I recently had an awesome opportunity to catch a performance from Emeralde, a band fronted by two friends of mine. I saw Emeralde at Bogie’s Restaurant in Agoura Hills (roughly 45 minutes west of where I live). The band, fronted by pianist/composer Mark Gasbarro and vocalist/lyricist Margie Russomanno, features a versatile mix of contemporary pop, blues, and funk, with a large backing group.
Emeralde was founded in 2014 by Gasbarro and Russomanno, who had collaborated on numerous prior projects.
Gasbarro, a native of Pittsburgh, is an accomplished pianist, composer, and orchestrator, having worked on numerous award-winning films, including several from Pixar (you can find him on IMDB).
Meanwhile, Russomanno has released five solo albums in both pop and contemporary Christian styles; she is also a talented artist/graphic designer.
Emeralde features a wide variety of songs in their catalogue, from slower, down-tempo ballads to upbeat, funk-infused pop jams. I’ve always had a soft spot for modern pop with a retro feel to it, and if you also like that, you’ll probably enjoy Emeralde as well. They have CDs available on both iTunes and their website (www.emeralde.com), including their most recent full-length album, Wind and Shadows. As mentioned previously, Russomanno has also had a noted solo career, which includes the albums Sticks & Stones and All I Need (both of which are also on iTunes).
Both Gasbarro and Russomanno are active in the music ministry at the New Life Church of the Nazarene, located in the San Fernando Valley. You can find them at their respective websites (www.markgasbarro.com and http://www.margierussomanno.net). In addition to music, Russomanno has her featured paintings and graphic design projects featured on the site. When not working on composition projects for film, Gasbarro also keeps busy as an adjunct professor of composition at Azusa Pacific University.