Buddy DeFranco

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Buddy DeFranco
Buddy De Franco, New York, ca. Sept. 1947 (William P. Gottlieb 01941).jpg
DeFranco in New York, 1947
Background information
Birth name Boniface Ferdinand Leonard DeFranco
Born (1923-02-17)February 17, 1923
Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
Died December 24, 2014(2014-12-24) (aged 91)
Panama City, Florida, U.S.
Genres Swing, Bebop, Post bop
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Clarinet
Years active 1940s–2014
Website www.buddydefranco.com
External video
Oral History, Buddy DeFranco talks about the different clarinets he played during his career as well as his musical influences, and his favorite clarinet player, Artie Shaw. Interview date February 4, 2004, NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Oral History Library

Boniface Ferdinand Leonard "Buddy" DeFranco (February 17, 1923 – December 24, 2014) was an American jazz clarinet player.


Born in Camden, New Jersey, DeFranco was raised in South Philadelphia. He was playing the clarinet by the time he was 9 years old and within five years had won a national Tommy Dorsey[1] swing contest.[2]

He began his professional career just as swing music and big bands—many of which were led by clarinetists like Artie Shaw, and Benny Goodman—were in decline. While most jazz clarinet players did not adapt to this change, DeFranco successfully continued to play clarinet exclusively, and was one of the few bebop clarinetists.[3]

In 1950, DeFranco spent a year with Count Basie's Septet. He then led a small combo in the early 1950s which included pianist Sonny Clark and guitarist Tal Farlow. In this period, DeFranco recorded for MGM, Norgran and Verve; the latter two labels were owned by Norman Granz.

During the years 1960-64, DeFranco released four innovative quartet albums as co-leader with the accordionist Tommy Gumina.[4]

He was bandleader of the Glenn Miller Orchestra from 1966 to 1974, under the name, "The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra, Directed By Buddy DeFranco". He also performed with Gene Krupa, Charlie Barnet, Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson, Billie Holiday and many others, and released dozens of albums as a leader.

DeFranco died in Panama City, Florida at the age of 91.[5]


DeFranco won 19 awards from Down Beat magazine, nine awards from Metronome magazine and 16 Playboy All-Stars awards for his jazz clarinet artistry.[1]


As leader[edit]

As sideman[edit]

With Dizzy Gillespie


External links[edit]