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Entries in The 500 Club (6)





Recently we have been having many requests from many friends and fans of Joe Fortunato for a recording of a popular song from

The American Songbook entitled “Out of Nowhere”

 >>   May 5, 1930 - October 28, 2011  <<

As a Memorial Tribute . . . I have located this recording plus various instrumental tracks recorded from a local Philadelphia studio . . . that was never released publicly, but was always requested at every club date and live performance from Joe Fortunato.  

The sharing of this duo recording by Joe Fortunato & Lou Gagliardi by exemplifies his soulful approach to the tenor saxophone with the tasteful guitar accompaniment of longtime friend Lou Gagliardi.






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*



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

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

                                             Wimberg Funeral Home  -  Galloway, NJ 08205     



Joe Fortunato - Memorable Tribute to a friend

Joe Fortunato was a Jazz legend in the Philadelphia music scene for over 70 years. A true Gentleman of Jazz. His contribution to Jazz has always lived-up to the old standard song title cliché

“It Don’t Mean a Thing . . . If It Ain’t Got That Swing.”

Joe was Born: May 5, 1930 and died of natural causes on October 28, 2011.

He was born and raised in South Philadelphia area "The City of Brotherly Love" along with other notable musicians within this close-knit neighborhood part of town. Joe also had a friendly relationship with another jazz saxophonist who was a few years older; his name was Charlie Ventura, and his brothers Benny and Ernie Ventura, who also were musicians within a small radius of city blocks of South Philadelphia.

Joe’s inspiration to Jazz and Big Band music was when he listened to a late night disc jockey on WIBG-AM a Philadelphia station hosted by Doug Arthur when he played a recording by tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins’ classic jazz rendition of the popular song “Body and Soul.”

Video includes a duet live recording of "Body & Soul" by Joe Fortunato and his friend jazz guitarist Lou Gagliardi.   





Philadelphia is a city of musical roots that span more than a 100 years of various types of music from opera, gospel, soul, rock, R&B, and especially in jazz. The "City of Brotherly Love" was called home for many jazz artists of the past decades. During the 1920's an '30s, Philadelphia's nightlife and club scene was centered around South Street, a short distance from center city. In this area, it was the Dunbar, Lincoln, and the Pearl theaters that were hosting many top names in entertainment. The Earle Theater Enlargeonce located at the corner of 11th and Market Street. This was another famous theater that featured many performers from Jack Teagarden, Louis Prima, Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie and many others during it's heyday of the 1940's. Other nightclubs and taverns within various sections of Philadelphia also played an important part in featuring the top names in jazz from the 1940's until the 1960's.
Another city, which was also known for its contribution to jazz was Pittsburgh, PA. This area produced a number of world- class piano players such as Mary Lou Williams, Earl "Fatha" Hines, Erroll Garner, and Billy Strayhorn along with Ray Brown on bass, Kenny Clarke and Art Blakey on drums.
** Did You Know? **
 Jazz vocalist Ethel Waters a native Philadelphian
. . .starred in the title role of television's early sit-com called
"The Beaulah Show," which aired during the fifties.




Another fond memory, was back in the early 1980's when close friend and associate Don Phillips, Vice President of American Guild of Variety Artists (AGVA) invited my colleague Guy Galante and me to attend a guest invitation at the world renowned Friars Club, located at 57 East 55th Street in New York City.

While at this dinner engagement, stopping by to say hello were numerous entertainers that included comedians Dick Shawn, Henny Youngman, and Jackie Mason. Don's association with many entertainers and musicians ranged from the small- time comics and variety acts to the biggest names in show-business plus all categories of musicians from the big bands to especially his favorites in the jazz community such as Dizzy Gillespie, Buddy Rich, Arthur Prysock, Woody Herman, Bobby Short, Count Basie and a countless group of jazz legends that included female vocalist's Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday and his longtime friend Ella Fitzgerald, who he often referred to as "Miss Ella." Don Phillips became a well-known personality in Atlantic City from the many years presenting the above acts and many others while serving as emcee and manager of the LeBistro Club, located on the corner of Pacific and Missouri Avenues next door to the famous 500 Club owned by "Skinny" D'Amato. His career began as a teenager singing and dancing which gave him the opportunity to perform on many stages on both the East and West coasts.  My association with Don was not only as a friend but we worked on many promotions and fund-raising community affairs for Atlantic City and surrounding areas-where Guy Galante directed and Don would emcee the events, which I had the opportunity to produce.  "The Big Band Explosion" was an event that filled Wildwood, NJ Convention Hall on July 4th, 1985.

 The show was a memorable happening that featured The Count Basie Orchestra, Directed by Thad Jones and Maynard Ferguson and his band on stage for this one-time event. To get these two bands together for a one-time appearance was an arduous task, because of their prior booking commitments that involved re-routing of their traveling schedules.

During the telephone conversations Don, Guy and myself had with Thad Jones and Maynard Ferguson, they assured us that there would be no problem in making the play date.  Maynard Ferguson had a few days off from his work schedule and The Basie Band was returning to the states from an engagement being played in Europe. An un-forseen incident occurred when the Basie Band had problems clearing Customs in New York City as they entered the USA.

I owe a debt of gratitude to my friend agent Larry Bennett who was able to secure an Executive Attache in order to escort the band through Customs on such a short notice. All-in-all the show was a success in drawing a large crowd that enjoyed the performance of these two legendary bands that ended with a jam session between Thad Jones and Maynard Ferguson sharing the spotlight of center stage as they rocked Wildwood's Convention Hall for "The Big Band Explosion."  Whenever, Don Phillips was in need of assistance with his promotions he knew he could depend and rely on Guy Galante and myself to lend a helping-hand whenever necessary. He also produced a sell-out concert with pianist Bobby Short at the Rainbow Room in New York City in which he was in need of television exposure in order to promote the show. Guy was a big help in securing the necessary exposure that was needed and I was able to help with the print media.

I happened to know that Don had a secret desire to go to Hollywood to make it in the movies. Well, he did make it to Hollywood and he was in a movie. His friend, comedian Jackie Mason was instrumental in getting him a part in CaddySack II. Before his sudden illness of heart problems in the early 1980's we were in the negotiating process with Sam DeStefano, Executive V.P. of the Playboy Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, to produce a television series of 13 shows that was to eminate from the Playboy Casino.  The show was to be called "JAZZ ...One More Time" which was to feature many jazz legends such as Woody Herman, Thad Jones, Mercer Ellington, Buddy Rich, Sarah Vaughan and many others performing and talking candidly about the future of jazz and the music industry. During this period, Don also contacted another one of his colleagues, radio personality William B. Williams who was a longtime friend to Frank Sinatra. William B. agreed to make scheduled appearances on the show throughout the series to share interesting anecdotes and friendly stories about Frank Sinatra plus some of his own personal experiences as a radio personality.  Unfortunately, the timing, scheduling and ill-fated illnesses of occurances happened to many of the key-players that the project was never able to see the light of day. To this present day . . . I still get inquiries from some of the interested investors that were to take part in the financial backing of such a project.  They want to know if the possibility of resurrecting the production is feasible. Well, my reply has been, that I firmly believe it is virtually impossible to produce such a quality package since the music business and jazz has changed drastically and most of the traditional jazz legends male and female are no longer with us.  So consequently, the project has been put on hold for the time being. But, the intentions of producing a quality series package still remains.  The consideration of a multi-media computer project utilizing vintage jazz film footage and personal interviews with some of the greats in jazz has been discussed and negotiated with these potential investors who have a warm feeling in their hearts for this American Art Form called ... JAZZ - in "Keeping Mainstream  JAZZ Alive."

Stay tuned ...