DeFranco in New York, 1947
|Birth name||Boniface Ferdinand Leonard DeFranco|
|Born||February 17, 1923|
Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
|Died||December 24, 2014 (aged 91)|
Panama City, Florida
|Labels||Norgran, Verve, Mercury|
|Associated acts||Glenn Miller Orchestra|
Boniface Ferdinand Leonard "Buddy" DeFranco (February 17, 1923 – December 24, 2014) was an Italian-American jazz clarinetist. In addition to his work as a bandleader, DeFranco led the Glenn Miller Orchestra for almost a decade in the 1960s and '70s.
Born in Camden, New Jersey, DeFranco was raised in South Philadelphia. He was playing the clarinet by the time he was 9 years old and within five years had won a national Tommy Dorsey swing contest.
He began his professional career just as swing music and big bands—many of which were led by clarinetists like Artie Shaw, and Benny Goodman—were in decline. While most jazz clarinet players did not adapt to this change, DeFranco successfully continued to play clarinet exclusively, and was one of the few bebop clarinetists.
In 1950, DeFranco spent a year with Count Basie's Septet. He then led a small combo in the early 1950s which included pianist Sonny Clark and guitarist Tal Farlow. In this period, DeFranco recorded for MGM, Norgran and Verve; the latter two labels were owned by Norman Granz.
During the years 1960-64, DeFranco released four innovative quartet albums as co-leader with the accordionist Tommy Gumina.
He was bandleader of the Glenn Miller Orchestra from 1966 to 1974, under the name, "The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra, Directed By Buddy DeFranco". He also performed with Gene Krupa, Art Blakey, Tommy Dorsey, Count Basie, Charlie Barnet, Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson, Lennie Tristano, Dodo Marmarosa, Terry Gibbs, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Eddie Daniels, Putte Wickman, Billie Holiday and many others, and released dozens of albums as a leader.
DeFranco died in Panama City, Florida at the age of 91.
Awards and honors
- The Progressive Mr. DeFranco (Norgran, 1954)
- Pretty Moods (Norgran, 1954)
- The Artistry of Buddy DeFranco (Norgran, 1954)
- Buddy DeFranco and Oscar Peterson Play George Gershwin (Norgran, 1954)
- The Buddy DeFranco Wailers (Norgran, 1956)
- Sweet and Lovely (Verve, 1956)
- In a Mellow Mood (Norgran, 1956)
- Mr. Clarinet (Norgran, 1956)
- Jazz Tones (Norgran, 1956)
- Buddy DeFranco Plays Benny Goodman (Verve, 1957)
- The Art Tatum Buddy DeFranco Quartet (Verve, 1958)
- Cross Country Suite (Dot, 1958)
- Generalissimo (Verve, 1958)
- Buddy DeFranco and the Oscar Peterson Quartet (Verve, 1958)
- Live Date! (Verve, 1958)
- Buddy DeFranco Plays Artie Shaw (Verve, 1958)
- Cooking the Blues (Verve, 1958)
- Bravura (Verve, 1959)
- Pacific Standard Swingin'! Time with Tommy Gumina (Decca, 1960)
- Presenting with Tommy Gumina (Mercury, 1961)
- Kaleidoscope with Tommy Gumina (Mercury, 1962)
- Pol.Y.Tones with Tommy Gumina (Mercury, 1963)
- The Girl from Ipanema with Tommy Gumina (Mercury, 1964)
- Blues Bag (Vee Jay, 1965)
- Crosscurrents with Lennie Tristano (Capitol, 1972)
- Free Sail (Choice, 1974)
- Black Magic with Helen Forrest (Shamrock, 1975)
- Love Affair with a Clarinet Vol. 2 (Famous Solos, 1976)
- Sessions, Live (Callipe, 1976)
- Borinquin (Sonet, 1976)
- Waterbed (Choice, 1978)
- Buddy DeFranco with Jim Gillis (Classic Jazz, 1978)
- Closed Session (Verve, 1979)
- Buddy DeFranco (Famous Solos, 1980)
- Like Someone in Love (Progressive, 1980)
- Jazz Party: First Time Togther with Terry Gibbs (Palo Alto, 1981)
- Cool & Quiet with Lennie Tristano (Capitol, 1982)
- Eastern Exposure (Silver Crest, 1982)
- Buddy DeFranco Presents John Denman (Lud, 1983)
- Now's the Time with Terry Gibbs (Tall Tree, 1984)
- Mr. Lucky (Pablo, 1984)
- Hark with Oscar Peterson (Pablo, 1985)
- Groovin (Hep, 1985)
- Chicago Fire with Terry Gibbs (Contemporary, 1987)
- Garden of Dreams with Martin Taylor (ProJazz, 1988)
- Kings of Swing Terry Gibbs, Herb Ellis (Contemporary, 1992)
- Five Notes of Blues (Musidisc, 1992)
- Modern Clarinets: Museum of Modern Jazz (Verve, 1993)
- The Buenos Aires Concerts (Hep, 1995)
- Free Fall (Candid, 1996)
- You Must Believe in Swing with Dave McKenna (Concord Jazz, 1997)
- Do Nothing Till You Hear from Us! with Dave McKenna (Concord Jazz, 1999)
- The Champs with Putte Wickman (Gazell, 1999)
- Terry Gibbs and Buddy DeFranco Play Steve Allen (Contemporary, 1999)
- Gone with the Wind (Storyville, 1999)
- A Tribute to Benny Goodman (Contemporary, 2001)
- The Three Sopranos (hr-musik.de, 2001)
- Cookin' the Books (Arbos, 2003)
With Tommy Dorsey
- Yes Indeed! (RCA Victor 1956)
- Tribute to Dorsey, Vol. 2 (RCA Victor, 1957)
- Tommy Dorsey's Greatest Band (20th Fox, 1959)
With Lionel Hampton
- The Lionel Hampton Quintet (Clef, 1954)
- Album #2 (Clef, 1955)
- Lionel Hampton and His All Stars (Columbia, 1957)
- Charlie Barnet, Sky Liner (MCA, 1976)
- Count Basie, Blues by Basie (Columbia, 1956)
- Les Brown, Jazz Song Book (Coral, 1960)
- Ella Fitzgerald, Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Jerome Kern & Johnny Mercer Songbooks (Verve, 1976)
- Stan Getz, Stan Getz Blues (VSP, 1966)
- Billie Holiday, Ladylove (United Artists, 1962)
- Billie Holiday, Live in Cologne 1954 (Jazzline, 2014)
- Rolf Kuhn, Affairs (Intuition, 1997)
- Herbie Mann, Big Band Mann (VSP, 1966)
- Gerry Mulligan, Chet Baker Gerry Mulligan Buddy DeFranco (GNP, 1957)
- Joe Negri, Uptown Elegance (MCG, 2004)
- Flip Phillips, Flip Philllips Celebrates His 80th Birthday at the March of Jazz 1995 (Arbors, 2003)
- Tullio De Piscopo, Live in Zurich at Moods Club (Rai Trade, 2004)
- Buddy Rich, Buddy Rich at JATP (VSP, 1966)
- "Buddy DeFranco To Play At LVC". Lebanon Daily News. July 14, 1977. p. 22. Retrieved April 25, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- Heckman, Don (26 December 2014). "Buddy DeFranco dies at 91; first clarinetist to master bebop". Los Angeles Times.
- Pankin, Ted (1999). "On Buddy DeFranco's 89th Birthday, a 1999 Downbeat article, plus Interview". Down Beat. ISSN 0012-5768.
- Myers, Marc (24 May 2011). "Buddy DeFranco and Tommy Gumina". JazzWax.
- Strum, Charles (26 December 2014). "Buddy DeFranco, 91, Versatile Jazz Clarinetist, Dies". The New York Times. p. B7.
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