Boniface Ferdinand Leonardo De Franco, 17 February 1923, Camden, New Jersey, USA. A child prodigy, DeFranco won an amateur contest playing the clarinet while still only 14 years old. Four years later he was in Gene Krupas band, then joined Charlie Barnet; and in 1944 became a featured player with Tommy Dorsey, who had been sponsor of the amateur contest that launched DeFrancos career. After abortive attempts to establish his own big band, DeFranco worked mostly with small groups, including those of Count Basie and Art Blakey and in 1954 toured Europe with Billie Holiday. He premiered Nelson Riddles Cross-Country Suite at the Hollywood Bowl in 1958, later recording the suite for Dot Records. In the 60s, he continued playing in small groups, sometimes under his own leadership, and also taught. He led a clarinet/accordion/bass/drums quartet in the early 60s with Tommy Gumina. In 1966 he became leader of the Glenn Miller Orchestra, a job that lasted...
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