His family arrived in Marseille in 1930 and settled there. His father was Neapolitan and his mother was Greek. He began learning the clarinet in 1942 and joined the orchestra of Leo Missir in 1946. He founded his first band in the early 1950s. He left for the United States in 1954 and has lived in New York for four years. He was the correspondent for the French magazine Jazz Hot. He returned to Marseille in 1958 and set up a new formation.
He went to Paris and in 1970 Leo Missir, then artistic director of the Barclay label, suggested he do a French adaptation of the Brazilian song by Wilson Simonal, "Nem vem que não tem" under the French name "Tu veux ou tu veux pas" (You want to or you don't). It was a huge success and Zanini became famous for his little mustache, bucket hat and glasses.
He is the father of the author Marc-Edouard Nabe who sometimes accompanies him on guitar.
He lives in Yvelines.
- on YouTube - Zanini's biggest hit.