MEET THE BAND
Jim ‘The Rocket’ Durkin – Drummer
Jim ‘The Rocket’ Durkin is the founder and leader of Memories Music. Jim grew up surrounded with the sounds of beautiful music. He was always a music lover, playing in school bands from as far back as the 1960s through High School. Unlike most young teens, Jim preferred to listen to music on the radio rather than television. He attended as many music performances, by various artists, as possible.
Jim would often attend the Richard Nadar concerts in the Meadowlands watching and listening to the great music we all listened to growing up. He and his friends and family would meet up with Murray Weinstock, a professional musician, go backstage, and meet the big name performers of the time such as The Late Great Johnny Maestro, Mel Carter, Lou Christie and the Spaniels. Jim would gather with good friends Murray and Angel Rissoff, another professional musician, and share their love of music.
Jim is a Past President of the New Jersey Police Honor Legion. As such, he was the organizer of the Annual President’s Ball. True to his roots, his chosen theme for his first outing was ‘The Paterson Guy’. Held at the Brownstone in Paterson with none other than Paterson’s own Bob Miranda and the Happenings as the headliners. The second year, he served as President, he booked the famous Charlie Thomas and the Drifters heading the bill. On both occasions, good buds, Murray and Angel along with fellow musicians, were the opening act.
Jim and members of his group, Memories Music, got into the act sharing the stage with these great musicians for a few songs. An opportunity that grew out of working hard with GREAT people and sharing an overwhelming love of music with each other.
Jim Satten – Guitarist, Composer and Producer
Jim has played & recorded with Bo Diddley, Mick Taylor, Sam & Dave, Ben E. King, Ronnie Wood, Ronnie Spector, and the Temptations.
Jim’s working relationship with Bo Diddley began in 1982 and spanned over a 10 year period. The Diddley Years brought Jim to stages in Australia, Greece, Italy, Japan, and New Zealand. In 1986 Bo teamed up with Ronnie Wood (of the Rolling Stones), and toured the world as “The Gunslingers” with the Jim Satten Band, in 1987 a live album “Live at the Ritz” was recorded at the Ritz Theater in New York.
A tribute concert to John Lee Hooker at Madison Square Garden in 1990 was another highlight of the Diddley years, It was here that Jim performed with the Legends Mick Fleetwood, Albert Collins and Al Kooper.
The year 2000 brought about the inception of Intermix Studios, an in-house digital recording facility where Jim offers his services as a producer, arranger, engineer, and guitarist. Clients have included featured music from the NBC sitcom, “Sister’s”, HANES, Mercedes-Benz and the Nickelodeon Network.
George Tuzzeo – Piano/Keyboards/Singer
George is a gifted and multifaceted musician who has played around the
world accompanying and musically directing for Main Stage acts such as Jay
and the Americans, The Drifters, Bobby Rydell and the Crystals to name a
George studied at The University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he earned a
Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music. While in Las Vegas he performed at
Caesars Palace and toured with Tom Jones. In addition to performing,
George was in the Piano business for over twenty five years including a
Manager position with Steinway & Sons, where he opened their Paramus NJ
location. George is at home in many different Musical formats, from
“Cocktail Piano”, to Broadway Musicals, with a Swing Big Band, or his
own group “GT EXPRESS”. George enjoys playing Piano, a Funky
Hammond Organ or Keyboards and, sings lead or background vocals.
George is always in style and in time playing tastefully weather it’s at The
Paris Inn restaurant or Lincoln Center.
Michael D’Amore – Lead Singer
Singer and songwriter Michael D’Amore was born in upstate N.Y. and raised and resided in New Jersey for most of his life. Coming from a musical family, it wasn’t a surprise that his passion would eventually become his livelihood.
For more than 30 years, Michael has been a professional entertainer based out of the New York metropolitan area. Having performed in several genres, Michael eventually found himself drawn to the harmony of the Classic R & B and Doo Wop sounds.
Michael currently performs as a one man show showcasing the best of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s as well as playing with several bands. He most recently has become a member of The Capris singing leads on the hits “There’s A Moon Out Tonight” and “Morse Code Of Love” He has had the pleasure of backing up and performing with Jim Yester. Jim Yester is an original founding member and lead singer of the 60’s group “The Association.” He has been singing harmony at its best with songs like “Windy,” “Along Comes Mary,” “Never My Love,” and “Cherish” to name a few.
In recent years he has opened for and shared the stage with groups such as The Stylistics, Lou Christie, The Duprees, The Loving Spoonful, The Grass Roots, Kenny Vance and the Planotones and so many groups he has admired over the years.
In 2012, his CD “In Harmony” was met with great success. “This is a labor of love and such a great source of pride.” In Harmony is special because Michael played and sang every part on this CD which was something he always wanted to do.
Michael continues to strive for perfection in his craft and will always measure his level of success by the number of smiles in his audiences.
Joe Ferrante – Singer
Joe Ferrante grew up in Paterson, New Jersey where he spent his free time doing what he loved to do – singing on street corners with his friends. One day, a local producer stopped his car to ask Joe and his teenage buddies if they wanted to learn to harmonize. So at age 16, Joe was introduced to a world that would follow him for the rest of his life.
When Joe joined the military, he began to sing with soldiers from various parts of the country. His band scored an interesting arrangement while based with the 82 and Airborne in the Carolinas in 1961 – they would perform every weekend with one of the stipulations being they had to sing “Sloop John B” in exchange for free rooms at the resort.
In 1963, Charlie Collela, the arranger for the Four Seasons worked with the members of Joe’s group on a new rendition of Mario Lanza’s “Be My Love.” After months of endless rehearsals on the new rendition of the famous tune, even the Four Seasons were impressed.
Joe’s love of oldies music runs deep. He has performed with the likes of Joey and the Lexingtons, Back in Time, The New 45 RPM and Classic 45.
Joe is now the baritone and second tenor at Memories Music.
Hal Keshner – Keyboard
Hal Keshner is an American musician best known as guitarist, pianist, and musical director with various doo wop revues.
Born in the Bronx and raised in Paramus, NJ, Hal has always lived a double life, as a business man by day and musician by night up until he left the business world. He is currently a music teacher Bronx, on the Executive Board of the Mahwah Museum, and participates in 3 bands. For 10 years he has conducted the orchestra for an annual oldies concert that takes place at a 3,000 seat venue.
For over 30 years Hal has accompanied vocal groups and singers, while producing records and taking on the role of music director.
As part of an independent promotion, Hal submitted one of his own written and produced songs, Happy Hanukka Veronica, to Z100 and it was played on the MorningBuzz, WBAI, and various stations around the country. His list of bands include The Mellows, The Rens, The Chords, and Morrisania Review – later named The Voices of Doo Wop.
Music is in his blood. His father was a musical artist, singing in choruses and Mom a voice and piano teacher, and first-ever woman conductor. Music is always with him.
Butch Holland – Bass Player
A native of White Plains, New York and part Shinnecock, Butch grew up listening to a wide genre of music. His first steps out the door were to the local record store to buy 45s.
In 1966, Butch joined the White Plains high school marching band where he played the trumpet but it was the bass guitar leaning on the wall in the corner that caught his eye.
This sparked his inaugural journey into music. Throughout his high school years, music became a part of him, being a musician had earned a deeper meaning in his life.
He formed the Sensations with his brothers and cousins, where they performed within the local area. Butch cherishes the memory of this group winning a week-long competition. Years later this band transitioned into a Rock group.
In 1966 his friends started an R&B group where he played the acoustic bass and upright bass. Post-graduation Butch served in Vietnam.
Butch has been a member of over a dozen bands ranging from Rock, R&B, Motown, indie to oldies. He has played for Stonehenge, the Drifters, the Chantels, Little Isidore and the Inquisitors, The Orioles and the Tymes to name a few. He became a member of The Voices of Doo Wop as a bass player. National Geographic special was conducted on the group.
Today Memories Music has given him another source of exhilaration and joy in the pursuit of his lifelong craft as a musician.
Steve Vervaet – Singer
I started singing in bands at the age of twelve, influenced by my father who sang
barbershop and my grandfather who had his own Big Band and played piano. My
ancestors came to the US from Belgium in 1886 and played for their passage by
being the entertainment on the steam ship.
I have played trumpet since the age of ten in the North Haledon Community Band
and continued playing through Manchester Regional High School in Haledon, NJ in
the marching and concert band.
I have also performed with J.T. CARTER and The CRESTS, The Fabulous INFERNOS
I have appeared all over the tri state area, Madison Square Garden, The
Continental Airlines Arena,
Philadelphia Spectrum, Nassau Coliseum and Atlantic City Showrooms.
It is an honor to be performing with Memories Music and all the talented
musicians and vocalists that have been put together to create this musical journey.
Cyndy Taylor – Singer
Cyndy Taylor is a veteran of New York stage and cabaret clubs and worked as a cruise ship entertainer
and club date singer. She has enjoyed many years of harmony singing with groups ranging from doo-
wop to contemporary a cappella, and performed on radio stations, such as WFUV and CBS. She is a
founding member of the lively and musically diverse acoustic duo, 24-7. Cyndy is delighted to blend her
talents with those of the highly accomplished members of Memories Music.
UPCOMING AND PAST EVENTS
VIDEOS & ANNOUNCEMENTS
WMTR’s 65th Anniversary
It’s WMTR’s 65th Anniversary and we’re celebrating with a SOCK HOP!
Join WMTR on Friday, November 1st at The Birchwood
Manor in Whippany for our 65th Anniversary Sock Hop!
WMTR’s own Bob “T-Bone” Williams will be spinning GREAT classic
oldies and there will be live music from Memories.
Tickets are just $50 (includes dinner) and available for purchase
at WMTR studios: 55 Horsehill Road in Cedar Knolls
(CASH OR CHECK ONLY PLEASE!)
You can also purchase tickets via Credit Card by calling
WMTR’s Promotions Director Scott at 973-538-1250 x 1355.
Join WMTR for a night of Classic Oldies and great memories at our
65th Anniversary Sock Hop, November 1st at the Birchwood Manor in Whippany.
on WMTR radio
Chris Edwards announcement on WMTR radio