About the Bishop of Jazz


A native of Morristown, NJ, Rio Clemente is a member of its Hall of Fame. He has been named Professional Artist of the Year by the Arts Council of the Morris Area, New Jersey Monthly Magazine has named him among its “Top 40 New Jersians” and the New Jersey Jazz Society has named him Musician of the Year.

Rio’s career began with a BMI scholarship for musical theater and subsequent studies at Juilliard School of Music. A grant for new composers followed from Broadway Tomorrow. Along with his classical training, Rio developed a style embracing a diversity of music, including jazz, that makes him a most expressive and versatile pianist.

After several television appearances, Rio advanced to playing at the JVC Jazz Festival, the Newport Jazz Festival, Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center. He has entertained audiences in Europe, Bermuda, the Virgin Islands and Antigua. He has performed at the United Nations and has appeared with the Jefferson Symphony in Golden, CO, with the Livingston (NJ) Symphony and with ensemble groups like the Morris Choral Society and Orchestra.

He has performed from coast to coast for senators, governors, mayors and other dignitaries. He has played jazz clubs from Manhattan to Cape Cod and from Florida to California. He has also performed with Florence Henderson, Carol Lawrence, Norm Crosby and Jack Carter in the Florida Follies

In New York, Rio has appeared at Manhattan’s famed Iridium Jazz Club with the Les Paul Trio; Birdland., the Oak Room at the Algonquin Hotel, The West Bank Café’s Laurie Beechman Theater, the New York Friars Club, the Sylvia & Danny Kaye Theatre at Hunter College; Rainbow Room and the Player’s Club just  to name a few venues.

He has recorded under contract for Holland labels, Showplace Music Productions and has published ten CDs under his own Etnemelc Music Productions label. As a composer, he has written a number of selections ranging from Gospel to Latin, and orchestral arrangements. In collaboration with lyricist/author Carmine Lombardo, Rio has composed the music for four musicals including the family musical, “Dare To Dream.” He has also performed Dave Brubeck’s Mass “To Hope! A Celebration.” (Dave Brubeck has written, “Rio Clemente is EXCELLENT!”)

Rio has recorded with bassist Milt Hinton, and prepared a feature CD on Richard Rodgers that led Linda Rodgers to say, “Rio plays my father’s music better than anyone I ever heard.” And comedian Freddy Roman has said, “I want to open for you!

As a music educator, Rio has served as music director for the Generations of Jazz program of the New Jersey Jazz Society.

Rio’s latest accomplishment was performing at the White House representing the United States Coast Guard and all Auxiliaries. He has also been given the honor of being selected as Auxiliarist of the Year for exemplary service from Sector New York, United States Coast Guard.