Traina, an accomplished clarinetist and saxophonist, leads the Joe Traina Quintet on the new disc, which is titled "Tea for Two" and features a mix of Broadway show tunes and jazz standards. He is joined on the 12-track recording by Mike Karn (tenor saxophone), Tim Regusis (piano), Scott Neumann (drums) and Sean Smith (bass).
The new recording also boasts guest appearances by trombonist/musical arranger Pete McGuinness and singer Jennifer Johns. The latter has performed extensively with the USO and lends her vocals to four tracks on the CD: "Imagination," "Besame Mucho," "It's Alright with Me" and "Cry Me a River."
About the new recording, Traina recently told Playbill.com, "I wanted to select standards that most people would know. I think I chose songs that are very popular — "Blue Skies," "I Get a Kick Out of You," "Stardust." I wanted to present them in a way that was suitable not only for listening, but really for dancing. This is party music." In fact, Traina debuted many of these arrangements at a recent star-studded celebration for Liza Minnelli at the Supper Club. His group has also performed at The National Arts Club, Times Square Grill and the famed Tavern on the Green.
Traina, who has been the leader of The Joe Traina Quintet (formerly Quartet) for over a decade, says, "I've kept this group together since 1990. [We were] in Sardi's for a couple of years on Friday nights. We used to feature singers from shows, and that went on for over two years. I made a record [at that time] called 'Friday Evenings at Sardi's.' That was my first, which was followed by something I did about five, six years ago called 'Only in New York.' And, ['Tea for Two'] is my third.
"We're going to have a gala CD release party," Traina continues, "in association with Broadway Cares. It will be a benefit featuring talent from Broadway shows. . . . The [performers will] probably [each] do a song with my group in the hope that we'll raise money for the charity." Although Traina has been a house manager for over two decades — "I've been with the Shubert chain for ten years; I was with the Nederlander chain for ten years before that" — he is equally passionate about his music. Traina, who lists his inspirations as Artie Shaw, Buddy DeFranco and pianist Art Tatum, hopes the new recording will lead to more performing engagements for the Quintet, and says, "We're also available for receptions and parties and corporate events."
For more information about the Joe Traina Quintet, visit www.joetrainamusic.com.