Michael Laiacona (Whirlwind President) gets inducted into the Rochester Music Hall of Fame.
Michael is one of five amazing Rochestarians being recognized for their ties to Rochester, whose talents, efforts, perseverance, and creativity have contributed to the creation of musical excellence.
By Mark Liu, Democrat and Chronicle
One is a multi-Grammy winner who has worked with greats such as Michael Jackson, Prince and Pharrell Williams; another created equipment used by The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen and John Lennon.
An international jazz singer made the list, along with a drummer who has played with Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Sarah Vaughn and many more.
But the sentimental pick surely is the Dady Brothers, the Irish music duo who spread their warmth and charm to audiences for decades until Joe's death last year.
The ninth annual Rochester Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place on April 26, and the five names just announced represent a cross-section of musical accomplishment, from singers to a mixing engineer.
It's a reminder of the many roles needed to make the songs we hear and love, and how the DNA of Rochester music runs deep and spreads wide.
“Rochester has a rich and diverse musical heritage and we are proud to foster and celebrate that through the Rochester Music Hall of Fame,” said Jack Whittier, president of the Rochester Music Hall of Fame.
Here are the 2020 inductees:
The Dady Brothers
The late Bat McGrath, a fellow inductee, once called The Dady Brothers “the best acoustic act I've seen.” John and Joe performed for more than 40 years — it was their profession and their passion.
The list of instruments they mastered include guitar, banjo, penny whistle, ukulele, fiddle, mandolin, bodhran, harmonica, concertina, and the uilleann pipes. Their blend of American folk and traditional Irish music created a catchy, captivating sound that brought them to thousands of shows from Alaska to the Caribbean.
On the Kodak Hall stage at the ceremony, John Dady will perform with several fellow musicians.
Born in Rochester and raised in Scottsville, Nancy Kelly studied at Eastman School of Music and went on to a four-decade international singing career. She was twice named “Best Female Jazz Vocalist” in the influential Down Beat Readers’ Poll.
Her swing/bop style brought her to audiences across the United States and from Singapore to Switzerland, France to Turkey, and tours through Asia.
She performs regularly in New York City at The Blue Note, Birdland, The Rainbow Room, and Dizzy’s Jazz Club, and at Lincoln Center. Her debut CD, “Live Jazz,” reached no. 11 on the Billboard charts.
Nancy Kelly will perform with her band.
The list of musicians who have picked Nathan “Mick” Guzauski to mix their songs is impressive: Michael Jackson, Prince, Daft Punk, Eric Clapton, Marc Anthony, Pharrell Williams, Janelle Monáe and many more.
For his sound-engineering efforts, he has won multiple Grammy Awards. In his career, he has mixed 27 number-one hit singles.
Guzauski grew up in Rochester, where he created a recording studio in his parents’ basement as a teenager. Fellow Hall of Famer Chuck Mangione drew him to Los Angeles to engineer his album.
Whirlwind Music Distributors, still headquartered in Greece after 45 years, has kept the biggest rock tours and major events wired. Founder Michael Laiacona manufactures professional audio lighting and power-interfacing products, including cords and power distribution.
Clients using Whirlwind cables include among others, Cheap Trick, Bruce Springsteen, the Rolling Stones, and Tedeschi Trucks Band. Laiacona's earlier company MXR created effects pedals for guitars, which helped establish the sound of the 1970s. John Lennon was a fan.
Laiacona plays bass as a member of local band Black Rabbit. Today his company has more than 130 employees.
At the ceremony, a musical tribute to Laiacona’s legacy will be performed by Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Robin Zander, lead singer of Cheap Trick, and Grammy-winning guitarist, Steve Stevens, who is the lead guitarist for Billy Idol.
Rochester native Roy McCurdy has recorded or toured with Sonny Rollins, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, Herbie Hancock, Blood, Sweat and Tears, Nancy Wilson, Diana Krall and many more. And his work has been influential. Modern Drummer magazine said that McCurdy opened the door for funk and fusion by emphasizing the backbeat and employing a definitive bass drum pattern.
McCurdy serves as an adjunct professor in the Jazz Studies Department of the Thornton School of Music at University of Southern California and serves on the faculty of the Pasadena Conservatory of Music.
At the ceremony, McCurdy will perform with a group of Rochester-based musicians.
- Michael Laiacona (Whirlwind President) gets inducted into the Rochester Music Hall of Fame.Feb 27, 2020
- Whirlwind Artist Jennifer Westwood and the Handsome Devils light up Iron Smoke Whiskey on Halloween night!Oct 30, 2019
- Steve Gadd Brings his groove back home!Jun 24, 2019
- Judas Priest and WhirlwindSep 10, 2018
- Lake Street Dive packs the house at the JazzfestJun 29, 2018
- SEAL lights up the XRIJF 2018 Jazzfest, and opens a week of amazing talent!Jun 25, 2018
- Alice in Chains and the MultiSelector ProMay 22, 2018
- Phish in the Phamily!Feb 16, 2018
- The Rochester Jazzfest is back in full swing!Jun 28, 2017
- Red Hot Chili Peppers rock out with Whirlwind!Feb 13, 2017
- Whirlwind builds a 13,000 square foot expansion!Jun 01, 2016
- Bonnie Raitt and the Whirlwind Bomb!Apr 05, 2016
- Lettuce Joins the Whirlwind family of bands!Nov 17, 2015
- Bootsy Collins brings the thunder with Whirlwind!Jun 29, 2015
- Surviving a Fishbone Tour!May 11, 2015
- Power Link® and Joe Bonamassa make for a powerful tour!Nov 25, 2014
- Guitar idol Steve Stevens and Whirlwind!Jul 23, 2014
- Buddy Guy brings it to the JazzFestJun 30, 2014
- Rudy Sarzo joins the Whirlwind Family, and continues to provide the thunder for some of Rock-n-Roll’s greatest legends!Jun 09, 2014
- The Fireballs continue to amaze fans for over 50 years!Oct 08, 2013
- “The Wrecking Crew” comes to the Little TheaterAug 19, 2013
- The Black Crowes, The Tedeschi Trucks Band, and WhirlwindAug 01, 2013
- Dave Mathews Band and WhirlwindJul 08, 2013
- Marc Anthony takes Whirlwind on Tour!Dec 04, 2012
- Red Hot Chili Peppers tour the world with WhirlwindOct 08, 2012
- Tony Levin joins the Whirlwind family!Sep 12, 2012
- Neutrik 2012 PremierePARTNER AwardAug 29, 2012
- BUSH switches with Whirlwind!Aug 15, 2012
- Whirlwind welcomes Rick “LD” WayneJun 18, 2012
- Power Link Gets Official UL LISTING!Apr 10, 2012
- NAMM 2012Jan 24, 2012
- Blue October brings their amazing show to townOct 31, 2011
- Parker Lundgren of Queensrÿche joins the ranksSep 27, 2011
- K.D. Lang knocks the socks off of a sold out Eastman Theater!Jun 17, 2011
- The Fab Faux gets a little help from their friendsJun 13, 2011
- DISPATCH signs with Whirlwind FX LABJun 01, 2011
- Whirlwind signs John5May 02, 2011
- KISS calls on Whirlwind to help blow stuff up!Mar 08, 2011
- Tommy Organ rocks out with Whirlwind!Feb 01, 2011
- NAMM 2011Jan 19, 2011
- A Win - Win - Win for Whirlwind, UPS, and The Buffalo BillsDec 15, 2010
- An evening with Joe BonamassaNov 18, 2010
- The Cult brings the big guns!Nov 01, 2010
- Lou Gramm and WhirlwindOct 18, 2010
- The Cult turns to Rochester for their tone!Sep 27, 2010
- John Fogerty, Celebrates 25 years in Centerfield!Sep 15, 2010
- Whirlwind and Rush on tourSep 07, 2010
- TOM PETTY / CROSBY, STILLS, & NASH IN CONCERTAug 18, 2010
- No Shock ZoneAug 17, 2010
- Creedence Clearwater RevisitedJul 30, 2010
- Gabe Condon drops into WhirlwindJul 28, 2010
- Product Review: Whirlwind Orange Box Phaser Guitar Effects PedalJul 08, 2010
- Whirlwind Leader Standard Series Guitar Cable ReviewJul 08, 2010
- Oli Brown Tours with WhirlwindJul 08, 2010
- Customers’ testimonials say it allJul 08, 2010
- Alex Kane and Clare Misstake touring with WhirlwindJul 08, 2010
- Feature article in Music Trades MagazineApr 28, 2010
- Clouseau Finds A Digital Solution Mar 11, 2010
- Rochester Series Effects PedalsMar 10, 2010
- “Les Paul’s Les Paul”Feb 12, 2010