Pete Candoli

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Pete Candoli
Pete Candoli.jpg
Background information
Birth nameWalter Joseph Candoli
Born(1923-06-28)June 28, 1923
Mishawaka, Indiana, U.S.
DiedJanuary 11, 2008(2008-01-11) (aged 84)
Studio City, California, U.S.
Years active1936–2008
Associated acts
  • Glen Gray
  • Candoli Brothers

Pete Candoli (born Walter Joseph Candoli; June 28, 1923 – January 11, 2008) was an American jazz trumpeter and the brother of trumpeter Conte Candoli. He played with the big bands of Woody Herman, Stan Kenton, and many others, and worked extensively in the studios of the recording and television industries.


Candoli's professional career began at the age of 13, when he became a member of the American Federation of Musicians. He quickly found a spot as lead trumpeter, and by 1940 had become a part of Sonny Dunham's band. In 1941 he left the band to replace Ziggy Elman of the Tommy Dorsey band. During this time the band performed in three films, Las Vegas Nights (1941), Girl Crazy (1943) and Upbeat in Music (1943). In 1944 Candoli joined the Teddy Powell band.

After 1945, Candoli worked with several bands including notably that of Stan Kenton. Later, he drifted into the "West Coast Jazz" and studio scenes. Despite his range, he rarely played lead, reserved instead for feature roles. He became a favorite collaborator of many influential musicians and performers, including Peggy Lee, Henry Mancini, and Frank Sinatra, and was widely sought for studio work. In 1957, Pete and Conte reunited to form the Candoli Brothers band.[1] Candoli was also featured prominently on the DePatie-Freleng Enterprises cartoon series The Ant and the Aardvark, which utilized a jazz score for its theme and musical cues.[2] He made a guest appearance on a 1957 episode of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, during which Ricky sang the first song of his recording career. Also, Ozzie, Harriet, David, and Ricky all sang in a vocal quartet. [3]


He was inducted into The International Jazz Hall of Fame in 1997. He was inducted into the "Big Band Hall of Fame" in 2003. He won the Down Beat, Metronome, Esquire "All American Band Trumpet Bronze Award".[citation needed]

Look magazine named him one of the seven all-time outstanding jazz trumpet players—the others being Louis Armstrong, Bix Biederbecke, Harry James, Bunny Berigan, Dizzy Gillespie and Bobby Hackett.[citation needed]

Musical style[edit]

Candoli's use of staccato was rare among modern jazz trumpeters. Despite his reputation for his high-note ability, he rarely used it unless called for by the conductor, band leader, or composer. More often, his solos began with low-to-mid-register staccato riffs which built into rolling cadenzas and ending, when appropriate, in high-note, bravura climaxes.

Strong evidence of his restraint can be found in his work on Peggy Lee's "Black Coffee", one of the first 33⅓ rpm long-play vocal albums. He appears on all of the original 10" tracks (recorded in 1953; expanded in 1956 to 12" with a different set of musicians).

Personal life[edit]

Candoli married several times, typically to other musicians, including singer-actress Betty Hutton and singer Edie Adams. He had two daughters, Tara Clair from singer-actress Vicky Lane, and Carolyn with Betty Hutton. In 1980, the trumpeter Jack Sheldon jokingly said, "I get a lot of my work playing at Pete Candoli's weddings. He's married a lot of people," which was said in jest because Pete was married no more than three times and had lived his last 18 years loyally with his partner Sheryl Deauville Candoli.

Pete and his younger brother Conte, who also achieved a stronge critical reputation, often worked together in anonymous recording gigs and in several joint albums on labels like Warner Bros. ("There Is Nothing Like A Dame"), Dot Records ("The Brothers Candoli") and Mercury ("2 for the Money").

Both brothers were diagnosed with prostate cancer in later life. Pete Candoli died of complications from prostate cancer on January 11, 2008, at the age of 84. Conte Candoli died of the disease in 2001.[1]

Band memberships[edit]

Band Years
Sonny Dunham 1940–1941
Will Bradley 1941
Ray McKinley 1942
Benny Goodman 1942
Tommy Dorsey 1943–1944
Teddy Powell 1944
Woody Herman's First Herd 1944–1946
Tex Beneke 1947–1949
Jerry Gray 1950–1951
Les Brown 1952
Stan Kenton 1954–1956
Glen Gray 1956–1963
Candoli Brothers 1957–1962


With Elmer Bernstein

With Buddy Bregman

With Benny Carter

With Conte Candoli

  • The Candoli Brothers (Dobre Records DR1050, 1978)

With Pete Candoli Quartet

  • From the Top (Dobre Records DR1023, 1978)

With Bob Cooper

With Fred Katz

With Stan Kenton

With Junior Mance

Under the direction of D.L. Miller

With Gerry Mulligan

With Shorty Rogers

With Pete Rugolo

With Dan Terry

  • The Complete Vita Recordings of Dan Terry [4] (Vita Records, 1952)

With Mel Torme


Year Title Role Notes
1955 The Man with the Golden Arm Jazz Musician Uncredited
1958 Kings Go Forth Jazz Musician: Trumpet Uncredited
1958 Bell Book and Candle Musician - A Candoli Brother Uncredited


  1. ^ a b Keepnews, Peter (23 January 2008). "Pete Candoli, Trumpeter and Studio Musician, Dies at 84". The New York Times.
  2. ^ Beck, Jerry (2006). Pink Panther: The Ultimate Guide to the Coolest Cat in Town. New York: Dorling Kindersley. p. 39. ISBN 0-7566-1033-8.
  3. ^ The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, Season 5 Episode 28
  4. ^

External links[edit]