In rhythm and blues, a horn section is more than the icing on the cake, it is an essential part of the music. A good brass section is like a chorus of backing vocalists for the guitar, bass and drums;
providing harmony and melody to what was already laid on the table. At other points, horns can jump up front to reinforce the melody line.
The work of a horn section doesn’t end there.
According to Pete “Bone” Maurer, trombonist for Boccigalupe and the Bad Boys, his band’s rhythm section is enough to keep audiences going, so it’s the job of the horns to finish knocking their socks
off. Maurer and company certainly do so, whether it’s shuffling their feet on stage or the musical shuffle they create in the studio.
Maurer has an extremely impressive list of bands he’s performed with. He was part of the horn section during Bon Jovi’s European “Slippery When Wet” tour, and played with Jon Bon Jovi on the first
A Very Special Christmas Album. Maurer brought the New Jersey Horns, which he founded, to the Inauguration for President George Bush in 1988. Other touring credits include Sam and Dave, Wilson Pickett
and Eddie Floyd.
Maurer is joined by Rich “the Taz” Taskowitz on tenor saxophone and Ross “the Chops” Holman on trumpet. Taskowitz has been a part of many Jersey shore bands, the New Family Band, the Mango Brothers and
Lost Weekend. He currently spends off-nights sitting in with Moskito Coast. Holman has 25 years teaching and arranging experience as band director at the Pinelands Regional School in Tuckerton. Boccigalupe's
guitarist, Billy "Wonder" Walton, is one of his former students.
The brass group tries to bring spontaneity to every live show. “It’s never the same song twice,” said Maurer. “A lot of people seeing our band want to hear musical interaction on the stage. The younger
music market is going (out) to see bands that interact on stage and don’t play a reproduction of the record.” While keeping some solos the same, Taskowitz agrees. “I’m ... an on-the-spot player,” he said.
“That’s what I call it.” That on-the-spot attitude comes in handy when creating songs. “If anybody has a good idea, we go with it,” said Holman, who’s teaching schedule kept him from playing, but not from
arranging many songs, on the band’s CD It’s My Turn Now. John Barry, from Jack Mack and the Heart Attack, played trumpets in his place.
Maurer likes to keeps things moving during performances, helping to get his band mates and the audience involved. “Pete gets us going on stage,” said Taskowitz. “He reminds us to move around.”
Taskowitz’s list of influences is a diverse group, starting with Junior Walker and adding players Grover Washington, David Sanborn, Tom Scott, Scott Page. It also includes bands such as the Blues Brothers,
Steely Dan, Chicago, and “every bit of rock n’ roll that was ever made.” Holman also had some interesting favorites, including Chicago, as well as Maynard Ferguson, Blood Sweat and Tears, Bill Chase, and
classical brass ensembles. The brass section’s diversity adds depth to their musically sharp, well-learned style.
The horn section is showcased well on the cd’s title track. They harmoniously produce the driving melodies which define the song. They move from riffing off of Walton’s crisp guitar chords, to branching
out for their own fluttering euphoric additions. They work at an even level with their fellow band members, making the songs ebb and flow. “The horns add a different level of excitement,” said Maurer. “It
all clicks together great,” said Taskowitz.
Clicking together to add even more Boccigalupe and the Bad Boys' chemistry.