“A Cha Cha Cha” !!!
MAKE SOMEONE HAPPY
AS TIME GOES BY
A CHA CHA CHA !!!
James Francis “Jimmy” Durante (February 10, 1893 – January 29, 1980) was an American singer, pianist, comedian, and actor. His distinctive clipped gravelly speech, New York accent, comic language butchery, jazz-influenced songs, and prominent nose helped make him one of America’s most familiar and popular personalities of the 1920s through the 1970s. He often referred to his nose as the Schnozzola (from the Yiddish schnoz [nose]), and the word became his nickname.
Durante was born on the Lower East Side of New York City. He was the youngest of four children born to Rosa (Lentino) and Bartolomeo Durante, both of whom were immigrants from Salerno, Italy. Bartolomeo was a barber, and his wife Rosa was the sister of a woman who lived in the same boarding house. Young Jimmy served as an altar boy at Saint Malachy’s Roman Catholic Church, known as the Actor’s Chapel.
Durante dropped out of school in seventh grade to become a full-time ragtime pianist. He first played with his cousin, whose name was also Jimmy Durante. It was a family act, but he was too professional for his cousin. He continued working the city’s piano bar circuit and earned the nickname “Ragtime Jimmy”, before he joined one of the first recognizable jazz bands in New York, the Original New Orleans Jazz Band. Durante was the only member not from New Orleans. His routine of breaking into a song to deliver a joke, with band or orchestra chord punctuation after each line, became a Durante trademark. In 1920 the group was renamed Jimmy Durante’s Jazz Band. Also, Jimmy Durante was the first white bandleader to feature black musicians in his live band, as Achille Baquet, a light-skinned black clarinetist who could pass as white, played and recorded in Durante’s Original New Orleans Jazz Band (1918–1920).