Niagara Gazette

Features

April 14, 2013

REMEMBERING TOMMY: 'Giants of Buffalo' pays tribute to renowned Falls musician

Niagara Gazette — If Niagara Falls was a person instead of a city, it would likely be a guy just like Tommy Tedesco.

The city personified would be a wildly irreverent, deeply loving of family, forever loyal to friends, with a penchant for gambling that might make a man late to his own wedding and an international reputation that doesn’t begin to touch upon the real character and richness within. 

Pretty much like friends and family describe Tedesco.

Tommy Tedesco was raised on 22nd Street near Ferry Avenue. Thanks to the efforts led by Al Giambattista, a life-long neighbor and friend, his picture adorns a building on Pine Avenue, at the corner of his street, along with two other legendary home-grown heroes, Nick Antonucci, of the Como Restaurant, and Sal Maglie, the pro baseball player. And there’s a sign leading to the City Market that declares one entrance Tommy Tedesco Boulevard. 

“I’m proud of Tom,” says Giambattista, an 84-year-old retired sax player who wears a leather jacket and drives a black Pontiac with racing stipes. “He’s done things nobody else has done.”

Those “things,” will surely be examined on Friday at the “Giants of Buffalo” series, where Tedesco will be honored at the Buffalo History Museum.

The details of his extraordinary life will be shared in a musically enhanced discussion in a series called “Buffalo Greats.” On Saturday, a documentary called “The Wrecking Crew,” produced by Tedesco’s son, Denny, will detail the rise of Tommy and a small band of esteemed colleagues who worked as studio musicians in Los Angeles.

The documentary is more than a son’s tribute to his father. It’s more like a 16-year obsession-driven odyssey, which Denny has been working on since shortly before his father died of lung cancer at the age of 67.

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