The Westmoreland Jazz Society Concert to Feature Mark Perna with Richie Cole’s Pittsburgh Alto Madness Orchestra

Claire Ertl
Director of Marketing & Public Relations
The Westmoreland Museum of American Art
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Charlene Bidula
Manager of Communications
The Westmoreland Museum of American Art
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GREENSBURG, PA, Thursday, November 10, 2016 – The Westmoreland Museum of American Art’s Jazz Society series, which runs from September through May with concerts on the third Thursday of the month, will present a concert on Thursday, November 17 at 7:30pm featuring Mark Perna with Richie Cole’s Pittsburgh Alto Madness Orchestra. Doors open at 7pm. Tickets are $15 for Museum members, $20 for non-members and $5 for students (age 21 and under). Tickets are available for purchase at the door, online at or by calling 1.888.71TICKETS.
At the concert two recent albums by Cole, one just released in October and one set for release in March, will be available for sale, and those who purchase that night will have the opportunity for the alto saxophonist to sign their CD. The two album titles are Richie Cole Plays Ballads & Love Songs and The Many Minds of Richie Cole.
Richie Cole Plays Ballads & Love Songs includes popular standards such as “Emily” (the name of his mother, who always asked him to perform it in his sets), “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered,” and “Alfie,” but also offbeat choices like “The Internationale,” the Soviet national anthem; “That Sunday, That Summer,” a minor early-’60s hit for Nat King Cole; and “Chances Are,” a major hit in 1957 for crooner Johnny Mathis. The Many Minds of Richie Cole is the first album by the Richie Cole’s Pittsburgh Alto Madness Orchestra. Both albums were produced by Mark Perna.
About Mark Perna
Bassist, trombonist and producer Mark Perna regularly performs regionally with some of the finest performers in Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas and has performed with some of the finest performers in the world including Richie Cole, Emily Remler, Walt Harper, Reggie Watkins, Rodger Ryan, Matt Parker, Joshua Breakstone, Ron Affif, Leslie Smith and Don Aliquo.
He began playing bass in Richie Cole’s Alto Madness Orchestra rehearsal band in the Fall of 2014, which began a musical relationship that has included hundreds of gigs and recordings and many hours of road travel. Perna reports that there are worse things in life than being trapped in a car for hours at a time with a genuine jazz legend, who has millions of great stories. In 2015, he began producing new recordings for the now named Pittsburgh Alto Madness Orchestra. The Orchestra currently consists of Reggie Watkins-trombone, Rick Matt-tenor saxophonist, J.D. Chaisson-trumpet (who are collectively known as the Steel Town Horns and can be heard backing up touring bands all over the country), Vince Taglieri-drums, Eric Susoeff-guitar, Patrick Whitehead-piano with Perna on bass.
About Richie Cole
Richie started playing alto saxophone when he was 10 years old in his home town of Trenton, New Jersey. Influenced by Sonny Rollins and Charlie Parker, Cole’s talent and dedication won him a full scholarship from Downbeat Magazine to the Berklee School of Music in Boston.
His professional career began in 1969 when he joined the Buddy Rich Big Band. And after stints with the Lionel Hampton Big Band and the Doc Severinsen Big Band, Cole formed his own quintet and toured worldwide, doing a great deal to popularize bebop and his own “Alto Madness” style in the 70’s and early 80’s.
Cole has performed and recorded with the great vocalese artist Eddie Jefferson, the Manhattan Transfer, Bobby Enriquez, Freddie Hubbard, Sonny Stitt, Art Pepper, Tom Waits, Boots Randolph, and Nancy Wilson, to name just a few of his musical collaborations. Notably, Cole has performed at the Village Vanguard and Carnegie Hall as well as gave a command performance for the Queen of England.
Cole has recorded over 50 albums and CDs, including his top hit album “Hollywood Madness” (1979 Muse Records) and his tribute album to Leonard Bernstein, “Richie Cole Plays West Side Story” (1997 Music Masters Jazz). A prolific composer, Cole also finds time to arrange for full big bands, symphony orchestras and frequent performances at jazz festivals worldwide. Moreover, he enjoys sharing his love of music with younger generations and is active recording, touring and presenting university master classes.
Cole was appointed to the Board of the National Jazz Service Organization and the Board for the National Endowment for the Arts where he served as chairman for one year. He is also a charter member of the International Association of Jazz Educators. In 2005 he was awarded the State of California Congressional Certificate of Lifetime Achievement in Jazz on behalf of the Temecula Jazz Society. Richie Cole is recognized worldwide for the sweet sounds of his alto saxophone and the creativity behind his Alto Madness Orchestra.
The Alto Madness Orchestra was developed by Cole in the early 90’s and its continuing popularity is proof of its uniqueness. As Richie explains, “The idea of the Orchestra is the concept and sound of an eighteen-piece big band using only seven instruments, four of which are horns. Not only does this have the big band ensemble sound, it also allows us plenty of room for improvisation as if we were in a quartet setting.”
About The Westmoreland Museum of American Art
The Westmoreland Museum of American Art, located at 221 N. Main Street in Greensburg, PA, completed a transformational renovation and expansion project in October of 2015. A new LEED-certified addition of over 13,000 square feet features a dynamic cantilevered design along with a stunning view of the City of Greensburg and the Laurel Highlands beyond. The Westmoreland’s permanent collection is comprised of works by major American artists from the 18th century through the present, with a special emphasis on Southwestern Pennsylvania art and artists. The Museum also offers an impressive schedule of temporary exhibitions of American art – both nationally-travelling and those organized in house – as well as events and community-oriented educational programming for all ages.
More information is available at