Now focusing on his violin, Peter Compo has been a jazz professional since 1950 when he started playing at the Central Plaza in NYC with Conrad Janis, Henry "Red" Allen, Willie "The Lion" Smith and other major inhabitants of the New York jazz scene. Early in his life there were obvious signals Compo would be a jazz person, when at the age of 8, he started skipping his classical violin lessons to play pop hits of the day and jazz tunes for his friends. Since his Central Plaza gigs, Compo has been a sideman and/or recorded with a virtual Who's Who of Jazz representing many jazz styles. He cites as one of his more telling experiences playing with the wonderful and musically advanced and influential Claude Thornhill Orchestras in the 1950's. Among his influences are Ray Brown, Slam Stewart (with whom he studied), "Stuff" Smith, Ray Nance, Sven Amundsen and Duke Ellington. Among those he has studied with, in addition to Stewart, are Phil Sklar, principal bass player for Arturo Toscanini's NBC Orchestra and Homer Mensch, who held a similar post with the NY Philharmonic. Compo also attended the Manhattan School of Music. But he feels his best "education" was having "Stuff "Smith as a mentor. Compo has three CDs as a leader to his credit, the latest In Europe which compiles studio and live recordings while playing on that Continent. A skilled player who has borrowed from all the great jazz violinists to develop his own style, Compo continues to perform in his native NYC.
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