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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Johnny Aladdin Invites You To Dance

In The Mood
Johnny Aladdin Invites You To Dance
Jama Record Co.

From the back cover: The Johnny Aladdin Trio, piano, bass and drums, is a familiar name to diners and dancers throughout the United States, Canada and now Nassau, Bahamas, where the Aladdin Trio are currently engaged at the beautifully exotic Nassau Beach Lodge.


  1. Johnny Aladdin
    b. Nov. 27, 1914, Monessen, PA, d. Jan. 14, 1987, Hilton Head Island, SC.
    Nee: John B. Alagna
    Johnny started playing the piano at age five. About 1930, at age 16, Johnny auditioned in Pittsburgh for the Chicago based Husk O'Hare band. He toured with them for four years as the featured pianist and arranger. He also composed many of the band's songs. He attended school on the road, returning home just long enough to finish high school. Later, he also made time to attend Chicago's American Conservatory of Music. After the O'Hare band broke up, he went to work with the Larry Funk Orchestra, out of Cleveland, OH, for three and a half years. There, he worked with music newcomers Vaughn Monroe and Helen O'Connell.
    Over the years he also worked with the such Bands as The Al Trace Band, about 1946-47 (where Al gave him the "Aladdin" moniker), The Gray Gordon Orchestra, and 'The Eric Langer Orchestra', about 1948-1950. While the piano was his primary instrument, he was also accomplished at: Trumpet, Trombone and Baritone horn. He studied with concert pianist, Professor Leo Ornstein of Philadelphia and he earned a music teaching degree under Ornstein's tutelage.
    During World War 2, he was a Master Sergeant attached to the 94th Army Ground Forces, then stationed at Fort Bragg, NC. There he organized (as the pianist) a six piece band that toured for three years, with Dick Powell as the movie-star singer, entertaining the troops. This little Army band, called "The Cracker Dust Six", won top honors in a nationwide contest being judged by none other than Benny Goodman.
    After the war, he formed his own New York based 17 piece Big Band known as the "Johnny Aladdin's Society Band". Among the well known clubs and hotels of the East Coast area they played were the Drake Hotel, the Aquarium, The Mt. Washington, Coney Island, and Umbriago's. When the band went on tour, it often included Chicago hotels such as the Blackstone, the La Salle, and the Ambassador. The band played a 32 week return engagement at the Bismarck Hotel.
    Starting in the late 1950's, with the ending of the Big Band era, he switched his focus from Big Band and Swing music to smaller trios of Piano, Upright Bass, and Drums playing dinner and dancing music (with a strong leaning toward Broadway Show tunes), at the big hotels in Nassau, Bahamas and all over South Florida.
    Johnny cut two L.P. records and two 45's during his career. While mainly recalled today as a band leader, he was also a fine song composer. Later, he also wrote commercial Jingles. He was a true gentlemen in every respect, and a musician who was second-to-none.
    Johnny was 73 when he died. He's buried at the Veterans National Cemetery, Beaufort, SC. These notes were supplied by his son, John Alagna.

  2. I am from Beaufort, SC and I worked at the La Tai Inn on Fripp Island during the summer of 1969. Johnny played there regularly. He was amazing to watch and listen to. I really enjoyed getting to know him. He was a wonderful gentleman. Johnny Alladin: At the piano, if you please! Thanks for the opportunity to remember him. Sincerely, Joe Dean