Tony Inzalaco has had a great life. He has been able to spend his life doing what he loves the most.playing jazz music. He was born in Passaic, New Jersey to loving parents, Antonio and Lucy, who made many sacrifices in order that he might develop his gift and pursue his dream. When he was very young his parents noticed that he had a lot of energy and was constantly tapping out rhythms with his hands and feet, and decided to channel his energy in a positive way. When he was eight years old they bought him a pair of drumsticks and a practice pad, and shortly after, he started taking drum lessons. At the age of ten he started playing in Saint Anthony's Fife and Drum Corps in Paterson, New Jersey. About a year later he found an excellent teacher (Charles Mutter) who was the principal percussionist in the Ridgewood Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Mutter was instrumental in teaching him the rudiments and reading music. When he was twelve he heard two records that would change his life; the first one was "Mahogany Hall Stomp" by Louis Armstrong, and the second was "Disc Jockey Jump" by Gene Krupa. He fell in love with jazz music at that point and has pursued this love up to the present day. While still in the seventh grade he was recruited to play in the High School band and later, when in High School played in the school band and orchestra and was chosen for the New Jersey All-State Band and Orchestra in his junior and senior years. During this period he was also playing in a six-piece jazz band that played for dances and parties at the local Elks' and Moose clubs. Seven months after high school graduation, he enrolled at the Manhattan School of Music in New York, from which he earned a B.A. in Percussion and a M.A. in Music Ed. While at the Manhattan School he began playing at many of the New York clubs. When Tony was assigned to a junior high to do his practice teaching for his M.A., the band instructor, a trumpet player, realized that Tony was the drummer he had seen playing at Birdland a few nights earlier. During this period Tony worked with many jazz luminaries in New York and New Jersey; these included Billy Taylor, Ben Webster, Roger Kellaway, Charlie Shavers, Marian McPartland, Slam Stewart and Duke Jordan, Roland Hanna, Johnny Smith, Jim Hall, Art Farmer, Sal Salvador , "PeeWee" Russell, Chris Connor, Morgana King, Johnny Coles, Jaki Byard, Benny Powell, and Al Haig.
After graduating from Manhattan School he continued to free-lance in New York until he joined the Maynard Ferguson Orchestra, playing in the band for four years and for one year in Maynard's Sextet. He was also one of the few drummers to work for Buddy Rich, (playing drums in the band and also accompanying in trio when Buddy did singing engagements). He also worked as Bobby Darin's personal drummer for a year. In 1968 Tony moved to Cologne, Germany to fulfill a two-year contract with the radio and television band there. After being in Europe for a short time, he renewed his friendship with Ben Webster and started playing in Ben's quartet. Ben also introduced him to Don Byas and soon after, Tony became part of Don Byas' quartet. After he fulfilled his two-year contract he was very much in demand for recordings and jazz work with the many expatriate Americans living in Europe. He resumed working with Art Farmer and also started working with Carmel Jones, Leo Wright, Jimmy Woode, Benny Bailey, Pony Poindexter, Kenny Drew and Slide Hampton. He eventually met Kenny Clarke and they became close friends. Kenny recommended Tony to Dexter Gordon with whom he traveled around Europe for five years. Through Dexter he met Johnny Griffin and consequently played with Griffin for three years. Kenny Clarke also recommended Tony for tours with Carmen McRae and Dizzy Gillespie and also hired Tony to play percussion on two of the Clarke-Boland orchestra recordings. He also did a brief European tour with Oscar Peterson and Niels H.O. Pedersen and eventually did a television concert with Ben Webster, Niels and Oscar, which is now a DVD. While in Europe he had two quintets, playing his original compositions. The first quintet featured Benny Bailey, Sal Nistico, Jimmy Woode and Horace Parlan. The second quintet featured Rick Kiefer, Ferdinand Povel, Niels H.O. Pedersen, and Horace Parlan. He also did tours with Joe Henderson, George Coleman, "Sweets" Edison and Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, and Slide Hampton. He also did T.V. and/or radio productions with Clark Terry, Maynard Ferguson, Chris Connor, Toots Thielemans, Nancy Wilson, Oscar Peterson, Barney Kessell, Urbie Green and Frank Rosolino, Carmen McRae, and Anita O'Day.
After leaving Europe he free-lanced around the Boston area and finally moved to S. California in 1990. Since then he has worked around L.A. with his wife, Vicki and several other L.A. musicians including LaMont Johnson and Jimmy Cleveland. He formed the current quintet in October 2005 and has been playing on a regular basis in and around Los Angeles. As originally stated, Tony has had a great life and his music is a reflection of this, as he continues to do what he loves... play jazz music.
"Every drummer should buy this CD because it has wonderful playing and writing by Tony and the Quintet. It really swings throughout. I give him 5 stars on this one."
Drummer, Composer, Bandleader
"Tony Inzalaco has long been one of my favorite drummers and his band features great writing from him as well as great playing by his colleagues. Tony's one of the few real swingers around - he is such a pleasure to hear - and I recommend his band, 2 thumbs up!"
Real Life Real Live: The Tony Inzalaco Quintet
by Skoot Larson
Drummer and composer Tony Inzalaco is one of the most unique and competent jazzmen on the scene today. Tony is a purist, as well as a perfectionist, and it shows in his writing and in his choice of sidemen to perform his music.
Its nice to know that when an artist like Tony Inzalaco seeks a location to record a live CD where he can find an appreciative and responsive audience, he chooses Rosalie &
Alva’s Performance Gallery in San Pedro. The Performance Gallery, aside from being one of those special places where true jazz aficionados tend to congregate, boasts remarkable studio-like acoustics that give recorded tones a natural quality and clarity of sound.
Your ears will tell you that the musicians in The Tony Inzalaco Quintet have been working together for some time. Pianist Theo Saunders and bass man Chris Colangelo work hard with Tony in setting down the impeccable rhythmic and harmonic background behind a frontline that should by all rights be listed in the history of this marvelous art
form: Nolan Shaheed on trumpet and Ben Clatworthy on tenor saxophone.
Ben Clatworthy is undoubtedly the greatest tenor man to ever come out of the British Isles! Maybe all of Europe. One can sense the influence of John Coltrane and Charles Lloyd, but Ben has taken the saxophone beyond these giants to create an individual and recognizable sound all his own. Ben covers the horn with such facility that it amazes to hear the precision lyrical constructions his mind and hands bring forth. Mr. Clatworthy makes his statements even more profound with his understanding of the pause. His phrases employ open space that emphasizes each new idea. Ben’s tone has a hard brilliance, sounding as a diamond might if a diamond had a voice.
Speaking of phrasing, trumpeter Nolan Shaheed is another master. His long and wellthought-out ideas bring to mind the old master of phraseology Theodore “Fats” Navarro. On the up tunes, Nolan can fire off a salvo of quick notes from all over the horn, both his high notes and his low have a brilliant polish about them, or at times he uses a sparse
collection of tones just behind the beat to catch one off guard just before he explodes intorapid fire genius. On a ballad, Nolan can keep it romantic and pretty without sacrificing any of his technical wizardry.
With sticks or brushes in hand, Tony Inzalaco is carrying the Olympic Torch passed by legendary cats like Art Blakey, Elvin Jones and Kenny “Klook” Clarke. Tony is an excellent timekeeper, and he keeps the beat with a drive that pushes his partners on to excellence. Taking pen in hand, Tony dazzles with a creative flare that puts his concepts of harmonics right up there with his sense of time.
All the melodies on this disc are originals penned by Tony Inzalaco’s, and all his songs are individual and interesting, as well as memorable and swinging.
One of the most remarkable performances on this disc, Tony’s “If Your Hot, You’re Hot, If Your Not, You’re Not,” is a good case in point. The riff began with some tasty drum work that covered every skin and cymbal in the percussionist’s arsenal. When the horns came in, they were walking a narrow line that jumped back and forth between standard and double time, with about sixteen bars of each on the trade. This time-jump became especially interesting when it came to the individual solos.
Another extremely cool piece of Tony Inzalaco music was “The Cloud Dancers,” which jumps from waltz time to 4/4 and back as the tune progresses. Every one of this artist’s compositions has all the ingredients of a jazz standard!
I know we’ve all experienced buy a recording because we heard one or two memorable lines then been disappointed because other cuts didn’t measure up. In this case you’ll
have no such worries. The eight tracks on Tony Inzalaco’s Real Life Real Live are all amazing creations of equal value and worth, from ballades like “You’ll Know Just How I Feel” to the up burners like “Moon Spider.” When you ad this CD to your collection, you’ll have no regrets, only hours of pleasurable listening!
TONY INZALACO DISCOGRAPHY
1960 Chico Randall Relaxin' with Chico Randall Trio Roulette R25092
1963 Roger Kellaway Trio A Portrait of Roger Kellaway Regina LP(S)298
1963 Roger Kellaway Roger Kellaway Trio & Jim Hall FSRCD 147
1963 Maynard Ferguson Come Blow Your Horn Cameo CLP 1066
1964 Maynard Ferguson Color Him Wild Mainstream M56031
1964 Eddie Hazell Eddie Hazell in Concert n.a.
1965 Maynard Ferguson The Maynard FergusSextet Mainstream MR56060
1966 Maynard Ferguson Hooray for Maynard Ferguson Sextet T.V.
1968 Kenny Clark Latin Kaleidescope MPS (G ) 15213
1969 Kurt Edelhagen Knef Concert Decca royal sound SD 3000/1-2
1970 Peter Herbolzheimer Soul Condor MPS (G ) 20.29035-2
1970 Peter Herbolzheimer Wade in the Water
1970 Francy Boland Francy Boland and Strings Vogue(GLDVS17242ST
1971 Jiggs Whigham Values MPS (G) 21.2088-4
1971 Kenny Clarke Change of Scenes Verve (Eu) 2304.034
1971 Ira Kris Jazzanova MPS (G) 21.20907-5
1971 Festival Big Band Explosive! Phillips (Du) 6303038
1971 Trombone Workshop MPS (G) 21.20915-6
1971 Benny Bailey Mirrors Freedom FLP 40163
1971 The Trombone All-Stars MPS (G) ST3321277-7
1971 The Trumpet All-Stars MPS (G) ST 3321277-7
1971 International Festival All-Stars Big Band MPS (G) ST 331-1277-7
1971 Zurich International Festival All-Stars MPS/BASF (G) 2121437-0
1971 Bora Rokovic Ultra Native MPS (G) 21.21289
1971 Peter Herbolzheimer My Kind of Sunshine MPS (G) 21.21331-5
1972 Friedrich Gulda Reunion Big Band MPS (G) 88034-2
1972 Ben Webster Live at the Haarlemse Jazz Club Cat ( Du) LP-11
1972 Art Farmer Heidelberger Jazztage '72 MPS (G) 2921655-1
1972 Ben Webster Ben Webster in Europe Radio/Telecast NDR Jazz Workshop
1973 Peter Herbolzheimer Waitaminute MPS (G) 68039,21.21751-5
1973 Rick Kiefer Lush Life Omega ( Du) 555.021
1973 Peter Herbolzheimer Wide Open MPS (G) 68040, 21.21948-8
1974 Art Farmer A Sleeping Bee Sonet (E) SNTF715
1974 Greetje Kauffeld And Let the Music Play Polydor Medium (G) 2441 044
1974 Heiner Stadler NDR Big Band Clustery Tomato 2696522 [CD]
1975 Dexter Gordon Stable Mable Steeplechase SCS1040
1975 Horace Parlan No Blues Steeplechase SCS 1056
1975 Per Goldschmidt Saxophoria Hookfarm (Dan) HLS 76-6
1977 Eugen Cicero For my Friends Intercord (G) 130.010
1977 Anita O'Day Hey! Its Anita O'Day Starline SLC 61093 [Cass]
1977 Leo Wright Quartet Live in Vienna Wunderteam Productions
1978 Eugen Cicero In Concert Intercord (G) 180.030
1978 Fritz Pauer Blues Inside Out MPS (G) 15522
1991 LaMont Johnson Burned by the Passion MasterScores 9107
2004 Rich Pulin Pulin' for You 2 R.P. Music 2004
2005 Vicki von Eps It's About Time TeaEye Records 2005
2006 Tony Inzalaco Quintet Real Life Real Live Tea Eye Records 2006
----------- RADIO PRODUCTIONS -----------
1969 Dakota Sataton
1971 "Toots" Thielemans Quartet
1971 Jazz Workshop Peter Herbolzheimer w/Art Farmer, Herb Geller, Niels H.O .Pedersen
1972 Ben Webster, Oscar Peterson, Niels H.O. Perdersen
1973 Arne Domnerus Quintet
1974 Slide Hampton, Dexter Gordon, Horace Parlan, Dusko Goykovich
1974 Barney Kessel Trio
1974 Slide Hampton, Benny Bailey, George Coleman
1977 Tony Inzalaco Quintet Horace Parlan, Benny Bailey, Sal Nistico, Jimmy Woode
1978 Mike Carr Trio w/ Herb Geller
----------- TELEVISION APPEARANCES -----------
Tony has appeared on television with the following artists........
Maynard Ferguson....Chris Connor....Carmen McRae..Toots Thielemans..Clark Terry.... Ben Webster... Nancy Wilson
----------- PERFORMANCES OF SPECIAL INTEREST -------
1964 New York World's Fair w/ Maynard Ferguson
1964 Carnegie Hall w/ Maynard Ferguson
1972 Munich Summer Olympics w/ Peter Herbolzheimer
----------- FESTIVALS -----------
Tony has performed at many of the major jazz festivals including.......
Ohio State Jazz Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival, Pori Jazz Festival, Molda Jazz Festival, Helsinki Jazz Festival, Peruggia Jazz Festival, and Montreaux Jazz Festival.
He has also done drum clinics with Kenny Clark and is listed in "The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz" and "Jazz in the Seventies" by Leonard Feather. As you can see by his credits, Tony has been an integral part of jazz history.