- Steven M. Kane
Austin, Johnny (23 December 1910–14 February 1983), musician, was born John A. Augustine in Vineland, New Jersey, the son of Samuel Augustine and Henrietta Labriola, occupations unknown. Little is known about his early years, and it is not known when he began using the name “Austin” professionally. Originally a student of the violin, he took up drums and played in his high school band and, later, with dance bands in the greater Philadelphia area. In one of these combos was a trumpeter whose playing Austin found unusually exciting. When the trumpeter left to join another band, Austin obtained a horn of his own and did his best to emulate the man’s style. He matured rapidly as a trumpeter and began to build a local reputation as a forceful performer on the instrument. On occasion, to please and impress audiences, he would play trumpet and drums simultaneously....