Friday, February 09, 2007

Uptown plays unique blend of Pop Standards

From “Ain't She Sweet” to “Walk On By,” Uptown plays unique blend of pop standards for appreciative audiences Buffalo, N.Y. (February 8, 2007)

Uptown is a new band in the Buffalo area playing music from the 1920s through the 1960s. Featuring Mark Weber on vocals, his dad, Joe, on vibes, and Jim Mosier on the digital piano, Uptown started in June 2006, and has already had a steady string of gigs, especially at adult care facilities like Orchard Heights and Orchard Brooke in Orchard Park, Garden Gate in Cheektowaga, St. Elizabeth’s in Lancaster, Brothers of Mercy in Clarence, and Beechwood, Asbury Pointe, and the Weinberg Campus in Getzville. Uptown also played outdoor, three-hour sets at the Blocher Homes family picnic in Williamsville and Cheektowaga Family Days in Cheektowaga Town Park this past summer.

“I really didn’t expect to be singing the classic American songbook in public,” says Mark Weber, the young one in the group. “One day, I was visiting my parents in East Amherst when my dad was practicing music with Jim, the guy who tuned our piano. I sang the words to a song they were playing as I was casually walking by, and my dad said I should join them on a few more tunes. Our casual rehearsals evolved into what has since become Uptown.”

One of the main reasons Uptown has gained popularity among seniors in the region involves its versatility.

“For some places, Uptown just provides ‘background music,’” says Weber, “but for most gigs, audiences are getting a very entertaining, engaging show that involves them singing along, dancing, answering trivia questions, and hearing my dad’s jokes and stories.”

Besides being versatile, Uptown is an unusual band for several reasons.

“First of all, not too many bands feature a father and son making music together,” says Weber. “Next, you rarely see the vibraphone (vibes) played in public anymore, so when my dad brings his ‘jazz xylophone’ to gigs, people are always fascinated by that. Also, Jim, the piano player, has a digital piano that also includes a way to add both the bass and drum sounds, so Uptown offers a fuller sound than most bands. Finally, the group is not afraid to tackle really different sounding songs—not too many bands around here can or would play Dionne Warwick’s ‘Walk On By’ followed by Dean Martin’s ‘Volare.’"

Some of the other songs Uptown features include: “When I Fall In Love,” “You Took Advantage Of Me,” “Ain’t She Sweet,” “Bye, Bye Blackbird,” “All Of Me,” “The Lady Is A Tramp,” “Fly Me To The Moon,” “Dream A Little Dream Of Me,” “Old Cape Cod,” “Till There Was You,” and “Five Foot Two.”

Uptown is now scheduling future gigs. They will travel to places within Erie and Niagara Counties, bringing their own equipment with them (excluding lighting). If you would like to book Uptown, please email Mark Weber at with your event date/time/details and/or call Jim Mosier at 716-631-5129.

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