The grandfather of jazz guitarist and Cexton Records founder John Anello, Jr. and the father of big-band saxophonist/vocalist Dr. John Anello, Sr. (aka Doc Anello), Benny Anello was a jazz drummer who had a regional following around New York/Northern New Jersey in the 1920s. Born Bastiani Anello in Vida, Sicily in 1901, he moved to the eastern U.S. when he was 11 in 1912 and entered via Ellis Island. Although Italian was his native language, Anello soon became fluent in English. His father, Giovanni Anello, was a carriage maker and blacksmith who wanted him to follow in his footsteps, but when Benny started studying the drums, he knew he wanted a career in music. In 1920, he founded an eight-member band called Benny & the Paradise Serenaders, which acquired a following playing dances, parties, weddings, and clubs around Newark, NJ, and went on to become a regular headliner at the famous Roseland Ballroom in Manhattan. The Serenaders' Roseland performances were broadcast on New York's WOR radio, but unfortunately, it's doubtful that any of them were recorded. After the birth of Doc Anello in 1927, Anello gave up the music business and went to work for the City of Newark as an auto mechanic. Nonetheless, the drummer did everything he could to encourage his son's interest in music, and when Doc Anello started a swing band at 19, Benny became one of his managers. Benny was in his early eighties when he passed away in Las Vegas in 1982. A $2000 inheritance went to his grandson John Anello, Jr., who used that money to start the jazz-oriented Cexton Records in 1984.
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