Raymond De Felitta is an Oscar-nominated independent filmmaker whose work has been honored at international film festivals and praised by critics worldwide. But he’s also an accomplished jazz pianist, with a deep love for the music and its history.
As a child prodigy pianist, he was the youngest member of the ‘Maple Leaf Club’, a country wide organization devoted to the preservation and performance of Ragtime music. The ‘Maple Leaf Club’ was at the center of the 1970s Ragtime Revival movement and introduced Raymond to ragtime and traditional artists such as Eubie Blake, Terry Waldo and Joshua Rifkin, the latter of whom he studied with while attending Bard College. As a teenager growing up in Hollywood, he was mentored by composer/arranger Gil Melle, studied piano with studio great Lou Bowers as well as legendary composer/arranger/pianist Clare Fischer, and studied organ with Robert Stewart Ziegler. In his twenties, De Felitta played at many Los Angeles area clubs with jazz legends such as Monty Budwig, Buddy Arnold, Bill Perkins, Jack Sheldon, Red Callender and others. His passion for jazz combined with his love of filmmaking led to his documentary ‘Tis Autumn; The Search For Jackie Paris’, a study of the mysterious life of the eponymous jazz vocalist. The film contains interviews with many jazz greats including Hank Jones, James Moody, Mark Murphy, Billy Taylor, Ruth Price, Terry Gibbs, Teddy Charles and Anne Marie Moss. His recordings include ‘Movies ‘Til Dawn’, a CD of original music; ‘Monday Morning Quarterbacks’, a piano/vocal collaboration with fellow filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich; ‘Fatha’ Land’, a solo piano tribute to piano great Earl ‘Fatha’ Hines, and his newest CD ‘Pre-War Charm’, a trio recording featuring songs of the 1930s.
De Felitta offers several different live performance programs of music, each accompanied by his own witty and informative anecdotes about the history behind the songs.
JAZZ GOES TO THE MOVIES—a trio performance of title tracks from mostly mid-century 1950s and 60s movies (‘Wives And Lovers’, ‘The Tender Trap’, ‘Two For the Road’, ‘The Candy Man’ etc., along with the stories of the songs creations.
PRE-WAR CHARM—a trio performance of songs of the 1930s, including some forgotten and neglected gems rarely performed.
AIRMAIL SPECIAL—a tribute to the Benny Goodman trio featuring piano, drums and clarinet but no bass (similar to the Goodman/Teddy Wilson/Gene Krupa trio).
FATHA, FATS and FRIENDS—a solo piano concert featuring the music and styles of solo and stride greats such as Fats Waller, Earl ‘Fatha’ Hines, James P. Johnson, Teddy Wilson, Art Tatum and others.