Tony Scott

Top Albums by Tony Scott (See all 36 albums)


See all 36 albums by Tony Scott

All downloads by Tony Scott
Sort by:
Bestselling
1-10 of 1217
Song Title Album  
30
30
30
30
30
30
30
30
30
30


At a Glance

Birthname: Anthony Sciacca
Nationality: American
Born: Jun 17 1921


Biography

Tony Scott is the son of Giuseppe Sciacca, a barber and amateur guitarist, and Nicolina Gangi, who studied violin, emigrated from the Sicilian village of Salemi to the U.S.A. to live in Morristown, New Jersey, around the turn of the century. His uncle, Maestro Antonino Sciacca, was composer and band leader of Salemi, where Tony spent a brief summer at the age of 6 years. Still he has the picture from a special fiery jam session of that time, his father sitting in on guitar, his uncle Antonino on mandolin and young cousin on clarinet…a little Tony Scott enjoying in front.
At that time he ... Read more

Tony Scott is the son of Giuseppe Sciacca, a barber and amateur guitarist, and Nicolina Gangi, who studied violin, emigrated from the Sicilian village of Salemi to the U.S.A. to live in Morristown, New Jersey, around the turn of the century. His uncle, Maestro Antonino Sciacca, was composer and band leader of Salemi, where Tony spent a brief summer at the age of 6 years. Still he has the picture from a special fiery jam session of that time, his father sitting in on guitar, his uncle Antonino on mandolin and young cousin on clarinet…a little Tony Scott enjoying in front.
At that time he started to be on the stage, with his older brother Nick on guitar, at family gatherings and amateur shows, singing and tap dancing and, among other things, imitating the 1930 Mills Brothers Quartet. While in front of the mirror vocally imitating instruments he flipped particularly over the free flying notes of clarinetist Clarence Hutchenrider playing Smoke Rings in the Glen Grey Casa Loma Orchestra.

" The first time I heard jazz, I first heard freedom. I heard a big band playing in 1933. They were playing this melody like a big machine and this harmony, this sick harmony, and then all of a sudden this bird came out of this big machine ...it was like a big bush, a big tree, and this bird came flying out of the tree and it was a clarinet. that was a white band, you see. Through my brother who brought records home I started hearing Count Basie and the Duke Ellington. This was jazz; it was a life. " (Tony Scott)

Tony began to study privately, with his first metal clarinet, at 12 years of age, with Ed Dorman;
At the age of 14 he formed his first ‘Hometown Band’, with his young friend and Morristown high school colleague Bobby Tucker on piano (who was later introduced by Tony as accompanist to Billie Holiday and who worked also seven years as Billy Eckstine’s musical director.) Others friends were Jimmy Thompson on bass, and Bubby Powlett and Harry Backer on drum. The combo played a range of gigs from settlement house dances at 50 cents a night to bigger jobs at $ 2. The first Tony Scott recording session is with this group, in 1940.

A year of private instruction with Newark black jazz pianist Duke Anderson, preceded the admission at Juilliard School of Music in New York... Sophisticated Lady was Scott’s piano audition piece. At Juilliard Tony studied clarinet, piano, orchestral conducting and composition, formed a large band whose startling specialty was Tony’s swing arrangements, some of which from classical music, such as Debussy’s Afternoon of a Faun and Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in C sharp minor. He also set up sessions, both separate scenes and during intermission at rehearsal of more formal affairs.
Three years after, in 1942, Scott majored in clarinet and in the following years he studied on avant-guard and atonal music at the Contemporary School of Music in New York with composer Stefan Wolpe, with whom he had already recorded free improvised music in 1950.
In the early years Scott was absorbed by the style of Benny Goodman, who was ‘the absolute end’ to him:

“Up until I was 18 I had really been imitating Benny. Then, from studying so much and playing, I began getting more independent. I was learning more chord changes and was using alternate changes from what I’d learned playing piano, and I began fooling with polytonality: I was practicing clarinet 2 ½ hours, and piano 3 ½ hours a day. ” (Tony Scott)

While still attending Juilliard, Tony made his debut in the Black American jazz world in Harlem at Minton’s Playhouse in 1939. Ben Webster stepped in as Tony’s musical father. At jam sessions he played with Kenny Clarke and the Thelonius Monk Quartet alongside Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Christian, Lester Young, and Don Byas.

“The older men were interested in young musicians in those days. Ben Webster took me under his wing; he watched over me and became my teacher. At his suggestion, I moved from club to club each night, picking up much that I could use in my own playing. Just being around provided the sort of experience that young players can’t find today.” (Tony Scott)

During the same period he played at Village Vanguard jam sessions every Sunday afternoon with Charlie Shavers, Benny Carter, Art Tatum, Bobby Hackett, Nat ‘King’ Cole, ‘Big’ Sid Catlett and many others.

After Scott graduated at Juilliard he was stationed at Governor’s Island Military Base - 1st Army Band, the Big Red One . While at the base, he was able to form and lead four different bands: a big band in which he played alto sax, a ‘Dixieland’ group in which he played tenor sax, a ‘swing group’ in which he played clarinet, and a Count Basie-style rhythm section playing piano. He averaged four dances a week and managed to make the regular army band requirements.
He began to jammed on New York’s legendary 52nd Street –‘Swing Street’, playing in clubs like The Onyx, Down Beat, 3 Deuces, and Spotlite Club.

" Whenever I could get to 'The Street', I'd sit in on all I could. When a half hour was over at one club, I'd go on to the next. Anyway, I'd blow from joint to joint.
The Street was a place you could work things out without being put down for having a few growing pains, or for thinking differently. Musicians were deeply involved with music and one another. The Street created an attitude in the musicians who came up through that school. As far as I’m concerned, it gave me the foundation for my approach to jazz and life. Of course , 'The Street' wasn’t ideal. No situation is perfect. But we didn’t realize how valuable it was to jazz until the clubs started changing their policy in the late 1940's. For a while, the two blocks between Fifth and Seventh Avenue featured strippers. Then it was all over.” (Tony Scott)

“He’d take the ferry into town in the evening from his base on Governor’s Island and sit in with any group that would have him. His favorite people were Ben Webster, Billie Holiday and Charlie Parker and Lester Young, He was welcome everywhere – a more modern, more impassioned version of Benny Goodman in those early days- then one of the very few clarinetists to embrace Bop.” (Bill Simon)

Tony Scott was discovered by Bill Simon, who become his dearest friend and agent, and for 5 years had Tony share his digs in NYC:

“...one night I was at the Onyx Club and this soldier walked in with his clarinet. I flipped when I heard him and we struck up a conversation… I was promoting with my friend Sir Charles Thompson a jazz concert/dance at the old Renaissance Ballroom in Harlem .He jumped at the chance to do the gig…on the first Saturday the great Freddie Webster sat in on trumpet, and Sandy Williams on Trombone. The posters listed Tony Sciacca on clarinet. From then on, Tony spent his ‘intown’ nights at my place and when he got out of the army, we got an apartment big enough and cheap enough for two struggling cats. We roomed together for five years. The phone calls came in all hours of the day and night sometimes for Tony ‘Scothca’, sometimes for ’Skeeacka’. Finally I suggested he make it easier on everyone and call himself Tony Scott." (Bill Simon, Iajrc Journal)

Jumping from one club to another, Scott would play with Dizzy Gillespie, Errol Garner, Trummy Young, Art Tatum, Dexter Gordon, Buck Clayton, Big Sid Catlett, Roy Eldridge, Don Byas, Stuff Smith, Tiny Grimes, Duke Jordan and many others.
But the musicians who would have the greatest influence on the evolution of his musical style were Ben Webster, Charlie Parker, Lester Young.

" I lived in a time of geniouses and I knew all the greats: These incredible people who were like gods from other planets:

"My favorite piano player was Count Basie, who plays so few notes, everything he plays is full of jazz, full of himself...

I love Ben Webster for his profound and fluid interpretation of ballads…choosing every note as if it were a diamond.

Prez, so strongly rooted in Black American Jazz history while his sound...floated sweetly over the sea like a sail boat

Bird, whos art inspired me to explore new areas and enrich my life with a deep spiritual experience of frienship" (Tony Scott)

It was in 1943 that Tony Scott met for the first time Charlie Parker who was playing at Spotlite with Don Byas.

" I was sent to the Spotlite club by Ben Webster who had told me about … ‘Bird…he is playing new shit’ . He started playing Cherokee. Now Byas could play fast, but Bird! My mouth dropped. He played so many notes up and down… all around… that it sounded like a hundred chickens going mad when a fox enters the coop… like Chinese music from the moon. I had never heard any kind of music like this in my life. And I was supposed to blow after him. I felt miserable…what the hell could I play after this musical mad man? I walked up on the stage to be near him and played in the style of B. Goodman but from that day on I wanted to play like Bird. Once when I came to him without my horn, he said, ‘Hey T, what are you waiting for, an engraved invitation?" (Tony Scott)

After leaving the Army Band, in February of 1945, Tony worked with Trummy Young and Buddy Rich’s Big Band on third alto and clarinet solos. He also played in the Lucky Millinder Band, at the Savoy Ball Room and Apollo Theater. In 1945 and 1946 he played and recorded also with the Benny Carter, Charlie Ventura and Tommy Dorsey Orchestras, the Ben Webster Sextet, the Bill DeArango and Earl Bostic groups.

“By this time I was starting to get my own style and it was becoming a driving one. I'd always been playing with tenors and trumpets and on gigs with swing bands, so I needed and wanted to wail. I was playing with too much guts to get a good clarinet tone, so I had to concentrate on that.” (Tony Scott)

In 1945 he played at the Down Beat Club where he made his first record in his name, produced by Bill Simon for Gotham Records: Tony Scott and His Down Beat Club Septet, in which Tony appears as arranger also, and composer for his song: You’re Only Happy When I’m Blue.

“Ben Webster came in for the day from Washington, Dizzy Gillespie from Philly and we had Trummy Young on trombone –all doing it for $40 out of friendship for Tony. We chose the pseudonym ‘ B.Bopstein’ for Dizzy, who was under contract with Musicraft. We needed a vocalist for Duke’s All Too Soon, so we called our young friend Sarah Vaughan, who agreed for $25.The record was at WOR Studios; and at the same time, in another room next to ours, Jerry Jerome was producing a session for Apollo Records with my old buddy, Sir Charles Thompson, with Charlie Parker, Dexter Gordon, Buck Clayton, etc… Quite a day! ” (Bill Simon- Iajrc Journal)

In 1947 he recorded with Babs Gonzales, the bebop vocalist, and in 1949 with the Claude Thornhill Orchestra for three months.
He played also in the Emilio Reyes Cuban Orchestra and Lecuona Cuban Boys in the New York clubs, 6 months playing solos on Montunos rhythm section, followed six months on unemployment interrupted by some jazz Monday concerts at Cafe Society Downtown, where he lead a quartet with Dick Hyman(p), Leonard Gaskin(b), and Irv Kluger and Ed Shaughnessy(d).

“From June 14 the clarinetist Tony Scott has brought a versatile quartet into Cafe Society to replace the George Shearing quintet which moved uptown to Bop City. Scott is well known to frequenters of the Village cellar, since he was a sideman in Dave’s Martin’s crew there for a long stretch before putting in three months with Claude Thornhill this winter.
Scott himself is one of a very limited supply of genuine and talented bop clarinetists. His rough, excited tone fires the up-tempo numbers, which he varies with imaginative lower register work on the slower pieces. The exception taken to his Dixieland a couple of paragraphs above is based on his rather weird approach to the style….In one Dixie number, he’ll play a fairly legitimate chorus, a hoked-up chorus, and one chorus that sounds like a tussle between Pee Wee Russel and the Bird. It’s amoosin’, confoozin’, and interesting, so there are no complaints from this corner, but it isn’t legitimate Dixie. Could be it’s the Great New Hybrid.” (John S. Wilson, Down Beat 1949, July 29)

"Dick Hyman was playing with me at Cafe Society in 1949 with Art Tatum listening. Dick came on and played like Teddy Wilson, and art leaned back in his chair and clapped his hands, 'Yeah, Dick.' He played like Earl Hines...'Yeah, Dick.' he played like Errol Garner. I said, 'Play like Art', but Dick Hyman shook his head, he said 'Tony, there are five things I know how he fingers. Ican't play them. there are 50 things I don't even know how he fingers them." (Tony Scott)

This biography was provided by the artist or their representative.

Tony Scott is the son of Giuseppe Sciacca, a barber and amateur guitarist, and Nicolina Gangi, who studied violin, emigrated from the Sicilian village of Salemi to the U.S.A. to live in Morristown, New Jersey, around the turn of the century. His uncle, Maestro Antonino Sciacca, was composer and band leader of Salemi, where Tony spent a brief summer at the age of 6 years. Still he has the picture from a special fiery jam session of that time, his father sitting in on guitar, his uncle Antonino on mandolin and young cousin on clarinet…a little Tony Scott enjoying in front.
At that time he started to be on the stage, with his older brother Nick on guitar, at family gatherings and amateur shows, singing and tap dancing and, among other things, imitating the 1930 Mills Brothers Quartet. While in front of the mirror vocally imitating instruments he flipped particularly over the free flying notes of clarinetist Clarence Hutchenrider playing Smoke Rings in the Glen Grey Casa Loma Orchestra.

" The first time I heard jazz, I first heard freedom. I heard a big band playing in 1933. They were playing this melody like a big machine and this harmony, this sick harmony, and then all of a sudden this bird came out of this big machine ...it was like a big bush, a big tree, and this bird came flying out of the tree and it was a clarinet. that was a white band, you see. Through my brother who brought records home I started hearing Count Basie and the Duke Ellington. This was jazz; it was a life. " (Tony Scott)

Tony began to study privately, with his first metal clarinet, at 12 years of age, with Ed Dorman;
At the age of 14 he formed his first ‘Hometown Band’, with his young friend and Morristown high school colleague Bobby Tucker on piano (who was later introduced by Tony as accompanist to Billie Holiday and who worked also seven years as Billy Eckstine’s musical director.) Others friends were Jimmy Thompson on bass, and Bubby Powlett and Harry Backer on drum. The combo played a range of gigs from settlement house dances at 50 cents a night to bigger jobs at $ 2. The first Tony Scott recording session is with this group, in 1940.

A year of private instruction with Newark black jazz pianist Duke Anderson, preceded the admission at Juilliard School of Music in New York... Sophisticated Lady was Scott’s piano audition piece. At Juilliard Tony studied clarinet, piano, orchestral conducting and composition, formed a large band whose startling specialty was Tony’s swing arrangements, some of which from classical music, such as Debussy’s Afternoon of a Faun and Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in C sharp minor. He also set up sessions, both separate scenes and during intermission at rehearsal of more formal affairs.
Three years after, in 1942, Scott majored in clarinet and in the following years he studied on avant-guard and atonal music at the Contemporary School of Music in New York with composer Stefan Wolpe, with whom he had already recorded free improvised music in 1950.
In the early years Scott was absorbed by the style of Benny Goodman, who was ‘the absolute end’ to him:

“Up until I was 18 I had really been imitating Benny. Then, from studying so much and playing, I began getting more independent. I was learning more chord changes and was using alternate changes from what I’d learned playing piano, and I began fooling with polytonality: I was practicing clarinet 2 ½ hours, and piano 3 ½ hours a day. ” (Tony Scott)

While still attending Juilliard, Tony made his debut in the Black American jazz world in Harlem at Minton’s Playhouse in 1939. Ben Webster stepped in as Tony’s musical father. At jam sessions he played with Kenny Clarke and the Thelonius Monk Quartet alongside Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Christian, Lester Young, and Don Byas.

“The older men were interested in young musicians in those days. Ben Webster took me under his wing; he watched over me and became my teacher. At his suggestion, I moved from club to club each night, picking up much that I could use in my own playing. Just being around provided the sort of experience that young players can’t find today.” (Tony Scott)

During the same period he played at Village Vanguard jam sessions every Sunday afternoon with Charlie Shavers, Benny Carter, Art Tatum, Bobby Hackett, Nat ‘King’ Cole, ‘Big’ Sid Catlett and many others.

After Scott graduated at Juilliard he was stationed at Governor’s Island Military Base - 1st Army Band, the Big Red One . While at the base, he was able to form and lead four different bands: a big band in which he played alto sax, a ‘Dixieland’ group in which he played tenor sax, a ‘swing group’ in which he played clarinet, and a Count Basie-style rhythm section playing piano. He averaged four dances a week and managed to make the regular army band requirements.
He began to jammed on New York’s legendary 52nd Street –‘Swing Street’, playing in clubs like The Onyx, Down Beat, 3 Deuces, and Spotlite Club.

" Whenever I could get to 'The Street', I'd sit in on all I could. When a half hour was over at one club, I'd go on to the next. Anyway, I'd blow from joint to joint.
The Street was a place you could work things out without being put down for having a few growing pains, or for thinking differently. Musicians were deeply involved with music and one another. The Street created an attitude in the musicians who came up through that school. As far as I’m concerned, it gave me the foundation for my approach to jazz and life. Of course , 'The Street' wasn’t ideal. No situation is perfect. But we didn’t realize how valuable it was to jazz until the clubs started changing their policy in the late 1940's. For a while, the two blocks between Fifth and Seventh Avenue featured strippers. Then it was all over.” (Tony Scott)

“He’d take the ferry into town in the evening from his base on Governor’s Island and sit in with any group that would have him. His favorite people were Ben Webster, Billie Holiday and Charlie Parker and Lester Young, He was welcome everywhere – a more modern, more impassioned version of Benny Goodman in those early days- then one of the very few clarinetists to embrace Bop.” (Bill Simon)

Tony Scott was discovered by Bill Simon, who become his dearest friend and agent, and for 5 years had Tony share his digs in NYC:

“...one night I was at the Onyx Club and this soldier walked in with his clarinet. I flipped when I heard him and we struck up a conversation… I was promoting with my friend Sir Charles Thompson a jazz concert/dance at the old Renaissance Ballroom in Harlem .He jumped at the chance to do the gig…on the first Saturday the great Freddie Webster sat in on trumpet, and Sandy Williams on Trombone. The posters listed Tony Sciacca on clarinet. From then on, Tony spent his ‘intown’ nights at my place and when he got out of the army, we got an apartment big enough and cheap enough for two struggling cats. We roomed together for five years. The phone calls came in all hours of the day and night sometimes for Tony ‘Scothca’, sometimes for ’Skeeacka’. Finally I suggested he make it easier on everyone and call himself Tony Scott." (Bill Simon, Iajrc Journal)

Jumping from one club to another, Scott would play with Dizzy Gillespie, Errol Garner, Trummy Young, Art Tatum, Dexter Gordon, Buck Clayton, Big Sid Catlett, Roy Eldridge, Don Byas, Stuff Smith, Tiny Grimes, Duke Jordan and many others.
But the musicians who would have the greatest influence on the evolution of his musical style were Ben Webster, Charlie Parker, Lester Young.

" I lived in a time of geniouses and I knew all the greats: These incredible people who were like gods from other planets:

"My favorite piano player was Count Basie, who plays so few notes, everything he plays is full of jazz, full of himself...

I love Ben Webster for his profound and fluid interpretation of ballads…choosing every note as if it were a diamond.

Prez, so strongly rooted in Black American Jazz history while his sound...floated sweetly over the sea like a sail boat

Bird, whos art inspired me to explore new areas and enrich my life with a deep spiritual experience of frienship" (Tony Scott)

It was in 1943 that Tony Scott met for the first time Charlie Parker who was playing at Spotlite with Don Byas.

" I was sent to the Spotlite club by Ben Webster who had told me about … ‘Bird…he is playing new shit’ . He started playing Cherokee. Now Byas could play fast, but Bird! My mouth dropped. He played so many notes up and down… all around… that it sounded like a hundred chickens going mad when a fox enters the coop… like Chinese music from the moon. I had never heard any kind of music like this in my life. And I was supposed to blow after him. I felt miserable…what the hell could I play after this musical mad man? I walked up on the stage to be near him and played in the style of B. Goodman but from that day on I wanted to play like Bird. Once when I came to him without my horn, he said, ‘Hey T, what are you waiting for, an engraved invitation?" (Tony Scott)

After leaving the Army Band, in February of 1945, Tony worked with Trummy Young and Buddy Rich’s Big Band on third alto and clarinet solos. He also played in the Lucky Millinder Band, at the Savoy Ball Room and Apollo Theater. In 1945 and 1946 he played and recorded also with the Benny Carter, Charlie Ventura and Tommy Dorsey Orchestras, the Ben Webster Sextet, the Bill DeArango and Earl Bostic groups.

“By this time I was starting to get my own style and it was becoming a driving one. I'd always been playing with tenors and trumpets and on gigs with swing bands, so I needed and wanted to wail. I was playing with too much guts to get a good clarinet tone, so I had to concentrate on that.” (Tony Scott)

In 1945 he played at the Down Beat Club where he made his first record in his name, produced by Bill Simon for Gotham Records: Tony Scott and His Down Beat Club Septet, in which Tony appears as arranger also, and composer for his song: You’re Only Happy When I’m Blue.

“Ben Webster came in for the day from Washington, Dizzy Gillespie from Philly and we had Trummy Young on trombone –all doing it for $40 out of friendship for Tony. We chose the pseudonym ‘ B.Bopstein’ for Dizzy, who was under contract with Musicraft. We needed a vocalist for Duke’s All Too Soon, so we called our young friend Sarah Vaughan, who agreed for $25.The record was at WOR Studios; and at the same time, in another room next to ours, Jerry Jerome was producing a session for Apollo Records with my old buddy, Sir Charles Thompson, with Charlie Parker, Dexter Gordon, Buck Clayton, etc… Quite a day! ” (Bill Simon- Iajrc Journal)

In 1947 he recorded with Babs Gonzales, the bebop vocalist, and in 1949 with the Claude Thornhill Orchestra for three months.
He played also in the Emilio Reyes Cuban Orchestra and Lecuona Cuban Boys in the New York clubs, 6 months playing solos on Montunos rhythm section, followed six months on unemployment interrupted by some jazz Monday concerts at Cafe Society Downtown, where he lead a quartet with Dick Hyman(p), Leonard Gaskin(b), and Irv Kluger and Ed Shaughnessy(d).

“From June 14 the clarinetist Tony Scott has brought a versatile quartet into Cafe Society to replace the George Shearing quintet which moved uptown to Bop City. Scott is well known to frequenters of the Village cellar, since he was a sideman in Dave’s Martin’s crew there for a long stretch before putting in three months with Claude Thornhill this winter.
Scott himself is one of a very limited supply of genuine and talented bop clarinetists. His rough, excited tone fires the up-tempo numbers, which he varies with imaginative lower register work on the slower pieces. The exception taken to his Dixieland a couple of paragraphs above is based on his rather weird approach to the style….In one Dixie number, he’ll play a fairly legitimate chorus, a hoked-up chorus, and one chorus that sounds like a tussle between Pee Wee Russel and the Bird. It’s amoosin’, confoozin’, and interesting, so there are no complaints from this corner, but it isn’t legitimate Dixie. Could be it’s the Great New Hybrid.” (John S. Wilson, Down Beat 1949, July 29)

"Dick Hyman was playing with me at Cafe Society in 1949 with Art Tatum listening. Dick came on and played like Teddy Wilson, and art leaned back in his chair and clapped his hands, 'Yeah, Dick.' He played like Earl Hines...'Yeah, Dick.' he played like Errol Garner. I said, 'Play like Art', but Dick Hyman shook his head, he said 'Tony, there are five things I know how he fingers. Ican't play them. there are 50 things I don't even know how he fingers them." (Tony Scott)

This biography was provided by the artist or their representative.

Tony Scott is the son of Giuseppe Sciacca, a barber and amateur guitarist, and Nicolina Gangi, who studied violin, emigrated from the Sicilian village of Salemi to the U.S.A. to live in Morristown, New Jersey, around the turn of the century. His uncle, Maestro Antonino Sciacca, was composer and band leader of Salemi, where Tony spent a brief summer at the age of 6 years. Still he has the picture from a special fiery jam session of that time, his father sitting in on guitar, his uncle Antonino on mandolin and young cousin on clarinet…a little Tony Scott enjoying in front.
At that time he started to be on the stage, with his older brother Nick on guitar, at family gatherings and amateur shows, singing and tap dancing and, among other things, imitating the 1930 Mills Brothers Quartet. While in front of the mirror vocally imitating instruments he flipped particularly over the free flying notes of clarinetist Clarence Hutchenrider playing Smoke Rings in the Glen Grey Casa Loma Orchestra.

" The first time I heard jazz, I first heard freedom. I heard a big band playing in 1933. They were playing this melody like a big machine and this harmony, this sick harmony, and then all of a sudden this bird came out of this big machine ...it was like a big bush, a big tree, and this bird came flying out of the tree and it was a clarinet. that was a white band, you see. Through my brother who brought records home I started hearing Count Basie and the Duke Ellington. This was jazz; it was a life. " (Tony Scott)

Tony began to study privately, with his first metal clarinet, at 12 years of age, with Ed Dorman;
At the age of 14 he formed his first ‘Hometown Band’, with his young friend and Morristown high school colleague Bobby Tucker on piano (who was later introduced by Tony as accompanist to Billie Holiday and who worked also seven years as Billy Eckstine’s musical director.) Others friends were Jimmy Thompson on bass, and Bubby Powlett and Harry Backer on drum. The combo played a range of gigs from settlement house dances at 50 cents a night to bigger jobs at $ 2. The first Tony Scott recording session is with this group, in 1940.

A year of private instruction with Newark black jazz pianist Duke Anderson, preceded the admission at Juilliard School of Music in New York... Sophisticated Lady was Scott’s piano audition piece. At Juilliard Tony studied clarinet, piano, orchestral conducting and composition, formed a large band whose startling specialty was Tony’s swing arrangements, some of which from classical music, such as Debussy’s Afternoon of a Faun and Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in C sharp minor. He also set up sessions, both separate scenes and during intermission at rehearsal of more formal affairs.
Three years after, in 1942, Scott majored in clarinet and in the following years he studied on avant-guard and atonal music at the Contemporary School of Music in New York with composer Stefan Wolpe, with whom he had already recorded free improvised music in 1950.
In the early years Scott was absorbed by the style of Benny Goodman, who was ‘the absolute end’ to him:

“Up until I was 18 I had really been imitating Benny. Then, from studying so much and playing, I began getting more independent. I was learning more chord changes and was using alternate changes from what I’d learned playing piano, and I began fooling with polytonality: I was practicing clarinet 2 ½ hours, and piano 3 ½ hours a day. ” (Tony Scott)

While still attending Juilliard, Tony made his debut in the Black American jazz world in Harlem at Minton’s Playhouse in 1939. Ben Webster stepped in as Tony’s musical father. At jam sessions he played with Kenny Clarke and the Thelonius Monk Quartet alongside Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Christian, Lester Young, and Don Byas.

“The older men were interested in young musicians in those days. Ben Webster took me under his wing; he watched over me and became my teacher. At his suggestion, I moved from club to club each night, picking up much that I could use in my own playing. Just being around provided the sort of experience that young players can’t find today.” (Tony Scott)

During the same period he played at Village Vanguard jam sessions every Sunday afternoon with Charlie Shavers, Benny Carter, Art Tatum, Bobby Hackett, Nat ‘King’ Cole, ‘Big’ Sid Catlett and many others.

After Scott graduated at Juilliard he was stationed at Governor’s Island Military Base - 1st Army Band, the Big Red One . While at the base, he was able to form and lead four different bands: a big band in which he played alto sax, a ‘Dixieland’ group in which he played tenor sax, a ‘swing group’ in which he played clarinet, and a Count Basie-style rhythm section playing piano. He averaged four dances a week and managed to make the regular army band requirements.
He began to jammed on New York’s legendary 52nd Street –‘Swing Street’, playing in clubs like The Onyx, Down Beat, 3 Deuces, and Spotlite Club.

" Whenever I could get to 'The Street', I'd sit in on all I could. When a half hour was over at one club, I'd go on to the next. Anyway, I'd blow from joint to joint.
The Street was a place you could work things out without being put down for having a few growing pains, or for thinking differently. Musicians were deeply involved with music and one another. The Street created an attitude in the musicians who came up through that school. As far as I’m concerned, it gave me the foundation for my approach to jazz and life. Of course , 'The Street' wasn’t ideal. No situation is perfect. But we didn’t realize how valuable it was to jazz until the clubs started changing their policy in the late 1940's. For a while, the two blocks between Fifth and Seventh Avenue featured strippers. Then it was all over.” (Tony Scott)

“He’d take the ferry into town in the evening from his base on Governor’s Island and sit in with any group that would have him. His favorite people were Ben Webster, Billie Holiday and Charlie Parker and Lester Young, He was welcome everywhere – a more modern, more impassioned version of Benny Goodman in those early days- then one of the very few clarinetists to embrace Bop.” (Bill Simon)

Tony Scott was discovered by Bill Simon, who become his dearest friend and agent, and for 5 years had Tony share his digs in NYC:

“...one night I was at the Onyx Club and this soldier walked in with his clarinet. I flipped when I heard him and we struck up a conversation… I was promoting with my friend Sir Charles Thompson a jazz concert/dance at the old Renaissance Ballroom in Harlem .He jumped at the chance to do the gig…on the first Saturday the great Freddie Webster sat in on trumpet, and Sandy Williams on Trombone. The posters listed Tony Sciacca on clarinet. From then on, Tony spent his ‘intown’ nights at my place and when he got out of the army, we got an apartment big enough and cheap enough for two struggling cats. We roomed together for five years. The phone calls came in all hours of the day and night sometimes for Tony ‘Scothca’, sometimes for ’Skeeacka’. Finally I suggested he make it easier on everyone and call himself Tony Scott." (Bill Simon, Iajrc Journal)

Jumping from one club to another, Scott would play with Dizzy Gillespie, Errol Garner, Trummy Young, Art Tatum, Dexter Gordon, Buck Clayton, Big Sid Catlett, Roy Eldridge, Don Byas, Stuff Smith, Tiny Grimes, Duke Jordan and many others.
But the musicians who would have the greatest influence on the evolution of his musical style were Ben Webster, Charlie Parker, Lester Young.

" I lived in a time of geniouses and I knew all the greats: These incredible people who were like gods from other planets:

"My favorite piano player was Count Basie, who plays so few notes, everything he plays is full of jazz, full of himself...

I love Ben Webster for his profound and fluid interpretation of ballads…choosing every note as if it were a diamond.

Prez, so strongly rooted in Black American Jazz history while his sound...floated sweetly over the sea like a sail boat

Bird, whos art inspired me to explore new areas and enrich my life with a deep spiritual experience of frienship" (Tony Scott)

It was in 1943 that Tony Scott met for the first time Charlie Parker who was playing at Spotlite with Don Byas.

" I was sent to the Spotlite club by Ben Webster who had told me about … ‘Bird…he is playing new shit’ . He started playing Cherokee. Now Byas could play fast, but Bird! My mouth dropped. He played so many notes up and down… all around… that it sounded like a hundred chickens going mad when a fox enters the coop… like Chinese music from the moon. I had never heard any kind of music like this in my life. And I was supposed to blow after him. I felt miserable…what the hell could I play after this musical mad man? I walked up on the stage to be near him and played in the style of B. Goodman but from that day on I wanted to play like Bird. Once when I came to him without my horn, he said, ‘Hey T, what are you waiting for, an engraved invitation?" (Tony Scott)

After leaving the Army Band, in February of 1945, Tony worked with Trummy Young and Buddy Rich’s Big Band on third alto and clarinet solos. He also played in the Lucky Millinder Band, at the Savoy Ball Room and Apollo Theater. In 1945 and 1946 he played and recorded also with the Benny Carter, Charlie Ventura and Tommy Dorsey Orchestras, the Ben Webster Sextet, the Bill DeArango and Earl Bostic groups.

“By this time I was starting to get my own style and it was becoming a driving one. I'd always been playing with tenors and trumpets and on gigs with swing bands, so I needed and wanted to wail. I was playing with too much guts to get a good clarinet tone, so I had to concentrate on that.” (Tony Scott)

In 1945 he played at the Down Beat Club where he made his first record in his name, produced by Bill Simon for Gotham Records: Tony Scott and His Down Beat Club Septet, in which Tony appears as arranger also, and composer for his song: You’re Only Happy When I’m Blue.

“Ben Webster came in for the day from Washington, Dizzy Gillespie from Philly and we had Trummy Young on trombone –all doing it for $40 out of friendship for Tony. We chose the pseudonym ‘ B.Bopstein’ for Dizzy, who was under contract with Musicraft. We needed a vocalist for Duke’s All Too Soon, so we called our young friend Sarah Vaughan, who agreed for $25.The record was at WOR Studios; and at the same time, in another room next to ours, Jerry Jerome was producing a session for Apollo Records with my old buddy, Sir Charles Thompson, with Charlie Parker, Dexter Gordon, Buck Clayton, etc… Quite a day! ” (Bill Simon- Iajrc Journal)

In 1947 he recorded with Babs Gonzales, the bebop vocalist, and in 1949 with the Claude Thornhill Orchestra for three months.
He played also in the Emilio Reyes Cuban Orchestra and Lecuona Cuban Boys in the New York clubs, 6 months playing solos on Montunos rhythm section, followed six months on unemployment interrupted by some jazz Monday concerts at Cafe Society Downtown, where he lead a quartet with Dick Hyman(p), Leonard Gaskin(b), and Irv Kluger and Ed Shaughnessy(d).

“From June 14 the clarinetist Tony Scott has brought a versatile quartet into Cafe Society to replace the George Shearing quintet which moved uptown to Bop City. Scott is well known to frequenters of the Village cellar, since he was a sideman in Dave’s Martin’s crew there for a long stretch before putting in three months with Claude Thornhill this winter.
Scott himself is one of a very limited supply of genuine and talented bop clarinetists. His rough, excited tone fires the up-tempo numbers, which he varies with imaginative lower register work on the slower pieces. The exception taken to his Dixieland a couple of paragraphs above is based on his rather weird approach to the style….In one Dixie number, he’ll play a fairly legitimate chorus, a hoked-up chorus, and one chorus that sounds like a tussle between Pee Wee Russel and the Bird. It’s amoosin’, confoozin’, and interesting, so there are no complaints from this corner, but it isn’t legitimate Dixie. Could be it’s the Great New Hybrid.” (John S. Wilson, Down Beat 1949, July 29)

"Dick Hyman was playing with me at Cafe Society in 1949 with Art Tatum listening. Dick came on and played like Teddy Wilson, and art leaned back in his chair and clapped his hands, 'Yeah, Dick.' He played like Earl Hines...'Yeah, Dick.' he played like Errol Garner. I said, 'Play like Art', but Dick Hyman shook his head, he said 'Tony, there are five things I know how he fingers. Ican't play them. there are 50 things I don't even know how he fingers them." (Tony Scott)

This biography was provided by the artist or their representative.

Improve This Page

If you’re the artist, management or record label, you can update your biography, photos, videos and more at Artist Central.

Get started at Artist Central

Feedback

Check out our Artist Stores FAQ
Send us feedback about this page