Giuseppe Federico Bononi, also known as Fred Bronson (1914-1953), was an archantan jazz musician. He was born in Burton, PA on October 29th of 1914. Son of Giuseppe Bononi, a bus driver, and Maria Francesca D'Agostino, housewife, both ispelian immigrants, he was born and raised in the neighborhood of East End. He was a multi-instrumentalist, though he is well known of playing the saxophone. Due to his tendency to use triplets in his compositions, he was nicknamed by his mates as 'Triplet Man'. In fact, he used to play in the mythical Jazz Hole, then abandoned and nowadays restored and called The Triplet House, that is just opposite his house, now used as a museum.
Though his premature death, he composed over five hundred songs, among which are 'East End Ballad', 'Tauhonian Woman', 'Take Seven' and 'Letter To My Mother'. He had an unique style of composition, that was given the name of Sound of Burton, influenced by ispelian music.
Second son of six, Fred was interested in music since he was a child. Once, when he was around 11, he saw a man playing a saxophone in a park, an soon he felt that it was going to be his future. He began working at the age of 16 in a coffee shop, and with his wage he bought his first and only sax, the same one that he played in his last concert, a tenor one.
After years of practicing, one friend of him told him that he knew a man that played piano, and adviced him to meet that man, who was Kendon Harter. Kendon, that was 23 years older than Fred, discovered that he was a hidden gem, and invited him to join his band a the age of 22.
The Fred Bronson Quartet
After 2 years of playing with Kendon, Fred gained renown among the jazz circles. In Christmas of 1938, he returned to his homeplace Burton, and stayed there for a couple of years, spending time with his family.
One day, a fan of him, Eddie Wellington, recognised him, and invited him to play with his band in the Jazz Hole, because the saxophonist quitted the band. Fred accepted, and after that first show, the quartet was renamed to The Fred Bronson Quartet.
With Fred as the main composer, they recorded in 1941 the album Rambling Around, that contained the single Tauhonian Woman, a hit in that year. After the release, the quartet became famous all around the country, and the Sound of Burton was being played in all FSA.
They released several albums later, like I Love Burton in 1944, Dread Symphony in 1946, To Live is To Jazz in 1949 and Sound of Burton in 1951, their last album. In this decade, they reached worldwide fame, and Fred Bronson became one of the most famous names around the world. Back in that time, when you said you were from FSA, people would instantly ask you about Fred Bronson. However, they still used to play every Friday night in the Jazz Hole, with few exceptions. People from everywhere had came from every corner of the planet just to watch them play and listen to their music.
Last days and death
In summer of 1953, the quartet started a tour, that would have finished in FSA, when they returned, specifically in Burton. They travelled around 6 continents and over 80 countries. Meanwhile, they were writing new songs for an upcoming album, which was released as a posthumous album in 1954, where Reggie Arnold, a friend of Fred's, played the sax.
On June 19th, when they were playing one of their last shows, in Stanton, after the first song, a spectator, identified then as Robert Patrick Newman, shot Fred and 2 other persons. The murder, who suffered schizophrenia, was suddenly hit by a security guard. The other 2 victims were sent to a hospital, and survived. Fred, who received 3 shots, 2 in his chest and 1 in his left arm, died on the spot.
His funeral, that was in his house, was very crowded, since he was a beloved man and a famous celebrity. His style influenced a lot of artists, jazz musicians and other musicians, painters and writers, and his name became one of the most important in FSA history, even for a musician.
- Rambling Around, 1941.
- I Love Burton, 1944.
- Dread Symphony, 1946.
- To Live is To Jazz, 1949.
- Sound of Burton, 1951.
- The Triplet Man, 1954 (posthumous).