Volume CIII, No. 10October, 2003

Wayne AndreTrombone

Victor CaplainPiano

Frank D’AnnolfoTrombone

Florence DuPageOrgan

Grover MitchellTrombone

Frank RuggieriBassoon

Wayne Andre

Wayne Andre, 71, a trombonist and an 802 member since 1958, died on Aug. 26.

Mr. Andre started his long career performing with and writing for Charlie Spivak, the Sauter-Finegan Orchestra and Woody Herman. Many of his arrangements, such as “Sentimental Over You,” are still performed in music schools and by bands around the country.

In the 1960’s, he performed with Gerry Mulligan’s first Concert Jazz Band, the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra and Clark Terry’s big band. He joined Benny Goodman’s Russian tour in 1962. He also played with Lynn Welshman’s Tentet, Charles Mingus’ Big Band and Epitaph Band, Jaco Pastorius’ “Word of Mouth” orchestra, and with his own quintet and septet.

The New York Chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences presented Mr. Andre with the Most Valuable Player Award in 1982 and again in 1986. In 1995 the New York Brass Conference honored him for his life-long dedication to music. At that event Berklee College presented him with a plaque in recognition of his “lifelong service to and contributions in the music industry.”

Mr. Andre continued to write music throughout his life. Recently he had been performing with Mike Longo’s New York State of the Art Jazz Ensemble.

He is survived by his wife Lourdes, sons Matthew and Keith, daughter-in-law Cynthia, granddaughter Emily, sisters Claire and Gail and brother-in-law Kenneth.

Back to top

Frank D’Annolfo

Frank D’Annolfo, 95, a trombonist and an 802 member since 1937, died on May 5.

Mr. D’Annolfo was born in Italy and came to the U.S. when he was seven. In the early 1930’s he joined the Merry Mad Caps, a well-known jazz band in Hartford, Conn. He also played in the Governor’s Foot Guard of Connecticut.

Later that decade he moved to New York and joined the Eddie Duchin Band, and later the Bunny Berigan Band.

He was invited into the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, and it was Dorsey that introduced Mr. D’Annolfo to Glenn Miller, whose band he joined in 1939. He made two movies with Miller’s band, “Sun Valley Serenade,” and “Orchestra Wives.” He stayed with the band until 1942 when Miller left for World War II and the band broke up.

In 1940, Downbeat Magazine voted Mr. D’Annolfo the “Sweetest Sounding Trombone Player of the Time.”

With the Charlie Spivak Orchestra he performed in the movie “Pinup Girl,” starring Betty Grable. From 1950-1958 he played with the Guy Lombardo Orchestra.

Mr. D’Annolfo also performed in Broadway pits, including “Destry Rides Again,” and “Little Abner.”

He is survived by his sister Mildred, sons Ray and Frank Jr., eight grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

Back to top

Grover Mitchell

Grover Mitchell, 73, a trombonist and an 802 member since 1980, died on Aug. 6.

Mr. Mitchell was born and raised in Pittsburgh where he played in the public school bands with fellow classmate Ahmad Jamal. He later played in military bands and in the Chicago jump-blues band led by King Kolax.

Mr. Mitchell played with Lionel Hampton and Duke Ellington before joining the Count Basie band in 1962. He left the Basie band in 1970 when he started playing in TV orchestras, most notably NBC’s “Flip Wilson Show.” He also worked on films, including “Lady Sings the Blues.”

In 1980, the AFM was on strike against the film industry based in L.A. and Count Basie asked Mr. Mitchell to rejoin the band, which he did. “I didn’t tell him [Basie] that there was a music strike going on in L.A. and I needed the work,” Mr. Mitchell said in a 1996 interview. Working for Basie again became his main gig, but during this time, he also ran his own big bands on the side.

After Basie died in 1984, the group was led by Thad Jones, Frank Foster and finally Mr. Mitchell himself, beginning in 1995.

He is survived by his daughter Gail, former wife Jamie, sisters Edwina and Marva and two grandchildren.

Back to top

Frank Ruggieri

Frank Ruggieri, 96, a bassoonist and an 802 member since 1923, died on June 18.

Mr. Ruggieri played with the National Symphony in Washington and the New York Philharmonic. He was also a conductor of the Ocean City (New Jersey) Pops Orchestra.

He had already played with the Ocean City Pops for almost 50 years before first getting the chance to conduct when the conductor became ill, in 1978.

Mr. Ruggieri began his career with music lessons from his uncle, a bassoonist with the New York Philharmonic. He later graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music.

His first professional job was at the Fox Theatre in Philadelphia where he accompanied silent movies. Later he won the solo bassoon chair at the National Symphony and played for the first inauguration of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Mr. Ruggieri also played with the Army Air Corps band during World War II, and the Radio City Music Hall orchestra.

As bassoonist for the New York Philharmonic, he played under Leopold Stokowski, Dimitri Mitropoulos and Leonard Bernstein.

He is survived by his sister Mary, daughter Geraldine DiPersia and son-in-law Carmen.

Back to top