Don Lombardi

On behalf of the entire staff here at Beato’s Blog, we want to wish everyone a happy and healthy New Year. For us, 2016 was our breakout year. We were so privileged and honored to have such great guests. The year kicked off with a sit-down with DW’s own president and founder, Don Lombardi. That was a really special interview and chatting with Don was like talking to a human encyclopedia of music.

John Good (left)
John Good (left)

And if talking with Don was not enough we were so privileged to score a DW “double shot” by also being able to interview Don’s long time partner John Good who probably knows more about building drums than anyone on the planet.

Joe P
Joe Porcaro

We also got the chance to speak with the one and only bassist legend Abe Laboriel, Sr. What a unique individual on both a personal and professional level. Of special note was our interview with the great Joe Porcaro, the patriarch of the legendary Porcaro family. To say that talking with Joe was a treat is an understatement. They just don’t make them like him anymore.

Steve Schaeffer

Then there was–literally–the “man, the myth, the legend” Steve Schaeffer. Steve, as you know, has the most interesting distinction of playing or appearing on more than 1,000 film and original soundtracks. Any musician looking to work in the business should check out our sitdown with Steve as it truly was a once in a lifetime learning experience.

K Bo and Cecilia
The great Cecilia Noel

Then came along one of my personal favorites that simply shook me to the ground; she’s energetic, vivacious and infectious and she is Cecilia Noel. (Cecilia is married to former Men At Work frontman Colin Hay). Our sit down with her was a one of a kind experience. Cecilia is hard to describe because she brings so much to life. She is extremely talented, strikingly beautiful, and one of the nicest people you will ever meet.

Rounding out the year were also two very special sit downs with two very very special people. The first was Chicago’s own percussionist Walfredo “Wally” Reyes, Jr. (Wally is a renowned drummer as well).

Look for Wally's new album entitled "Wallyworld"
Look for Wally’s new album entitled “Wallyworld”

We had the pleasure of following Wally and Chicago around as they toured North America and Canada in the Fall of 2016 with Earth, Wind and Fire. We started in Atlantic City and went from there and based on our readership feedback you guys really like the “on the road” feature too. Finally, and last but not least, was our sit down with cancer survivor Gracie West. What an inspirational and magnificent young lady and our chat with Gracie is certainly worth your time to check it out.

Gracie West (left)

To all our guests from 2016 we thank you so much for the time and for sharing. The experiences were all our pleasure for sure and in some instances we will certainly cross paths again and for that we are thankful.

There is no doubt that 2016 also brought tremendous sadness as we lost a number of great people and in many cases, we lost them much much too soon. However, despite the loss and sadness we have firm hope that 2017 will be a better year for us all.

Wally WorldIn fact, we here at Beato’s Blog are already working on 2017 which will definitely start quickly as we have two stellar albums on deck that we are reviewing. The first is from Wally Reyes, Jr. and it is entitled Wally World. This album is phenomenal and we are excited to bring you our review of this record and if Wally is involved who knows what else can happen!

Editor’s Note: Please check out the CNN documentary on Chicago which will air tomorrow on January 1 at 10:00 pm (EST). The documentary is entitled Now More Than Ever: The History Of Chicago.

Colossal Street JamThe second record we have cued up is from our new friends at Jersey’s own Colossal Street Jam. The album is entitled Living Free and having heard pieces of this record we can say with confidence it is an eye opener and that’s after we only heard half the story! Nice job by CSJ and please check out this group. We can’t wait to get our hands on this one.

Finally, our own Fred Beato has his debut solo record coming out which is nothing short of amazing if you don’t mind us saying so. For me I just can’t get enough of the group’s rendition of That Old Black Magic. Engineered in part by Capitol Records’ own Al Schmitt (a 23 Grammy winner himself) the album will be sure to impress and so far the feedback has been amazing.

Therefore, again on behalf of all of us here at Beato’s Blog we wish everyone a happy and healthy New Year and we will catch you on the other side. Peace.

Ken “K Bo” Biedzynski, Editor

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