"KEYS" Antonia Venez
22 A L I V E E A S T B AY december 2006
akland born keyboard player-musician-songwriter, Stevie "Keys" Roseman
has a strong passion for building original songs and watching them grow
into musical gems. He claims that he likes living in the recording studio.
"I love sitting down and writing songs with no rules and just letting it rip,"
As one of Contra Costa County's leading musicians, Stevie has a
knack for creating original songs and playing hits from some of the great-
est bands and music legends. Music has always been at his fingertips. At
a very young age, he took a strong liking to music and today he's still
proving that music exploration should never stop. Speaking of explo-
ration, Stevie just finished a mystical Rock Opera album called, Illumine
with his new band, No Nation. The band was recently signed to a three-
year record deal with Renaissance Records, so things are looking bright for
this new progressive rock band.
The new album, Illumine is intended to honor all religions and
acknowledge how they have helped humanity through the ages, by help-
ing people know and experience the Supreme Deity. This three-piece
band consists of vocalist Ed Ulibarri (Of the 70's band, Alexis), drummer
John Hernandez (Who worked with Peter Gabriel and Neal Schon), and
keyboardist, Stevie "Keys" Roseman.
Illumine features a handful of named players: Ross Valory of Journey,
Jon Anderson of Yes, Stef Burns of Y&T, Jeff Tamelier of Tower of Power
and Mike Pinder of The Moody Blues, along with many others. The musi-
cal sound of this album is a mix between four dynamite bands: Rush,
Triumph and Journey and with the rhythm structures of the Dixie Dregs.
This project is uplifting and peaceful yet it has an edge to it. No Nation
invites you to take less than an hour out of your life, sit in a quiet place,
center yourself, and listen to Illumine from beginning to end.
Currently, Stevie and his band-mates are working on a second album
which will be a three-part Rock Opera, to be released in 2007. They
have plans to develop the second album into a full-scale stage produc-
tion. Be on the look-out for this upcoming eye-opening treat; it sounds
like a great adventure in the making!
The career success doesn't stop there for Stevie "Keys" Roseman. As
a keyboardist, he appears on three albums for the famous rock band,
Journey. Those albums are: Captured, The Essential Journey and Time 3.
"I was fortunate to work with one of the world's number-one rock
bands," says Stevie.
Roseman's friendship with bass player, Ross Valory of Journey goes
back 35 years. They've been working on some really striking projects
together including, VTR Cinema, which is a collaborative album that Stevie
"Keys" Roseman created with Ross Valory and George Tickner. The proj-
ect was definitely a labor of love and their goal was to put no restrictions
or time limits on VTR Cinema; it was seven years in the making. >
december 2006 A L I V E E A S T B AY 23
Roseman, Valory and Tickner all participated in writing, arranging and
producing the album with impressive musical versatility and excep-
tional skill. There are some special guests who appear on this project:
drummer Steve Smith, sax player Bobby Strickland, guitarist Neal
Schon, and Mic Gillette who plays trombone, trumpet, flugelhorn, bari-
tone and tuba. The style of this album takes you on a sentimental jour-
ney; while listening to the songs, I was instantly swept away.
Stevie "Keys" Roseman has definitely been in the right music cir-
cles. He also got the chance to work with the following well-known
bands: Jefferson Starship (with Mickey Thomas), Cold Blood, Tower of
Power and the known rock band from Berkeley called, The Joy of
Cooking, to name a few. There seems to always be more projects
popping up for Stevie "Keys" Roseman. His phone rings constantly.
"I would consider myself a songwriter-producer-keyboard player,
however, I also sing, play drums, percussion, guitar and the French
horn", mentions Stevie. His musical roots come mostly from the R&B
world, but his musical styles are definitely varied; from Soul with a cap-
ital "S" to music from the psychedelic scene. He studied classical piano
in his early days, which also influenced him and help shape his "musi-
For over forty years, Stevie has jammed with hundreds of musi-
cians, including his sister, Michele Rosewoman, an incredibly talented
and sought-after jazz recording artist. As siblings, he and his sister have
a great musical gift of song that they have shared since their humble
beginnings. "As soon as my brother touches the instrument, that is
home for him and he's very funky," says his sister, Michele Rosewoman.
As a child, Stevie was lucky to be exposed to music through his
parents' music shop called, Music Town in Walnut Creek. He remem-
bers when his parents, Lou and Estera Roseman, would bring stickers
home that read, "The Beatles are coming". Stevie obviously had access
to all things musical, which helped him indulge in many musical genres.
Rock n’ Roll came to him early when he learned from the likes of
Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Elvis and The Beatles. There's no stopping
Stevie "Keys" Roseman. He's definitely in the music business for the
Renaissance Records Website: www.cdthen.net/index.html
Author's note: Just before this story's publication, I learned that Stevie
"Keys" Roseman's father passed away. I send Stevie and his family my
24 A L I V E E A S T B AY december 2006
december 2006 A L I V E E A S T B AY 25
coming around again A N TO N I A V E N E Z I A
26 A L I V E E A S T B AY december 2006
The tradition of Christmas carols hails back as far as the thir- Bing Crosby in the 1942 musical, Holiday Inn. In the film, Bing
teenth century. Carols were originally communal songs sung actually sings it as a duet with Marjorie Reynolds. The song
during celebrations like Harvest Tide and Christmas. It was received an Academy Award for Best Song. The first public per-
only later that carols began to be sung in church and were soon formance of White Christmas was done by Bing Crosby on his
to be associated with Christmas. CBS radio show, The Kraft Music Hall in December 1941.
A Christmas carol, which is also called a Noël, is a song or In May 1942, Bing recorded the same song with the John
hymn with lyrics written on the theme of Christmas or of the Scott Trotter Orchestra and the Ken Darby Singers for Decca
winter season. Christmas carols are meant to bring people Records in approximately 18 minutes. Soon after that, the song
together in harmony to celebrate the festival of Christmas. The became a tremendous success. It has often been noted that the
name "Christmas Carol" is said to have originated in London, melancholy mix - "just like the ones I used to know" - with sol-
one cold winter night, when a young girl named Carol went ace images of home - "where the treetops glisten" - resonated
missing. As her friends and family went door to door searching intensely with listeners during World War II.
for her, in a manner which is similar to the Christmas singers The Christmas Song by Mel Torme and Robert Wells is anoth-
going door to door, the name "Christmas Carol" began to be er favorite played during the holiday season. The song paints a
used. Today it's an essential part of the Christmas Festival. beautiful visual of Christmas with sentimental lyrics, often
There are traditional Christmas carols and popular bringing a tear to the eye. The melancholy melody makes the
Christmas classic standards; both styles of songs have become listener yearn for home. There is a certain melodic jump in the
popular during the holiday season. Music admirers and per- opening of the song that gets me every time. Mel Torme (Singer-
formers continue to enjoy these songs, year in and year out. Songwriter) and Bob Wells were songwriting partners. They
For the songwriters and composers who write Christmas took turns at each others homes to write songs. It was a very hot
music, it's financially beneficial. Music royalties alone have July day when Mel drove over to Bob's house. When Mel got to
been proven to be a great nest-egg for their future. Royalties are the house, he couldn't find Bob, but he saw a spiral note pad of
usually passed on to the heirs when the composer passes away. paper with some words on it which read—"Chestnuts roasting
Just imagine having your song recorded over 500 times, if not on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose, Yuletide Carols
5,000 times, and used in various commercials and movies too. being sung by a choir, folks dressed up like Eskimos." Mel
During the Christmas season of 2005, more than 2,100 dif- remarked, "You've got a song here."
ferent holiday music CD titles were purchased, according to They ended up co-writing the rest of the song in about 35
Billboard magazine. Many recording artists have recorded these minutes. The Nat King Cole Trio recorded the song in the mid
Christmas favorites over the years: from Ray Evans and Jay 1940's and later re-recorded it with a string section. Nat King
Livingston's Silver Bells to Irving Berlin's White Christmas. Cole recorded it again around 1953 with Nelson Riddle. In 1960,
The classic song, White Christmas has been one of the most Capitol Records released it and it became a Gold Record. It was
recorded songs of all-time and is known to be the only single re-released around 1962 and it has become a holiday classic.
song in history with three separate runs at the top of the U.S. Silver Bells composed by Jay Livingston & Ray Evans is a
charts. It has sold more than fifty million copies and is listed in classic memorable Christmas song with a strong melody and
the Guinness Book of World Records as a 100-million seller. unique lyrics that describe a holiday setting in the city. The song
Songwriter, Irving Berlin's lyrics reminisce about old fash- was originally sung by Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell in a
ioned white Christmases. It's been said that the morning after movie called, The Lemon Drop Kid in 1951. Silver Bells was first
Berlin wrote this song, he went to his office and told his secre- recorded by Bing Crosby. In the beginning stages, the song
tary, "Grab your pen and take down this song. I just wrote the began with the title, Tinkle Bells. After Ray Evans and Jay
best song I've ever written - hell, I just wrote the best song that Livingston found out that 'tinkle' had a double meaning, they
anybody's ever written!" White Christmas was introduced by decided to change it to Silver Bells instead. >
december 2006 A L I V E E A S T B AY 27
Ray Evans was born in 1915 and he is still going strong. He world. Santa suddenly noticed Rudolph's nose before he was
will be doing a musical show locally called, Que Sera Sera, about going to cancel his trip. Soon after that, Santa decided that
the songs that he and Livingston wrote together (Mona Lisa, Que Rudolph's nose could be a makeshift lamp to guide his sleigh.
Sera, Sera, and the theme to the show, Bonanza) starring Ray Rudolph became the ninth reindeer and the rest of the story is
Evans himself, Karen Benjamin and Alan Chapman. Ray Evans history. Johnny Marks, May's brother-in-law, decided to adapt
will be telling stories about the songs as he and the music per- May's story into a song, which through the years has been
formers take you down memory lane. recorded by many artists—most notably by Gene Autry in 1949.
Santa Claus is coming to Town is a traditional Christmas stan- The words and music to Jingle Bells were written in the mid
dard by Fred Coots and Haven Gillespie. The original version 1800's by James Pierpont for a Thanksgiving program at his
was recorded by Joe Harris with Benny Goodman & His church in Boston. When it was well-received, children were
Orchestra. It was first sung on Eddie Cantor's radio show in asked to repeat it at Christmas time. It has been a popular
November 1934. It became an instant hit with orders for 100,000 Christmas song ever since.
copies of sheet music the next day and over 400,000 copies sold The carol called, Silent Night is said to have been written in
by Christmas. This song has been recorded by numerous the year 1818 on Christmas Eve in Austria. Joseph Mohr had
recording artists: The Jackson 5, Gene Autry, Mariah Carey, The written a poem called, Stille Nacht in 1816. On December 24,
Beach Boys, Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Dave Brubeck, The 1818, he gave the poem to his friend who was the church organ-
Supremes, Bing Crosby, Perry Como and Ella Fitzgerald, among ist, Franz Gruber. Gruber immediately composed the melody
others. There's a positive message in the lyric that keeps the and arranged it for two voices, choir, and guitar. It was finished
song lingering in your mind. The lyric tells the children to be in time to be performed at Midnight Mass the same night. By
good because Santa Claus is watching them and if the children 1955, Silent Night had become one of the most recorded songs of
aren't good they won't get any presents for Christmas. The all-time.
theme was taken from St. Nicholas, the bishop who gave toys to The music of Deck the Halls is said to be an old Welsh
the deserving. melody. Mozart used it in a piano and violin duet in the 1700's.
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer was written by Johnny The words were believed to be American from the 19th century.
Marks. The story was originally written in verse by Robert L. There are so many traditional songs out there that play dur-
May for the Montgomery Ward chain of department stores in ing the holiday season, it is not possible to mention them all.
1939. It was published as a book to be given to children in the Some that come to mind include: Winter Wonderland, Frosty the
store at Christmas time. Robert L. May was an Orthodox Jew Snowman, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Let It Snow; to
who was hired as a freelance writer by the clothing store chain. name a few.
As the story goes, Rudolph is the son of Donner who is one of All over the world, Christmas melodies and lyrics drift over
Santa's eight original reindeer mentioned in the famous poem. the airways reminding us of our traditions. Thoughts of spend-
Rudolph was born with a glowing red nose, which made him ing a joyous season with family and friends are inspired
an outcast among the other reindeer. On one Christmas Eve, it through the joy of music.
was too foggy for Santa Claus to make his flight around the
28 A L I V E E A S T B AY december 2006