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Frank Tiberi has spent so much time as a sideman and eventually the leader of the Woody Herman Orchestra that it is often forgotten that he had a lengthy career long before joining Herman. Tiberi first started playing locally as a child in 1936 and he was part of a marching street band. Although he had lessons on clarinet and bassoon, Tiberi was self-taught on tenor and flute. He began playing in clubs when he was just 13 and Tiberi played with Bob Chester's Big Band (1948-49), the Benny Goodman Quintet (1954-55), Dizzy Gillespie and many other musicians on the East Coast. He worked extensively in the studios during the 1960s before joining Woody Herman's Orchestra in 1969. Frank Tiberi remained with Herman during the clarinetist's last 18 years and, since Woody's death in 1987, he has been the leader of the big band. The Herman Orchestra, although not recording again until the late '90s, has continued touring on at least a part-time basis and Tiberi has kept the spirit of the group (along with many of its arrangements) alive. ~ Scott Yanow
December 4, 1928 in Camden, NJ