Friday, July 14, 2017. I received the call with the horrible news, there had been an accident…our friend, musician and all around amazing person David Z was killed in a tragic tour bus accident while on the road with Adrenaline Mob in Florida. Dave had a way of making everyone around him feel special, he went out of his way not only for the people who actually knew him but for all of his fans. As the one year anniversary of this tragedy approaches, Dave’s brother Paulie along with wife Lucia Marco and family put together the Ultimate Jam Night at the Cutting Room in NYC on July 12 as a way to not only remember David by celebrating his life in music with friends and band mates, but to help raise money for the David Z Scholarship Fund at his alma mater Brooklyn College of Music.
It was a truly star studded night featuring people who played with David such as ZO2 members Paulie Z & Joey Cassata, Adrenaline Mob’s Russell Allen & Jordan Cannata, Trans-Siberian Orchestra members and alums Jen Cella, Chloe Lowery, Chris Caffery and Peter Shaw and an extended, show ending set by the mighty Rubix Kube made up of Cherie Martotana, Scott Lovelady, John Laspina, Mike Pieck, Steve Brown and featuring PJ Farley on bass. The show also saw friends of David take the stage such as Chris Barron (Spin Doctors), Militia Vox, Shannon Conley, Jessie Wagner, Constantine Maroulis (Rock of Ages), Rob Affuso (Skid Row), Tommy London (Dirty Pearls), Tom Morrissey (Killcode), Jack Frost (Savatage, Seven Witches), Richie Ranno (Starz), Dan McCafferty (Dee Snider). The crowd also featured fans like Chris Tristram (House of Lords, Great White) and Matt Hogan (Willie Nile).
Gary Z, Brian Z, Paulie Z, Joey Cassata, Marty Z
Musically the show featured music from all of David’s favorite artists from Michael Jackson (Beat It featuring Paulie, Joey, PJ and Steve; Dirty Diana with Jen and Rob; The Way You Make Me Feel sung by Chloe and Rubix Kube’s Smooth Criminal) to Kiss (Shout It Out Loud by Paulie and Kiss Nation and Strutter featuring Tommy and Tom on vocals) to Rush (Tom Sawyer sung by Lucia). The idea of Ultimate Jam is to bring together musicians who don’t usually play together and, in some cases, may not even have met before taking the stage. This leads to some magical moments, like the emotional I Remember You sung as a duet by Paulie and Jesse and featuring the song’s original drummer Rob Affuso and amazing guitar work by Jack and Gene Rowan. It also leads to some funny moments, such as when the band didn’t know Chloe’s song but found their way through anyway.
Paulie Z, PJ Farley, Chris Barron, Joey Cassata, Steve Brown
It was a total roller coaster of a night moving from the celebratory (Chris Barron singing Spin Doctors’ classics Little Miss Can’t be Wrong & Two Princes) to the emotional (the Z family featuring Marty, Gary, Paulie and Brian Z along with “honorary Z” Joey Cassata performing Born To Be Wild; the first performance of a ZO2 song, Ain’t It Beautiful) to the rocking (Constantine tearing through Eye of the Tiger and Living on a Prayer) to the absolutely stunning (Russ, Chris, Jordan and Adam James’ take on Fire and Rain). By the time the joyous 5 song set by Rubix Kube ended there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. The emotion of the night took over as performers and family took the stage for a finale of Don’t Stop Believing reminding all of us how much we all miss David. This was an amazing night, but ultimately one every person there wishes we didn’t need to have. Money was raised for David’s scholarship fund, memories were shared and tears were shed, but at the end of it all it was a room full of people that were all touched by the brief, shining life of the incomparable David Z.
Jack Frost, Militia Vox, Richie Ranno
Jeff Allegue, Jen Cella
Dan McCafferty, Constantine Maroulis, Rob Affuso, Greg Reigle, Mike Hunter
Gene Rowan, Chloe Lowery, Rob Affuso, Adam James
Sir Russell Allen, Chris Caffery
Ruby Rinesko, Tommy London, Tom Morrissey, Paulie Z, Vinnie Raschella, Richie Ranno
PJ Farley, Scott Lovelady, Cherie Martotana, John Laspina, Steve Brown
The Grand Finale