Tony Pastor (born Anthony Pestritto) (October 26, 1907-October 31, 1969) was an Italian American novelty singer and tenor saxophonist and band leader.
Tenor saxophonist and vocalist Tony Pastor began playing professionally while still a teenager. He worked with the Wesleyan Serenaders in the mid-1920s, John Cavallaro in 1927, Irving Aaronson from 1928 to 1930, and Austin Wylie around 1930. He formed his own orchestra based out of Hartford, Connecticut, in 1931. The group struggled, and in 1934 he disbanded it. He toured with Smith Ballew in 1935 and played briefly with Joe Venuti and Vincent Lopez before joining Artie Shaw in 1936, where he remained when Shaw regrouped the following year.
Featured by Shaw as both a musician and singer, Pastor became popular for his expressive singing and impish personality. When Shaw decided to quit the band business in late 1939 and run off to Mexico Pastor was asked to head the orchestra, which was to become a cooperative affair. He turned down the offer and formed his own band instead. His second group proved a success. Pastor was both honest and friendly and well loved by his musicians and fans. His sax playing and his vocals were the highlights of each performance.
Soon after going out on his own, Pastor and his orchestra played at the Hotel Lincoln in New York City for seven months. That engagement included five broadcasts per week on NBC. Pastor won the 1940 Metronome magazine poll as top tenor saxophonist.
Pastor and his orchestra appeared on television a number of times during the 1950s, including the "Cavalcade of Bands" program and the Robert Q. Lewis show. In 1960, Pastor was guest of honour on a "This Is Your Life" TV episode. But eventually he reduced the size of his band, cutting it down to a small combo in order to work nightclubs around Las Vegas with his sons Guy and Tony Jr.
Pastor's final recordings were for Roulette (1958), Everest (1959), and Capitol (1960). He appeared with a small group, billed as "Tony Pastor and His All-Stars," on the "Bring Back the Bands" transcribed radio show in 1967.
Early in 1968, Pastor suffered a heart attack and became very ill and quit the music business. He lived in virtual seclusion for the rest of his life. (Info mainly Solid @ Parabrisas.com)