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Canadian Heritage

Norman Amadio


NORMAN AMADIO (pianist) was born Albert Norman Benedict Amadio on April 14, 1928 in Timmins, Ontario, Canada. He played in local bands there throughout high school, traveling to Toronto at an early age to continue his musical studies at the Royal Conservatory in Toronto.

While he has demonstrated his stellar performing abilities for concert audiences across Canada, all over the North American continent, and abroad – working with a legion of venerable artists including Stan Getz, Carmen McRae, Peggy Lee, Coleman Hawkins, Flip Phillips, Chet Baker, Joe Williams, and Lester Young – he has lived and worked in Toronto throughout his career which has thrived over more than five decades.

In the late ‘40s, with more and more clubs and lounges in Toronto beginning to feature jazz, Amadio was to become one of the most prominent players to be featured wherever jazz was heard or recorded, working as a sideman with bands in bars often hosting visiting name artists from the U.S., venues including The Metropole Hotel, the Silver Rail, Duffy’s Tavern, the St. Regis Hotel, and the fabled House of Hambourg, he later led the resident band at the famed Town Tavern and backed innumerable visiting greats at the Colonial Tavern. He led the orchestra during the hey-day of the Royal York Hotel’s elegant Imperial Room for two years in the late ‘80s.

With the burgeoning place television occupied on the Canadian entertainment scene from the early 1960s, Norm Amadio became a well-known figure from coast-to-coast as Musical Director for the weekly Music Hop show on CBC Television for five seasons beginning in 1963, later conducting for numerous other variety specials on the CBC network. He played in the house band on CBC-TV’s Wayne and Shuster Show for twenty years, and with the Bert Niosi Orchestra on Cross Canada Hit Parade.

He preferred a trio setting for many of his musical undertakings, ultimately establishing the venerable Norman Amadio Trio, which included bassist Bob Price and drummer Alex Lazaroff for nearly 20 years, playing in clubs, and in concert environs everywhere, working regularly with Henry Cuesta in Toronto, New Orleans, and Sacramento, and touring Canada for five years with Tommy Ambrose with his Celebration gospel radio show. The current Norman Amadio Trio, with Rosemary Galloway on bass and Don Vickery on drums, frequently performs with singer Tommy Ambrose. His 2009 release “Norm Amadio and Friends” features some of Canada’ finest vocalists and instrumentalists.