Volume C, No. 5May, 2000

Ione Baker – Piano

Louis Bologna – Violin

Mclean BosfieldPiano

Freddy Y. Campano – Bass

Albert CatellCello/Conductor

Yves ChardonCello/Conductor

Fred V. Dittamo Drums/Copyist

Freddie Francis – Piano

Lena S. GrassoViolin

Al (Fab) GreyTrombone

Robert E. Hofman – Bass

Irving JosephPiano/Conductor

Philip Klotz – Saxophone

Jimmy Lewis – Bass

Clarence MartinAlto Sax

William MezeraAccordion

Vincent NicastroAccordion

James V. Nazzaro – Trumpet

Charles F. Pokorny, Jr., – Drums

Ralph A. PorcellBass Guitar-Acoustic

Elemer Sarkozy – Violin

Leon (Red) Schwartz – Trumpet

Michael ShelbyPiano

Jack SilversteinViolin

George Siravo Conductor/Arranger

Nick Skerchock – Clarinet/Arranger

Milt Werner Saxophone

Albert Catell

Albert Catell, 89, a conductor and cellist and a member of Local 802 for 47 years, died on March 19.

Born in Lithuania, Mr. Catell’s early cello studies were with Mischa Schneider. At age 14 he went to Leipzig, where he studied in the master class of Julius Klengel, then began his career as a soloist with the Dresden Philharmonic at the age of 17 and, the following year, began teaching at the Warsaw Conservatory. He joined the newly formed Palestine Philharmonic (which was to become the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra) as first cello.

Mr. Catell played under such conductors as Toscanini, Koussevitsky, Munch, Weingartner, Molinari and Bernstein. In 1938 he studied conducting with Felix Weingartner and Bernadino Molinari to broaden his conducting experience. He emigrated to the United States in 1953.

He performed as first cellist for Sol Hurok Ballet Productions, which represented the first Russian artists who performed in the U.S. after the war. Mr. Catell founded and led the New York Chamber Orchestra, and was a guest conductor for the Liederkranz Symphony.

An exceptional chamber music performer, he made many recordings, including the Dvorak Cello Concerto Op. 104.

He is survived by his wife, Paula.

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Fred Dittamo

Fred Dittamo, 87, a drummer, arranger and copyist and a member of Local 802 for almost 60 years, died in Daytona Beach, Fla., on March 25.

Mr. Dittamo, who had lived in Paterson, N.J., before retiring to Florida, was a life member and past president of Local 248 (Patterson), and a life member of Local 389 (Orlando, Fla.). He performed with the Daytona Beach Concert Band until his death, and was still writing and arranging music and playing every Sunday at church.

He served in the U.S. Army during World War II and was a member of several veterans’ organizations.

He is survived by his wife Martha, son William, daughter Donna, sisters Mildred and Martha, brothers Charles, Alfonse, James and Edward, four grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.

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Al (Fab) Grey

Al (Fab) Grey, 74, a trombonist and member of Local 802, died on March 24.

Born in Aidie, Va., he studied trombone with his father, an orchestra instructor. During World War II he played in a Navy band, meeting musicians who recommended him for a job in Benny Carter’s band in 1946, when he was discharged. He stayed with Carter for a year, then joined Jimmy Lunceford’s band and, in 1948, began playing with Lionel Hampton. He gained his widest recognition after joining Count Basie’s band in 1957.

He played with Basie throughout the 1960s, except for a stint leading a small group with the saxophonist Billy Mitchell. After that, he was a busy freelancer, leading a band with the saxophonist Jimmy Forrest and another with his son Mike, also a trombone player. He worked with such artists as Frank Sinatra and Duke Ellington, and played for every president since Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Mr. Grey recorded more than 30 albums under his own name and more than 70 with other musicians. His signature was the plunger mute, and he wrote a book, “Plunger Techniques.”

He regularly taught young musicians at several schools and colleges. In 1996 Mr. Grey created the Al Grey Summer Jazz Camp in Pottstown, Pa.

He is survived by sons Mike, Albert Jr., Ernest and Robert, brother Richard, sister Jenny, and four grandchildren.

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Irving Joseph

Irving Joseph, 75, a pianist, conductor and musical director who joined Local 802 in 1942, died on March 29.

After early piano studies with Adele Marcus and a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy band during World War II, Mr. Joseph was invited to perform with the Tommy Dorsey band and quickly became part of New York’s lively post-war jazz and pop music scene. In the late 1940s he served as pianist for Lena Horne. He subsequently became accompanist, arranger and musical director for the cabaret singer Felicia Sanders, whom he later married. Ms. Sanders died in 1975.

Mr. Joseph served as conductor for Murray Schisgal’s Jimmy Shine starring Dustin Hoffman, which enjoyed a long run on Broadway during the late 1960s. He conducted national tours of Seesaw, Chicago and Jesus Christ Superstar.

For the past 20 years he had served as pianist and conductor for Rita Moreno, appearing with her in night clubs and concert halls here and abroad. During this period he also worked with such artists as Frank Sinatra, Shirley Bassey, Patti LuPone and Shirley MacLaine.

He is survived by his second wife, Phyllis Dolgin, and brother Samuel.

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Vincent Nicastro

Vincent Nicastro, 82, an accordionist who joined Local 802 in 1951, died on March 1.

Mr. Nicastro had a long career as a soloist at Manhattan hotels, and at social and church functions. He served in the armed forces with distinction during World War II, taking part in the D-Day invasion and the Battle of the Bulge. He was awarded two Bronze Stars and the Purple Heart, and was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

He is survived by his wife Philomena, daughter Diana and nephew Andrew.

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Michael Shelby

Michael B. Shelby, 85, a pianist who joined Local 802 in 1948, died on March 22 in Virginia, where he had retired after a long professional career in New York.

One of seven children, Mr. Shelby was born in Dickson City, Pa. He started playing the piano at age 13, playing at church and for silent movies on Saturdays to help support his large family. Although he took piano lessons and was classically trained, he was largely self-taught. During the 1930s and ’40s he traveled the country with the big bands of that era, and then moved to New York. Among the bands he played with were those led by Vaughan Monroe and Lester Lanin.

He is survived by daughters Barbara and Deborah, brothers Robert and Edmond, and three grandchildren.

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George Siravo

George Siravo, 83, a conductor, arranger and copyist who had been a member of Local 802 for almost 65 years, died on Feb. 28 in Medford, Oregon.

Born in Staten Island, Mr. Siravo began his career playing reeds with the Cliquot Club Eskimos. He later worked with the orchestras of Gene Krupa, Glenn Miller, Charlie Barnet and Jan Savitt. He worked for the radio program Your Hit Parade in the ’40s, then as staff arranger and conductor for Columbia Records.

A longtime associate of Frank Sinatra, Mr. Siravo orchestrated that singer’s early ’50s albums, “Sing and Dance With Frank Sinatra” and, with Nelson Riddle, “Songs for Young Lovers.” His credits include Doris Day’s “It’s Magic” and Tony Bennett’s “Who Can I Turn To?” Mr. Siravo also recorded several instrumental albums, including “Seductive Strings by Siravo,” which featured the trumpeter Doc Severinsen.

He is survived by daughter Christine, son Michael and three grandchildren.

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Milt Werner

Milt Werner, 89, a saxophone player and teacher who had been an 802 member since 1936, died on March 16 in Tamarac, Fla.

Mr. Werner started playing saxophone professionally at the age of 13 in and around New York. In addition to performing as a side musician, he was a leader in New York City clubs and at resorts in the Catskills and White Mountains. But his greatest energies were devoted to teaching. Over the years, many of his students went on to become professional musicians. Mr. Werner published music theory books and invented a number of saxophone accessories.

He is survived by his wife Mollie, son Gary, daughter Sharon, sisters Faye and Bertha and five grandchildren.

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