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Jing-A Da Bells: Legendary Italian Christmas Song Has Sequel, Thanks To WTP Music Teacher

Ray Monte with Nancy Triggiani.
Ray Monte with Nancy Triggiani. Photo Credit: COURTESY: Nancy Triggiani

A decades-old Christmas tune made famous by an Italian-American singer from Lyndhurst now has a big, brassy sequel that aims to "jing-a da bells" all the way.

The original “Dominick the Donkey” was a novelty number recorded nearly 60 years ago by Lou Monte, a Bronx-born vocalist named Luigi Scaglione who grew up in Lyndhurst.

Monte, who died in 1989, didn’t occupy the rarefied airwaves of Sinatra, Dean Martin or Connie Francis. But he did became a household name in several New Jersey neighborhoods – and across the U.S. – with the song “Pepino the Italian Mouse.”

Now comes the sequel to another Monte favorite, “Dominick the Donkey,” inspired by his son, Ray, and composed by Nancy Triggiani of Woodcliff Lake.

The character this time is Dominick’s son, “Dominooch,” a young crooner with what Triggiani calls a “Rat-Pack flair” who succeeds his father in helping Santa Claus deliver gifts.

The finger-poppin' “Dominooch” features shout-outs to Hoboken, Lodi, and Paterson – towns that Italian immigrants and their descendants have long called home – as well as to Bayonne, Brooklyn, the Bronx and beyond.

Triggiani came up with the idea at Westwood Music Studios, which she owns with her husband, guitarist Vincent Musco – and where Ray Monte taught drums for several years.

After penning the original melody, harmony, and lyrics, Triggiani got Russ Kassoff, a pianist, arranger and long-time piano player for Sinatra and Liza Minelli, to produce the rhythm arrangement.

Kassoff also plays piano on the track, joining lead guitarist Jason DeGeorge, bassist Martin Pizzarelli, drummer Tony Tedesco, saxophonist Anton Denner and Hoboken tenor Joey Baccan (the voice of Dominooch) – as well as Triggiani (percussion) and Musco (rhythm guitar).

Making a cameo at the end: legendary 92-year-old jazz guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli of Paterson

“Dominooch” is available worldwide on iTunes (enter: “Dominooch Innova”) and most digital streaming services and can be downloaded from CDBaby.com .

CDs will be released in time for Christmas, Triggiani said.

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