When I first came to Boston full time, I was in love with jazz as much as I was with rock. These were the days of the Jazz Workshop and Paul’s Mall. Of Miles at an outdoor summer concert at Harvard stadium, long purple scarf flowing. Of Miles at an old hotel (later the Roxy). Of Gene Ammons, Sonny Stitt. Charlie Mingus. Roland Kirk. Coltrane of course.
There was plenty of jazz on the radio, and the best of it was on BU’s station WBUR. And the best of that was Tony Cennamo. I had a pretty good knowledge of jazz already, but Tony C. turned me on to so much more. Tony just loved the music, as long as it was from the soul. He had disdain for the commercialized pap that came to dominate the scene and drove the real music underground. Jazz-cuzzi he called it.
Tony Cennamo died at 76 years of age on Tuesday. Tony – from Brooklyn – was a Boston original. Go figure. RIP, Tony.