James Chirillo

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James Chirillo
James Chirillo.jpg
Chirillo with the Kenny Davern All Stars at the 2004 Breçon Jazz Festival (photo: Barry Quick)
Background information
Birth name James Louis Chirillo
Born (1953-05-02) May 2, 1953 (age 63)
Origin Waltham, Massachusetts, USA
Genres Jazz, big band, bebop, hard bop, swing, mainstream jazz, classical music
Occupation(s) Musician, composer, arranger
Instruments Jazz guitar, banjo, composer
Years active 1974 – present

James Louis Chirillo (born May 2, 1953, Waltham, Massachusetts) is an American jazz guitarist, jazz banjoist, composer, arranger, and band leader.[1] He grew up in Bellevue, Washington, and has been a resident of Teaneck, New Jersey, since 1993.

Career highlights[edit]

From 1977 to 1979, Chirillo performed regularly with singers Marilyn Maye, Vic Damone, Joey Heatherton, Lorna Luft, and pianist Roger Williams. From 1979 to 1982, he was a member of the U.S. Military Academy Band at West Point Jazz Knights.

New York days


Chirillo studied music at The University of North Texas College of Music, where in the fall of 1976, he was chosen to play in the One O'Clock Lab Band for the academic year. His major concentration was composition and he studied guitar with Jack Petersen.

Post-college studies[edit]

After college, Chirillo studied composition and arranging with John Carisi and Bill Finegan. He also studied guitar with Remo Palmier and musicianship with Helen Jordan (1907–2006).[a][2][3]

Growing up[edit]

Chirillo grew up in Bellevue, Washington.

Selected discography[edit]

As leader
  • Sultry Serenade
Recorded October 4 & 5, 1999, New York
Nagel Heyer Records (de) (G)CD061 (CD) (2000)
OCLC 52433331, 911623484, 725501517
Randy Sandke, trumpet on e–g & k–m; Scott Robinson, tenor and bass sax; Alan Simon, piano; Chirillo, guitar; Greg Cohen, bass; Dave Ratajczak (de), drums
  1. "When Lights Are Low"
      Music by Benny Carter, words by Spencer Williams
      Arranged by Chirillo
  2. "I Love You, Samantha"
      By Cole Porter
      Arranged by Chirillo
  3. "Sultry Serenade"
      (aka "How Could You Do a Thing Like That to Me")
      Music by Tyree Glenn, words by Allan Roberts)
      Arranged by Chirillo
  4. "Counterpoise No. 2 for Electric Guitar and Trumpet"
      By John Carisi
  5. "If I Only Had a Brain"
      Music by Harold Arlen, words by E. Y. Harburg)
      Arranged by Chirillo
  6. "Move"
      Denzil Best
      Arranged by Chirillo
  7. "Elend" (from Op. 27, No. 7)
      By Alexander Zemlinsky
      Arranged by Chirillo
  8. "Can't We Be Friends?"
      Music by Kay Swift, words by Paul James
      Arranged by Chirillo
  9. "Bourbon Street Parade"
      By Paul Barbarin
      Arranged by Chirillo
  10. "Lush Life"
      By Billy Strayhorn)
      Arranged by Chirillo
  11. "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows"
      Music by Harry Carroll, words by Joseph McCarthy
      Arranged by Chirillo
  12. "Fancifree"
      Music and arrangement by Chirillo
  13. "Blues for Valerie"
      Music and arrangement by Chirillo
As member of the One O'Clock Lab Band
As sideman on various cuts of albums
Nagel Heyer Records (de) (G)CD055 (CD) (1999); OCLC 873895389
Gil Evans Project, Ryan Truesdell (de)


Grammy Nomination


Music Department: additional musician, rhythm guitar
Soundtrack: performer, "Sweet Georgia Brown" (1925)
Chirillo performed rhythm guitar on the "Sweet Georgia Brown" track — where the crescent moon cable breaks while Sean Penn is riding it. Howard Alden performed all the solo work. Bucky Pizzarelli performed all the other rhythm tracks.
Music Department: musician, guitar and banjo

Selected clips online[edit]

Published music and papers[edit]

Compositions and arrangements
Contrary to the liner notes on the recording, the Homage Concerto for Clarinet and Jazz Orchestra was never dedicated to or was in any way associated with Benny Goodman; it also was completed in April 1996 — James Chirillo


  1. ^ Helen Hobbs Jordan (1907–2006)

  2. ^ a b Following Lab '75's Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Performance by a Big Band, Lab '76, received a Grammy nomination for the same category. Both nominations represented the first bestowed by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) to student ensembles of any genre.


  1. ^ The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz (2nd ed.) (Chirillo is in Vol. 2 of 3), Barry Dean Kernfeld (ed.), Macmillan Publishers (2002); LCCN 2001-40794, ISBN 1561592846, OCLC 46956628
  2. ^ "Helen Hobbs Jordan, 99, Music Teacher to Generations, Is Dead," by Daniel J. Wakin, New York Times, April 28, 2006
  3. ^ "Devoted Students Rally to Help a Music Teacher," by Daniel J. Wakin, New York Times, January 19, 2005

External links[edit]