Tom Knight & The Blue Moon - 1996-2010

Swing & Rock n' Roll band from Ithaca, NY

The band started out as a Trio with Tom, Jim & Fred.

Jim, Fred and Tom

Here's some trio recordings we did in our basement.

"Pink Cadillac" - Jim on lead vocals
"Beginning to See the Light" - Tom on lead vocals
"Mustang Sally" - Fred on lead vocals
"Blue Moon" - Tom on lead vocals
"You Got Me" - original by Tom K. - Tom on lead vocals
"What a Wonderful World" - Tom on lead vocals
"Honeysuckle Rose" - Tom on lead vocals
"Great Balls of Fire" - Tom on lead vocals
"Roll Over Beethoven" - Jim on lead vocals

Jim Lawrence, Tom K., Fred Johnson, Bob Keefe

 At Willard Straight Hall, Cornell University

At The Ithaca Festival, Stewart Park, Ithaca, NY

Peter Forlano, Fred Johnson & R. Gary Hartz

Promo video

"Jump Jive & Wail" -  (Louis Prima cover)

Recorded May 12th, 1999

Tom Knight -vocals and guitar
Jim Lawrence - bass and vocals
Fred Johnson - bass and vocals
Peter Forlano - saxophone
R. Gary Hartz - trumpet
Mike Vitucci - lead guitar

Engineered, mixed and mastered by Peter K. Hopper, Masterview Studios, Freeville, NY.

"Come Go With Me" - (Del Vikings Cover)

Recorded May 12th, 1999

Tom Knight -vocals and guitar
Jim Lawrence - bass and vocals
Fred Johnson - bass and vocals
Peter Forlano - saxophone
R. Gary Hartz - trumpet
Mike Vitucci - lead guitar

"All Shook Up"  ( Elvis Presley cover)

Recorded May 12th, 1999

Tom Knight -vocals and guitar
Jim Lawrence - bass and vocals
Fred Johnson - bass and vocals
Peter Forlano - saxophone
R. Gary Hartz - trumpet
Mike Vitucci - lead guitar

Engineered, mixed and mastered by Peter K. Hopper, Masterview Studios, Freeville, NY.

Jim Lawrence & Mike Vitucci

Mike Vitucci

Gary Hartz

At Willard Straight Hall, Cornell Univ.

Peter Forlano

This was a fun, versatile band that brought a cohesive, professional and dynamic performance to any event. The songbook was a satisfying mix of familiar favorites, including Swing, Rock 'n' Roll, Soul, and Ballads.  Each of the talented and experienced musicians of Blue Moon brought their own high standards and versatility to the group -- together, they had the synergy and authentic groove that distinguished a genuine band and from a bunch of individual musicians on stage at the same time. The band could cater to your specific needs and was equally engaging for listening or dancing!

Tom Knight is a musician, puppeteer and videographer based in Northampton, MA.
He grew up in Cupertino, California (home of Apple Computers), and had an early love of music, playing violin and trombone in school. He went to college at UC Santa Cruz, majoring in philosophy, and learned to play the mountain dulcimer while taking breaks from studying. The dulcimer made it easy to create simple songs, and that was the beginning of his songwriting career.
After graduating from college in 1985, he migrated east, looking for a colder place where the leaves changed color in the Fall. He found a good place to pursue creativity in Ithaca, NY.
One of his first jobs was working with pre-schoolers as an assistant teacher at the Ithaca Montessori School. One of the teachers there (Monica MacNamee) liked how he entertained the kids in class on his dulcimer, so she invited him to join her puppet troupe - Punchinella Puppeteers. There Knight met Elizabeth McMahon, (AKA Mrs. McPuppet) and when the Punchinella Troupe split up, the two of them formed their own group - The Peanut Butter and Jelly Puppeteers.  Over 9 years, they developed the popular recipe for their shows which included short puppet skits, original songs, and audience participation.  Between 1989 and 1998, Tom and Elizabeth recorded 6 albums separately, and performed regularly in schools, libraries, festivals, pre-schools throughout upstate NY and beyond.
In 1995, after 3 recordings of music for families, Knight created a CD of music oriented towards grown-ups, called Crazy Little Dream. He then formed Tom Knight & the Blue Moon in order to perform some of the songs live, as well as to play for swing dances.

Jim Lawrence has been playing for over 40 years in the Ithaca and upstate New York music scene, playing styles from Jazz, Folk, Motown, Fusion, and Pop to New Wave, Bluegrass and Rock n' Roll. Jim's band "The Backtalk Band" currently plays for weddings and private parties, as well as Tom Knight's Blue Moon swing band. In 1984 his band "The Choice" won the BBC Great American Rock n' Roll Talent Search. From 1985 to 1991 Jim was the lead singer in "The Kinetics", and has recorded at Electric Wilburland Studios, MasterView Soundcrafts Studios, and Pyramid Sound Studios.  Jim has been in opening acts for Graham Parker, The Del Fuegos and The Gang of Four. Jim now lives in Hilton Head Island, SC.
Lead guitarist Mike Vitucci, while an ace rhythm player, is best known for his hot, hit-the-spot solos -- agile, melodic, funky -- you have to hear them. Mike launched his career long ago in NYC with "Sniffles and the Malt Shop Men." In his 20 years in Ithaca, Mike has been a star of Bernie Milton's Soul Patrol, as well as many other bands.
Peter Forlano, saxophone, clarinet, began playing in Rock 'n Roll and jazz bands at the tender age of 14. He got his chops at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and with the saxophonist John Slate in Ithaca, NY. "I left Berkley early to pursue a design career, years later I met John, himself a Berklee grad and he helped fill in the blanks for me."
Since moving to Ithaca in 1979, Peter has played with the Ithaca Ageless Jazz Band, and in horn sections of the Latin dance band Rising Sign, the swing and r&r band Tom Knight and the Blue Moon, and the R&B soul band Destination as well as his own Peter Forlano Trio and Quartet.
Aside from all of his musical activities, Peter is a professional interior designer with B.F.A and M.A from Pratt Institute and Cornell University Peter is especially gratified to have designed, Madeline's and ZaZa's Cucina, two of the most popular restaurants in Ithaca, NY.

Fred Johnson - drums and vocals, has a degree in percussion from Ithaca College School of Music. An original member of the New York Voices, he's been playing drums for 40 years and a professional singer, touring throughout the US and Europe. He's the only one in the band with enough soul to sing songs like "Mustang Sally" and "Midnight Hour." Fred performed regularly with Swing Central, The Ithaca Ageless Jazz Band, and the Backtalk Band.

Bob Keefe - Guitar and vocals is also a teacher and composer and has over fifty works to his credit, including three works for orchestra, two rock musicals and a string quartet.  Bob has been in residency at the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and the Millay Colony for the Arts.  A former student of jazz teacher Jack Petersen, Bob has been active in performing in jazz and rock bands for over five decades.  Born in Los Angeles and raised in Central California, Bob spent his formative guitar years playing professionally in Fresno.  He has performed with Clark Terry, Phil Woods, Glenn Stuart, Lou Marini, Eugene Friesen, Jack Petersen, Johnny Smith, Steve Morse, Mike Harvey, and Chris Buzzelli.

Will Hanson - Drums

Steve Codner

Steve studied Communications at Ithaca College, graduating there in 2008.  Steve has worked at Elmira College, Bucknell University,  and Elon University, and is now retired.
Steve is originally from Owego, NY.

Alex Specker has been playing in the Ithaca area for many years.  He is a member of The Pelotones as well as a
member of Aley James and the Blue Flames.

Paul Merrill was introduced to jazz by performing with upstate New York mentors Steve Brown, Joe Salzano, and Spiegle Wilcox. He performed at the Goombay Jazz Festival (Bahamas) and later won a DownBeat award under the tutelage of Rufus Reid in 1995. These early experiences helped shape his career as a trumpeter by instilling the importance of the jazz tradition and exploring the endless possibilities of improvised music. He toured with Hank Roberts, Half Pint, John Brown’s Body, and the Grammy-nominated Phil Woods Big Band and more recently performed with such notables as Freda Payne, Janis Siegel, Natalie Cole, Javon Jackson, Aretha Franklin, and Chris Vidala.
As a large ensemble director, Merrill has commissioned works from Jim McNeely, Paul Smoker, Steve Brown, and Rufus Reid and has hosted artists like Wynton Marsalis, Maria Schneider, Joshua Redman, Wallace Roney, and James Moody as collaborative performers with Cornell student ensembles. He has recorded and arranged for Shanachie and I-Town Records and can be heard on such films as Suckerfish (Jury Award Winner at the Santa Barbara Film Festival) and The Substitute II (HBO). He has been awarded multiple commissions and his arrangements continue to be performed by college and high school ensembles, most recently at the Crane School of Music. Merrill remains active as a clinician, Area All-State director, freelance trumpeter, and members of the Central New York Jazz Orchestra, Salt City Jazz Collective, and Micro Big Band. He earned a B.M. in jazz performance from William Paterson University, M.M. in performance from Ithaca College, and studied at the Eastman School of Music as a graduate student from 2005-2016. Former faculty at the Ithaca College School of Music, Merrill is currently a Senior Lecturer and the Gussman Director of the Cornell University Jazz program, a post he has enjoyed for close to two decades.

R. Gary Hartz
Gary went to Miami University, Colorado State University, and studied Education at Cornell University.   He is originally from Morristown, Tennessee.  He currently plays with Blues Syndicate - a blues/jam band.


Rock 'n' Roll (Jitterbug)
All Shook Up (Elvis)
Roll Over Beethoven (The Beatles)
Great Balls of Fire (Jerry Lee Lewis)
Johnny B. Goode (Chuck Berry)
Route 66 (Nat King Cole)
Rock Around the Clock (Bill Haley)
Oh Boy (Buddy Holly)
Choo Choo Ch'Boogie (Louis Jordan)

Swing (Lindy)
Honeysuckle Rose (Fats Waller)
Paper Moon (Nat King Cole)
I'm Beginning to See the Light (Natalie Cole)
Cheek to Cheek (Fred Astaire)
You Took Advantage of Me (Ella Fitzgerald)
Straighten Up and Fly Right (Natalie Cole)
All of Me (Billie Holliday)
Ain't Misbehavin' (Fats Waller)
Opus One (Mills Brothers)
Christopher Columbus (Maxine Sullivan)

Rhythm and Blues (West Coast Swing)
Mustang Sally (The Commitments)
Good Rockin' Daddy (Brian Setzer)
Lovey Dovey (Delbert McClinton)
In the Midnight Hour (The Commitments)
Fever (Peggy Lee)
Pink Cadillac (Bruce Springsteen)

Blue Moon (Ella Fitzgerald, The Beatles)

Tom Knight Originals
Jump Back (Louis Jordan Homage)
You Were Meant For Me (West Coast Swing)
The Record Hop (Rockabilly/Swing tribute to Ithaca Swing Dance Scene)
Until My Heart Stops (Slow Bluesy)
You Got Me (Rock 'n' Roll)