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Romance blooms at The Retreat

— When The Retreat’s blonde barmaid, Morgan Farrell, returned to work last week after a sunny sojourn in the Florida Keys with her tall dark beau, John Corrado, she was wearing a ring with a rock as big as the future.

Corrado’s timing couldn’t have been better: he popped the question and delivered the diamond on Valentine’s Day.

John is The Retreat’s longtime manager. The cozy couple plan to enjoy their engagement for a year or so before scheduling an autumn wedding.

Meanwhile, Morgan couldn’t be happier.

Romance, it seems, has tickled her funny bone. With a smile on her face and a tongue in her cheek, she’s introducing John to her friends as “the luckiest man alive!”

Past Master

Drummer Vinnie Ludovico can play any style of music.

When I first got to know him in the late-1980s, I thought of him strictly as a rock’n’roller. After all, he hit the skins for the Masters of Reality, a hard rockin’ Syracuse quintet that signed with producer Rick Rubin’s renegade record label, Def American. Their self-titled disc – dubbed “The Blue Garden” by some – turned out to be the all-time best rock record ever released by a CNY band, thanks in good part to Ludovico’s thunderous drumming.

King of Clave

But Vinnie has also played plenty of jazz in his varied career, from standards to hard bop. He recorded commercial jingles and provided the backbeat for “Leader of the Banned,” a 1990 disc by the late comedian Sam Kinison.

In recent years, Vinnie has immersed himself in the Afro-Cuban sound, setting aside his trap set in favor of congas. He enjoys fusing island syncopations with the harmonic structures of American jazz.

Vinnie reigns as Syracuse’s current King of Clave, the five-stroke pattern which regulates the heartbeat of many Caribbean rhythms.

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