Nuncio "Toots" Mondello

Complete Orchestra & Best Sideman Recordings (1936-1940)

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AllMusic Review by

When one thinks of altoist Toots Mondello, it is as a section player with the Benny Goodman Orchestra. His tone and style were influenced by Benny Carter and the rare short solos that he took were always tasteful. This CD puts Mondello very much in the spotlight. He is heard playing clarinet solos on two numbers with guitarist Dick McDonough's pickup band in 1936, taking a good alto solo on "Stop You're Breaking My Heart" with Claude Thornhill and Maxine Sullivan, and leading his own groups. Mondello only led four record dates in his career and all 16 selections are here. Six of the first eight numbers, which are with big bands, have so-so vocals from Barry McKinley, but the third date is a hot nonet date that features trumpeter Ziggy Elman and the final session is a very unusual and rewarding trio outing with pianist Thornhill and drummer Nick Fatool. Also on this definitive CD are four numbers with Benny Goodman's orchestra (three alternate takes and a broadcast performance), a song with a Ziggy Elman recording group, and an alternate version of "King Porter Stomp" with the Metronome All-Stars. Mondello spent most of his post-1941 years playing anonymously in the studios or with Benny Goodman reunion groups, so this CD really has the most significant solos of his career.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
2:34
2 3:22
3 2:41
4
2:24
5
2:56
6
3:16
7
2:22
8
2:42
9 2:55
10
2:06
11 2:15
12
2:27
13
2:50
14
3:15
15
2:40
16
2:25
17
3:21
18
3:08
19
2:01
20 2:55
21
2:57
22 3:18
23 3:29
24
2:48
25 3:51
blue highlight denotes track pick