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VINCENT FALCONE TRIO: Warm Heart ... Cool Hands (A Tribute to My Friend)
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You Are There

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Vincent Falcone Trio
A Tribute To My Friend, Harry Sukman
Two talented men of music whose lives, though born and raised in different cities at different times, were parallel in many ways. Harry Sukman and Vincent Falcone had one great and talented man in common who eventually brought them together, Mr. Frank Sinatra.

Harry Sukman

Harry Sukman wins the Academy Award

Harry Sukman was born in Chicago, Illinois. He began studying classical piano at the age of four. He revealed himself a music prodigy as a child and attended the Metropolitan College of Music before he was in his teens. His teachers included the great Rudolph Ganz (piano) and Felix Borowski (theory, composition).
At twelve years old, Sukman served as an accompanist, to some of the finest violinists and opera singers and toured with them throughout  the country. In his twenties, he was employed as a radio conductor and pianist in Chicago.
In 1946, Harry Sukman moved to Hollywood, where he was hired as pianist by the music department at Paramount Pictures. Paramount studio’s music director, Victor Young, took him under his wing and introduced him to the art of film scoring. Young and Sukman were childhood friends and like brothers stemming back to their days in Chicago. Playing piano for Young’s scoring sessions and for great film composers such as; Dimitri Tiomkin, and Max Steiner, Harry Sukman played piano for recording  sessions with Victor Young and his orchestra as well as for well-known singers such as Frank Sinatra. Hersh was the nickname given to Harry Sukman by his friend Victor Young. Sinatra picked up on the name and continued to call him by that nickname throughout their association.
Over the years, Sukman was given the opportunity to compose music for numerous independent motion pictures. He broke into the big time in 1960, when he served as music director/composer for George Cukor And Charles Vidor’s “Song Without End” A drama based on the life of composer/pianist Franz Liszt. For this dramatic score, Harry Sukman received an Academy Award.

Frank Sinatra with
Harry Sukman in 1962

After receiving the Oscar for “Song Without End,” he subsequently was nominated for the films “Fanny” and for “The Singing Nun.” He received Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for numerous television series including “Dr. Kildare”, “Bonanza”, and “The High Chaparral” and movies of the week. In 1967, along with being asked to arrange themes for a new album he was going to record conducting the orchestra, Frank Sinatra asked Hersh to compose the score for his film; “The Naked Runner.”Though the film’s musical theme was written as a concerto, Sinatra asked Sukman to arrange the piece into a song. He gave it its song title and recorded it. “You Are There” performed in trio with a great jazz arrangement, is one of the selections on this CD.

Frank Sinatra asked Harry Sukman to write a few arrangements for personal appearances with piano accompaniment only. He sent his musical director/pianist Vincent Falcone to the home of his friend Harry Sukman (Hersh) to go over the arrangements. This special meeting and those that followed, were the beginning of a beautiful friendship between two fine musicians and two even finer men.

Vincent Falcone

Frank Sinatra with
Vincent Falcone

Vincent Falcone was born in Syracuse New York. He began studying classical piano at the age of three. He was engaged in classical training at Syracuse University. Mr. Falcone traveled extensively throughout Europe with various Jazz groups. Upon returning to the United States he spent several years furthering his musical studies as well as performing in the upstate New York area. In 1970 Mr. Falcone relocated to Las Vegas, where he still resides. He became Caesars Palace’s house pianist, and while there was heard by Frank Sinatra.

He was associated with Frank Sinatra for several years as pianist initially, and then as both pianist and conductor. Mr. Falcone was music director for the inaugural gala for president Ronald Reagan. Mr. Sinatra who loved to conduct the orchestra, would sometimes feature the piano artistry of Mr. Falcone while he conducted. He toured with Mr. Sinatra into the early '90s.

Vincent Falcone

Mr. Falcone continues to work with artists the likes of: Tony Bennett, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, Jack Jones, Andy Williams, Joe Piscopo. He has appeared with numerous jazz artists as: Steve Gadd, Bobby Shew, The Condoli Brothers, Terry Gibbs, Jack Sheldon and many more including Joe LaBarbera and Tom Warrington both of whom are featured on this CD.
In 2005, Mr. Falcone had his first book published by Hal Leonard Publishing Co. entitled “Frankly Just Between Us.”  The book tells of his many experiences with Frank Sinatra and many of the other artists with whom he has worked.

Susan McCray

Susan  with her father,
Harry Sukman

Harry Sukman’s daughter, casting director, internet radio host, and author, Susan McCray, asked Vincent Falcone to arrange and play in trio, the music of her father for a CD she wanted to produce. He responded; “It would be my honor.”

He told Susan, one of the most important things in working on this tribute, will be to make certain the arrangements he was about to write, would not hurt the integrity of the original compositions. Ms. McCray commented her father would have been very proud and quite humbled to receive such a loving tribute from his friend.
When listening to the piano artistry of Vincent Falcone, Harry Sukman once asked:“Where the heck does Vinnie find those great chords?”

Susan McCray feels the title she gave this CD says it all:

Warm Heart … Cool Hands
(A Tribute To My Friend Harry Sukman)


Getting to Know You with Susan McCray

Harry's Piano