Frank Langone

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The jazz career of this reed player began in the mid-'30s, but prior to that he had already performed internationally. Frank Langone grew up in Philadelphia, where he began playing music at the age of…
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The jazz career of this reed player began in the mid-'30s, but prior to that he had already performed internationally. Frank Langone grew up in Philadelphia, where he began playing music at the age of 12 and studied with Abe Beloff. In the early '20s he was one of the crowd of musicians whose groceries were paid for by the silent film industry. Beloff played in Philadelphia pit bands for live theater as well, leading to an engagement with Al Donahue's Orchestra. This large outfit got itself booked on ocean liners, then would march off the ship and take on gigs wherever they happened to be.

Thus, Langone was already a veteran of engagements in Paris and Rome by the time he became absorbed into a series of big bands and dance bands in the height of the swing era. While generally not featured as a star soloist, Langone held down reed section chairs in the ensembles of leaders such as multi-instrumentalist Isham Jones, trumpeters Bunny Berigan and Bobby Hackett, violinist and vocalist Jan Savitt, and fellow reed player Jimmy Dorsey, among others. The best-known recordings with Langone were studio projects, however, not working bands, featuring vocalist and bandleader Bob Crosby and trombonist Tommy Dorsey.

In the '70s, when Langone managed to rate a short entry in John Chilton's Who's Who of Jazz, the reedman was still active with Jan Garber, a bandleader who also played violin. Langone seems to have retired to the life of a teacher in Fresno, CA, but may have passed away without any official notice. A discredited theory that sometimes still circulates is that Langone was the real surname for and the same person as Don "Slats" Long, a clarinetist from Wichita who played in the same era.