Flutist Geri Rizzo
Bio   Gallery    Wedding Music   Press   CD's    
Links    Contact   Home


"... the same went for the novel use of Rizzo's flute.  That instrument can sometimes be
lost in the shuffle in (jazz) ensemble playing, but not Ms. Rizzo."

- Ed Wismer, Ocean City Sentinel

"A pleasure to see and hear perform... a fine musician like (Geri) is hard to find."
-Doc Winters, Drum Major, Glenn Miller Air Force Band

Arts & Entertainment
Published in the January 17, 2008 issue
/Bright sunshine and bright music chases blues away in Ventnor

Ventnor The bright sunshine was matched by  equally bright music that helped Pastor Clancy Wilson chase away the blues and January blahs on Sunday, Jan. 13.

Battling a series of problems has prevented the popular preacher at Ventnor U.M. Church form continuing his afternoon Jazz Vespers series lately, other than on a sporadic basis. Thus it was good to see a healthy glow on Wilson’s smiling face as he presided over a morning jazz session which he combined with a more conventional morning church service.

You can always count on Wilson to be unconventional and somehow make it work. The jazz service is now being held on a monthly basis, on the second Sunday, and it has made attendance figures swell. Some picayune individuals might take issue that, since the services are being held in the morning they shouldn’t be called vespers, but calling them anything else might be confusing to fans.

After Wilson’s opening remarks, a quintet of experienced professional musicians became the musical portion, under the direction of flautist Geri Rizzo. The quintet consisted of Rizzo on flute and vocals, Catherine Boyd on violin, guitarist Norm Spurgeon, Sharon Kruk on electric stick bas and drummer Ray Nunzi.

Many of the selections they played were in the bossa nova category of Brazilian jazz. Even more typical tunes like “But Wonderful,” “You go to my head,” and Cole Porter’s “Night and Day” were permeated with bossa nova rhythms and harmonics. The musicians exhibit a fondness for this gentler style of jazz, with its romantic overtones, rather than the more raucous forms of jazz like bebop or fusion. This was obvious when they opened with Jobim’s “The Wave,” which was a big Sinatra hit.

In addition to her artistry on flute, Rizzo has developed a unique vocal style in which she utilizes the microphone to produce an intriguing echo effect. This was especially effective on “The Girl from Ipanema,” another Jobim tune called “In My Loneliness,” and in the hymn, “Amazing Grace.”

Rizzo combined with Boyd and Spurgeon to produce some very pleasing sounds. Boyd, a newcomer to this area, plays with a jazz style reminiscent of the late, great Stephane Grapelli, while Spurgeon plays with the energy and style of a true bossa nova performer. Kruk and Nunzi provided a perfect rhythmic framework for the quintet. It’s why they are both popular performers in this area. The Jersey Shore Jazz Vespers continue to produce some of the best music in South Jersey.

"My Small Business"

Posted: Tuesday, October 25, 2011 7:28 pm

Business: Magic Flute Weddings
Geri Rizzo, of Somers Point
Somers Point
12 freelance musicians

When I was young, I was precocious with music and won a full scholarship to the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.

I ended up having a family and a corporate career for 20 years. I got sick, and a doctor in New York told me to quit my job and start playing flute again, so I did.  I started studying with world-class flutist Gary Shocker in New York to get back in shape. I practiced for two years straight, three hours a day.  Art DOES save lives!

I came to Atlantic City in 2001, and I started going to Jazz Vespers at the Ventnor United Methodist Church, and I got to know most of the musicians in the area. The Rev. Clancy Wilson was instrumental, pardon the pun, in introducing me to people, and I got a lot of work.  Soon I was working at the casinos, but that dried up. I put the website — www.magicfluteweddings.com — together in 2004. At the time there weren’t too many wedding ceremony musicians on the Web, so I had an edge.

We’re wedding musicians. I also give advice on the website about wedding music, and I have a page of wedding song clips that are popular. I direct brides to the site and help them with music choices.  We are about 12 musicians, playing together:  harp, guitar, violin, cello and piano, are on call for jobs.

I’m a member of the American Federation of Musicians in Atlantic City, the New Jersey Flute Society and the National Flute Association.  I love doing weddings; it’s a sacred event. I think it’s recession-proof because people are always going to get married.  We might have to lower our fees, but people are going to use music.

Sometimes you get a bridezilla, and I had to develop a bit of a hard nose and remember that it is a business. But for the most part, brides are really lovely people.  I just hope I can play the flute until I’m 70 at least. I have some arthritis, but I’m very active holistically, take one day at a time and try to keep myself healthy. I think music keeps you young.   Staff writer Elaine Rose

FlutistGeriRizzo © 2018 All Rights Reserved