Parenti, Tony (actually, Anthony)

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Parenti, Tony (actually, Anthony)

Parenti, Tony (actually, Anthony), jazz clarinetist, saxophonist, uncle of August Schellang; b. New Orleans, La., Aug. 6, 1900; d. N.Y., April 17, 1972. Both parents were from Sicily. He played in an Italian band in New Orleans, then gigged in theater orchs., and with Papa Laine, Nick LaRocca, and drummer Johnny Stein, Johnny De Droit (c. 1916), and led his own successful band (record debut: January 1925). He moved to N.Y. in the late 1920s, and worked through the mid-1930s as a CBS staff musician; during this period, he led his own saxophone quartet on radio and in short Warner Bros, film. He spent four years with Radio City Symp. Orch. (1935–39), and then left to join Ted Lewis until the summer of 1945. In the late 1940s, he worked with several Dixieland-style revivalists, including Eddie Condon (January-June 1946) and Georg Brunis (June 1946), and, in Chicago, with Muggsy Spanier (late 1947) and Miff Mole (January 1948-June 1949). During the early 1950s, he worked for four years in Fla., mainly with Preacher Rollo Laylan’s Five Saints, briefly with the Dukes of Dixieland in 1952. He moved back to N.Y in 1954, toured with his own band in N.Y State, Boston, and Canada. He led his own group at Jimmy Ryan’s from late 1963 until 1969, and appeared at the first New Orleans Jazz Fest in June 1969. Parenti remained active in N.Y. area until his death.


Tony Parenti and His New Orleans Band (1949); Jazz, That’s All (1955); Ragtime (1956); Two Beat Bash (1957); Tony Parenti and His Downtown Band (1961); Night at Jimmy Ryan’s (1967).

—John Chilton, Who’s Who of Jazz/Lewis Porter