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Entries in Philadelphia saxophonists (8)


Special Request - Joe Fortunato Tribute

JOE FORTUNATO - "Memorable Tribute" from Danny Luciano 

We have received many requests from our many friends to post this rememberance tribute to a true "Gentleman of JAZZ."

JOE FORTUNATO - "Memorable Tribute" from Danny Luciano on Vimeo.



LORRIANE YARBOROUGH: "Jazz On The South Side" - Exciting News!

**** Exciting News! ****

 During the past few months, my friend and associate 

Lorraine Yarborough, Executive Director of JOTSS (Jazz On The Southside)

has spent many hours of hard work in meetings throughout the Delaware Valley contacting her friends, associates, and colleagues in order to find a new home for JOTSS (Jazz On The Southside.)

 She has contacted me with the exciting news that she located a perfect venue for Jazz, called The Bainbridge Club located at 1529 Bainbridge Street which is in the historic section of center city Philadelphia, The City of Brotherly Love. The amenities of this venue has hosted various types of entertainment thru the years.


Located on the second floor of The Hotel Brotherhood, This club is set up for parties with tables and comfortable chairs with plenty of room for other activities such as dancing or performances

 The banquet hall features a great sound system for a DJ or live music especially Jazz.  Other amenities include a beautiful grand piano, full cocktail bar area, soft lights provided by the many wall sconces for the intimate evening hours to enhance any musical presentation from a small stage for entertainment.

 Currently, Lorraine and her staff have been diligently consulting on various projects within “The Avenue of the Arts” section of Broad Street in Philadelphia, plus other areas in the Tri-State vicinity to help enhance the future of “Jazz and the Cultural Arts.” 

The achievement of these successful goals plus visits to New York’s 966 Jazz club and discussions with the famous Jazz artists, Wynton Marsalis & Lou Donaldson, afforded Lorraine the opportunity to serve as a project consultant to many associations within the famed Philadelphia Avenue of the Arts section of the city including, The Clef Club, The Kimmel Center, St. John Neumann Place Diversified Community Services and presently with The Bainbridge Club and Hotel Brotherhood.

Lorraine Yarborough also provided me with a Calendar of Events schedule for the coming months of this 2015 year that will feature notable jazz musicians from the area that will include the Tony Williams - ClickLegendary Tony Williams Ensemble plus The Ed Dennis Quartet who are keeping Straight-Ahead & Mainstream Jazz alive.

 Ed Dennis Quartet - Click


We appreciate all efforts from Lorraine Yarborough for sharing this Calendar of Events from JOTSS

. . .to inform all Jazz fans throughout the Tri-State area in addition to more important information of the participating musicians and scheduled performances for the promotion of

Jazz & Cultural Arts within the City of Brotherly Love.


Johnny Saint - "The Joyriders" - Part I - *A Country Walk Back Home* Instrumental


The inspiration to compose this original melody came about one evening while I was  having a casual meeting with longtime friend and musician, drummer Johnny Saint. We casually reflected about the many cities and nightclubs & musical lounges that we worked through the years. Traveling the east and west coasts of the United States plus the many appearances across the border into various sections of Canada.

“The Joyriders”

“The Joyriders” consisted of a swinging 5-piece combo from thes Philadelphia with a large fan club throughout the Delaware Valley on the East Coast. This group was headed by Johnny Saint,(drums) and close friends from the surrounding area of the city of Philadelphia . . . which included Tony Dell,(keyboards)-Joe Mallace,(guitar)- Rocky Angelo,(bass) , that paved the way for various Sax-men from Philly. These excellent reedmen included Nick Carr, Don Russell, Armand Saviano, Bobby Borda, and Dom Albano. The vocal expertise and musicianship was featured in all of their material from the current Top 10 Hits of the day to various Jazz arrangements that gave each member a solo spotlight at each and every performance.

I was fortunate to join the group in the mid-1960s after I departed “The Frank Virtue & the Virtues Revue.” Most of the members of “The Joyriders” were from the same Philadelphia neighborhood and enjoyed the same type of music from Rhythm & Blues, Classic Rock & Roll and JAZZ.  With this in mind, the experimental boundaries and musical input from each member at every performance was enjoyed by the audiences throughout the country.

While we spoke about the many cities we had traveled in the past. -  I played a demo tape of my instrumental composition “A Country Walk Back Home” that was dedicated to miles of travel through the years. As a drummer . . . I needed his input for a recording session, his creativity and spontaneous rhythm was shared by all during the session.

*** (Produced and composed at IEA Recording Studios in the mid-70s - I was able to secure the talents of my friends that have recorded for major labels in the past. Even though, the saxophone is featured as the solo instrument.

<*> The rhythm section is tightly led by my friend Johnny Saint who devised a swinging touch of a two-beat rhythm tempo - which many people enjoyed dancing too at every performance.)

 In the following Chapters:

I also would like to recap some of

Johnny Saint’s memorable moments of his career in music.

Chapter 1

Looking back over more than 35 years in the music business . . .I realize what a blessing it was to be able to play an instrument as a drummer. - To be able to make a living at it is even sweeter. It is the only job that you would do for no pay, just to have the chance to play.

Johnny SaintFORT PITT- Atlantic CityMy group was called “The Joyriders” and from 1959 to 1963 I would play at Atlantic City’s “Fort Pitt” musical lounge located on New York Avenue & the Boardwalk from 10:00 pm to 3:00am.  After we completed our work schedule, our band and some friends all visited the famous Club Harlem located on what was known as “Kentucky & the Curb” where Chris Colombo & his band alternated with saxophonist Willis “Gator Tail” Jackson’s band until 5:00am. Then it was off to Rocky Castillani’s club at Missouri & Atlantic Avenues to play more music.

That point reminds me of the mornings I spent listening to some of the best music I ever heard at “Rocky’s” Bar that was owned by former middleweight boxer Rocky Castellani in Atlantic City.  The house band was an organ trio but by 4:00am . . . it became a Jazz Open House that featured visiting musicians from the surrounding seashore areas of Somers Point & Wildwood, New Jersey. During this time it would be possible to see, hear and enjoy as many as 10 or more musicians on the bandstand taking part of a swinging Jam Session that would last until the early morning hours of daylight.

Reflecting back to the age of five years old, my first interest in music was when I would listen to a Fat’s Waller radio show as I ate my lunch every day.

I liked the melodies being played, but I was more interested in the tempos and how it all meshed together with the other instruments. At an early age, when I began taking drum lessons at Wurlitzer’s Music store located at 10th and Chestnut Streets in Philadelphia, PA . . . I honestly believed I was destined to be a musician. At the age of 14, I played my first job in a neighborhood bar, with a trio consisting of accordion, banjo and myself on the drums. I made $10.00 each night for Friday and Saturday weekend. I was hooked.

I also remember that on the second floor of Wurlitzer’s Music Store there was a free open space that was available for Jam Sessions every Tuesday Night to visiting musicians working within the Philadelphia area with other traveling Big Bands. Whoever was in town would stop by and play for this Jazz Open House.

One night there was Horace Silver, Chet Baker, and Zoot Sims all on the bandstand at once. One night a 15year old young man sat in and played his trumpet and blew everyone away . . . his name was Lee Morgan who later became a leading Jazz trumpeter and composer with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. 

  *<> * (More interesting material in upcoming future Chapters)




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)





Kansas City, during the 1920's and 1930's was a wide-open, 24-hour town controlled by gangsters, that attracted musicians from all over the Southwestern region.
The city was filled with nightclubs, dance halls, vaudeville houses and juke joints that rocked the city from dusk until dawn, with jam sessions, which was a Kansas City specialty. These jam sessions lasted for hours and hours even though the prohibition laws were in effect.
Bennie Moten and his Orchestra was one of the most popular bands that was formed in the early 1920's. It was here that a young piano player named Bill Basie, from Red Bank, New Jersey, got his start in jazz.
The jam sessions played an important part of the careers of Lester Young, Hershal Evans, Coleman Hawkins, Charlie Parker, and vocalists Jimmy Rushing and Big Joe Turner who was a blues- singing bartender in one of the juke joints.
Most of these jazz clubs were small neighborhood bars located behind store-front properties that were located in a six block area that was centered by 18th and Vine Streets.