Born in Mount Vernon, New York and raised in the north Bronx, NY, Dom is a true New Yorker at heart. New Yorkers tend to 'wear their heart on their sleeves' which may seem like an overused cliché but in his case aptly describes his exuberance and passion for all things music and related to music performance, recording, mixing, mastering, design, arranging, and production.
His significant education by the Jesuits at the Fordham Prep High School on the campus of Fordham University benefitted him the opportunity to earn entry into the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology. As a young musician, as early as high school he began performing in bands as a bass player although he was a trained pianist since grammar school days. It was in his basement where he first became obsessed with recorded sound. Experimenting with consumer tape recorders and inexpensive Radio Shack mixing devices he devised an eight-microphone system to record his band in the family basement, much to the nuisance of his neighbors.
However, this quickly evolved his musicianship and experience with popular music of that time to the point where he was recruited by an older husband and wife musical team to join their band. By that time he had purchased his first Hammond Organ and his first professional gig followed in a speak easy where he was snuck in the back door, required to 'wear shades and a hat and talk to no one' while staying in the dressing room on breaks (can you say under age?!? )
Once at MIT he continued his pursuit of his formal engineering studies, eventually studying with Amar Bose of Bose speaker fame while continuing to play and record music with a new crew of people that had entered his life in Boston, MA.
It was through these new affiliations that he met up with some Harvard students and formed several new performing units that played at frat parties and the like during his university years. Continually growing his skills both technically and musically he chose to stay in the Boston area after MIT and briefly studied jazz piano and theory at Berklee College of Music.
A few years later when some of his Harvard buddies called from Isla Vista, California and suggested he migrate to California, he and his wife Joan packed up the Ford Van (the Blue Spumoni) and with only their animals and keyboards headed West.
Once in California several new musical alliances followed and his writing, and keyboard playing afforded him the opportunity to become a sideman for one of his early musical idols, Jim Messina. This association lasted for several years until he was eventually replaced a mere six months before the band was dissolved. However, through the Messina connection he got to record at the studio he eventually went on to own.
Once he was let go from the band and having several children by then with his wife Joan he felt the need to secure a better financial basis for his family. It was then, through the backing of his father-in-law, Frank Fanelli and a grub stake of $10K that he created one of the first microcomputer sales and service companies in the Santa Barbara area. It was timely! DataBank was well established by the time the IBM PC was introduced in 1981 and the company grew quickly. But music was still integral and the most important element in his life. In the back room of the computer storefront, Dom implemented the early capability of connecting a computer to music keyboards and utilizing the newly developed MIDI technology he began composing using this system.
Once Santa Barbara Sound heard of his newly developed skill, they requested he bring that service to the studio and make it available to artists recording there. Within four years he became comfortable working in that environment and what is now history purchased the studio building and studio operation from Dean Thompson and Santa Barbara Sound Design was born.
Not to assume he was a full-fledged audio engineer or producer as of yet, Dom was every client's assistant in his early years as owner. In the early years, he assisted on projects with Joe Cocker (Unchain My Heart) and Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Airto, Kenny Loggins, Michael Mc Donald among numerous well-known names. Before long clients recognized his talent and valued his participation in their projects. It was the jazz great, trumpeter Maynard Ferguson that gave him his break as primary audio engineer, installing him as his personal recording and mixing engineer (and on a few projects producer). This began a relationship that delivered over ten titles to various record labels including Concord Jazz. This relationship continued until Maynard's passing.
In the late 1980's, Dom was working with and for the growing Los Angeles record label, Higher Octave Music. Based on the pop flamenco idiom catalyzed by the European band 'The Gypsy Kings' several US artists began to evolve new versions of that trend. One such artist was Ottmar Liebert that had created the seminal US version of the idiom, Nouveau Flamenco in a small studio in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Now signed to Higher Octave Music, they introduced Ottmar and his brother Stefan to Dom and a five-year multi-award team was created.
Within two years of their introduction, Dom and Ottmar completed the contract with Higher Octave, earned the first Grammy nomination for Ottmar, Dom, and Higher Octave and were recognized by Sony Music as a creative force in this idiom and were signed to Sony's Epic Records division. Based upon the added instruments Dom's producing talents and piano skills brought to the ensemble, Epic connected them with Carlos Santana for two cameo performances and concert promoters around the globe booked the now larger ensemble and several tours followed where Dom was away from Santa Barbara Sound Design for months traveling and performing in Ottmar's Luna Negra ensemble. Dom reflects on two significant performances on the Jay Leno Show and his travels performing with Ottmar and Luna Negra in Australia, New Zealand, and Mexico City as highlights of his performing career.
Eventually the relationship with Ottmar came to a close and Dom once again focused his efforts on his studio in Santa Barbara. Projects with Blues Traveler, Yes, Live, Rascal Flatts, five CD's with Depeche Mode, several projects with Kenny Loggins (one with Russ Freeman), Michael McDonald, David Crosby, Joe Cocker, Rebelution, Iration, 6 CD's with Charles Lloyd (one with a Nora Jones feature), Anita Baker, Willie & Lobo, Lawson Rollins, 3rd Force with Peter White, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, John McEuen, numerous Brazilian jazz projects with Airto and Flora Purim (including George Duke, Chick Corea, and Herbie Hancock), and jazz recordings with pianist Christian Jacob are just a mention of a small assortment of the music projects featured in his discography that he is proud and fond of.
Film and Television audio and sound FX design, and Audio book production has become another skill set for Dom. Relationships with Audible books and the other major publishing houses and Jack Canfield, Fannie Flagg, John Cleese, Diane Ladd, TC Boyle, Jeff Bridges, Noah Wiley, Rob Lowe, Kevin Costner, Natalie Portmann, and Carol Burnett have resulted in significant TV and film work. A recent audio book project with Carol Burnett resulted in the Grammy award he received for Carol's book a few years ago. TV series Dom has worked on include: Yellowstone, Working Moms, Lonestar911, She Her and I, Falling Skies, and more.
Applying his creativity and attention to detail in the area of sound FX design and mixing for nature films and documentaries established yet another realm at which to apply his skills. Several films are now in global release and he was one of three finalists for sound design in a recent Jackson Hole Nature film festival losing out only to Disney who had a film in partnership with the festival sponsor, Dolby Labs.
Relationships are at the heart of it and Dom is still working earnestly after all these years. Attention to detail, musicality, and integrity of content plus a deep caring for the results he delivers for his clients and his own music are the cornerstone of his philosophy. His discography keeps growing and his thirst for continued growth both technically and musically keeps open connections with every generation that makes music today. Dom is comfortable in contemporary music, classical music, jazz, theater sound, film/television audio, and well, actually it’s safe to say 'everything audio'.