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Tony Mottola

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Biography

A guitarist best known for his extensive solo and session work on producer Enoch Light's Command and Project 3 labels, Tony Mottola was born April 18, 1918 in Kearny, NJ. He began playing guitar at the age of nine, and attended high school alongside ill-fated jazz saxophonist Herbie Haymer and future bandleader George Paxton; after graduating, Mottola toured with George Hall's orchestra, making his recorded debut on the group's rendition of "Shine." In 1941 he was hired by the CBS radio studio orchestra, performing behind everyone from Raymond Scott to Frank Sinatra; there Mottola also backed Perry Como, with whom he remained as an accompanist for many years. Concurrently he also earned notice for his solo musical score for the Yul Brynner television series Danger. Mottola released his first Command LP Mr. Big in 1959; when Light formed the audiophile label Project 3 in 1965, the guitarist went with him, additionally serving as an associate producer. At that time, Mottola also played with Doc Severinsen's Orchestra on NBC's The Tonight Show. Although Light died in 1978, Mottola remained with Project 3 until 1983, concurrently backing Sinatra in the studio and on tour. His working relationship with Sinatra continued until the guitarist's retirement in 1988. Tony Mottola died August 9, 2004.

Top Songs

Born:

18 April 1918 in Kearny, NJ

Genre
Years Active:

'40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

Contemporaries