When Mark Carbone was 11 years old in 1972 he began playing alto sax in the sixth grade, at the Ponageset Middle School in West Scituate. His first music teacher was George Lessard.
Although Carbone lived in a poor family, his mother managed to get him a brand new saxophone. In the eighth grade, he joined the high school band and Band Director Nedo Pandolfi suggested that he should take private lessons with Anthony DiNoble (formerly of the Stan Kenton Orchestra). After the first lesson, DiNoble told Pandolfi that Carbone was terrible, but he kept Carbone on as a student because Pandolfi argued that he saw something in him.
It took Carbone the next six months to undo the bad habits that he had acquired in the first three years of playing. After one year, he was DiNoble’s top student, taking one-to-two-hour weekly lessons for $3.50 a week. When Carbone would walk through the door for his lesson, DiNoble would say, “I’ve been waiting all day for you.” Within two years he was playing lead alto for a jazz ensemble; he would hold that seat throughout his high school years. Pandolfi called him the best sax player who ever walked through the halls of the school.
Berklee College called Pandolfi on behalf of Choate Prep School, in search of qualified musicians to perform in its prestigious summer program. Carbone and his friend Ray Cataldo received scholarships and went. Carbone attended Community College of Rhode Island for one and a half years and sang tenor for the college chorus, which performed at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. Then he went to the Modern School of Music to study arranging and composition, all the while performing with different local bands. From there, he went to play with the Marine Corps Band of Virginia.
He also played with Banda Latina and began performing with Carlos de Leon, one of the greatest Latin bandmasters in this part of the country, on stage with such greats as Tito Puente. They perform at the Exodus Café of the Black Repertory Theatre, 276 Westminster Street in Providence, every Wednesday night.
To contact Mark Carbone, call 401-256-6870.