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Guest Column

August 10, 2013

It takes a village to raise a showman


He also helped me to join the Musicians Union. He was a good friend who was always there for me.

Stahl is simply one of the finest pianists ever. I have performed all over this great country with hundreds of incredible musicians, and Jack is at the top of this list. When I listen to him I hear shades of Fats Waller and Art Tatum. But make no mistake, he is one of a kind! One night I asked him to play his favorite song. This is a tough request for any working musician because their choice might change every night. That night, he performed a 10-minute rendition of “Deed I Do” that I will remember forever. I was so inspired I started singing it in my shows.

Colone has as much fun as anyone I’ve seen, or performed with. One reason is that he has totally mastered the art form of rhythm and percussion. I’ve had the privilege of sharing the bandstand with him on several occasions, and it’s been educational and fun. He set very high standards and still does. Rarely have I seen any drummer reach his level of perfection. He’s also one of the best storytellers on the planet. I’m still laughing, 30 years later, at some of his wonderful anecdotes.

There are some truly magnificent artists, musicians, and educators in Oneonta. I’ve had the good fortune to know and work with the best of them. What an honor!

I have been singing the songs from the Great American Songbook for over 40 years, and I can’t imagine a more rewarding or fulfilling life. Anyone who can achieve their dreams — or even a part of them — had some help along the way. I was lucky. Educators like Mr. Campbell and Mr. Picolla and musicians like Houck, Stahl and Colone were so inspirational. But of course most important, a mom and dad who supported my musical ambitions every step of the way.

Tommy Joy is a singer, pianist and Oneonta native. His website is



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