Frank Isola

Frank Isola (February 20, 1925 – December 12, 2004 in Detroit, Michigan) was an American jazz drummer.

Isola was born and raised in Detroit and was heavily influenced by Gene Krupa. He played in the U.S. military during World War II (1943–45), and then studied and performed in California with Bobby Sherwood and Earle Spencer. He then moved to New York City, where he played with Johnny Bothwell and Elliot Lawrence in 1947. Following this he played with Stan Getz (1951–53) and Gerry Mulligan (1953–54), as well as with Mose Allison, Eddie Bert, Bob Brookmeyer, Jimmy Raney, Johnny Williams and Tony Fruscella.

In a 2010 JazzWax interview by Marc Myers with Mose Allison quoted in the 2016 liner notes for the CD reissue of the Stan Getz The Soft Swing album by Phono, Allison credits Isola with introducing him to Getz in 1956:

JazzWax: In 1956, how did you meet Stan Getz?
Mose Allison: I used to go to these jam sessions at night at a loft on 34th St. that belonged to trombonist Clyde Cox. Many of the guys who were there were from the South. At these sessions, I met drummer Frank Isola, who put me in touch with Stan.

By the late 1950s Isola returned to Detroit and kept working periodically with local bands or in jam sessions but well out of the spotlight.

Isola was also active in the Cass Corridor area of Detroit in the 1970s playing jazz standards with pianist Bobby McDonald and others at Cobb's Corner Bar.

He worked as a drummer briefly at Captain Hornblower's in Key West, Florida, in the late 1980s with pianist Johnny Williams.

In 1993 he was playing weekly at Tom's Steamer's Bar in Grosse Pointe MI. In 1994 and 1995 Isola played at The Windsor (Ontario) Jazz Festival, backing Franz Jackson and Marcus Belgrave. The 1994 concert was released on Parkwood Records as Live at Windsor Jazz Festival III with Jackson and Belgrave as co-leaders.

Birth and Death Data: Born February 20th, 1925 (Detroit), Died December 12th, 2004 (Detroit)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1946 - 1947

Roles Represented in DAHR: drums

Recordings

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Decca SRC 319 10-in. 1946 [Unknown title(s)] Johnny Bothwell Orchestra instrumentalist, drums  
Decca SRC 320 10-in. 1946 Ain't nowhere-1 Johnny Bothwell Orchestra instrumentalist, drums  
Decca SRC 321 10-in. 1946 I'll close my eyes Johnny Bothwell Orchestra instrumentalist, drums  
Decca SRC 322 10-in. 1946 I won't promise Johnny Bothwell Orchestra instrumentalist, drums  
Decca SRC 342 10-in. 1947 Gonna get a pin up girl Johnny Bothwell Orchestra instrumentalist, drums  
Decca SRC 343 10-in. 1947 Dog patch boogie Johnny Bothwell Orchestra instrumentalist, drums  
Decca SRC 344 10-in. 1947 Everything I have is yours Johnny Bothwell Orchestra instrumentalist, drums  

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Isola, Frank," accessed August 6, 2020, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/322658.

Isola, Frank. (2020). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved August 6, 2020, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/322658.

"Isola, Frank." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2020. Web. 6 August 2020.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/322658

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