Ron Anthony

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Ron Anthony
Born (1933-12-16) 16 December 1933 (age 86)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
InstrumentsGuitar, vocals
Years active1951–present
Associated actsGeorge Shearing, Frank Sinatra

Ron Anthony (born December 16, 1933) is an American jazz guitarist and singer.


The son of a postal worker, Anthony grew up in Pittsburgh. He got his first guitar when he was sixteen, taking lessons from a teacher in Pittsburgh who admired Andres Segovia, Oscar Moore, and Django Reinhardt. Through his teacher, Anthony met Joe Negri, who became a big influence. He joined a quartet and performed at clubs in Pittsburgh. His father suggested he join the Army so he could get a G.I. loan if he ever wanted to buy a house. In 1956, Anthony entered the Army in Special Services and played in a jazz band, first on double bass, then on guitar.[1]

When he returned home, he attended Duquesne University for one year, then moved to New York City. Lee Konitz, Warne Marsh, and Lennie Tristano frequently visited his house for jam sessions. He befriended Billy Bean, who he considered "the essence of what a jazz guitarist was supposed to be. He had the harmony things down, he could swing, he had great right hand technique, and he could read well."[1] He spent nearly every day with Bean playing jazz, and he studied classical guitar, though he used a plectrum. Through Negri he met Barry Galbraith, who found him a job with George Shearing. He became friends with Wes Montgomery after Montgomery visited a club one night where the Shearing band was playing. Gary Burton played vibraphone for Shearing during this time. When he left to work with Stan Getz, he recommended Anthony, but Anthony returned to Pittsburgh and formed a band.[1]

In 1965, Anthony moved to Los Angeles, working first in the big band of Tex Beneke. Through contacts, he found jobs with Les Brown, Stan Kenton, and Vic Damone. With Damone he accompanied Bob Hope on a USO tour of Vietnam. He received an offer from Joe Pass to return to Shearing because Pass was leaving the band. Anthony intended to substitute briefly, but he remained with Shearing for another four years.[1][2][3] In 1984 Anthony played in a trio for a party given by Frank Sinatra for Nancy Reagan. Two years later he was invited to replace Tony Mottola in Sinatra's band.[3] Anthony played most of Sinatra's performances until Sinatra's death. He played in a trio for Sinatra's funeral.[1]

Ron Anthony is the uncle of jazz guitarist Ron Affif.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e Barth, Joe (2006). Voices in Jazz Guitar. Pacific, Missouri: Mel Bay. pp. 39–47. ISBN 0786676795.
  2. ^ a b Yanow, Scott (2013). The Great Jazz Guitarists. San Francisco: Backbeat. p. 10. ISBN 978-1-61713-023-6.
  3. ^ a b King, Peter B. (29 July 1999). "Jazzman Ron Anthony has kept beat with elite". Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Retrieved 19 March 2017.

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