Joe Vento is a Grammy Award winning musician; he began studying violin and Solfeggio at 2 years of age with Professor Bevalaqua and Solfeggio under the guidance of his musicologist father. At age 4 Guido Deiro selected young Jo Jo to study under him. After a brief period Joe’s father turned to Anthony Galla-Rini for Joe's continuing-studies.
An accelerated student, at age 11, Jo Jo attended the Juilliard School of Music on a Scholarship in Piano and Composition and studied with Rosinna Lehvine, then went on to study Musicology and Conducting at the New England Conservatory of Music
World's accordion virtuoso Charles Magnante noticed Joe's talent and began mentoring him on interpretation, conceptualization, bellow-technique and finger-dexterity/control.
Toward the end of World War II, 18-year-old Joe's studies were interrupted and inducted into the Army at Camp Roberts, CA was assigned to Special Services Unit U.S. Army Band-and-Orchestra playing viola and piano under Conductor Jack Cathcart, backing guest-artists: Jimmy Durante, Judy Garland, Georgie Jessel, Martha Raye, Bob Hope & etc. in addition to playing accordion for troops who were preparing to leave Overseas for war. Upon Joe's Army discharge it was Cathcart (married to Judy Garland's sister Sue) who introduced Joe to Mickey Whelan, the music-contractor at MGM Studios.
His work during that era included playing piano with Count Basie, Charlie Barnett, Nelson Riddle, The Mills Bros, Harry James, Jimmy Dorsey, and, on Accordion: either recording-and-or stage shows with Bob Wills, Gene Autry and Spade Cooley Western Bands
Vento went on to 'free-lance' at other Major Studios as well including: Universal, Warner Bros, Hal Roach, Republic, and Columbia Pictures, plus several 'Indies'.
Through his career Joe has made over 1,500 Movie, TV and Stage appearances with such stars including Paul Newman, Burt Reynolds, Liberace, Joan Collins, Elvis, Debbie Reynolds, Rock Hudson, Gregory Peck, Charlton Heston, Dean Martin, Mario Lanza, Ann-Margret, John Wayne, Robert Wagner, Al Jolson, Leslie Nielson and Frank Sinatra ... to name (only) a few.
Among dignitaries he has performed for: Walt Disney, President Truman at the Getty family Estate, at the Whitehouse for President(s) "Ike" Eisenhower and his wife Mamie, Nixon and JFK.
Vento, a 'favorite' of Howard Hughes, performed for many of his private parties as well as for performing at Hughes' vast Hotel-Casino empire. Other celebrities Joe performed for included Lana Turner, Movie-Director John Carradine, Jane Russell, Fisher Family Estate (General Motors Cadillac Body) plus too many motion picture stars and other 'notables' to even attempt to mention..
In 1953, Vento was called by Organist Artie Dunn to replace ailing Morty Nevins original-accordionist, and Joe became associated with The Three Suns for 55 years.
In 1965, Joe took over leadership of 'The Three Suns' who then appeared on numerous TV shows including Johnny Carson's "Tonight Show", Steve Allen, Ed Sullivan, Dinah Shore, Mike Douglas, Kate Smith, and Frankie Yankovic shows, as well as many Jerry Lewis Telethons. The Three Suns were 'regulars' at casinos, conventions, and industrial shows in Vegas, Lake Tahoe, Reno, Atlantic City, San Juan, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, Europe, Asia, and the world-famous 'Roostertail' supper club in Detroit.
The Virginian, CHIPS, McHale's Navy, Kojac, Happy Days, Hawaii-5-0, Peter Gunn, and Trapper John, MD, are but a few of his other TV play credits. Added are Jingles-and-Commercials on Radio: Budweiser; Kellogg’s Cereals; Skippy Peanut Butter & etc. ...making Joe one of the busiest performers at the time.
Some of Joe's worldwide appearances include six command performances in the White House; Buckingham Palace; Imperial Palace(s) Tokyo, Japan; and Beijing, China as well as State Department-sponsored USO Show appearances in Asia, Europe and the Mid-East.
While doing a seven-week tour entertaining the troops in Vietnam, Joe played as many as ten shows a day. In one of those tours Joe was wounded by mortar fire while playing on-stage.
After recuperating from his wounds he returned State-Side and was featured in "An American Profile" story-broadcast during one of its weekly-series in the summer of -1967 entitled: "Wounded Accordion."
Joe Vento, along with Bob Hope and Steve Allen was also featured on ABC TV's "Martha Raye Special" addressing some of her cute zany-antics on USO Over-Seas Tours.
Joe has been conductor for many performers including Victor Borge, Nelson Eddy, and several Broadway shows on cruise ships worldwide and, until 2004 he appeared regularly at the Paris and The Venetian Resort Hotels in Las Vegas.
Of special-note: every Sunday night when he is not touring Joe performs with and conducts the "Joe Vento All-Star Jazz Band Orchestra" at Las Hadas Restaurant, Northridge CA which initially started out with veterans from the ''Tonight Show'' band, like Conti Candoli, Bob Cooper & John Newsome (not to be confused with Tommy Newsom ...both fine saxophonists) who have passed-on. The band is now enjoying its close to 26th year tenure at Las Hadas. To visit, please call 818.892.7272 for reservations (and ask to sit in the Band room). No covers, no minimums.
Other highlights of Joe's career include performing as guest-pianist with the Count Basie Band at the Sahara Hotel Casino in Vegas and on WGN-TV Chicago; also featured on-stage on accordion accompanying Nat King Cole on several tunes including "A Blossom Fell" at Harrah's Club in Tahoe. Although Vento plays some 60 instruments, he predominantly plays the piano, accordion, and organ.
In movies Joe performs as an actor in character with a musical connection: band leader, band member, or strolling musician; he also has scored music for films and TV Shows: KOJAK, CHIPS, Mr. Lucky, Peter Gunn, BJ & the Bear, Black Widow, Sheriff Lobo, I Had Three Wives, Hawaiian Eye, Moonlighting, etc.
A cross-section of some of his movies include: '10', Ice Palace, Man's Favorite Sport, 10,000 Bedrooms, True Friends, Sincerely Yours, Helen Morgan Story, Song Without End, Counter Point, Man Called Gannon, Perils of Pauline, Brass Bottle, Guide to A Married Man, Opposite Sex, Man In A Gray Flannel Suit, Ask Any Girl, This Earth Is Mine, Edge of Eternity, Girl's Town, Don't Knock The Rock, Teen Age Story, The Great Caruso, Ben Hur, Vendetta, Who Was That Lady, Young Philadelphians, Moment to Moment, The Competition, Serenade (with Mario Lanza), and others too numerous to mention.