Boniface Ferdinand Leonard "Buddy" DeFranco (born February 17, 1923) is an American jazz clarinet player.DeFranco began his professional career just as swing music and big bands — many of which were led by clarinetists like Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman and Woody Herman — were fading in popularity. While most jazz clarinet players did not adapt to this change, DeFranco successfully continued to play clarinet exclusively, and was one of the few bebop clarinetists. In 1950, DeFranco spent a year with the famous Count Basie Septet. His small combo in the early 1950s included jazz modernist Sonny Clark on the piano and guitarist Tal Farlow. He was bandleader of the Glenn Miller Orchestra from 1966 to 1974. He has also performed with Gene Krupa, Charlie Barnet, Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson and many others, and has released dozens of albums as a leader.
The "prime" of Buddy DeFranco has been an amazingly long one, capping even that of one of his boyhood influences, Benny Goodman. His powers have been subject to the closest examination in the company of some of the greatest jazz virtuosi Art Tatum, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and he was never found wanting, no matter the severity of the challenge. His musical times have been indeed both remarkable and wonderful. Since the 1970s DeFranco has frequently travelled abroad as a star soloist. He has also frequently acted as his own recording producer, putting together new groups which, once "played in", he has taped on location, as was the case here. If this is your introduction to Buddy DeFranco, you are in for a treat. For the CD at hand is comprised of magnificent playing by the most creative bebop clarinettist we are ever likely to hear.