“‘I Just Happened To Be There…’ Making Music With the Stars”
by Nick Perito (Xlibris, 2004).
Though he was a musician since his childhood in Denver, Nick Perito’s career as an accordionist, pianist, arranger, composer and conductor began in New York. After serving in an army band on Staten Island for three years, he entered the Juilliard School of Music, graduated, and entered the freelance music world of New York City. He worked his way through club date, hotel and night club jobs, subbed in Broadway pit orchestras, played on record and jingle dates and on live TV shows, and began to develop a reputation as a good accompanist for singers. Some of his early successes were with Dorothy Dandridge, Jose Ferrer, Eddie Fisher and Joel Grey.
Perito went on to accompany, arrange, and/or conduct for an impressive list of major stars, including Jaqueline Francois, Helen Traubel, Julius La Rosa, Toni Arden, Yves Montand, Ferrante and Teicher, Frankie Avalon, Steve and Eydie, Judy Garland, Perry Como, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Dinah Shore. His association with Como lasted for many years. Among his television credits he earned twelve Emmy nominations.
This book follows a chronological format. The early chapters describe Perito’s early years in Denver, growing up in a strict Italian family. Then the reader is led through the development of his musical life, with stories about the people he encountered along the way. Musicians of all persuasions should find it interesting reading.