WFDU Archives: Jack Pignatello

Host profile: Jack Pignatello

Jack Pignatello is the host of Sounds So Sweet, a new internet radio program on WFDU.FM featuring the sweet sounds of jug band music.

Jug Band music is a uniquely American genre, combining country, folk, gospel, jazz and pop music. Historically, the original jug bands were ever-changing ensembles featuring traditional instrumentation such as guitar, banjo and fiddle, but also including home-made instruments to fill out the sound of the group. The jug took the place of the bass or the tuba, the washtub bass replaced the standup bass, kazoos often took the musical parts usually reserved for trumpets and coronets, the washboard added rhythm and percussion, bones and spoons also added another rhythm/percussion element.

The show’s mission is to spread the gospel of jug band music in all its iterations and permutations, and although we recognize that there are lots of jug band aficionados, there are still pockets of would be fans that need to be pulled into the fold. The show will cover the history of jug band music through the music of the pioneers. The roots, the influences, the musicians who invented and developed it, the personalities who kept the torch burning through the years and the current bands and music that were influenced by jug band music.

We’ll also expand the definition of the music by including not only the traditional and revival material, but also the modern music. We’ll also include music that could or should be jug band music, and musicians who’ve been in jug bands and moved on.

Jack’s connection to jug band music began as an undergraduate at Montclair State College in 1965, when he and a bunch of classmates formed a jug band for a campus musical event. The band was called The Dirdy Birdies Jug Band, and this one-time performance has evolved into a band that’s been going strong for almost 50 years. The band has played for audiences in Canada, the UK, and plenty of locations in the US, including headlining spots at the National Jug Band Jubilee in Louisville, KY, the birthplace of jug band music.

Jack also hosts Saturday Night at The Movies on WBMA TV in Bloomfield, which is broadcast on many cable systems in the northeast and midwest, and can also be seen on the internet at www.wbmatv.com.

Jack also spends time in community theater. He has appeared as Mr. Potter in It’s a Wonderful Life at Brundage Park Playhouse, as Marvin Michaels in California Suite at TLC in Clifton, Jonathan Brewster in Arsenic and Old Lace at TLC, Franz Liebkin, the rollicking Nazi pigeon keeper/playwright in The Producers, and he was nominated for a best actor Perry Award for his role as Oscar Madison in The Odd Couple at CCCT in Hasbrouck Heights.

Since jug band music doesn’t produce the huge sums of money that pop music does, Jack has been forced to find gainful employment. He spent most of his career in the arts, as a writer, a photographer and a television producer. Jack now owns the northern New Jersey franchise territory for Amramp, a manufacturer and supplier of commercial and residential wheelchair ramps and other disability products.

Recent episodes

  1. Road Trip Radio

    Road Trip Radio

    September 20, 2017, 1:00PM

  2. Road Trip Radio

    Road Trip Radio

    September 13, 2017, 1:00PM

  3. Road Trip Radio

    Road Trip Radio

    September 6, 2017, 1:00PM

  4. Road Trip Radio

    Road Trip Radio

    August 30, 2017, 1:00PM