North Bergen resident Monroe Quinn has released his second CD called On Riverside Drive. The CD is a homage to the people that have made an impact in his life both musically and personally.
Quinn’s household was filled with musical notes as his father played drums, mother the violin and brother Alan who is a professional trumpeter. His wife Ivana Kunc sings classical and Broadway music.
“I guess we just gravitate towards each other,” said Quinn. “I definitely feel that growing up in a household that was supportive of music and of me had a very positive effect.”
He remembers his exposure to rock, pop, swing music yet his interest veered towards jazz.
“I was always exposed to music,” said Quinn. “I was obsessed with [jazz]...”
His father started Quinn’s musical career by teaching him cords on the piano at the young age of three. Once he got the cords down, he and his dad would volunteer their musical abilities at local nursing homes. Quinn soon transitioned to playing the guitar at age eleven.
Jazz sparked his interest with songs like “Eruption” by Eddie Van Halen and hearing guitar player Andres Segovia. Two of his jazz influences are Remo Palmier and Wes Montgomery who he considers the best guitar player of all time.
“It would be nice for me to play for the community.” - Monroe Quinn
“I have...am convinced that he is a musician of integrity and dedication...,” said Palmier of Quinn. “He has a decided talent for writing a melodic jazz line that lasts.”
“Remo was so humble and so magnificent..., a phenomenal guitar player,” said Quinn. “Besides my family [Palmier] has been the biggest influence on me. [Palmier] really was my music school and I still work on things he gave me.”
On Riverside Drive was named after the street in New York that Palmier taught him lessons. The CD was released on August 7. This is his first solo guitar recording and took him a year to create. He began to write the songs as therapy when he was upset and joked that it would have turned into a symphony had he not stopped.
His first recording was I’ll Dream of You which was released in 1997. The transition between the first CD and the second is that he played with a band while now he’s solo. He only wrote 7 songs in the first while all the songs were written for his latest recording.
His latest CD is a celebration for the people that have inspired Quinn’s life either personally or musically. Track 5, Blues a la Remo, is an homage to his former music teacher Remo Palmier. Track 6, A Song for Joy, was written for his wife who’s middle name is Joy. Track 7, By George, was inspired by George Harrison who became the lead guitarist for the Beatles. Track 8, Precious , was written for his cat and begins classically which then transitions into a bossa nova that is Brazilian. Some others that are thanked On Riverside Drive are Pat Metheny, Julian Bream, his favorite English teacher Donald Delo and his brother.
“It’s a Jazz album,” said Quinn. “But on songs like ‘By George’ and ‘A Song For Joy’ you don’t have to look too far to hear rock or classical influences. And I think that’s a good thing!”
“It’s a musical ‘thank you’ to some of the people I am grateful for,” said Quinn in his biography. “I wanted to express the gratitude I feel for them and channel that inspiration into the compositions and improvisations.”
Throughout the CD he plays the electric, acoustic and 12- string guitar.
Some of the praise Quinn had from radio host, author and Rutgers Institute of Jazz Studies professor Vincent Pelote was that he is “fantastic”.
He hopes to bring his musical talent closer to home and would like to do a concert at The North Bergen Public Library.
“It would be nice for me to play for the community,” said Quinn.
Collaborations and solo career
He plays the guitar and banjo with a group called “Dr. Dubious”.
Over the years Quinn has performed with artists such as Billy Preston, Mickey Dolen of “The Monkees” and Denny Laine from “Wings” just to name a few.
Music brought him love when he was with a band called Liverpool that played Beatles music.
“I can literally say that I met my wife because of the Beatles,” said Quinn.
For further information visit: www.monroequinn.com.
Vanessa Cruz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org