By Jim Kelly
Jim Frazzitta started writing songs when he as 10 years old and has not stopped. He was born in Newburgh, New York, and his dad was in the military stationed at West Point. Jim pointed out that he was actually baptized in the West Point Chapel. The family then moved to Plainview, Long Island, and then to Dix Hills where he spent his childhood. In 1990, Jim moved to his first solo apartment in Northport.
Frazzitta’s primary instrument is guitar, and he also plays the harmonica and performs vocals. In his soul he is a poet. Jim describes his work as folk and acoustic rock with a little country tinge. While he always was interested in music, he did not start professionally playing and recording until the mid-1990s. He was bit by the music bug when he was jamming with a friend, David Bartow, in 1989, however he did not play again with David until 1994. They had such a great time jamming together that they decided to try and put some songs together and record them. They would go to the Bartow home in Sea Cliff and have a big dinner, and after cleaning up the dishes they brought out the instruments. Jim would play the classical steel guitar while Dave played a nylon stringed guitar. They would refer to themselves as Nylon & Steel (N&S) and the name stuck. They moved to the mud room in Jim’s house and recorded every Sunday.
In the beginning, they did many covers of bands that had influenced them in the past, such as the Grateful Dead, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, and the Rolling Stones. N&S started going to open mic nights where they met other musicians and added them to the mix to create a larger band. The band would set up in community halls where people would gather to listen and dance. It was open to all ages and it soon became an extended family. They referred to themselves as “Folk, Groove and Gathering.” Conklin Barn became a favorite destination and they performed their 103rd show there last year. The events have a loyal following and very positive listener participation. When it started at the Conklin Barn, Jim said that they didn’t even have a restroom in the barn, you had to go over to the Conklin House and ask Bernice. At about 10:45PM, Bernice would come and yell last call for the restroom, which was a very important last call.
Nylon & Steel went their separate ways in 2003. They have had a few reunions but, in general, Jim performs these days as a solo artist with his friends and former band members joining him on stage from time to time. The Gatherings evolved into “Folk, Groove and Café” with some featured guests who would play different sets. They always had an open mic and have had over 200 performers on the bill over the years. Acts came from across the country, as well as Canada. Jim remembered that there was even one band from Japan (Robin’s Egg Blue).
In Jim’s performances, 70% is original music with one of the fan favorites being “All Roads Lead to Northport.” The song got its start when Jim was dating a girl who had moved from Ohio to Northport and took a job in Deer Park. On her first day, she was very confused on how to get home and somebody at work explained that there are two things you have to remember, first is that all roads are either East-West or North-South on the island, and the second is that all roads lead to Northport. That stuck with Jim as a great line for a song. But the words to the song did not come easily. Five years later, when Jim was dating a different woman, he was waiting for her while she did some shopping and the words came to him in the car. He debuted the song at a Sundays at 7 event run by Kate Kelly at the Northport Historical Society Museum. The song became a very popular part of his performances.
Since acoustic music does not pay all of the bills, it was important that he become an entrepreneur, therefore being able to continue performing his music and writing poems. He formed Northport Transport Corp., which is a private, reliable, car service that Jim started with the idea that if you give people personal service, are very loyal and dependable, get to know their likes and dislikes, drive safely and comfortably, then you will get great reviews and your business will grow.
Last year after 25 years of non-stop work in the music industry, Jim took a year off to expand Northport Transport Corp. With his business now running well, Jim will be back performing three sets on Saturday, July 6 at the “American Celebration at ‘Idle Hour’” in Long Valley , New Jersey. Jim has also released his fourth solo album titled “In the Arms of Destiny.”
If you want to know more about Jim and his music career, or just hear some great music, search “Jim Frazzitta” on Google.