The introductory clip in this video set was damaged, so we wanted to let you know why you need to check out these videos featuring criminally underrated keyboardist Joe Vannelli
, an icon amongst those who are aware of his prodigious talents. Joe played keyboards with his brother Gino Vannelli
and together, the two made quite an impact on '70s and '80s pop music. You may be aware of Gino's huge hit "I Just Wanna Stop," which earned Vannelli a Grammy nod in 1978 and hit number 4 on the U.S. charts and number 1 in his native Canada, but the music of the Vannelli brothers runs much deeper, especially where keyboards are concerned. Joe Vannelli worked as keyboardist, arranger, producer, composer and programmer for his brother and the two earned Juno awards in Canada and platinum records in the U.S. One of Joe's many indelible contributions was using monophonic synths to multi-track polyphonic parts for their albums, a very progressive concept in the early '70s when polyphonic synths were non-existent.
(Photo, left to right: Keyboard contributor Robbie Gennet, Roger Manning Jr., Fernando Perdomo, and Joe Vannelli.)
From 1973's Crazy Life
album onward, Joe's contributions to the keyboard world have been impressive yet overlooked by the keyboard community. In these videos, join musicians Fernando Perdomo
and Roger Manning Jr.
(two of the hugest Gino Vannelli fans we know) as they discuss these classic albums and synths with Joe Vannelli, whose studio in Agoura Hills, CA still holds the famed white grand piano as seen in the classic Gino Vannelli concert videos. Roger was kind enough to loan us his Univox MaxiKorg, the main synth that Joe used back in the day. Though Joe hadn't seen one in many years, he still had all his old charts and settings and was able to recreate some of the sounds from the records while discussing how the recording process worked. Joe has gone on to work with a vast array of artists from Chaka Khan and Eartha Kitt to Jimmy Haslip and Brenda Russell, among others. He has won six Juno Awards and was nominated for several Grammys, including one for best arrangement. If you have until now been unaware of Joe Vannelli, your'e about to get a great introduction to a true legend in the keyboard world. Enjoy!
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