CD Review: Pietro Frosini: Jolly Caballero
total time: 77:06
label: AV Norild Forlag AS
review date: May 2006
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Review by: Henry Doktorski
Pietro Frosini (along with Guido Deiro, Pietro Deiro and Anthony Galla-Rini) was one of the early American vaudeville accordion pioneers. He was born in Sicily in 1885 and studied piano, cornet, harmony, counterpoint and composition at the Municipal Conservatory of Fine Arts in Catani Sicily as well as the Milan Conservatory of Music. He emigrated to the United States in 1905, made his accordion debut at Fresno California, and became a vaudeville star (billed as "The Wizard of the Accordion") who in 1911 gave a command performance before King George V of England. Frosini wrote approximately 200 original pieces for accordion; most were light and entertaining but some were more serious, like his virtuosic Variations on Carnival of Venice (1938) and Three Rhapsodies (1939). He passed away in New York City in 1951.
This CD contains original Pietro Frosini recordings from 78 RPM records from 1920 to 1930. Most of the pieces were composed by Frosini himself. Only a few, usch as Beautiful Heaven Waltz (Cielto-Lindo), I Hate to Love You (traditional), Serenata Primaverile (vioviale) and Curro Cuchares March (G. Metallo) were composed by others.
Although a good portion of the contents of this CD features Frosini as solo accordionist (Jolly Cabellero stands out in this regard) most of the tracks include an accompanying instrument, such as banjo, guitar or piano. Olive Blossoms includes a pair of castenets which adds a characteristic Spanish flair to the piece.
The CD sound quality is superb, considering the age of the original records. The producers have carefully remastered all the original 78 RPM recordings and digitized them onto computer disc, then removed the pops, scratches and hisses. I was impressed! When I close my eyes I can pretend that I'm living back in 1925, sitting in a decorated living room on a parlour sofa listening to our state-of-the-art Victrola, and playing these records which I might have purchased from Frosini when he travelled through town and performed at our vaudeville theater!
I recommend this recording for all accordion lovers.