Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Del Gatto, Lew (Lewis John)

Del Gatto, Lew (Lewis John), saxophonist, composer, arranger, clarinet, flute; b. Brooklyn, NY, 27 March 1941. Grew up in Elmont (Long Island), NY. His father was Joseph Bernard Del Gatto, (1916-1995) born in Brooklyn, NY. His mother is Marie Joan Montello Del Gatto, b. 1919 in Brooklyn, NY and lives in Marietta, GA.  Father was an artist an amateur saxophonist playing club dates/weddings and big band music.  He had an intense love for big band music, especially Artie Shaw.He has two sisters, Betty (Elisabeth) Susan Falasca, b. 1944 and Linda Marie Harris, b. 1947.  Both sisters live in Marietta, GA. He married in 1996 to Kate (Cathleen Mary) Kunitz, now Del Gatto, b. 1951, Appleton, WI (played oboe and a jazz lover).  One son, Christopher Jon, b. 1976 (from previous marriage), lives in New York plays drums, bass, guitar, vocalist and is an alternative rock musician and web designer.

He studied tenor saxophone with Sid Cooper privately during high school, 1954-57. He was a clarinet major at the Manhattan School of Music from 1959-63. There, he studied clarinet with Leon Russinof (1958-59) and Harold Sachs (1959-63). During college, he privately studied tenor saxophone with Bob Tricarico (1960-63). From 1963-66, he privately studied flute with Harold Bennett. With Jack Reilly, he privately studied harmony (1980-83). He took arranging classes with Don Sebesky from 1990-91. He privately studied tenor saxophone with George Coleman from 1992-94. The versatile Lew Del Gatto has been a dynamic figure in the New York music scene for the past thirty years.  He has been involved with jingles, films, television and jazz.  He has been a saxophonist with the Saturday Night Live Band for over 22 years.  He has also been an arranger and musical contractor on this illustrious show.

A native of New York, Lew's musical abilities were obvious at an early age.  Lew's father played the saxophone.  The music of Artie Shaw and Benny Goodman was forever in the Del Gatto home.  Lew quickly gravitated towards the music of Bird, Prez, Getz and Rollins.  During his years at Manhattan School of Music, Lew went on the road with the Les Elgart Band, Sal Salvador and appeared with the world famous Johnny Carson Tonight Show Band.  The years following kept Lew busy in the New York studio world with jingles and record dates as a player and arranger/composer.

Lew's live appearances include many well-known names.  He has appeared with Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Liza Minelli, Buddy Rich, Tony Bennett, Quincy Jones, Chuck Israel and The National Jazz Ensemble, Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Band, Henry Mancini, Herbie Hancock, Phil Woods, Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton, to name a few. He performs and teaches jazz master classes at colleges and universities.  Lew has played jazz festivals in Europe as well as locally.  He has appeared at the Cancun Jazz Festival with his own group, as well as with George Young and Friends.  He performs annually at the Delaware Water Gap Festival of the Arts.  In the summer of 1998 and 2000, Lew toured Europe with Phil Woods and the Festival Orchestra.

Recordings:
Katewalk (1997), Naxos Jazz release (2000), You and the Night and the Music (2002, under Rasa Caille)

As sideperson:
George Young: Chant (1985), Old Times (1989); Phil Woods: Celebration (1998);
Recorded as a studio musician and recorded for numerous pop artists 1968-present: Gladys Knight. Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Average White Band, Aretha Franklin, Bette Midler, Liza Minelli, Dionne Warwick, Ringo Starr, Aerosmith, Madonna, Tina Turner, Steely Dan, Buddy Guy, Luther Vandross, Michael Franks, Carly Simon, Cat Stevens, Lou Rawls, Chaka Khan, Steve Winwood and more.

Films:
Blues Brothers (1980); Naked Gun 2 1/2 (1991); My Blue Heaven, Sleepless in Seattle, When Harry Met Sally, The Wiz

Television Broadcasts:
The Tonight Show Band (NY), Saturday Night Live (1975-79 and 1985-present); David Letterman with numerous artists;  Shirley Maclaine, "Gypsy in My Soul"; Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade; Steve Martin's Best Show Ever 1981;  Emmy Awards 1988; Bette Midler Mondo Beyondo; MTV Unplugged Mariah Carey;  Garth Brooks Christmas Special 2000 with Tony Bennett and Natalie Cole; 1992 Grammy Awards

Live TV and Radio Broadcasts (Jazz):
Delaware Water Gap Festival; Vienne, France 1998; Perugia, Italy 1998;
Marciac, France 2000; Oslo, Norway 2000
Radio Interviews: Atlanta with Carl Anthony Cleveland Ft. Myers, FL

Bibliography:
Magazine and Newspaper articles:
n magazine,  December 2002
Naples Daily News, June 21 2002
Westchester Lifestyles April 14, 1994
Appleton Post Crescent, July 1994
Website:
Saturday Night Live Band Website www.davemackey.com/snlband

Contact information:
lewdelgatto@earthlink.net
lewdelgatto.com

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