Tony Scott (musician)

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Tony Scott
Tony Scott, jazz clarinetist.jpg
Tony Scott (far right) with Serbian clarinetist Mihailo Živanović (far left) in 1951
Background information
Birth nameAnthony Joseph Sciacca
Born(1921-06-21)June 21, 1921
Morristown, New Jersey, U.S.
DiedMarch 28, 2007(2007-03-28) (aged 85)
Rome, Italy
Occupation(s)Musician, arranger
Years active1950–2000s

Tony Scott (born Anthony Joseph Sciacca June 17, 1921 – March 28, 2007) was an American jazz clarinetist and arranger with an interest in folk music around the world. For most of his career he was held in high esteem in new-age music circles because of his involvement in music linked to Asian cultures and to meditation.



Born in Morristown, New Jersey, Scott attended Juilliard School from 1940 to 1942. [1] In the 1950s he worked with Sarah Vaughan and Billie Holiday. He also had a young Bill Evans and Paul Motian as side-men on several albums released between 1957 and 1959. In the late 1950s he won on four occasions the Down Beat critics poll for clarinetist in 1955, [2] 1957, [3] 1958 [4] and 1959. [5] He was known for a more "cool" style on the instrument than his peer Buddy DeFranco who often played a more aggressive bebop style.

Despite this he remained relatively little-known as the clarinet had been in eclipse in jazz since the emergence of bebop. In 1959 he left New York City, where he had been based, and abandoned the United States for a time. In the 1960s he toured South, East, and Southeast Asia. This led to his playing in a Hindu temple, spending time in Japan, and releasing Music for Zen Meditation in 1964 for Verve Records. In 1960 a Down Beat poll for Japan saw readers there name him best clarinetist [6] while the United States preferred Buddy DeFranco. More recently he did a Japanese special on Buddhism and Jazz, although he continued to work with American jazz musicians and played at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1965. In the years following that he worked in Germany, Africa, and at times in South America.

He settled in Italy in the 1970s, working with Italian jazz musicians such as Franco D'Andrea and Romano Mussolini. He also played the part of a Sicilian-American Mafia boss in Glauber Rocha's film Claro (1975). In later years he began showing an interest in Electronica and in 2002 his Hare Krishna was remixed by King Britt as a contribution to Verve Remixed.

In 2010, a documentary film by the Italian director Franco Maresco about the life of Tony Scott was released titled Io sono Tony Scott, ovvero come l'Italia fece fuori il più grande clarinettista del jazz (English: I am Tony Scott. The Story of How Italy Got Rid of the Greatest Jazz Clarinetist). [7]

He died of prostate cancer in Rome at the age of 85. [8]


As leader

As sideman

With Trigger Alpert

With John Lewis

With Mundell Lowe

With Carmen McRae

With the Metronome All-Stars

With Max Roach

With Ben Webster

With Shirley Bunnie Foy

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  1. Fox, Margalit. "Tony Scott, Jazz Clarinetist Who Mastered Bebop, Dies at 85", The New York Times , March 31, 2007. Accessed July 23, 2012. "Anthony Joseph Sciacca — his family name is pronounced "Shaka" — was born on June 17, 1921, in Morristown, N.J., to parents who had come from Sicily."
  2. Down Beat Archived 2007-03-21 at the Wayback Machine Critics Poll 1955.
  3. Down Beat Archived 2007-03-21 at the Wayback Machine Critics Poll 1957.
  4. Down Beat Archived 2007-03-21 at the Wayback Machine Critics Poll 1958.
  5. Down Beat Archived 2007-03-21 at the Wayback Machine Critics Poll 1959.
  6. Down Beat Archived 2006-11-22 at the Wayback Machine Japanese Readers Poll 1960.
  7. Io sono Tony Scott, ovvero come l'Italia fece fuori il più grande clarinettista del jazz on IMDb