2002-07-13 / Community

Kenny Vance and The Planotones To Perform at Fort Tilden

Kenny Vance and The Planotones
To Perform at Fort Tilden

This article was submitted by John Musimeci, Rockaway Music and Arts Council’s Musical Director. The group will be performing Sunday, July 14 at Fort Tilden. The concert is free to all!

You’re sitting in the theater, the lights are low, and suddenly you hear an angelic voice singing, as if from the heavens, soaring through the air into your soul.

And then other riveting voices cascade in harmony, with world class musicians compelling the song right into your heart and your tapping feet.

Ladies and gentlemen, Kenny Vance and The Planotones.

Kenny Vance and The Planotones’ extraordinary performance of original and cover 50s and 60s inspired music is delivered with a rare and exciting passion.

Whether on stage, record, film, television, video, radio, or commercials, they command a standing ovation with every performance. Each member of the group brings a special gift to the mix, and between them they have released over thirty albums, have had chart topping million selling records, and have performed throughout the US and internationally.

Featuring Kenny Vance, Murray Weinstock, Garry Bonner, Angel Risoff and Johnny Gale, the group has released four CD’s and has performed on the world’s most prestigious stages including Carnegie Hall, Madison Square Garden, Universal Amphitheatre, MGM Grand, Taj Mahal, Westbury Music Hall, Caesar’s Palace and many more.

As a kid in New York, Kenny Vance was captivated by the magic of rock and roll. At fifteen he was hanging around the famed Brill Building meeting other singers and songwriters eventually forming the seminal group Jay and the Americans. Over a 12-year period they recorded fifteen albums, toured extensively, and opened for the debut U.S. tours of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

As if forming, performing and writing for a group that had dozens of hits, including "She Cried," "Come A Little Bit Closer," "Cara Mia" and "This Magic Moment" wasn’t enough, Kenny then explored the contemporary music industry on even more fronts. The last incarnation of the group included two talented singer songwriters named Donald Fagen and Walter Becker – Steely Dan. Kenny jump-started their careers by producing their initial recordings.

He went on to compose, supervise and produce a long list of scores and soundtrack albums for feature films and television, including some of the great rock and roll films. He gave the Allen Freed story, the cult favorite American Hot Wax, its musical life as the music supervisor and soundtrack producer, recreating the groups of the 50’s and 60’s. He played Professor LaPlano, the leader of the fictional group The Planotones. And so the legendary group was formed in 1978, making it’s first appearances in front of millions of viewers in theaters across the country. He music directed for the cultural phenomenon Saturday Night Live television show which forever changed the presentation of comedy and music on TV. He was music supervisor for many other feature films including the perennial classic Animal House, Eddie and The Cruisers I & II, Streets of Fire, and Hairspray.

As an actor, Kenny has appeared in Billy Bathgate, American Hot Wax, Eddie and The Cruisers, Hurly Burly and in several Woody Allen films including Husbands and Wives, Crimes and Misdemeanors, and Stardust Memories. He currently has the feature film, The Florence Greenberg Story, with Bette Midler in development.

With all of his multi-talents and successes, Kenny Vance’s first love has always been singing. He reformed The Planotones in 1992, delivering a unique and exceptional look and sound, featuring a rich historical music style with a doo wop and Brooklyn vibe of cool sultry musical authority.

Murray Weinstock joined the Planotones in 1992 with his unique vocals and special touch on keyboards. In the late 60’s his group, The Fifth Avenue Band, recorded for Warner Reprise Records in the U.S. and Pony Canyon Records in Japan, and in the 80’s his The Camaros recorded for Elektra. He toured extensively as keyboardist and singer with The Manhattan Transfer, Esther Phillips, Richie Havens, Don Covay and Buddy Miles. He sang and played keyboard with John Sebastian for the popular Welcome Back Kotter television series.

Vocalist Garry Bonner has been with The Planotones since 1994 and his performance style is always mesmerizing in talent and intensity. He has had a great career as a songwriter and singer. He co-wrote the #1 Turtles smash "Happy Together." The record’s climb up the charts actually prevented The Beatles songs "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "Penny Lane" from topping the charts for eight weeks. The Turtles hit #1 again with his "She’d Rather Be With Me" followed by two more Top 10 songs for the group. And he wrote Three Dog Night’s chart topper "Celebrate." He has also written songs for The Righteous Brothers, Lou Rawls, Petula Clark, Bobby Darin, The Lovin’ Spoonful, Leslie Gore, The Captain & Tennille, The Nylons and many more.

Vocalist Angel Rissoff brings his rich powerful vocals to the group. He started singing rhythm and blues on street corners when he was twelve, joined a band as a bass player at fifteen and toured with the grandfather of rock, the great Chuck Berry. He was the lead singer for South Florida’s The Kollection and GC Dangerous with Gene Cornish. Angel has worked with such notables as Dion, Darlene Love, John Lee Hooker, Chuck Jackson, Bobby Byrd, Cyndi Lauper, The Blues Image and the new Rascals. An original member of Little Isidore and The Inquisitors, he sang lead on their #1 record "Harlem Hit Parade" and the #3 record "Jitterbop."

An exciting addition to The Planotones is music director, guitarist, vocalist, producer, arranger Johnny Gale, who has been a noted force in music since the 1960’s. He has an uncanny mastery of musical nuances, and is considered one of the world’s experts on classic rock, rhythm and blues and doo wop. On record, film, television and stage, Gale has worked with music legends and contemporary groups as diverse as Cyndi Lauper, Aaron Carter, M2M, Loudan Wainwright III, Jules Shear, Hank Ballard, The Ramones, Joan Osborn, James Brown, Aaron Neville, Andy Fortier, Kid Creole and The Coconuts, Mel Torme, Taj Mahal, The Byrds, Dave Mason, Meat Loaf, Rudy West and The Five Keys, Van Morrison, Iggy Pop, Little Isidore and The Inquisitors, Pookie Hudson and The Spaniels, Carol Bayer Sager and more. In 1994 he released his own album "Gale Force" which was awarded Best Guitar Record of The Year. He has been involved with commercials as Lipton, Pepsi, Campbells, and Nestles.

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