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Entries in Philadelphia Jazz (4)

1:16AM

TONY ANGELO - Musician, Entertainer, Colleague & Friend

TONY ANGELO - is one of the finest Saxophonist from the South Philadelphia area. He traveled the East & West Coasts plus touring Internationally as a leader & side man with many combos playing Rhythm & Blues, Big Band arrangements and Jazz - - - Giving him the opportunity to appear at many well-known showrooms and lounges in Las Vegas, New Orleans, and Miami. On many occasions he shared the bandstand with many top-name recording artists and performers during the 1960s & '70s. This experience as a musician and performer of more than 25 years in the entertainment business gave him a wealth of knowledge to manage, produce and secure bookings for other leading musicians during his career as booking agent.  

During this time, Tony teamed-up with another professional entertainer & trumpet player and big band master Andy Angel (Angelucci) from upstate Pennsylvania.  Together they began performing as a musical revue featuring many jazz arrangements, vocals, and comedy material to entertain audiences on the East Coast.

Andy Angel also has 30 years of experience to his credit making TV appearances on "The Ed Sullivan Show" and has perforformed on the same bill with Ella Fitzgerald, Erskin hawkins, Lionel Hampton, Della Reese and Louie Prima at the Sands Casino in Las Vegas.

 ANGEL & ANGELO Musical Revue - Is a musical comedy revue that has performed for SRO Crowds throughout the United States. The production of this video clip narrated by my friend and colleague is to share a brief summary of his entertainment career and portions of the complete performance that was held at The Three Rivers Restaurant in Syracuse, NY. The show consists of Big Band musical arrangements, Comedy and Mainstream Jazz.

6:12PM

PhillyJazz.org - Definitive source for Jazz related events & happenings for the Tri-State area. 

Prior to the creation of our website, I began searching the internet for various Jazz forums that specialized in promoting Jazz artists and venues across the USA. Many forums have been brought to my attention some favorable and some not-so-favorable. While we were eliminating the non-favorable, I became aware of www.Phillyjazz.org – Jan Klincewicz [webmaster@phillyjazz.org].

 

PhillyJazz.org was created back in 1995 with the intent to help the active Philadelphia area Jazz scene especially it’s musicians.  Jan is well respected and known within the Tri-State area for his contriubtion of providing Jazz related information and local events.  He was generous enough to link our website to PhillyJazz.org which in turn gave me the opportunity to renew old relationships from within Tri-State area.  We both share the same intent whch is to keep Jazz alive!

I also learned that he had the opportunity to sit-in and jam many times with our mutual friend bassist Bunch Hammond & Friends. Bunch Hammond known as “Mr. BassMan” throughout the Tri-State area. His bandstand was an open door for friends to share musical ideas and always consisted of many Philadelphia jazz musicians such:

Rudy Jones, tenor sax – Roy Thomas, drums – Larry LaBes, piano – Thornell Schwartz, guitar – Johnny Belmont, alto sax – Joe Fortunato, tenor sax, Ray Fern, tenor Sax plus vocalists Jeannie Kaye, Miss Justine and many others.

 

 

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10:52AM

"FATHER JOHN" D'AMICO - Jazz Pianist - SPOTLIGHT #5

The city of Philadelphia known as “The City of Brotherly Love” has a record of accomplishments to being a melting pot for entertainment celebrities from the South Philly section The Italian Market located on 9th street between Tasker thru Lombard Sts. This location featured Sylvester Stallone's “Rocky” movie. The depiction was Stallone training and running thru this South Philly neighborhood . . . along the riverside of Penn’s Landing and finishing at the Art Museum Steps.  
Philadelphia’s contribution to the music world has always been Opera, small music combos, rock & roll, and Jazz. Bob Horn hosted the local TV dance show “Original Bandstand” and later Dick Clark hosted the national version of American Bandstand. These shows plus various nightclubs within the Philadelphia area such as The Latin Casino, Palumbo’s Restaurant Café owned by Frank Palumbo featured Frank Sinatra, Patti Page, The Four Aces, Johnny Ray, Perry Como, Eddie Fisher, Louis Prima plus many Big Bands and popular headline recording acts that were on the top 10 list of the Billboard Charts.  
Back in the mid-1980s, returning to the Philadelphia area from a business trip to Florida, as a promotion endeavor, I decided to contact a group of my talented musician friends; it was time to pay tribute to various local Philadelphia Jazz musicians that have deserved recognitions for their talents over the years. With this in mind, I had the opportunity to contact and work with a group of musician friends from the Philadelphia area. A live recording date scheduled at a leading center city Jazz club was the location in the heart of Philadelphia. The participating musicians were close friends that agreed to perform as part of this proposed album called “All That Live Jazz.”
Highlighting the musical styles of Jazz of four prominent Jazz groups was a success. The featured groups were ACT-IV lead by saxophonist Joe Fortunato, featuring a young organist Joey DeFrancesco, plus the famed jazz guitarist Eddie McFadden, the “Father John” D’Amico Trio, The Bunch Hammond Quintet, and saxophonist Ray Fern and his Quintet. 
With the added cooperation from pianist, “Father “John D’Amico he was able to make arrangements for interviews at Temple University’s radio station “Jazz WRTI.” In addition, his wife Kathy D’Amico was very instrumental in contacting a long list of loyal jazz fans and friends, which made this evening of Jazz a success.

 

 

It is a little known fact:
At the age of 6 years old, "Father John" began playing classical piano. As a teenager, he played the sounds of commercial rock & roll and predominantly Jazz. The decision of placing his jazz career on hold was to enter St. Charles Seminary to become an ordained Priest. While he was a practicing Priest, he renewed his studies in jazz piano. At the age of 29 another career decision had to be made, "Father John" traded in his pulpit for a piano.
“Father John" is considered one of the world's finest jazz composers, lyricists, and pianists who has performed at many of Philadelphia's best-known clubs and major venues throughout the Delaware Valley. He has been featured on National Public Radio and has played with a long list of jazz greats: Lionel Hampton, vocalist Etta Jones, bassist Charles Fambrough, and saxophonists Jimmy Oliver, Bootsie Barnes, and Lou Tobakin, and percussionist Doc Gibbs. The great drummer, "Philly Joe" Jones, was a featured member of The "Father John" D'Amico Trio.  This reigning "Lord of the Keyboard." was chosen as (10/13//95) Jazz Instrumentalist of the week on BET's Jazz Discoveries, as well as National airplay on BET's Jazz TV Station. "Father John" was a 1989 recipient of the John Coltrane Award for Outstanding Achievement in Jazz, and was a featured artist in the National Public Radio's "At the Bride" series 1989-1990. July 1994, "Father John" was distinguished with a biographical segment "The Jazz Man," that aired on Larry Kane's "The Bulletin" (KYW-TV)
In the recent past, The "Father John" Trio has returned from a triumphant week in Europe where they astounded and enthralled audiences of 300 to 400 a night. They were well received by the European press and broadcasting media. His trio has also had numerous live radio concert broadcast on stations WRTI, WHYY, and WPEN. 
Currently, “Father John” is the house pianist along with “Big Jim” Dofton, on drums and bassist Kenny Davis at the popular  23rd St. Jazz Café located at 233 North 23 Street in Philadelphia.  The 23rd ST. Café has been featuring Jam Sessions since 1988 and 100's of musicians and vocalists have sat in from around the world.
* The night of November 22, 2011 *
“Father John” was very influential along with the cooperation of “Big Jim” manager of 23rd St. Café in promoting a Memorial Tribute for our mutual friend Joe Fortunato who died on October 28, 2011.
One of the tunes “Father John” played appropriately enough was "Killer Joe."  - As “Father John” said . . .  “It was sweet playing in memory of Joe and paying tribute to him and to his family.”
“Father John” . . . as a friend I personally would like to say Thank You for the tribute. 
There is more information about my friend “Father John D’Amico” please visit the following links. Email Address: fatherjohn.damico@verizon.net

 http://www.myspace.com/fatherjohndamicotrio             http://mysite.verizon.net/vze1r04a/index.html

         

11:57AM

"MEMORIES OF A FAMED PHILADELPHIA LANDMARK"

During the mid 1950s, joining Local-77 American Federation of Musicians (AFM) was a customary option for young musicians in order to obtain playing jobs within the Delaware Valley vicinity.

Being part of the AFM signified that you were able to be part of a professional group of working musicians in the Philadelphia area.

With this in mind, having a union card gave us access to Rehearsal Halls, Dining Area, plus a Bulletin Board of upcoming events to attend, and most of all: a meeting place for other musicians to congregate and share their experiences.

 As a new member of Local 77, I was introduced to Charles “Chick” Musumeci who was the President of the Philadelphia branch office at that time. On various occasions, he would spend some time with new members introducing them to the older members who were working with the Philadelphia Orchestra and other jazz musicians from the area.

It was during this time, my own personal experience as a young musician, I had the opportunity to meet saxophonist Charlie Ventura plus other musicians just playing & jamming in a relaxed atmosphere, they were all enjoying each other playing solos and creating their jazz improvisations.

Since George Sarkis’ repair shop was located in the next building within a short walking distance, George would often stop-by for lunch on different days and spend time with many prominent musicians such as  Woody Herman, Stan Getz, Julian Cannonball Adderley, Buddy DeFranco, Ray Hyman and others that were traveling to the city of Philadelphia.

 

*** SPECIAL THANKS: to my friend & colleague saxophonist Stan Ross. He forwarded his personal photo collection - showing the entire city block demolition of Local-77 Musicians Union building and location of George Sarkis’ shop. ~


<*> Unfortunately, the recollections of that time are only memoirs for the both of us, plus everyone else that was lucky to experience the early years of Local 77 AFM located at 118 North 18th Street in Center City Philadelphia, PA(dudovpi©s)