Tumino, John B. (1911-2001)
- Existence: 1911-04-30 - 2001-05-21
John B. Tumino was born April 30, 1911, in Kansas City, Missouri, to George and Emanuela Tumino. He attended Karnes Grade School and Manual High School; and later St. Benedict and Rockhurst Colleges, where he played basketball for both schools. While at Rockhurst, he and two other student friends decided to put on a musical; so they entered a course at the Kansas City Horner Conservatory to improve their talents. At the Horner School, Tumino met Helen Donaldson, whom he married on September 10, 1931. His entry into the entertainment field began when he went to work as a lifeguard at Fairyland Park. This led to an opportunity to manage the dance pavilion, where he persuaded the park management to bring in big bands, such as Tommy Dorsey; attendance soared. The pavilion was doing so well that Dave E. Dexter Jr., a jazz journalist for Billboard Magazine and Kansas City native, met John and encouraged him to branch out by booking bands for the leading booking agency on the West Coast.
Besides top name bands, Tumino became manager for Jay McShann, Charlie Parker, Julia Lee, Harlan Leonard, the Five Scamps, and Luqman Hamza. Tumino opened the Century Room at 37th and Broadway and booked many of the bands and entertainers he would eventually manage. Besides managing musical artists, Tumino was himself a composer, publishing under the name of John Tums. Save Me Some; Home Town Blues; Say Forward, I’ll March; and Get Me on Your Mind are just a few of his musical contributions. Tumino and his wife traveled extensively, booking bands from 1941-1943 before returning to Kansas City to concentrate on his booking agency, Consolidated Orchestras of America, headquartered at 12th and Walnut in downtown Kansas City.
In 1940 Tumino purchased a picnic park at 75th and Blue Ridge in Raytown and named it Bel-Air Picnic Park, which he operated for forty years. He was also at one time President of the Northeast Community Center, which also included the Italian Cultural Center. On August 24, 1990, Mayor Berkley presented Tumino with the Jazz Heritage Award from the Kansas City Jazz Commission.
John B. Tumino passed away May 21, 2001, at Delmar Gardens of Lenexa.
Source: Obituary. The Kansas City Star. May 23, 2001.