The Dick Bauerle Group was a turning point for me. The Road had officially broken up and I had my eye on doing some jazz. Dick was and is a well known guitar player in Buffalo and we got together and formed The Dick Bauerle Group (DBG). We were just starting out. I had played with Jim Zeams (drums) and Jimmy Witherspoon (sax) so I called them in and Dick had Joe Bellanti on keyboards and Vanik Aloian on percussion. We then had Susan Slack come in and sing. My wife and I were planning to move to Los Angeles so it was a difficult decision to leave DBG as we were on our way. Here are just a few things Dick had to say in a conversion I had with him recently. Joe- you were KEY in my making the transition from the rock & pop clubs to the world of Smooth Jazz. You were not only an early believer in my abilities- you also brought Zeams and Spoon into our band to complete the original line up. We all learned Smooth Jazz together- we grew as a band because of that. It was a challenge for all of us- but through hard work- we ended up doing some pretty difficult tunes very well! Your enthusiasm for the project- and the ones that followed for me- have never been forgotten! Your inspiration never left me- even long after you left DBG to move to Los Angeles I can honestly say that out of all of the people I’ve been in bands with- you will always occupy a place at the very top of that long list as being one of my favorites ever! And- we made no money playing at Broadway Joes and Nietzche’s on those cold Winter nights. You guys were so dedicated that you never complained- I can NEVER thank you enough for that devotion and dedication to the project!