Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Cinderella, Joe (Joseph)

Cinderella, Joe (Joseph), guitar; 14 June, 1929, Newark, NJ. His musician father was in the music publishing business and introduced him to the guitar when Joe was nine. By the time he was sixteen he was being compared to Django Reinhardt and Charlie Christian.  He studied for five years with guitarist Frank Staffa and he attended the Essex Conservatory where he earned a degree in music. He also studied the Schillinger System of composition with Edwin Bave, and film scoring with Kermit Leslie. In the 1950's he recorded and toured with Vinnie Burke and Chris Connors; his 1954 "Lush Life" with Conors became a well known single. Not long after,  his work on the Gil Melle recordings, especially Primitive Modern and Patterns in Jazz, earned Cinderella the Concert Associates "Guitar Player of The Year" award.  He also worked with Donald Byrd, Zoot Sims, Pepper Adams, Clark Terry, Kenny Dorham, Oscar Pettiford, and many others.

In the 1960s through the 1980s Cinderella worked as a studio guitarist and focused on recording sessions, radio and TV commercials and film scores in the New York studios. Films on which he played included "Sugarland Express," "Barbarella," "Airport," "Midnight Cowboy," and others. During these years he recorded with artists as diverse as the Beach Boys and John Cage and he played on recording sessions for pop singers including Billy Joel, Judy Garland, Neil Diamond, Barry Manilow, and many more. He served as staff musician for the televised Kraft Music Theater in New York, WNET Channel 13 in Newark, and WXTV-47 the Latin TV station. He was also staff guitarist for the Garden State Arts Center (New Jersey). Beginning in 1969 he was for some years the jazz guitar instructor at Paterson State College (now William Paterson University).

In his early years he used a Gibson Super-400 guitar, but in 2000 he released the CD Concept which featured his own compositions and arrangements played on custom made 8-string guitars. He began working with these unique guitars in 1981, and he tunes the strings from a low E, A, C, E, G, B, D, to high F#.

Books by Cinderella:
Jazz Arpeggios for Guitar (1983)
Chord Melody Playing (with Sandy Renda, 1990)

Contact information:

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