The Hoops McCann Band played a live gig in New York on Monday, Nov. 28th, and it was widely advertised in newspapers, magazine and on posters as "The Hoops McCann Band Plays the Music of Steely Dan," featuring Chuck Findley and Jerome Richardson. There were three scheduled shows on this particular night at 9 p.m., 11 p.m. and 1 a.m.
However, when Pete arrived at the Blue Note Jazz Club and Restaurant at 131 W. 3rd St., the posters inside the club were advertising something entirely different. "The Blue Note presents ... The Joe Roccisano Band," followed by a list of musicians, none of whom appeared on the album. "Where is Chuck Findley? Where is Jerome Richardson? No Mitch Holder and no Paul Humphrey."
After a cursory introduction the band took to the stage and went straight into playing. But after three songs -- all original jazz tunes -- the bandleader, Joe Roccisano, "a short wimpy guy," introduced himself to the audience and said: "You may be a bit confused. We are billed as "The Hoops McCann Band Plays The Music of Steely Dan." Well, you may be wondering why we haven't played any Steely Dan songs yet. We are the Joe Roccisano band and we play original jazz tunes, mostly written by me, but every once in a while we play a Steely Dan song. And then we become the Hoops McCann band."
In the first set, they actually played two Steely Dan songs and they were done very well, but there were signs of unrest in the audience. Instead of calling it three separate shows, they called it three separate "sets," with each set featuring two Steely Dan tunes. So if you wanted to hear all the songs featured on the album you had to stay for all three sets.
To say the least, there was a lot of ribald indignation among the audience. Towards the end of the first set, and with some people's anger still rising, a guy ran up to Roccisano and said, "Hey Joe, what fucking Steely Dan album was that last song on? That wasn't a Steely Dan song." Roccisano flipped.
Quite simply, they were using Steely Dan's name on the billboards to encourage people to attend the gig, and once they had been duped into going inside the club, the band proceeded to play almost entirely original jazz compositions.
During the second set, Roccisano started giving an introduction to a song: "We all know how much trouble our earth is in, and our next song is to tell about how bad we are..." but one fellow sitting at an adjacent table to Pete shouted: "Who gives a shit, man, playing fucking Bodhisattva."
During Babylon Sisters (which they did really well but seemed to be unrehearsed) a trumpet player began the intro to the song and one of the saxophonists also started playing. Then he realized he wasn't supposed to be playing yet and slunk off, red-faced.
All in all, not a particularly gratifying experience for our reviewer. There was a table reserved at the club for Donald Fagen and one waitress confirmed that he was supposed to have attended on about 20 different occasions in the last couple years but has yet to show up once.