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May, 2004

Youngstown's Music Man

Working musically with the Rat Pack- - Sinatra, Martin and Davis - - in the Copa Room at the Sands was "the epitome of circus fun and partying while still doing the job. For eight years, 1960-68, it was a dream come true," said Jimmy Mulidore, world-renowned jazz flutist and saxophonist. A year later, the Youngstown native was doing the hiring and firing of musicians as Musical Director at the International Hotel when Barbra Streisand opened in February 1969 followed by Elvis Presley. For the next 18 years he was the House Band Leader for the International (Las Vegas Hilton), Flamingo Hilton, Union Plaza and the Claridge in Atlantic City.

Of more recent times he, Sweet Louie and The Checkmates are working jazz clubs in San Diego and Rosarito Beach in Mexico where Mulidore owns a 5,000 square foot mansion. He also "hangs his hat" at the Flamingo on Jones Parkway. There's no doubt about it, Mulidore continues to stay busy. He returned home in March 2004 for a show appearance in Tony Trolio's "Tribute to Legendary Crooners" starring Mulidore's actor/singer friend, Gianni Russo who played the wife-beating husband of Vito Corleone's daughter in the Godfather trilogy.

In his early years in his hometown of Youngstown Mulidore lived in a 17 room brick house at Calvin and Victoria Streets in Brier Hill. He recalls practicing his sax, clarinet, and bassoon in the attic of the house and a neighbor, Rocco Mangine, constantly screaming and cursing about the noise and the "toot-toot" coming from the attic. That didn't stop the 14 year-old music phenomenon who was already performing in "hot-spots" around Youngstown, Warren, and Niles. Growing up, Mulidore never had much time to play with the rest of the kids, including Trolio. His love for music came before playing "kick the can."

Soon after graduating from Rayen High School, he tried "cracking the books" at Ohio State University and Youngstown State and studying at Julliard in New York. However, his first love was playing the flute, saxophone, and clarinet so he left for Las Vegas where he became an institution. He's worked with many legends including Shelly Mann, Sweet Louie, and Louie Bellson. Mulidore also played in the "big bands" for forty years and that lineup included Harry James, Benny Goodman, Jimmy Dorsey, and Count Basie.

Jimmy Mulidore played for Elvis Presley's last performance in Las Vegas some twenty five years ago (December 12, 1978). He hired all the musicians and recalled that Elvis opened with CC Rider and closed with Can't Help Falling in Love. And Mulidore certainly hasn't forgotten his flute solo that night when brothers Sonny and Red West, members of Elvis' Memphis group, squirted water on him, trying to get him to mess up. Elvis joined in the water hijinks, then paid tribute to the world-renowned flutist Mulidore for not missing a note.

Mulidore has conducted for and recorded with other great performers including Barbra Streisand (Stoney End), Frank Sinatra (It Was A Very Good Year), and Bobby Darin (If I Were A Carpenter). He has also performed with some of the greatest jazz legends in the world including Dizzy Gillespie, and more recently has produced his own review for the Maxim Hotel, featuring himself, with Sweet Louie and the Rocco Sisters, Atlantic City favorites.

A few years back while performing at a jazz club in Rome, Italy he was able to get away to Florence and Naples but couldn't make it to Potenza where his family emigrated from. He does recall stopping to buy something from a vendor who quickly picked up on his dialect and knew the musician was from the Basilicata region. Mulidore is very proud that his Italian genes have rubbed off on his daughter Lisa who lives in London and has starred in supporting roles in Indiana Jones movies.

Bubbly, radiant, always ready with a smile, Jimmy Mulidore has done Youngstown proud and gives his audiences powerful entertainment and unforgettable fun.

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