Vin D’Onofrio: An Old Friend’s Dreams and Schemes

SKF NOTE: Reconnecting this year, after many decades, with Vin D’Onofrio is a treat. Vin was one of a close knit group of my musician/friends during high school. Vin and his brother, Joe, traveled with me in my 1949 Chevy from Greenlawn, NY to the 1970 Newport Jazz Festival in RI.

We barely had the money to get to Newport and back, but it didn’t matter. We just wanted to hear the music. We paid $5.00 general admission to sit on the ground in an open field. We could see and hear the acts fine, but we baked in the sun. In the end, outdoor showers at a public beach enabled us to wash off and cool down a bit.

But that night, the Power to the People crowd, deciding $5.00 was too much to pay for a day of jazz music performed by great musicians, rioted, and killed the 1970 Newport Jazz Festival.

Down Beat published my letter apologizing for that segment of “my generation” responsible for the rioting, assuring Down Beat readers there were plenty of teenagers who loved jazz, and who hated the closing of Newport 1970. That group included me and the D’Onofrio brothers: Joe and Vin.

Dreams and Schemes is the title of Vin D’Onofrio’s new EP. My last memories of Vin are of his guitar playing/singing in a band, C.B. Fish, playing at Nicky’s Tavern in Centerport Harbor, NY. From I Heard It Through the Grapevine, to San Francisco Bay Blues, to Truckin’, to My Way — what a mix! (I was the drummer/singer.)

Wouldn’t you know it. My first listening of Vin’s Dreams and Schemes songs reminded me, in its variety of styles, of the songs played at Nicky’s Tavern.

I’m very glad Vin is starting to share his life stories online. He is exactly the kind of musician who should be doing just that.


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