Neal Stuart and The Empire State is an exciting all star collaboration of veteran musicians of the 1960’s through 1990’s music scene, featuring present and former members of well known groups. We have come together due to the requests we have received for many years and our desire to pay tribute to the breadth and depth of the music of the late, great Johnny Maestro, a New York – grown star whose groups The Crests and The Brooklyn Bridge provided the soundtrack of a generation whose love of vocal music is stronger today than ever.
Neal Stuart (Lead Vocals) The leader of Neal Stuart and the Empire State has been performing for over five decades, starting professionally, in the early 1960’s as one of the lead vocalists of the well-known Bronx, NY acapella group, The Zirkons. He has also sung with various Long Island groups and has appeared in many solo shows throughout the tri-state area. Neal’s renowned bel canto voice style shines in songs, such as Sincerely, Gee, But I’d Give the World and his signature song, Unchained Melody. Music and singing have always been Neal’s passion, which is easily recognized in his performances. He is considered one of the premiere vocalists in New York.
Who Are The Empire State?
John Williams (Vocals) Inspired by neighborhood acapella groups in the early 1960’s, John started singing with The Congenials, which became The Premiers and then The Horizons, performing at local venues. With The Horizons, John’s singing is featured on their hit Hey Now Baby, which won 3rd place on Murray the K’s singing group contest. After serving our country with the Marines, John sung with Sights Unlimited and with The Devotions, well known for their hits Rip Van Winkle and For Sentimental Reasons.
Ralph Moccio (Vocals) Ralph Vincent Moccio studied voice with vocal coaches Alfredo Martino and Carlo Menotti in NYC. He sang lead with his groups, Ralph Vincent and The Chordelles, The Valiants, Robin and The Hoods and The Zig Zag People. With Decca Records The Zig Zag People had an album with 2 singles. Ralph was also a successful businessman with his Nick DiAngelo and Nick’s Tusca Grille restaurants. His love of music has brought him back to The Empire State.
Joe Cordani (Keys & Vocals) A former music teacher, Joe’s love for music was recognized in his youth, playing clarinet and saxophone, which he had to discontinue, due to unfortunate circumstances. Joe then acclimated himself and became a success on the piano. In his career as a musician, he has played keys for Randy and The Rainbows with Randy Safuto, known for their 1963 recording, Denise and has performed The Dubs, known for Could it Be Magic. Locally, Joe has performed with Time and Time Again and The Raves.
Frankie Carr (Lead Guitar) Frankie is a highly respected and sought after guitarist in the music industry. His music roots go back to the late 1960’s, with his own band, The Tea Company, known for their hits, Come and Have Some Tea With Me and Flowers. He has performed with The Critters, known for their hits, Mr. Dieingly Sad and Younger Girl and was the musical director for The Exciters, known for their 1963 hit, Tell Him. Frankie was also featured in the cast of 1970’s Broadway show, Beatlemania in the role of George Harrison. For 10 years, Frankie was the top studio guitarist in NYC’s Power Station recording studios, performing on the recordings of many well-known artists such as Mick Jagger, Diana Ross, Bon Jovi, Duran-Duran and Robert Palmer, to name a few. Frankie also teaches music and guitar to upcoming musicians. He has also received accolades for his work on cable television and in the not for profit sector. In 2012, Frankie was inducted into the Rickenbacker Hall of Fame.
Rod Doe (Bass Guitar and Vocals) Rod Doe has worked with Hot Kole Entertainment in clubs throughout the Northeast and has performed at the Miss Universe Pageant throughout the 1970’s with the same group. He has also worked with The Drifters and Spiral Staircase, in addition to playing bass and vocals with with The Turning Point (the Noblemen Orchestra) and most recently with The Raves and The Brewing Company.
Jim Mantagna (Drums) Jim has been playing drums for over 30 years. He honed his R&B chops sitting in with the revered Long Island soul singer Little Buster and has since played virtually every genre of music, rocking metro area music festivals with blues and fifties acts like Blue Roots and Juke Box Saturday Night, and playing the east coast circuit with the Brazilian pop and Latin Jazz band Rio. Additionally he has spent the last ten years backing up area club date band Dreamz and providing the pocket for the classic soul sounds of Wilson Pickett with The Radio.
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