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Friday, January 18, 2008

Pete Candoli and Bob Enos Join Gabriel - RIP

Sometimes I think that the Reaper uses the buddy system - he takes folks two-by-two so they have a partner as they cross over to the other side. Two great trumpeters passed away this week - Pete Candoli, the screech specialist who played lead with so many great big bands, and Bob Enos, the long-time horn man in the band, "Roomful of Blues." I have clipped their obits from their hometown papers. Here they are:

Pete Candoli, 84: jazz trumpeter
Known for his high-register work, the musician played with such big names as Dorsey, Herman, Kenton and Beneke.
By Jon Thurber
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
January 16, 2008

Pete Candoli, one of the top high-note lead trumpeters in jazz who performed with some of the leading figures of the big-band era, has died. He was 84.Candoli, whose brother Conte was also an acclaimed trumpeter, died Friday of prostate cancer at his home in Studio City, according to Sheryl Deauville, his life partner of 22 years.From a childhood in Mishawaka, Ind., Candoli forged a six-decade career and was featured in bands led by Tommy Dorsey, Woody Herman, Stan Kenton, Tex Beneke and Les Brown.While with Herman's First Herd during World War II, Candoli became known for his high-register work and even wore a Superman costume while performing the specialty number "Superman With a Horn."He moved to the West Coast in the early 1950s and established himself as an excellent studio musician. He can be heard on two of Henry Mancini's "Peter Gunn" albums and was sometimes seen playing in the background on the television show.According to his website, Pete Candoli also arranged and conducted for Judy Garland, Ella Fitzgerald and Peggy Lee. Frank Sinatra would often fly him to Las Vegas for gigs.When they weren't working in the studio or with "The Tonight Show" band for Johnny Carson, the Candoli brothers were a popular attraction at Southern California clubs, concert halls and festivals, often leading their own band.A gifted showman, Pete Candoli perfected an impression of Louis Armstrong that became near-legendary. "The first time I did my version of Louis was when I was touring in Japan with Benny Carter and a bunch of all-stars," Candoli told jazz writer Don Heckman some years ago."At that time the biggest thing in Japan other than the national anthem was [Armstrong's recording of] 'When You're Smiling.' So when somebody found out I could sing like Louis -- that was it, I had to do it at every concert."Candoli was born June 28, 1923. He and his brother, who was four years younger, were encouraged to take up music by their factory-worker father, who wanted a better life for his sons. Their father performed in an Italian marching band in Mishawaka, which is adjacent to South Bend, and the boys grew up in a house full of instruments, including the trombone and saxophone.A prodigy, Pete was mostly self-taught on the trumpet. He got his union card before he was a teenager and was playing gigs, including Polish weddings, around his hometown, Deauville said.He began playing with Sonny Dunham's orchestra in 1941 and went on to work with a long string of other name bands, including Herman's First Herd. While with that group, he recommended his brother Conte for a job, and Herman ended up hiring him.In the 1970s, Candoli established a nightclub act with his wife, singer Edie Adams. He sang, danced, played trumpet and directed the orchestra.His marriage to Adams and an earlier marriage to singer-actress Betty Hutton ended in divorce. Conte died in 2001 at the age of 74.In addition to Deauville, Candoli is survived by daughters Tara Clair and Carolyn, two grandchildren and a sister, Gloria Henke of Mishawaka.

Roomful of Blues trumpeter dies in hotel, heart failure suspected
January 15, 2008

DOUGLAS, Ga. --Bob Enos, who played trumpet in the band Roomful of Blues for 26 years, died at a Georgia hotel while touring with the band. He was 60. Douglas Police Chief Clifford Thomas said Enos appeared to have died in his sleep from natural causes Friday morning, hours after playing a concert at the Douglas Country Club. "Whether it was a heart attack or a stroke, I'm not sure," Thomas said Tuesday. "There was no sign of foul play."
Enos' last album with Roomful of Blues, titled "Raisin' a Ruckus," was released Tuesday on Alligator Records.
Enos joined Roomful of Blues in 1981, adding the powerful soloing voice of his trumpet to the eight-piece ensemble's punchy horn section and stylistic mix of blues, jazz, swing, R&B and soul. A native of Boston and resident of Wareham, Mass., Enos took up the trumpet at 14 and studied at the New England Conservatory of Music. He cited Louis Armstrong as his main influence. Before joining Roomful of Blues, he toured with The Platters and the jazz-fusion group Channel One. He played with the Roomful horn section on session recordings for Stevie Ray Vaughn, Pat Benatar and Colin James.
"Bob was one of a kind, a unique talent," Roomful of Blues guitarist and bandleader Chris Vachon said in a statement. "The band obviously feels devastated. When you work as closely together as a band like Roomful does, each person is family -- we're like brothers."
Bob Bell, who managed the band for 21 years until retiring in 2002, said Enos always wowed crowds with his ability to hit high notes on pitch. He also never let his performance slip despite demanding tour schedules that kept the band on the road up to 250 days a year.
"He was a road warrior -- he'd say that proudly," Bell said. "He'd look you in the eye and say, `This is what I do for a living.' And in the next breath he'd say, `I'm very lucky.'"

Despite Enos' death, the band opted to continue its tour and headed to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for its next gig on The Legendary Blues Cruise, a seven-day Caribean concert cruise featuring multiple artists. Former bandmember John Wolfe was replacing Enos.

Bell said Enos would have wanted the band to keep going. "It's a way of life for these people, and just to stop and say `We can't go on anymore' isn't going to get any bills paid," Bell said. "If it had been anybody else, Bob would've been just as torn up but said, `Hey, this is what we've got to do.'"

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