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Gracenotes Entertainment: Bio

Al Cardillo

The emergence of Wynton Marsalis as the unofficial spokesman for jazz has inspired a new generation of musicians to emerge from the Music Schools, Universities and Conservatories around the country and the world. This new generation is the result of a newly developed hybrid type musician who has variety of musical influences and backgrounds that span the gamut of musical genre. Al Cardillo is a product of this new trend of contemporary musicians whose roots are embedded in the R&B, jazz and classical traditions unique to his generation.

Born in Rome Italy to an Italian mother and father with US citizenship, where he was raised for 6 years. His father then moved the family back to America. At the age of 11 his parents enrolled him in guitar lessons, soon after he switched to bass guitar. Al was at first influenced by the Rock Bands of that era like the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, etc. Like many young musicians of that period, Al was able to learn the bass lines of these classic rock tunes right off the LP. Opportunities to study music in school were closed off to many young musicians attending New York City public schools at that time. However, having been blessed with a “good ear” and some natural ability, Al found opportunities early on which led to "working gigs" even before he was in high school. After graduating High School, Al "went on the road" with touring “show” bands and traveled across United States.

After many years on the road, he returned to New York. He became tired of playing “cover songs” and turned off by the emerging “punk “scene, Al caught the "jazz bug". He immediately realized that he needed formal education since the majority of his skills were self-taught. He decided to pursue a college degree. He applied to the well-known Berklee College of Music, and was awarded a Professional Music Scholarship for his of many years on the road. At this time, Al made the switch to the upright bass. He began studying at Berklee, strangely enough, classical Bass with the well-respected Bill Curtis. He also studied jazz bass with Whit Browne. Among his most valued experiences was studying Big Band arranging with the eminent “Bebop” professor Herb Pomeroy

While attended Berklee, Al lived in Boston and worked with many of the local and international musicians attending Berklee. He wrote and arranged the music to a Musical Production for Riverside Theater Works in Hyde Park, Massachusetts (still in existence) called “Stagedoor Cabaret”. He also played contracted and conducted the orchestra in this production. This would be a valuable experience for him in the future.

After graduating Berklee, Al relocated back to New York. He continued his education by attending the Herbert H. Lehman College in the Bronx where he earned his Master’s in Music Education. He also continued private studies on the String Bass with Orin O’Brien, a member of the NY Philharmonic and George Andre, former principal bass of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. He learned to play in an orchestra. He learned many conducting tips and rehearsal techniques by getting freelance work in bass sections with opera companies and pick-up Orchestras in the tristate area.

He has shared the stage with some of the most renowned and revered musicians in the world. Besides performing locally in the NYC area. He has performed at the Umbria International Jazz Festival in Italy. Performed at the world famous concert hall “The Gewandhaus” in Leipzig, with acclaimed clarinetist and "Schindler's List " soloist Giora Fiedman. He was Musical Director at Papa Razzi Restaurant in Westbury Long Island, for 5 years where he managed a successful jazz series called "Al Cardillo & Friends". Many well-known musicians would sit-in with Al on varies nights. Famous jazz musicians such as saxophonist Chris Potter, Eric Alexander, trumpeter Lew Soloff and Glenn Drewes, pianists such as Ted Rosenthal, Kenny Werner, Don Friedman, drummers such as Matt Wilson, Eliot Zigmund and Joe Ascione would be weekly invited guest. The series was one of the most successful jazz series ever produced on Long Island. He along with pianist Robert Lepley and drummer Frank Bellucci established a Monday Night Jazz at the Fox Hollow in Woodbury, LI that lasted 71/2 years. Now that Jam has moved to Cinque Terre in Huntington Station where it continues to flourish.

Go to for an up-to-date schedule of events.

All the local and NYC jazz publications recognize Al Cardillo as one of the top jazz musician /contractors and presenters of jazz on Long Island. A reputation he has earned. The contribution of "Al Cardillo & Friends” to the Long Island jazz community has been recognized by the National Music Awards for Best Local Jazz.

One of Al's greatest gifts is his abilities to welcome musicians of various skills to the band stand to join whatever group he is leading. His warm, inviting personality is born of a sincere desire to make the group playing experience a highly successful experience for anyone in his company.

Al is still a much sought-after-musician and teacher. He continues to work diligently to find new venues to bring/present jazz to audiences on Long Island. He hopes that if you’re reading this you will venture out to catch one of his shows and become a follower/patron of his jazz escapades.

Marshall Zucker,
Jazz Improv