Johnny Frigo was born in 1916 on the south side of Chicago. His earliest gigs were playing string bass and tuba in nightclubs and amusement parks. In the early 1940's, Johnny played bass in the Chico Marx Orchestra.
During WWII, Johnny joined the Coast Guard and played with Al Haig and Kai Winding. After the war, Johnny was called to play with the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra. Afterward, he formed a group to play at the Stuyvesant Hotel in Buffalo, the Soft Winds Trio with Herb Ellis on guitar and Lou Carter on piano.
"That became a phenomenal trio. We were all single, rehearsing like crazy, and were playing that George Shearing sound before George even had it