The Ultimate Jam Night, a weekly staple at the famed Whisky A Go Go on Los Angeles’ Sunset Strip, made it’s return to NYC on June 13 and this time with a purpose, a benefit for the David Z Fund. David Z was the immensely talented bass player and vocalist for such bands as ZO2, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, SOTO, Adrenaline Mob, Rubix Kube and others. His brother and ZO2 band mate Paulie Z serves as the MC of the weekly Jam and is responsible for bringing it into New York.
The concept of the Ultimate Jam Night is to bring together talented musicians and singers from various backgrounds to play classic songs. Being a benefit for the David Z fund, most of the performers had a relationship with David and some, like American Idol and Rock of Ages alum Constantine Maroulis, brought friends like former Idol contestant Anthony Federov.
|Adam Abbas, Paulie Z, Constantine Maroulis|
The night began with a special jam. Part of the mission of the Fund is to carry on David’s legacy by not only teaching kids how to play music but also teaching them the business side of the music industry. The show started with a tremendous group of kids that benefit from the Fund showing what they’ve learned by taking the stage and playing songs by The Ramones, Lenny Kravitz and more. Later in the show, student Adam Abbas played guitar on “Simple Man” joined by Paulie Z and Constantine Maroulis.
|We Are Kodiak|
|Paulie Z & Mark Wood|
The UJN began in proper with some of those closest to David, his brother Paulie, Rubix Kube band mate Cherie Neve and ZO2 drummer Joey Cassata along with others taking on “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)” from Journey with Paulie Z showing again that he is one of the best rock singers in the business.. The pack crowd at The Cutting Room roared their approval on the night was on.
One of the early highlights was a young band from New Jersey called We Are Kodiak playing a scorching version of “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love”. Kodiak’s mentor, drum legend Carmine Appice took the stage next joined by TSO alum Mark Wood and powerhouse vocalist Laura Kaye. After being joined by Paulie Z for the Police’s “Roxanne” the pace quieted down a bit for another TSO alum, Jen Cella and her beautiful take on “Landslide”.
|Jordan Cannata, Greg Smith|
Throughout the night, some of David’s bands were there to celebrate. ZO2 (Paulie Z and Joey Cassata) were joined by Joey D’Alessio on bass for a pair of David’s original songs, “Ain’t It Beautiful” and the closing number of the night “Show Me”. His Rubix Kube band mates (Cherie Neve, Steve Brown, Scott Lovelady, John Laspina & Mike Pieck) were joined by Maroulis and Federov for a trip through the 80’s spotlighting Motley Crue, Journey and Michael Jackson. Another former band mate, Adrenaline Mob drummer Jordan Cannata was joined by one time bassist for bands such as Rainbow, Alice Cooper, Alan Parsons and currently with Wizards of Winter, Greg Smith for “Eye of the Tiger” and “Living on a Prayer”.
|Chris Tristram, Richie Ranno|
Perhaps some of the best performances were toward the end of the 3-hour show. House of Lords bassist Chris Tristram was joined by Starz guitarist Richie Ranno and Humble Pie/Cactus vocalist Jimmy Kunes for a rendition of “American Band” that got the crowd on its feet. Tristram stayed on joined by vocalist Chandler Mogel for “Juke Box Hero” before guitarist Jack Frost took center stage and brought the metal to the evening.
Ultimate Jam night is always a treat as you never know what musicians will show up and give the crowd a once in a lifetime performance. It’s made extra special when it’s combined with a fundraiser for a great cause. The night saw almost $10,000 raised for the David Z Fund and, combined with the Tuesday UJN in Los Angeles, almost $13,000 in three days. If you wold like to donate, please go to the David Z Fund.