Ray DeTone – Guitars
Michael Sciotto – Drums, percussion
Migliori Amici & Co is a prog rock collaboration produced by Michael Sciotto (Jefferson Starship, From The Fire) & Ray DeTone (Paul Di’Anno’s Killers , Drive, She Said). It was conceived during the 2020 Covid-19 shutdown of the entertainment industry. This led to many talented musicians being stuck at home in their studios with some spare time to be super creative without being encumbered by their normal workloads for other artists. Michael and Ray decided to call upon their closest and most talented friends to create something that allowed all to work freely to explore their musical passions. Those featured friends include Mark Clarke (Colosseum, Billy Squier), Nicky Moroch (Elton John, David Bowie), Adam Holzman (Miles Davis, Steve Wilson), Alex Salzman (Ace Frehley), David J Keyes RIP (Renaissance, Willie DeVille), Dave Trupia (Marty Balin) & Ralph Merigliano (Ross The Boss). What resulted is the EP entitled ‘(best of friends)’ which is the English translation of Migliori Amici.
The (best of friends) Ep is a collection of originals, covers and traditional songs performed within the contemporary prog rock genre; encompassing classical, rock, baroque, Celtic and jazz music idioms performed at a virtuosic level by each of the very capable musicians involved. Odd time signatures, soaring melodies, shred guitar, pounding drums, and big synths combine with classical guitar and piano to create a beautiful yet often edgy soundscape. Ray, a for-hire guitarist, composer and producer along with Michael, a studio-touring drummer, singer and producer, both share a huge amount of love for and experience doing pop music sessions. Together, as Migliori Amici & Co, they have crafted a musical journey, that along with hi-tech playing and the considerable musical chances taken, can also be appreciated as well-written, well-arranged highly melodic songs.
Michael and Ray first worked together in Shattered Glass, a band that included Migliori Amici & Co collaborator, Ralph Merigliano. Together with bassist Eric Mauriello, at a rehearsal that the band’s vocalist failed to attend, they composed an instrumental track that was never recorded or even named. However, with Michael’s prodding, a scratchy old rehearsal cassette and the bass chops of Mark Clarke they decided to finally record that song and add it to the ‘(best of friends)’ record. It was appropriately titled “Shattered Glass”.
That band was short lived when Ray DeTone was recruited by hit songwriter, Mark Mangold, to tour CBS Recording artist Drive, She Said’s first record. However, when Ray was asked by DSS bassist Paul St James to play guitar on a new studio project, he brought Michael in on the sessions and the From The Fire demos resulted. With Ray tied up with DSS & Paul Diano’s Killers, Michael became a founding member of From The Fire, drumming and singing backgrounds on two FTF records, most notably ‘Thirty Days and Dirty Nights,’ released by Music For Nations and produced by Jean Beauvoir.
Michael Sciotto, having established a reputation of timing, finesse and groove combined with his stellar vocals, went on to work live and/or in the studio with Jefferson Starship, Marty Balin, Ian Lloyd of Stories fame, Tony Levin, producer David Hentschel, Lorenza Ponce (Bon Jovi), Mark Wood, John McCoy, Ian Gillan, Sun Red Sun featuring Black Sabbath’s Ray Gillen, Mike Starr, Vick LeCar, Joey Belladonna and Ace Frehley.
The early 2000s saw Ray and Michael working together again on DeTone’s “Strange World” record and “The Warmth In The Wilderness II” , Jason Becker tribute record. In the meantime, Ray had also begun to establish himself as a producer and composer, as well as a sought after guitarist; providing music for film, TV and web content; most notably Quaker Oats, Toys-R-Us and Cinemax. Ray diversified his guitar work, playing in the pit for Jesus Christ Superstar and Godspell, as well as studio work for Grammy winning producer, Neil Dorfsman. Ray also produced, co-wrote and played guitar on Mark Clarke’s 1st solo record, toured with Ronnie Spector and even saw his Spanish classical guitar piece skated to by the World Junior Figure Skating Champion, Caroline Zhang. Ray has also performed live with over 100 recording artists from China, Shamisen and Taiko masters in Japan and is a BMG Gold songwriter.
Michael, in between his busy schedule of drumming for movie, TV and countless Indie artists decided to build his own studio to provide live drums, vocals and production to his well connected and ever growing client list. Thus Elliptical Sound was created, by his own hands, meticulously crafted with 26 ft high ceilings to capture his signature drum sound. This is where the Migliori Amici & Co story starts, when Michael invited Ray to Elliptical Sound to finish a song he had started composing, now entitled “Arctic Drift” and part of the (best of friends)’ record.
Together and apart, Michael Sciotto and Ray DeTone have filled the world with music, mostly designed to satisfy the needs of a specific client. The Migliori Amici & Co ‘(best of friends)’ Ep is their uncensored musical statement, providing themselves and their talented friends the freedom of composing and playing whatever it is that they feel. It’s a rare freedom in the freelance, for-hire music business, for art to be created, unencumbered, by the ‘(best of friends).’