Vintage Music Productions

Adrian Rollini

Adrian Rollini Trio, Quartet and Quintet (1936-1947) VMP 0171 [Vintage Music Productions CD] Classic music from one of the most versatile jazz musicians of his time. Includes rare recordings previously unreleased on LP or compact disc. Featuring Bobby Hackett, Carl Kress, Frank Victor, Haig Stephens, Harry Clark, Al Duffy and Sylvia Barry. The music, on this compact disc, has been digitally restored using Dynamic Spectrum Sound. Dynamic Spectrum Sound is an exclusive and proprietary restoration technique that removes unwanted noise, while preserving the authentic sound of the original recordings, as intended by the artist. Liner notes by Peter Newbrook. Order No. 57750

1. Alexander's Ragtime Band [1938]
2. Crazy Rhythm [1938]
3. China Town [1938]
4. I Can't Get Started With You [1938]
5. Who's Sorry Now? [1938]
6. Get Happy [1938]
7. If I Could Be With You One Hour Tonight [1938]
8. I Found A New Baby [1938]
9. On The Sunny Side Of The Street [1938]
10. Untitled [1938]
11. The Sheik Of Araby [1938]
12. Blue Evening [1938]
13. Louise [1938]
14. I'll Get By [1938]
15. After You've Gone [1938]
16. S'Posin' [1938]
17. Baby Won't You Please Come Home [1938]*
18. Vibrollini [1936]
19. Driftin' [1936]
20. Rebound [1937]
21. Jitters [1937]
22. Estrellita [1939]
23. Dark Eyes [1939]
24. Moonglow [1939]
25. Hesitation Blues [1944]
26. Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby [1944]
27. Way Down Yonder In New Orleans [1947]
28. Oye Negra [1947]
29. Alabamy Bound [1940]

If Adrian Rollini had made no more records after 1935, he would still have been assured of a place in any list of All Time Jazz Greats.

Born in Long Island City on the 28th June 1904, he was the eldest son of a distinguished Italian American, Baron Fernando Rollini. Although his father was the chief graphic artist for the American Tobacco Company, all the family were very musically inclined, and it was not long before Adrian became an accomplished pianist. He had the gift of perfect pitch and had formed a small band when he was still in high school.

He joined the California Ramblers in the early twenties and soon took up the unwieldy bass saxophone and thereafter made many hundreds of records on that instrument. In 1925, he took over leadership of the Ramblers and also started playing two other unusual instruments, firstly the Couesnophone, a brass instrument which he nicknamed the Goofus. The other was a sort of sawn off clarinet made of wood. This he called his Hot Fountain Pen!

In the early part of 1927, he left the Ramblers and took an all star band into the New Yorker Club. This band included Bix Beiderbecke, Bill Rank, Frank Trumbauer, Frank Signorelli and Eddie Lang. When the club folded, he took some of the musicians from this band and went to England to join Fred Elizalde's Band at the Savoy Hotel. Apart from two vacations, he remained abroad until the end of 1929. During one of his visits to New York, he married his long time sweetheart, Dixie, on the 6th April 1928.

By the beginning of the next decade, Jack Deagan had perfected the vibraphone or vibraharp as his instrument was called. Always on the look-out for the unusual, Adrian soon took up this instrument and no doubt within a few weeks was playing it fluently. His early work on vibes can be heard on recordings made with the Joe Venuti, Eddie Lang groups.

He participated in dozens of recording sessions still playing the bass saxophone until in 1935, he organised his own club 'Adrian's Tap Room' which was in the Hotel President. From this time on he tended to specialise on the vibraharp and in 1936, he formed his Trio, and this was the format he used until the end of his life.

The Trio became very successful and played long residencies at hotels like the Piccadilly and the Park Sheraton in New York and the Blackhawk in Chicago.

During World War II, I was stationed in Washington D.C. working in the Pentagon, and in September 1943, the Trio was playing at the El Patio Club on 14th Street. I was lucky enough to meet Adrian who was extremely nice and was pleased to talk with some-one from England as he had very happy memories of his times there. In addition to his work on the vibes, he also took solos on the chimes, the piano and during some of the bass and guitar solos, he played on a small cymbal.

Always interested in new talent, he used Buddy Rich and Bobby Hackett on some of their first recordings. I have always thought it was a great pity that he never associated himself with any other star players from that time forward. On the other hand, I have the feeling that with the Trio, an easier and more happy life could be enjoyed. At one time, he became the musical director of United States Steamship Lines and played and broadcast from their ships. He made his last discs in 1947 for the Bullet label, and these were subsequently issued by Mercury.

In the early fifties, he moved to the Florida Keys and opened a hotel, The Driftwood Lodge in Tavernier. He also played other dates in Florida, the last being at the Eden Roc Hotel in Miami. Adrian, who had suffered from various stomach ailments during his life, was also rather accident prone and in May 1956, he slipped and fell down a flight of stairs. In addition to his liver problems, he caught pneumonia and died in Homestead on 15th May 1956, still a comparatively young man. Dixie Rollini used to wind the mallet heads herself, and these were also used by Red Norvo. Dixie died on the 13th December 1977. Adrian also had a younger brother Arthur who was a featured tenor saxophone soloist with Benny Goodman's Orchestra for many years.

Adrian's technique on the vibraharp was prodigious. He nearly always played with four mallets in a very pianistic style. He introduced finger stopping, note bending and slurring -- tricks employed by Gary Burton many years later. He composed many original tunes, most of which he recorded with the Trio, and Robbins published his 'Method For Vibraharp.'

If you appreciated the first volume of Adrian's work on the SWING TIME label, then here is a very generous portion of more of the same. Sit back and enjoy!


With Adrian Rollini (vibraphone) * Bobby Hackett (cornet) * Arthur Rollini (reeds) * Paul Ricci (reeds) * Al Duffy (violin) * Carl Kress (guitar) * Frank Victor (guitar) * Harry Clark (string bass) * Haig Stephens (string bass) * Sylvia Barry (vocals) * Tune Twisters (vocals).


* Note on discography: The personnel for "Baby Won't You Please Come Home" (track 17) is Adrian Rollini (vib); Bobby Hackett (c); Frank Victor (g); Harry Clark (sb); Tune Twisters (voc). This information was not available, until after the CD went to press, so it does not appear on the actual, printed discography. Thanks to Peter Newbrook for digging up this additional information.

Ordering Information

To order this CD, visit Worlds Records at http://www.worldsrecords.com. Or call 1-800-742-6663. When ordering, refer to the order number below (in red). For online orders, this five-digit number can be copied and pasted into the text field for "itemcode" searches.

Order No. 57750

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