|The Last Post||Intro Contents|
New Jersey drummer and bandleaderby Todd S. Jenkins
Copyright © 2006 Todd S. Jenkins
Drummer Anthony “Tony” Corbiscello, a beloved fixture in the bands of John and Bucky Pizzarelli, died on January 15, 2006, following a long battle with cancer. He was 53 years old.
Raised in Fort Lee, New Jersey, Tony Corbiscello seemed born to play the drums. In high school he was drum captain in the marching band, and performed in local pop bands. Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa were key influences on the teenager. At Fairleigh Dickenson University he studied under trumpeter Pee Wee Erwin. His instructor encouraged the young man to further his drum studies with former Goodman/Herman drummer Sonny Igoe. Corbiscello blossomed under Igoe’s tutelage, so much so that the elder man found himself subbing for his pupil at gigs.
Besides club dates all over New Jersey and New York, Corbiscello found a home in guitarist John Pizzarelli’s combo and big band from 1990 to 1994. He also played with John’s father, guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli. In 1992 he experienced a dream come true when John Pizzarelli’s band backed Frank Sinatra on a series of concerts in New Jersey. A few years later Corbiscello founded his own big band, which backed visiting artists like Bob Hope and recorded two albums for the Alanna label (In Full Swing, 1999; Real Time, 2004).
Tony Corbiscello is survived by his wife, Ellen, of Harrington Park, N.J.; his parents, Nicholas and Ann Corbiscello, of Fort Lee; and his sister, Maria Corbiscello, of New York City.
Todd S. Jenkins
Todd S. Jenkins is a member of the JJA, author of Free Jazz and Free Improvisation: An Encyclopedia (Greenwood Press, 2004) and I Know What I Know: The Music of Charles Mingus (Praeger, 2006), and a contributor to Down Beat, All About Jazz, American Songwriter and Route 66 Magazine.