Trumpeter who graduated from Schurz High School in Chicago, Illinois, in 1946, and just five or six years later was in the recording studio with The Stan Kenton Orchestra, recording Cuban Fire. In 1956, he was jamming with Ray Anthony on Jam Session at the Tower, and helping John Towner Williams lay down his Jazz Beginnings. He was Swingin’ Standards with Buddy Bregman in 1957, and just five years into his recording career, appeared on an album entitled Stars of Jazz. Terry Gibbs recruited him as part of his “Dream Band” in 1959 for The Dream Band, Vol. 2: The Sundown Sessions and Dream Band, Vol. 3: Flying Home.
John made his home in The Leopard Lounge with Sammy Davis, Jr., in 1961, and joined Machito at the Cresendo. It was the year he would hook up with Gerald Wilson and his orchestra on The Artist Selects and You Better Believe It: Then, 1962 was the Moment of Truth. He helped Howard Roberts serve up a delicious pair of treats, Something’s Cookin’ and Goodies, in 1963 and 1964, respectively. Around the same time record buyers were sampling Goodies, John played for a couple of jazz giants, on Harry James’ Verve Jazz Masters 55 and Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Johnny Mercer Songbook.
In 1965, he joined the ranks of The Tonight Show band, with whom he would stay for twenty-six years. It did not hinder his recording career. In 1965 alone, he appeared on three albums, two with Dizzy Gillespie, Angel City and Gil Fuller & The Monterey Jazz Festival Orchestra Featuring Dizzy Gillespie & James Moody, and Going the Frankie Randall Way. He went the Billy May way in 1966 on Billy May Today!.
In October 1967, he participated in one of his most famous recordings, to be sure, Lalo Schifrin’s theme from Mission: Impossible. 1968 was a very busy year: In addition to more Schifrin projects, like Bullitt, More Mission: Impossible, There’s a Whole Lalo Schifrin Goin’ On, and recording the theme from Mannix, John became an erstwhile member of The Big Latin Band of Henry Mancini, collaborated with ex-Monkee Michael Nesmith on The Wichita Train Whistle Sings, and took part in Elvis Presley’s NBC-TV special. In 1969, John took part in the all-star affair, Soul on Top, which featured James Brown with the Louis Bellson Orchestra, conducted by Oliver Nelson.
He took a ride with David Ackles on Subway to the Country in 1970. In 1971, he was one of the distinguished colleagues on Lincoln Mayorga & Distinguished Colleagues. A year later, he helped Van Dyke Parks Discover America. It was back into the movie studio in the mid-‘70s for three more Lalo Schifrin scores, Enter the Dragon, Planet of the Apes, and The Master Gunfighter. Needless to say, but worthy of note, John easily made the cut on Lalo Schifrin’s Most Wanted 1968-1979. In 1979, he also appeared on Frank Sinatra’s boxed set, Trilogy. It is small wonder that he won the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences’ “Most Valuable Player Award” in 1980.
He rang in 1982 with David Grisman on Dawg Jazz/Dawg Grass, which was released on New Year’s Day. A year later, he appeared on The Carpenters’ last album, Voice of the Heart. (It was released eight months after Karen’s death.) The Tonight Show band got busy in 1986, recording enough material for two albums, The Tonight Show Band with Doc Severinsen, Volumes 1 and 2. They disbanded in 1991 when Jay Leno took over for Johnny Carson. In 1992, John reunited with Doc on Good Medicine.
The CD era has seen more and more of his recordings re-mastered and re-released, including Sammy Davis, Jr.’s Wham of Sam, unveiled in 1994, Great Ladies of Song: Spotlight on Nancy Wilson and Ella Fitzgerald’s Jazz Round Midnight Again, released in 1995, and 1996’s Swinging Brass with the Oscar Peterson Trio/Bursting out with the All-Star Band. John was also a member of The All Star Band that played Big Band Favorites of Sammy Nestico in 1999.
The turn of the millennium saw The Complete Pacific Jazz Recordings of Gerald Wilson made available, as well as the monster anthology of Richard “Groove” Holmes recordings, The Best of the Pacific Jazz Years, and Q: The Musical Biography of Quincy Jones. Terry Gibbs rounded up the boys in 2002 for Dream Band, Vol. 6: One More Time. In 2003, John made the cut on Concord Records 30th Anniversary album. A couple of years later, he reunited with Nancy Wilson on a pair of albums: Guess Who I Saw Today: Nancy Wilson Sings Songs of Lost Love and Save Your Love for Me: Nancy Wilson Sings the Great Blues Ballads. James Brown’s Jazz was re-released on CD on 24th March 2007. Rick Nelson’s creatively titled Album Seven was re-released in 2008.
John Audino was considered one of the “A” list trumpet players, and has left behind a generous discography, only a fraction of which is listed here.
Here he is performing “Avenue C” with the Frank Capp/Nat Pierce Juggernaught Band..