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Lifetime jazz award to be dedicated to late musician

The Niagara Fine Arts Program and the City of Niagara Falls will dedicate a "lifetime jazz award" to the late Gerald J. "Jerry" D'Amico during the Ontario House Jazz Tribute from 2 to 8 p.m. Sunday on the staircase outside the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center, 1201 Pine Ave.

D'Amico, a local musician and proprietor of a landmark music store on Pine Avenue for more than 35 years, died July 17, 2008. He was 74.

Sunday's program is a continuation of the former Ontario House Jazz Reunions that were held on Ontario Avenue.

The program will feature the Jamie Holka Trio at 2 p.m., the Pappy Martin Quintet at 4 p.m. and Ron Cosaro's Upstate Express at 6 p.m.

In case of inclement weather, the jazz tribute will be moved inside to the NAAC's Grande Theatre. The building is the former Niagara Falls High School at Pine Avenue and Portage Road.

Among his early jobs, D'Amico was the service manager at Massaro Chevrolet, formerly known as Don Allen Chevrolet. Fulfilling a lifelong dream, he abandoned the automobile business for music.

He opened D'Amico Music, offering concert tickets and music lessons and was the home of the Brewery recording studio, engineered by D'Amico and Rick Catanese. They recorded artists such as Spyro Gyra, Sheila E. and many local musicians.

D'Amico also was the booking agent for performances of the late local guitarist Tommy Tedesco, singer Donna Summer and local bands.

He got his start in music playing the saxophone and later the piano and keyboards. He also was a songwriter. He performed in the Jerry D'Amico Group and in his band, Brimstone, that lasted for 20 years.

In 2001, he received the Pine Avenue Business Association's Biggest Asset Award, and in 2004, he received a Molson Music Award and was inducted into its Music Hall of Fame.

D'Amico performed at the Ontario House, which was a jazz mecca in its heyday.

Sunday's program is the last in this year's series of summer concerts on the steps outside the NAAC.

email: rbaldwin@buffnews.com