90 Mile Bridge
Review written in the November 15, 2002 Saint Paul Pioneer Press, by Katharine Kelly, special to the Pioneer Press. Stephani began his musical adventures at age 14 playing his first professional gig on trombone. He spent the next 54 years playing and singing music--from a piano bar in Chicago to Don Ho's backup band in Hawaii. Stephani began work on his album seven years ago. Though he knew he wanted a Cuban salsa sound, he says he was missing the 'clave' (a Latin term for the pulse of Afro-Cuban music), a creative impediment that forced him to put the project on hold. His clave came a year ago in the form of Cuban pianist and one time musical director for the great Cuban group Cubanismo, Nachito Herrera. Stephani met Herrera at a gig, and the two hit it off so well that Herrera agreed to work on Stephani's album. Herrera ended up not only appearing on the album but also arranging and co-producing it. Stephani says the release of this album shows 'it's never too late to live your dream. 'With Tom Jones-like bravado, Stephani turns standards such as 'Over the Rainbow' and It Might as Well Be Spring' into salsa-fied dance numbers on '90 Mile Bridge.'...it is catchy, you've got to hear it to believe it.' (Katharine Kelly, special to the Saint Paul Pioneer Press) Overheard at recent gig: ' Andre's a cross between Roger Whittaker, Mark Murphy and Rueban Blades, with J.J. Johnson's trombone thrown in for good measure.'