©2022 Tom Passamonte, Special Blend
Special Blend Tom Passamonte & Friends

About

Tom Passamonte…

Tom was born into a very musical family starting with his grandfather Austin, and his brothers. As a kid, he grew up around guitars, mandolins, banjos, and accordions. Tom was fascinated with guitars that quickly became his primary instrument of choice. Tom’s grandfather Austin taught him his first basic chords on the guitar at the age of 10. Austin’s brother (also named Tom) taught Tom some of his first jazz chords. Tom’s father, known as Tom Monte, was a jazz accordionist, with a fantastic singing voice. He performed professionally for 70 years! There are a lot of musical Toms in the family! Ricky Nelson, The Everly Brothers, Chuck Berry, Sinatra, and The Four Freshmen became early influences, and then the Beatles arrived, which greatly influenced his guitar and singing styles. The Beatles also gave him the initiative to write his own songs. Later Tom discovered Buddy Holly, and he also became a big influence on Tom. Then came Eric Clapton, B.B. King, and the Blues! Tom became a huge fan of that music. From there he discovered Wes Montgomery, and Herb Ellis, and loved listening to them. Tom became a fan of Chet Atkins and learned “a little bit” of that style. Keeping music in the family, his daughter Sara also performs as a lead vocalist and his son Justin is quite an instrumentalist with drums, piano, and guitar, among others. He is also a well-schooled recording engineer and music producer. Tom started performing professionally in 1968 with his good friends Ed Kaczmark (guitar), Steve Ferraro (drums), and Tom Ferraro (bass). In the 70’s Tom played with The Eager Brothers led by Bob Havalack who sadly passed away in 2021. Other Eager Brothers members included John Borrelli (drums), Ted Afieri (bass), and Mark Giudice (guitar). Later in the 70’s Tom became part of another band called Presence, that also included Denis Galipeau (drums), David Stuck (keyboards), and Tom Ferraro (bass).

Special Blend… The Beginning

Special Blend originated in 1980 with Tom doing vocals and guitar and M’Lou Speranza doing vocals and piano. Tom’s brother Joe, also a professional musician and singer, became their drummer in 1982. Along with Tom and M’Lou, bassists Dennis Green and Dave Tiberio also joined the band. Joe left Special Blend in the late 80’s for a European Tour. At that point, Steve Vullo became Special Blend’s drummer and percussionist. Joe eventually returned to Special Blend after his European Tour, making the early 1990’s band lineup Tom on vocals and guitar, Dave on bass and vocals, and Joe on drums and percussion. Dave remained the primary bass player from 1992 through 1996, and to date, and still joins us today on selected performances. In 1997, the new group lineup was Tom doing vocals and guitar, Rick Ventura on bass and vocals, and Gary Yanni on drums, percussion, and vocals. This lineup from 1997 also still plays together today on selected performances. Also in 1997, Rocky Kaler joined the lineup providing additional bass and vocal support. In the early 2000's, Steve Vullo rejoined Special Blend as the primary drummer and percussionist as well as vocals, and Rocky became the primary bass player. The current Special Blend lineup of Tom, Steve, and Rocky continue to play weekly at various venues throughout Western NY, with additional performances also including Dave Tiberio, Gary Yanni, Rick Ventura, Joe, Justin, Sara, and M’Lou.
© 2022 Tom Passamonte, Special Blend
Special Blend Tom Passamonte & Friends

About

Tom Passamonte…

Tom was born into a very musical family starting with his grandfather Austin, and his brothers. As a kid, he grew up around guitars, mandolins, banjos, and accordions. Tom was fascinated with guitars that quickly became his primary instrument of choice. Tom’s grandfather Austin taught him his first basic chords on the guitar at the age of 10. Austin’s brother (also named Tom) taught Tom some of his first jazz chords. Tom’s father, known as Tom Monte, was a jazz accordionist, with a fantastic singing voice. He performed professionally for 70 years! There are a lot of musical Toms in the family! Ricky Nelson, The Everly Brothers, Chuck Berry, Sinatra, and The Four Freshmen became early influences, and then the Beatles arrived, which greatly influenced his guitar and singing styles. The Beatles also gave him the initiative to write his own songs. Later Tom discovered Buddy Holly, and he also became a big influence on Tom. Then came Eric Clapton, B.B. King, and the Blues! Tom became a huge fan of that music. From there he discovered Wes Montgomery, and Herb Ellis, and loved listening to them. Tom became a fan of Chet Atkins and learned “a little bit” of that style. Keeping music in the family, his daughter Sara also performs as a lead vocalist and his son Justin is quite an instrumentalist with drums, piano, and guitar, among others. He is also a well-schooled recording engineer and music producer. Tom started performing professionally in 1968 with his good friends Ed Kaczmark (guitar), Steve Ferraro (drums), and Tom Ferraro (bass). In the 70’s Tom played with The Eager Brothers led by Bob Havalack who sadly passed away in 2021. Other Eager Brothers members included John Borrelli (drums), Ted Afieri (bass), and Mark Giudice (guitar). Later in the 70’s Tom became part of another band called Presence, that also included Denis Galipeau (drums), David Stuck (keyboards), and Tom Ferraro (bass).

Special Blend… The Beginning

Special Blend originated in 1980 with Tom doing vocals and guitar and M’Lou Speranza doing vocals and piano. Tom’s brother Joe, also a professional musician and singer, became their drummer in 1982. Along with Tom and M’Lou, bassists Dennis Green and Dave Tiberio also joined the band. Joe left Special Blend in the late 80’s for a European Tour. At that point, Steve Vullo became Special Blend’s drummer and percussionist. Joe eventually returned to Special Blend after his European Tour, making the early 1990’s band lineup Tom on vocals and guitar, Dave on bass and vocals, and Joe on drums and percussion. Dave remained the primary bass player from 1992 through 1996, and to date, and still joins us today on selected performances. In 1997, the new group lineup was Tom doing vocals and guitar, Rick Ventura on bass and vocals, and Gary Yanni on drums, percussion, and vocals. This lineup from 1997 also still plays together today on selected performances. Also in 1997, Rocky Kaler joined the lineup providing additional bass and vocal support. In the early 2000's, Steve Vullo rejoined Special Blend as the primary drummer and percussionist as well as vocals, and Rocky became the primary bass player. The current Special Blend lineup of Tom, Steve, and Rocky continue to play weekly at various venues throughout Western NY, with additional performances also including Dave Tiberio, Gary Yanni, Rick Ventura, Joe, Justin, Sara, and M’Lou.