Anthony J. Agostinelli Biography

Anthony J. (Tony) Agostinelli is an author, jazz historian, cable TV producer and retired university professor; he is a resident of Portsmouth, RI.

Agostinelli is an internationally-known resource for the music of Stan Kenton, Don Ellis and many other jazz artists, and has written a history and discography about the Newport Jazz Festival®. He has regularly appeared on NPR as a guest commentator on the music of Stan Kenton, Don Ellis, and Woody Herman, published many articles about jazz artists and jazz research, and edited a jazz newsletter (The Network, about Stan Kenton) for over 25 years. He has hosted jazz and music radio programs for public radio and local commercial stations and has lectured and hosted events all over the world. Currently he produces the Peggy Award-winning TV program Jazz Bash on RIPEG Cable, which has been on air for over 10 years in Rhode Island. He has been offering courses at the Circle of Scholars at Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island, about jazz, big bands, opera, Broadway shows, and other topics. Throughout his teaching career, he has lectured on the history of jazz, opera, and Broadway musicals.

Agostinelli has worked as a professional musician in Rhode Island, Vermont, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Guam and Okinawa. He studied the accordion with Vincent D'Alessio, and trumpet with Wilfrid Roberts. He also played baritone horn, and percussion instruments. His accordion playing is styled after accordion luminaries Charles Magnante, Art Van Damme, Ernie Felice, Angelo Di Pippo, Gene Morin and Tommy Gumina. He was a member of the La Salle Academy marching band and orchestra, the St. Michael's College (VT) marching band, and was a member of the jazz and swing group called the NuTones in Northern Vermont. (The NuTones rotated once with the Ray McKinley Orchestra at the Burlington Memorial Auditorium (VT) in the mid-1950s).

As a working musician, Agostinelli played with the Bert Peters orchestra in the 1940s, and other R.I. musicians, and with various other musicians between the 1940s to the 1960s, including: Bill Cofrances in Vermont (who directed of the Okinawa Symphony Orchestra in the 1950s); guitarist August Gale in southwest Oklahoma; and various jazz and swing musicians in Northern Vermont—including bassist Stillman Millington, the Rood Brothers (trombonist and drummer), and drummer Ken Belding. Tony worked as well with West Bay musician and band leader Horace Magnan.

Jazz History Database JHDB WPI Anthony Agostinelli Jazz Bash

Agostinelli has been a licensed clinical social worker in the State of Rhode Island. He has worked as a newspaper deliverer, a market stock boy, a waiter, musician, social worker, an associate director of the United Way in Rhode Island, Director of Economic Opportunity for the State of Rhode Island in the Office of the Governor, Executive Director of the Urban Coalition, an urban planning consultant, an administrative assistant to a Mayor, a consultant to the New England Roman Catholic Dioceses for Social Justice efforts, an adjunct professor at Rhode Island College and Our Lady of Providence Seminary, and a professor at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island for some 25 years. He also drove cars for Toyota of Newport—for something entirely different!

Agostinelli has served on many boards and committees. He is a Benedictine Oblate of the Monastery of Our Lady Queen of Peace and St. Gregory the Great, in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. In 1956 he became an Honorary Colonel in Oklahoma, a distinction conferred by the organizers of the American Legion auxiliary called Oklahoma Girls State. In the past he has served as a Lector and Eucharistic Minister in his Roman Catholic parishes.

Agostinelli attended Sisson Street grammar school and St. Teresa’s parochial in Providence. In the late 1940s, while a high school student at La Salle Academy, he joined with soprano, Anna Maria Saritelli and baritone, Ray Martone for a regularly scheduled Sunday afternoon radio program on WDEM-AM; their announcer was Sherm Strickhouser.

Lt. Agostinelli was on active duty with Strategic Air Command (SAC) during the mid- to late-1950s.

Beyond music, Tony’s hobbies include music, photography, writing, gardening and word games. He has published his first mystery novella, The Professor Was Dead, which is available on, and (his publisher). He has completed a second mystery a second mystery, The Priest Was Dead, soon to be published.

For 52 years Anthony was married to Barbara E. Agostinelli for 51 years until her death in 2016. They have four grown, married children, (Maria [who passed away in 2022], Katherine, Mark, and Matthew; their respective spouses are: Denis, Frank, Debra, and Carmen), and five grandchildren: Niko; Francesca and Cecilia; Mason and William.

Tony is a life-long resident of Rhode Island.

For Further Information Contact

Anthony J. (Tony) Agostinelli

Atria Aquidneck Place

125 Quaker Hill Lane

Portsmouth, Rhode Island 02871-4073

401-480-5397; [email protected]


Jazz Bash

Anthony Agostinelli’s award-winning "Jazz Bash" features more than fifty television shows profiling hundreds of artists in a conversational interview format.