The Cabaret Big Band

Contact Katy to book the Cabaret Big Band.

The Cabaret Big Band was born in 2013 at MusicalFare in Snyder, New York, out of director Randy Kramer’s desire to have a bigger group perform in his recently opened New York-styled cabaret space.

The resulting group led off its tenure with a December jazz-styled holiday concert. The show was a smash, and from that point forward, the Cabaret Big Band has performed more holiday shows, as well as a Judy Garland Tribute, a Cole Porter Tribute, an evening of the The Music of Frank Sinatra, and Jazz On Broadway, which features great Broadway songs that became standards of the jazz repertoire.

The group has also performed for corporate functions, and was featured at the Erie County Fair in their Big Band series in 2017.

The members of the band have had vast experience with touring big bands and also with groups such as the Buffalo Philharmonic Pops, and myriad theater and community orchestras in the region.

The Cabaret Big Band Song Sampler

Musician’s Bios:

Tim Clarke (trumpet) Upon hitting the Western New York music scene in 2007, trumpeter and Eugene, Oregon native Tim Clarke was immediately embraced by the music community and fans as one of the region’s most popular jazz trumpet soloists. As one of the busiest and most versatile trumpet performers in the area, Tim delights western NY audiences with expressive, emotion-packed solos and melodic interpretations that are both highly personal yet influenced by the jazz trumpet greats of years past.

Concurrently, Tim holds the position of Principal Audio Engineer at Fisher-Price, Inc., where he has been the primary creative force behind the music and sound design for the global, highly successful Laugh and Learn™ line of toys. Since winning the position at Fisher-Price in 2007, he has contributed to hundreds of successful, award-winning toys, commercials, webisodes, music videos, and live musicals. His music is enjoyed every day by millions of children across the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, Eurasia and Africa, in over twenty different languages.

Russ D’Alba (tenor sax), born and raised in Buffalo, New York, studied with Don Mattea, John Sedola, Ed Yadzinski and Tony Carere. A graduate of the University of Buffalo with a dual major in Music and Accounting (he is a CPA), some highlights of Russ’s live music performances include concert performances with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Chautauqua Symphony, Sarah Vaughan, Nancy Wilson, Natalie Cole, Nancy Kelly, George Benson, Lou Rawls, Mark Murphy, The 4 Freshmen, Sammy Davis Jr, Frank Sinatra Jr, Aretha Franklin, Donna Summers, Stan Kenton Big Band, Tommy Dorsey Big Band, Gap Mangione’s Big Band, Michael Civisca, Doc Severinsen Orchestra, Don Menza Big Band, Ed Shaughnessy, Louie Bellson, Mel Lewis, Rob McConnell, and the 75th Birthday “Stratospheric” celebration in Los Angeles honoring Maynard Ferguson.

Russ has recorded with The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, The Buffalo Brass, Jeff Jarvis Jazz Trumpeter, The Don Menza Big Band, the Emil Palame Big Band, Jeff Tain Watts and Kenny Drew Jr., the Dave Stevens Big Band, and numerous others.  Additionally, he has recorded dozens of jingles and other promotional recordings.

Harry Fackelman (baritone sax) was a founding member of the Amherst Saxophone Quartet. The group toured for nearly three decades, recorded nine CD’s, and made appearances on The Tonight Show and CBS Sunday Morning.

Currently, Harry is performing and recording with diverse groups and continues to be a part of the woodwind section of many theater and concert touring productions in Buffalo. Fackelman also serves on the music faculty at the University at Buffalo and Buffalo State.

Harry Graser (piano) has quickly established himself as one of Buffalo’s top jazz pianists.He performs as both a leader and a sideman in numerous groups spanning genres from chamber classical to experimental electronic. He has performed for several years at the Northwest (Lewiston) Jazz Festival as well as the Queen City Jazz Festival. Harry enjoys composing, arranging, and transcribing music. He has studied classical piano with Dr. Emily Boyce, jazz piano with Bobby Jones, and percussion with several BPO members. Harry is director of music at Crossroads Lutheran Church in Amherst.

Tom Kasperek (drums), a native of Orchard Park, NY performed with the Buffalo State College Jazz Ensemble and toured Europe with that group in the early 1980’s. From there, Tom went on to a 16-year stint as featured drummer with the world famous Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, directed by legendary trombonist, Buddy Morrow. Tom toured the US, Canada, Mexico, Europe, and Japan with the Dorsey band.

After leaving the Dorsey band, Tom became the drummer and bandleader on the famous Mississippi Queen riverboat, sailing out of New Orleans. Eventually, Tom relocated his family back in Western New York. Tom has become the first call swing and jazz drummer in the area and performs with a wide variety of bands, in styles from trad-jazz to bebop.

Ken Kuriscak (alto sax) received his Bachelors in Music Education from the State University of New York at Fredonia, attended the Manhattan School of Music for Jazz Performance, and then completed his Masters in Music Education from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Ken has taught in the Niagara Falls City School District in Niagara Falls New York, the Bradford Central District in Bradford New York, and the Royalton Hartland Elementary Schools in Middleport New York. Currently, Ken teaches elementary band in the Niagara Wheatfield School District. Aside from teaching, Ken has directed many All-County and All-State honor ensembles in various counties through New York. He is also a New York State School Music Association Woodwind and All-State Jazz adjudicator.

Ken performs regularly as a freelance saxophonist in the Buffalo/Niagara Area. He led the band “It’s Kenny’s Fault”, has performed with the Buffalo Brass Big Band under the direction of Phil Sims, the Western New York Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Dave Kayne, the Mark Filsinger Eleventet, the Don Menza Big Band, the Cabaret Big Band under the direction of Phil Sims, C.O. Jones, the C Street Band with Dave Kayne, and Alec Dube’s Critical Mass. He was named “Best College Jazz Soloist” by Downbeat Magazine in 1996, was a finalist and received a scholarship in the East Coast Jazz Festival in 1997, and toured with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra in 1998.

Phil Sims (trombone) Buffalo-based trombonist and composer, Phil Sims toured extensively as lead trombonist and arranger for the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. Phil has arranged dozens of jazz, pop, Latin, and rock pieces that have been performed by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, including his “Grateful Dead Tribute” show. His big band, “The Buffalo Brass” has received great critical acclaim. Currently, Phil enjoys working with over a dozen bands of different styles, most notably the Cabaret Big Band and Katy Miner Quintet, both featuring stellar vocalist, Katy Miner. Over the past 40 years, Phil has performed with Mel Lewis, Natalie Cole, Aretha Franklin, Jack McDuff, and Mel Torme, to name a few, and has been a guest soloist with Doc Severinson and the BPO.

Paul Zapalowski (bass) is a highly sought after classical and jazz bassist in Western New York. He earned his BFA (cum laude) from State University of New York at Buffalo. His musical experience covers the classical, jazz, pop, big band and traditional genres.

Performing regularly with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Chautauqua Symphony, he has also made guest appearances with several other major orchestras. Paul has toured extensively in the United States, Europe and Scandinavia with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and the Woody Herman Big Band. As staff musician for several cruise lines, Paul has circumnavigated the world visiting 46 countries. Paul has also had the privilege of accompanying many major artists including Doc Severinsen, Mark Murphy, Nancy Wilson, Barney Kessel and Joe Pass.

Paul has been a 30-plus years member of the Barroom Buzzards, who were inducted as an ensemble into Buffalo Music Hall of Fame in 2002. He is a lecturer of applied Bass Studies at SUNY Buffalo State.