Tuned (in concert) 1971 (Norwalk, Ct.)
Roger Kinkle once wrote "The flashy society style pianist
had an excellent touch and technique with
The popularity of the dance craze peeked his interest, he first worked with Al Kavelin in 1933 and joined Rudy Vallee four years later. He also worked briefly with the Enric Madriguera and Abe Lyman Orchestra. In 1939 Cavallaro formed his first band, a five piece combo for a gig at the St. Louis Hotel.
The demand for his piano showcase band allowed him to travel the country playing most every important spot, including the Mark Hopkins in San Francisco. The band recorded a string of very popular songs with Decca, and in 1944 landed the first of many motion picture performances in "Hollywood Canteen." In 1956, he recorded the soundtrack for the film, "The Eddie Duchin Story." He also had a million-seller in 1963 with the song "Sukiyaki."
In the early 1980's, a San Francisco Bay Area Radio Station (KCEA FM) polled their listeners for the band most closely associated with the area. The two top bands were clearly ahead of the other 52 bands listed on the poll. Paul Whiteman (who formed his first band in San Francisco in 1918) and Carmen Cavallaro!
The "Poet of the Piano" indeed still has a buying public in Northern California, even decades after his last recording. A local radio show paid tribute to the maestro after his death in 1989 by saying Cavallaro showed other men how to be a showman! Liberaci said he stole everything from Cavallaro, "expert the fancy rings."
Hal Pruden, who was a contemporary of Cavallaro's said,
"He had amazing fingers! He really did. Those of us that had similar piano
showcase bands knew he was a genius. The best part of all was that he was
also my best friend."
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