Johnny Frigo

Johnny Frigo
Johnny Frigo has really had two careers. He started out playing violin in grammar school and after switching to tuba in order to play in his junior high school band, he took up the bass. Frigo started playing professionally as a bassist in 1934 and had some low-profile jobs until joining Jimmy Dorsey in the mid-'40s. In 1947, he formed a trio with guitarist Herb Ellis and pianist Lou Carter, called Soft Winds, that was popular for a few years; they co-wrote "Detour Ahead" and "I Told Ya I Love Ya, Now Get Out." After the group disbanded in the early '50s, Frigo became a studio bassist in Chicago for decades, playing sessions, jingles, and club dates.

Although Frigo had an opportunity to record an album on violin in 1957 for Mercury, it was not until 1988 that he returned to his first instrument, guesting on a Herb Ellis Justice CD and leading two excellent and swinging dates of his own for Chesky that put him near the top of his field.