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The Angelo J. Montesano
Scholarship Fund

All donations will go to support the California Jazz Conservatory
in Berkeley, California.
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Angelo Keepin' Jazz Alive
"The Angelo J. Montesano Scholarship Fund"
This Scholarship Fund has been established in memory of
beloved Bay Area jazz aficionado Angelo J. Montesano
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  Angelo & JoanneAngelo Joseph Montesano was a very special and kind man who loved jazz. He found music at a very early age, starting with gospel. He loved listening to it at a church near his childhood home in Oakland, where he crouched by a window and enjoyed the beautiful sounds coming from inside. Jazz soon followed and his love for it stayed with him throughout his life, which ended on December 21, 2012. What better way to honor his memory than a Scholarship Fund in his name at the Jazzschool in Berkeley? His wife of 58 years, Joanne, decided this was a perfect way for his family, friends and jazz lovers to remember him.

Angelo and Joanne met on two occasions, one year apart, in Denver, where she was born and raised, and while he was stationed nearby during his Air Force service. After the second meeting they started to date and were eventually married on April 24, 1954. They definitely were meant to be together having been brought together twice. Their mutual love for jazz was one of the things they shared all the years they were married.

Their first year of marriage was spent in Mt. Clemens, Michigan, when he was stationed at Selfridge Air Force Base. His pay was small, but they managed to get into Detroit for a Jazz At The Philharmonic concert and the Schubert Theater to see the Dave Brubeck Trio. They used to laugh that Ang proposed because Joanne had Dave Brubeck records, 78’s at that on Fantasy label. They also had the privilege of seeing Oscar Peterson, Herb Ellis and Ray Brown at a lounge in River Rouge, Michigan. Angelo loved Oscar Peterson and saw him whenever possible. Years afterwards, he appeared at the Venetian Room in San Francisco and they were able to tell him about seeing him all those years earlier. He seemed pleased that they shared that with him.

When Angelo was discharged the following year they settled in California, the San Francisco Bay Area. Jazz was popular and many evenings were spent at the Black Hawk in San Francisco, and other jazz and after-hours clubs. With the advent of rock and roll, many jazz venues were forced to close, but Angelo and Joanne continued to find places to hear the music they loved. They went to Yoshi’s at the first location and later in Jack London Square. They saw Oscar Peterson there after he had suffered a stroke and found his music as beautiful as ever.

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First Sunday Dinner & Jazz was a welcome find in Pittsburg, California, and they attended almost every month, finding local musicians and vocalists so talented and wonderful to see and hear. They became friends with many of them and often went to see them at a number of venues in the Bay Area. Frankye Kelly is considered a dear friend and read the eulogy Joanne wrote for Angelo at his Memorial Service. She then sang “I’ll Be Seeing You” with such feeling. Jesse De Torres sang “I Believe” with such heart. Kelly Park, a friend and superb pianist, accompanied them. Another good friend Jennifer Lee was in attendance.
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Angelo and Joanne felt privileged to have such a wonderful group of friends. Frankye always sang “Lil’ Darling” for them when they were in the audience. They saw her as often as possible at First Sunday, Yoshi’s, the Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay, the Piedmont Piano Store and the 57th Street Gallery. At Anna’s Jazz Island, where they loved going (sadly closed a few years ago), they saw Frankye, as well as Kelly Park, Glen Pearson, and so many other talented people. The Oak City Bar & Grill in Menlo Park was another place, now closed, that featured friends they enjoyed seeing. Jennifer Lee sang and played there and so did Kelly Park. They also became friends with Michael O’Neill. Also became friends with a wonderful bassist, Fritz Burden, is part of the wonderful band at First Sunday. Ranzell Merritt, a fabulous drummer, is another friend, as is Saxophonist, Tony Malfatti. Soprano Night with Larry Wallin and Rick Barretta was always enjoyed. They felt truly blessed with such a wealth of friendship and the music they both loved.
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Joanne hopes that those of you who knew Angelo and loved him, and those of you who share their love of jazz will contribute to the Scholarship Fund to keep jazz and Angelo’s memory alive. No donation is too small and every penny is sincerely appreciated.

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