandler, Sonny Turner's Platters, The Happenings, and Harold Melvin's Blue Notes. He has also been a featured soloist with the Reading POPS Orchestra on three occasions, the Shippensburg Festival Chamber Orchestra, and the Hershey Big Band. Some of his more notable performances include performing at Florida State University for the Florida Republican Inauguration Gala (2000), 13 straight years annually at the Berks Jazz Festival, Bethlehem Musikfest, All Night with Joey Reynolds (2 occasions) on NBC New York, Charlotte's Independence Arena, the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, the Nugget in Reno, Walt Disney World, and Carnegie Hall as a senior in high school. Erich was also a finalist in 98.1 WOGL Radio's Philly Idols Contest.