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Entries in South Jersey (3)


JOE GIORDANO - Vocalist With Style

Starting in South Philly clubs ( in the 60’s ) such as the Venus Lounge, he was heard by a vocal trainer named Artie Singer who also trained, Al Martino, James Darren, Frankie Avalon, Bobby Rydell, and other  popular singers that were in the mainstream of music during the 1960’s.

 Until 1967, Joe played local “gigs” and landed a stint in Las Vegas at the Aladdin Hotel.  Soon afterwards, he met and married a California girl and decided that his singing career had to go on hold to build a stable family foundation.

 Back on the East Coast while operating his own prosperous construction company, the opportunity to perform a long contracted engagement at Atlantic City’s Tropicana Casino Hotel and The Playboy Hotel Casino was confirmed by long-time producer/promoter/agent friend Danny Luciano, President of International Entertainment Associates in Atlantic City.

 These performances led to many other bookings to perform his vocal stylings at the Sheraton Inn Airport, Warwick Hotel and Hilton Stadium Inn.

 Joe’s adult contemporary style has left the crowds swaying at many popular nite-spots in the Tri-State area of Philadelphia, New Jersey, and Delaware as well as favorite dinner clubs in New York City.

 Joe’s back on stage and are we glad. He’s having fun again!



                                      In a recent Skype conversation I had with my friend Stan Ross 

. . .We often talked about and reflected upon his close friend’s
  saxophonist Buddy Savitt and jazz guitarist Dennis Sandole
BUDDY SAVITTSince I had the opportunity in meeting Buddy Savitt at one time               or another, ironically,   Buddy happened to be a related cousin to John & Evelyn Fiedler  (aka. Johnny Saint and his wife Evelyn)
Johnny Saint was my close friend and the leader\drummer of a popular recording vocal & instrumental group called "THE UNIQUE JOYRIDERS" which toured internationally during the 1960s & 1970s.
During this time, I had the opportunity to share the bandstand as a member of the unit replacing the vacant spot when the very talented saxophonist and friend Bobby Borda who was in the process of forming his Top-40 combo to travel the entertainment circuit on the East Coast. 
Stan Ross, Johnny Saint and I talked about Buddy Savitt and the many popular recordings of Cameo/Parkway Records. As a sideman, Buddy’s tenor sax solos on a majority of the top singles highlighted eachClick For Sample Billboard Chart hit recordings that included Chubby Checker, Dee Dee Sharp, Bobby Rydell and many other hit recordings of the era.   
   - 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. -
South Philadelphia, 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. 
Click for SampleA family relative Cousin of mine, was guitarist Joe Morabito; we also, often spokeJOE SGRO about two of his friends from the same South Philadelphia neighborhood. Jazz guitarists Dennis Sandole and Joe Sgro both known for their musical teaching techniques for the guitar and Jazz improvisation.
Joe Morabito and his brother Rocco formed a popular commercial five-piece combo named “THE TOWNSMEN” which featured many vocal & instrumental renditions of top songs that were favorites of their large following within the Delaware Valley area. Members of this unit were Anthony (Corkey) Borasso-bass Joe Gilletta-drums Rocco Morabito-keyboard plus . . .Joe Sgro’s Brother Pat Sgro guitarist & arranger
              for all their musical compositions.
               Also saxophonist Joe Rotelle would appear on many occasions.
There were many times, that musicians and vocalists would stop-by to sit-in and join a late night jam session. The discussions after hours at the club or at the all-night Melrose Diner would continue to early daylight and reflect upon the many experiences each shared in the music business.  The nightclubs in the South Philly & Center City area such as; The Venus Lounge, Palumbos Restaurant, Broadway Theatrical Lounge, Latin Casino, Club 13 were the places where musicians would congregate.  In addition, many of the South Jersey venues there was – The Dreamland Club, Loretta’s Hi-Hat, Whipppoorwill Club, and Wilcox’s Cafe all located within “The Lawnside Music District” on Rt.30 White Horse Pike.  The Cherry Hill area on Rt. 70 was another entertainment section of venues, LaMania’s Cocktail Lounge was next door to The Latin Casino Theater.  A short driving distance Andy’s Log Cabin Restaurant and The Honey Dew Club were some of the places . . . that it was possible; where on a nightly basis you were able to experience a line-up of many Jazz musicians that included Joe Fortunato, Larry McKenna, Johnny Belmont , Henry Ceccola, Red Rodney, Charlie Ventura and his brother Benny plus Buddy Savitt. These jam sessions lasted until the closing hour of 3:00am in the morning.  
Stan Ross has given me the opportunity to share some brief unforgettable nostalgic moments from his career and personal memorabilia archives of a jazz musician.




-"I remember the first time I heard Stan Ross playing the Saxophone" 
It was back in the early 1970s at a Jam Session in South Jersey. The place was Schilligs Black Horse Farms Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge. This place was not only well-known for their food menu but also for the entertainment provided by  recording star Billy Duke & His Dukes  this house-band also featured name celebrities that always stopped-in to perform and take part of the entertainment. – Billy Duke (aka Bill Tesone) he and his brother Jazz bassist Ace Tesone were native South Philadelphians that played the entertainment circuit on both the East & West Coasts and Las Vegas. 
On the bandstand one evening, that was located behind a Large Bar in the cocktail Lounge section of the establishment. A jam session was taken place with various guest musicians from the Delaware Valley. Joe Fortunato who was the lead tenor sax man with Billy Duke’s six-pc combo invited me to sit-in to take part and play in a Jam Session for the attending large crowd that was requesting a sax- battle between the saxophone players.  While we played a swingin’ rendition of Lionel Hampton’s Flyin’ Home – Joe Fortunato invited another young sax man from the audience . . . his name was Stan Ross.  Stan came-up on the bandstand and joined us playing and swingin’ the familiar jazz standards that generated a crowd reaction from all the patrons who were sitting three deep at the bar.  
I was very impressed at Stan’s style of playing and professional manner in being a true Gentleman musician.  Joe Fortunato, Stan Ross myself and other members of the band spoke in conversation about the music business until the early hours of the morning. During our conversation’s Stan mentioned that the first time he heard Stan Getz who played with creativity and fluency of a tenor sax sound that was pure and clean. We all became friends and played again from time to time. There were times when our instruments needed repair. We would pay a visit to our mutual friend George Sarkis known as “The Doctor Of Horns” this gave us opportunity to meet other friends that included Ray Hyman . . . Ray was a friend that was responsible for the invention of “The Ray Hyman Saxophone Strap” which was distributed worldwide and used by the majority of leading saxophonists throughout the world. 
George Sarkis was like a father to Stan; while spending time in George's quaint shop waiting for the instrument repairs to be completed.   One day Sonny Stitt walked in with his alto sax repairs. He needed the instrument to be in excellent playing condition for his engagement at the SHOWBOAT Jazz Club. During the time George needed to make the repairs, Stan Ross and Sonny Stitt went next door to the (Musician’s Union – Local 77) for a quick lunch. 
   It was in 1972 – I had just returned from working on a road engagement in Florida. During this time, I was spending much time in Atlantic City with a Jazz trio that I formed which included drummer Pete Marsico and a young organist George Mesterhazy. While we were playing the various Atlantic City cocktail lounges and accumulated a large following of friends & music lovers. The idea was formulated . . . this production was to be our rendition of a saxophone jam session.  I called Stan Ross and distinctly wanted him to be part of a production “The Battle of the Saxes” which also would feature Joe Fortunato and our friend saxophonist Ray Fern. Stan agreed, and a special friendly relationship and bond of four local Philadelphia tenor sax men was the beginning of “The Philadelphia Four Brothers”

 ENCORE . . .

"Keeping Mainstream & Straight Ahead JAZZ Alive"