Musician lends saxophone stylings to memoir
Journal Register News
Service Local residents may know musician Frank Ewing from bands like Good for Nothing Jazz Trio, ‘Tis the Season and Downtown Harvest. More recently, the Plymouth Meeting native and fellow Plymouth Whitemarsh High School alums Mike Gordon and brothers John and Chris Wood have been headlining area music venues as Bravo Jazz nuartet.
This month, though, Ewing has also been lending his saxophone stylings to “Growing Up Italian-Buon Natale” — area writer Tony Leodora’s musical memoir about “what it was like growing up in the dual Italian and American cultures of the Baby Boomer era.”
Like many area folks, Ewing learned to treasure his own Italian roots from a grandparent.
“My grandmother was from outside of Naples and was the head of my family,” he says.
“Every Sunday, everyone would gather at her house to eat a huge meal.”
When the 2000 PW grad traveled to Italy “the summer before my senior year, [Iz was amazed at how I was welcomed as part of the family and fell in love with the country, culture, people and food.”
“I studied marketing and minored in Ital- ian at [Penn Statez and went abroad to Perugia for six months … where they hold a huge jazz fest every year,” Ewing continues. “I made it a goal to return, and in 2009, I brushed up on my Italian and went for two months to make connections and play music.
“I found that I could make enough money doing what I love — playing saxophone and singing with the accordion — and working in a wine bar … while immersing myself in a beauti- ful foreign culture and language. So, I returned the following year to study Italian and attend a Berklee [in Umbriaz Jazz Clinic. In 2011, I went for three months, traveling and playing all over the country.
“I particularly fell in love with southern Italy, Calabria and Sicily. The pace of life is so slow down there, and family and food seem to visibly be the most important things to life. I’d like to return, furthering my music career in Europe while making the most of the connections and friends I’ve made along the way .…”
Ewing hopes to return in 2014 with “a big group of family and friends” in tow.
In the meantime, he and his Bravo Jazz bandmates are regulars at Spamps and a number of other Philadelphia and suburban venues, and he continues to “[goz full force with music as a career and also give guitar, sax and piano lessons.”