Sharkey Bonano

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Sharkey Bonano
Bonano performs (center at microphone) in New Orleans in 1950. Photo by Stanley Kubrick
Background information
Birth nameJoseph Gustaf Bonano
Also known asSharkey Banana
Sharkey Bananas
Born(1904-04-09)April 9, 1904
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
DiedMarch 27, 1972(1972-03-27) (aged 67)
New Orleans
Genres Jazz, Dixieland
Years active1920s–1960s

Joseph Gustaf "Sharkey" Bonano (April 9, 1904 March 27, 1972), [1] also known as Sharkey Banana or Sharkey Bananas, was an American jazz trumpeter, band leader, and vocalist. His musical abilities were sometimes overlooked because of his love of being an entertainer; he would often sing silly lyrics in a high raspy voice and break into dance on stage.



Bonano was born in the Milneburg neighborhood of New Orleans near Lake Pontchartrain. In the 1920s he was in the New Orleans bands of Freddie Newman and Chink Martin. After moving to New York City, he found work as a member of the Wolverines and with Jimmy Durante. [1] He worked next to Frankie Trumbauer and Bix Beiderbecke as a member the Jean Goldkette orchestra. [1] At the end of the 1920s, he led a band which included Louis Prima. During the 1930s he formed the Sharks of Rhythm and played in the Original Dixieland Jass Band. [2] His sidemen during this period included Santo Pecora and Thurman Teague.

After World War II he toured Europe, Asia, and South America, played residencies in Chicago and New York, and then was a regular on Bourbon Street in the New Orleans French Quarter. In 1949, he appeared at the Roosevelt Hotel's Blue Room and the Famous Door Bar.


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  1. 1 2 3 Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Who’s Who of Jazz (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. pp. 55/6. ISBN   0-85112-580-8.
  2. Kelsey, Chris. "Sharkey Bonano". AllMusic. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
  3. "Sharkey Bonano | Album Discography | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 19 November 2018.