New York City–Mike Merola & the City Boys Allstars are devastated to learn of the sudden passing of the great trumpeter Lew Soloff, and they extend their deepest condolences to his family. Lew was more than an essential part of the Allstars; he was a special man who shared a mutual love, respect and camaraderie with Mike Merola, Rob Clores, Tony Kadleck, Bil Kurz, Al MacDowell, Tom Malone, Lou Marini, Angel Rissoff, Daniel Sadownick, Nick Saya, Horace Scott II, and Andy Snitzer.
Bandleader Mike has always called Lew his “mentor” in reverent tones; words can’t begin to describe the powerful emotional-and-musical bond Mike felt with Lew. Lew was, in fact, the force behind Mike forming the band in the early-1990s. “The whole thing came together the way it did really by a series of accidental meetings,” Mike recalled a few months ago. “I first met Lew and that’s how I met everyone horn playing-wise.” Over the years, Lew gave Mike solid, wise, and heartfelt advice many times. Mike mentioned one chat in particular, “Lew told me ‘You’re lucky you’ve got the right kind of musicians. Don’t try to remake the Blues Brothers Band, and don’t try to remake Blood, Sweat & Tears. Because if you play originals and let us do our own thing, you’ll come up with an original sound.’” (Note: Lew was a key member of B, S & T when that jazz-rock group had its big hits in 1969.)
Delighted to have one of the greatest trumpeters in jazz and pop music history on his team, Mike has certainly followed Lew’s advice and forged a unique band sound. For Mike and the other members of the City Boys Allstars, their special friend Lew Soloff will live on in all the music they play in the future.