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Entries in Jazz (35)

5:46PM

STAN ROSS - PLAYS "Lil' Darlin" - A Neal Hefti Composition

The friendship between Stan Ross, Buddy Savitt and Dennis Sandole through the years was a special sharing of inspiration, Jazz techniques and musical knowledge always remembered. -

STAN ROSS - Born and raised in the South Philadelphia section of "The City Of Brotherly Love" also known as "South Philly" . . . is a small community of various ethnic groups. In the past from this area, many singers, performers, actors, comedians and jazz musicians have emerged. Because this area being a close-knit community, neighbors living on the same block and even from surrounding areas would often stop by during a rehearsal to encourage the young musicians and performers to follow their ambitions. Tenor saxophonist Charlie Ventura, jazz violinist Joe Venuti, his cousin guitarist Joe Sgro, clarinetist Buddy DeFranco, guitarist Eddie Lang, trombonist Willie Dennis who later married singer\actress Morgana King, pianist Elliot Lawrence plus many vocalists including jazz pianist Buddy Greco and many others all have a part of the - "South Philly" environment ingrained in their warm character and personality.

 As composer NEAL HEFTI won two Grammy awards for his composition work on Atomic Basie including "Li'l Darlin," "Splanky," and "Teddy the Toad." The success of the album had Count Basie and Neal Hefti in the studio six months later making another album.

 

 

 

10:45PM

EARL BOSTIC - Favorite Recordings - Flamingo - Harlem Nocturne

Earl Bostic
Born April 25, 1913 - Tulsa, OK   Died October 28, 1965 - Rochester, NY
Being most proficient on the piano, organ, guitar, trumpet and all reed instruments made him a prolific musician, who’s love for the alto saxophone gained him prominence in the world of jazz.
His creative ability of composition and arranging developed a unique sound known as the “Bostic Style," using vibes, bass, guitar, drums, and piano as a background for his lyrical approach of playing. He was always able to connect to his listening audience a sense of happy music to be enjoyed at every performance.
John Coltrane, Stanley Turrentine, Jimmy Cobb, Benny Golson and Blue Mitchell graduated from his band with a better understanding of what jazz is all about.

 

In a recent conversation with my friend Johnny Saint; he reflected upon a

brief casual meeting on a summer day back in the early '60s, that we had with Earl Bostic on Pacific Avenue in Wildwood, NJ. Johnny mentioned to Earl that his wife Evelyn always enjoyed the recording of his arrangement of 

 "Harlem Nocturne."

 

                                                                                     

 

 

3:55AM

TONY ANGELO - A MEMORIAM FOR A FRIEND & COLLEAGUE

 

Born: September 29, 1944

Died: March 30, 2014

Tony Angelo (aka) Angelo Cibotti – was a talented entertainer and musician from the South Philadelphia section of the “City of Brotherly Love.” 

Tony . . . as everyone knew him shared the entertainment stages of many major showrooms & bandstands from the East and West coast throughout the USA in addition to International showrooms of Canada and El San Juan, Puerto Rico.

He was an excellent Saxophonist that played alto, tenor, baritone plus clarinet. His performing career in music of more than 40 years consisted as a sideman, leader of small combos that shared the Las Vegas marquees of Caesars’ Palace, MGM Grand which included "Kirby Stone and Company, Pat Gallo Revue," and various other headline performers throughout the 1950’s to 1980’s. During this time in his career gave him the opportunity to be associated with many other musicians, lounge performers that included Louis Prima and Sam Butera & the Witnesses, Freddie Bell & the Bellboys and others. He also operated a successful talent agency that provided bookings for other musicians and entertainers on the East coast.

My friendship with Tony began in the late 1970’s. Throughout our many conversations, it was brought to my attention that we were basically from the same section of South Philly and had many mutual friends in the music business. We often discussed and reflected upon the many nightclubs in the Philadelphia area such as: Palumbo’s Supper Club owned by Frank Palumbo, the original Latin Casino, Club 13 and The Earle Theater that featured “Live” Big Bands of the decades also The Famous "500 Club" owned by our mutual friend Paul ‘Skinny’ D’Amato plus other venues throughout the Delaware Valley and other major cities.

Searching my archives I was able to locate an unreleased video recording of his last performance with “The Angel & Angelo Revue with Andy Angel, trumpet and Tony Angelo sax. This was a vocal duet tribute segment of their show featuring a Louis Prima Medley, featuring their musical swing arrangement of favorite popular standard songs. “It had to be you” – When Your Smiling” – “Pennies from Heaven” – “Oh Marie.”

Sharing this short video clip in remembrance to his musical talent as a saxophonist,

I believe Tony was a true professional. 

 

A huge part of Tony Angelo’s life was helping others especially children, to learn about music and what the difference it can make in their lives.  I lieu of flowers and mass cards, any donations would be welcomed in Tony Angelo ( a.k.a. ) Angelo Cibotti’s name.

His favorite charity is the Music Department of Assumption Regional Catholic School for the advancement of helping children learn about music.


Address for donations:

ARCS ( Assumption Regional Catholic School ) 

146 South Pitney Road

Galloway, NJ 08205

Attn: Cathy Flammer

*Checks made out to ARCS*

Click

 

              The Services will be on:  Sunday May 25th, 2014

1pm to 2 pm Visitation.  2pm to 3pm Services. 

                                             Wimberg Funeral Home  -  Galloway, NJ 08205     

 

3:49AM

SAM DISTEFANO - A Tribute to a Friend & Colleague - Part III

It was just brought to my attention by Mike Distefano, his dad Sam Distefano will be celebrating his 87th birthday in this month of December 2013.

Mike also mentioned. Since they both retired from the Riviera Hotel & casino in 1993 -they formed their own entertainment management & consulting firm which they continued to operate successfully until 2003.  Currently they both maintain a healthy lifestyle consisting of a low-fat diet combined with daily exercise that includes swimming, cardio workouts, and resistance training with weights.

 

***As a Tribute to Sam Distefano in this Part III section***

I would like to share a Bio and some interesting facts from his respected career in as a Musician, Production, and position of V.P. of Entertainment for various major casinos.

> EARLY YEARS<

Sam Distefano is an exceptionally gifted, brilliant-minded, Italian-American jazz-pianist & talent executive born on the south side of Chicago, IL, in December 1926.  He exhibited signs of genius at an early age by demonstrating a wide range of talents that included speaking 2 languages fluently, performing piano recitals of complicated classical pieces (including the 'William Tell Overture' perfectly at only 8 years old & with a high fever no less), & earning straight A’s throughout elementary school & high school.  He was elected editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper at Tilden Tech & interviewed then General Dwight Eisenhower at the Drake Hotel for the paper when he was only 16.  As a teen & early-aged adult, he worked many jazz clubs on piano in the Chicagoland area.  He studied time & motion engineering at IT&T Institute & attended college briefly at the University of Illinois at Navy Pier before joining the military in the early '50’s.

>MILITARY PERIOD<

It was during this period that his lifelong, close friendship with the famous jazz pianist, Bill Evans, ensued.  During the Korean War, Sam & Bill Evans were stationed together at Ft. Sheridan in northern Illinois, bunkmates in the same platoon, & performed together in the 5th Army Band.  This unique opportunity enabled Sam to further develop his jazz piano playing.  It was also during this period that his wide range of talents once again shone through as he was accepted into the 5th Army Band on trumpet, called upon to perform "Taps" at many Chicagoland area Vet funerals, assigned percussion parts (including crash cymbals in the marching band), & was awarded the National Defense Service Marksmanship Medal for having demonstrated perfect firearms skills & proficiency in combat training.

>EDUCATION<

After serving honorably in the U.S. Army from '52-'55, Sam moved to Miami, FL & invested in a notable nightclub named the Crab Shanty that he changed to the Stut N’ Tut where he performed with the legendary jazz trombonist, Carl Fontana.  Performing in & operating the Stut N’ Tut enabled Sam to return to college.  Majoring in accounting, he graduated from the University of Miami in '57 with a 4-year Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration.  He accomplished this degree on limited amounts of sleep from having to work nights at the Stut N’ Tut while attending his full class load during the days.

>EARLY MUSICAL CAREER<

After graduating college, Sam was able to returned to his hometown of Chicago where his versatility of talent was exhibited yet again as he was working days as an industrial engineer for IT&T, & nights as a musician playing both piano & upright acoustic string bass.  Sam performed in many of the city’s famous nightclubs such as the Cloister, the Tradewinds, & the Living Room, relieving such famous pianists as Joe Parnello (Frank Sinatra’s pianist), Larry Novak, & Joe Iacco on their off-nights.  It was at one of these clubs that Victor Lownes & Hugh Hefner caught Sam performing with his trio & accompanying female jazz vocalists on piano.

PLAYBOY – Victor Lownes & Hugh Hefner liked Sam’s playing enough to ask him to perform with his trio at the 1st Playboy Club, which opened on Walton St. in Chicago, in February of 1960.  This launched what would turn into an elaborate 25-year career with Playboy that included Sam being promoted to musical director at their club in Miami from 1962-1969; orchestra leader, conductor, & entertainment director at their country club & resort hotel in Lake Geneva, WI from 1969-1978 (where he led his own 32-piece orchestra, accompanied on piano, & conducted for, such artists as Peggy Lee, Mel Torme, Tony Bennett, Liza Minnelli, Anthony Newley,The Smothers Brothers & Ann Margaret, to name a few); & eventually vice-president of entertainment for their entire international chain of clubs & hotels worldwide.  He also served, along with producer/director, Peter Jackson, as executive producer of the "Playboy Fantasy" production show & revue at the Playboy Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, NJ from 1981-1983.  Sam was retained as a consultant for Playboy through the end of 1984. 

During this period that Sam owned, operated, & often hosted at, Doro’s Italian Restaurant & Lounge at 871 N. Rush St., a popular downtown Chicago nightspot frequented by VIP’s, Hollywood stars, & every "who’s-who" of the entire Tri-State area.  A Chicago VIP himself, He was often featured in Irv Kupcinet’s Chicago Sun-Times "Kup’s Column," plus local radio interviews, & on T.V. journal shows like WFLD’s "PM Magazine Chicago." 

>LAS VEGAS<

Immediately following his successful 25-year career with Playboy Enterprises, Inc., Sam was contacted and hired by corporate conglomerate tycoon, Meshulam Riklis in 1984 to head the entertainment department as vice-president of entertainment & special events at Riklis’ legendary Riviera Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, NV.  Launching and booking many successful entertainment events at "The Riviera” during his decade-long tenure there.  These included numerous world-heavyweight championship-boxing bouts, concerts, & full-scale production shows like "A New Year’s Eve with Frank Sinatra & Pia Zadora;" the "Legends of Comedy" event, which featured Sid Caesar, Milton Berle, & Danny Thomas; "Burns & Hope Together," wherein George Burns & Bob Hope performed live together for the first time; "Luciano Pavarotti with the Las Vegas Symphony Orchestra;" the "Evening At La Cage" female impersonator show; the "Evening at the Improv" comedy club; the "Crazy Girls" sexy revue; & the award-winning "Splash" multi-million-dollar production-extravaganza, which Distefano associate-produced, that ran successfully for over 20 years in the Versailles Theater, & was acclaimed as "Las Vegas’ International Show of the Year" by the Las Vegas Review Journal for over 10 years in a row.  Sam was often a featured guest on the KVVU Las Vegas hit T.V. show "AM Southern Nevada," as well as a judge on the popular '80’s & '90’s national T.V. series "Star Search," with Ed McMahon, that paved the way for today’s talent search shows like "American Idol" & "America’s Got Talent."

The career of Sam Distefano was a highlighted exhibit in the Las Vegas Museum of Entertainment History at the Tropicana Hotel & Casino, & in '97, he was honorably inducted into the Casino Legends Hall Of Fame.  To this day, Sam remains the frequent subject of numerous, popular books about the history of music & entertainment in Chicago, Las Vegas, & the iconic Playboy Clubs.

 

>FAMILY & PERSONAL INTERESTS<

Sam hailed from humble beginnings.  His parents were both Roman Catholic immigrants from Sicily, with limited education.  His mother was a seamstress & his father was a meat plant worker on Chicago’s south side in the famous "Back of the Yards" union stockyard district during the Great Depression.  Yet they succeeded in raising 2 children – Sam & his only sister, Mary.  Distefano married in '67 in Miami (his wife, Pam, was an airline stewardess for Eastern Airlines), had 1 child in '69 (a son, Michael), divorced in '78, & never remarried.  His personal interests include reading National Geographic magazine, traveling, fishing, & playing poker (he was the 1st place winner of 3, large, international poker tournaments hosted at the Riviera & Desert Inn Hotels & Casinos in Las Vegas in '88 & '94, respectively).  He is an avid movie & T.V. fan of Charles Bronson, Steven Segal, Peter Sellers (the 'Pink Panther' films), & Peter Falk (particularly the '70’s detective series, 'Columbo.').  Sam participated in many large, charitable, fundraising events in both Chicago & Las Vegas for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, Alzheimer’s Association, & Injured Police Officers’ Fund.  A devout Catholic, he attends Mass regularly at St. Anne’s Catholic Church in Las Vegas.  Sam also enjoys performing music with his son Mike (who also plays jazz piano & drums).

2:03AM

ILLINOIS JACQUET - "Texas Tenor"

My friend and colleague Lew Entin of Lew Entin Theatrical Enterprises often represented Illinois Jacquet,
Buddy Tate, and Arnett Cobb on many bookings throughout their music careers of the past decades during the 1950s and 1960s.  
Illinois Jacquet was raised in Houston, Texas where he
began playing drums and soprano sax during his high school years.
After performing with various local bands, he moved to the West Coast and joined Lionel Hampton as a tenor saxophonist and gained popularity for his 64-bar solo on the original
Lionel Hampton recording of “Flying Home.” 

 

Illinois Jacquet toured nationally and recorded with many "Jazz At The Philharmonic" (JATP) concerts that were produced by Norman Granz during the 1940’s and ‘50s as a principal soloist. Along with tenor men Buddy Tate and Arnett  Cobb, their hard-driving full tone swinging approach of playing became known as the “Texas tenor style.” He is also known as a master showman of the tenor saxophone. 

(Jazz Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow - pg.101)