Sometimes the very thing you wait for the longest is that one true love you will always treasure all the more once you embrace it. Ask any artist who falls in love with his craft at an early age, only to wait for years until the day when he can share his passion, what this slow journey means to him.
Verona's own jazz gem Frank Piombo will tell you, with his trademark smile and soft spoken words, that the path towards his newfound fame as a respected and popular jazz musician was well worth the wait - and the time it took to work full-time and support his wife and children.
For the music, as any true artist will tell you, lives on in even an everyday life, often to blossom handily when the time comes for you to retire.
"My grandfather was already gone when I discovered his guitar in a closet when I was 3-years old," said Piombo. "I picked it up and never put it down."
It was an era of change in those early days, and Piombo's family was on the move, fleeing pre-Gaddafi Tripoli, an Italian enclave in Libya, and moving first to Rome and then America.
"We came to the United States in 1958, and I saw The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show," added Piombo. "That was it for me."
Piombo, however, started out as most young musicians: playing rock n'roll in clubs.
But his full time job - first as a teacher of math at Essex County Youth Home and then in Newark Public Schools teaching math in 6, 7, and 8th grades, kept him busy - and happy. Piombo loved teaching.
"I was raising a family and working full-time," he noted. "There was a span of maybe 10 years that I did not get to play the guitar. That was frustrating, but when I retired I knew what to do: play."
Piombo took lessons from a renowned teacher and guitarist and performer Sandy Renda.
"Sandy was the absolute best teacher," said Piombo. "The best. He got me into jazz too."
Piombo found himself drawn to jazz, and at his show two weeks ago at The Stone Horse Tavern in Belleville, it was obvious why this style matches his gifts so well.
Piombo plays a smooth, almost hypnotic jazz, with undertones of funk, pop and even rock n'roll peeking through. The audience, sitting in a packed house, was mesmerized.
John Grande, Chief Operating Officer of New Memory Productions, said watching Piombo blossom was inspirational.
"Frank is a gifted musician, and the audience loves him," said Grande. "He is an authentic New Jersey talent."
When asked what is next for this creative musician, he said he is planning his 3rd CD, called "As Smooth as it Gets".
This reporter had only one question: Can it really get any smoother?
If you are a jazz lover, check out this talented artist's CD's. Like a fine wine, this talent has matured after years of hard work, playing guitar, and perfecting his unique sound.
Click here to listen to Frank Piombo's musical offerings.
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