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May 11, 1917 -
Giovanni Roco Johnny Reno was born in Montreal May 11, 1917. His parents were from Sicily. He learned to play clarinet at age nine and had private lessons with Joseph Fiori. At 14, he taught himself to play alto and tenor saxophone. By 16, while still in school, he began playing in dance halls in Montreal's St. Henri district. His full-time career started at the Montreal Press Club in 1938 with pianist Al Buckwald. During the 1940s he led his own bands and worked with Jimmy Jones at Rockhead's Paradise (1944-1945) and with Lloyd Duncan at Café St-Michel. He was also the lead alto saxophonist for various big bands, including those conducted by Bix Bélair, Maynard Ferguson, Russ Meredith, and Stan Wood. From 1952 to 1963 he led quartets which played at Café Montmartre. For a year and a half, he worked with Marcel Doré in a show he presented at the Casa Loma night club.He then played in different clubs sporadically before he began working for Joe Christie, accompanying dancers at Chez Paree 1973-1974. Reno also worked as a music copyist, music teacher, studio musician, and composer.
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Created by the Records Management and Archives Department September 2010.
Input by Concordia University Libraries 2015-06-08.