...John Adriano Acea was born on September 11, 1917 in Philadelphia
His mother's name was Leona Lee and his father’s name was also Adriano Acea (Sr.).
The birth certificate (copy) of Adriano has his name spelled Adrian Ocea, so there is
some question as to whether or not the present day recorders took the “O” off the end
of “Adriano” and wrote it on the beginning of “Cea” (*143*). His mother Leona’s
birthplace is given as Virginia and her age as 30. This would place the birthyear of
Leona Lee at 1887. Adriano’s father’s birthplace is given as Cuba and his age is listed
as 29. The certification of birth was originally filed on 22 Sept 1917, eleven days after
the actual birth.
The census taken in early January of 1920, in Philadelphia has both
the father and son’s name
spelled “Adrino Acea” (*102*). Either this was the original spelling of the name and
John Adriano changed the spelling of his name adding the extra ‘a’ in the spelling or
the census taker made an error copying down the name and left the ‘a’ off. John
Adriano’s father Adrino was born in Cuba in the year 1888, and had immigrated to the
United States in 1906, according to the census. At the time of the 1920 census, he had
not been naturalized as a United States citizen. Spanish was his native tongue but he
was able to speak both English and Spanish. Both of Adrino’s parents were also born
in Cuba as indicated on the 1920 census...
...John Adriano Acea Jr. was born with a heart condition known as Rheumatic
doctors told his parents that he would not survive childhood. Known by his nickname
"John", and to the music world as "Acey" and "Johnny Acey", John Adriano Acea was a
most talented musician and was said to have been able to play "all of the instruments!"
His principal instrument seems to have been the piano and it was said by many that "he
was a singer's piano player" because he could blend and improvise so well with any
singer. Amongst the more famous singers that John Adriano Acea played, performed
and recorded with were such notables as Gloria Lynn, Diana Washington, Ruth
Brown, and Patti Page. After his time in the Army as a cornet player, John Acea
played trumpet with Sam Price and tenor saxophone with Don Bagley in the late
1930's. After moving to New York City in the early 1940's, he performed and recorded
as a pianist with Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis (1947-48), Dizzy Gillespie (1949-50), and
Illinois Jacquet (1952-54). He recorded with James Moody (1951), and Al Sears
(1952), and played briefly with Cootie Williams. He made recordings with Joe
Newman (1954-57), including blues for Slim, on the album Joe Newman and His Band,
(1954), and wrote several tunes recorded on Newman's Locking Horns album (1957).
John Acea had also played with jazz great Art Blakey, as well as the original "Jazz
Rapper" Babbs Gonzalez. He not only recorded with but also wrote songs and music
for some of the songs for The Cadallacs, who later became known as The Coasters.
Acey also wrote music and made music charts for Frankie Lane's big band. He also
did the same for Ray Charles. Acey was an adept at writing and creating music charts
for big bands and was in demand by many singers and musicians to produce a finished
product before a certain concert deadline. He was promised to be paid at a later date
on many occasions but all too often was disappointed with empty promises and empty