Saturday, May 23, 2009

Who's Almost Who In Knickerbocker Village History: Art Rollini

Above: Schertzer and Rollini playing in Benny Goodman's band from the previous post
We've mentioned Hymie Schertzer's LES connection beforeRollini grew up in Larchmont, a little over a mile from where KVer Mark now lives and maybe even closer to where his Larchmont native wife grew up. Yes, I know it's a stretch, I just wanted an excuse to play Benny Goodman.
A fine tenor-saxophonist, Arthur Rollini was largely overshadowed by the more distinctive stylists of the 1930s and was essentially a journeyman most famous for his association with Benny Goodman during the clarinetist's rise to fame. The younger brother of the great Adrian Rollini (the master of the bass sax), Arthur started playing music in New York in the late 1920s, attended Columbia University and worked with The California Ramblers. He spent most of 1929 in London, playing with Fred Elizalde's Orchestra. Arthur freelanced in New York for the next few years, recording with his brother and working with Bert Lown, The California Ramblers, Paul Whiteman and George Olsen. He was a member of the Benny Goodman Orchestra from 1934-39, occasionally getting solos and contributing to Goodman's ride to great success. After leaving Goodman, Arthur was with the orchestras of Richard Himber (1940-41) and Will Bradley (1941-42) before becoming a longtime member of the staff at ABC. Unfortunately, Arthur (who never led his own record session) played very little jazz in later years, although he appeared on a record date with Brad Gowans in 1946. His 1987 autobiography, Thirty Years with the Big Bands, is highly rated. ~ Scott Yanow, All Music Guide

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