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Space Age Music Maker

Carmen Cavallaro

  • Born 6 May 1913, New York City, New York
  • Died October 12, 1989, Columbus, Ohio

Known as the "Poet of the Piano," Cavallaro followed the example of Eddy Duchin, whose blend of flashy classically-oriented stylings and popular selections inspired Liberace, Roger Williams, and others. A far better instrumentalist than Duchin, Cavallaro studied and performed as a classical pianist well into his mid-twenties.

Facing a tough job market in serious music, he joined sweet band leader Al Kavelin, who quickly made him the featured soloist. He stayed with Kavelin for four years, then hopped through a series of other sweet and society big bands, including Abe Lyman, Enric Madriguera, and Meyer Davis. In the early 1940s, he began leading his own combos, mostly playing hotel lounges, and picking up a steady run of radio appearances. He formed a large ensemble in 1944, took it to Hollywood, and was hired to perform in a number of musical revue films, starting with "Hollywood Canteen."

After the war, he performed on his own radio show, sponsored by Sheaffer Pens, on Sunday afternoons on NBC. Cavallaro signed a recording contract with Decca around this time and subsequently released a steady string of singles and albums on the label, until it was acquired by MCA in the early 1970s. He had the chance to pay tribute to Duchin's legacy in 1956, when he ghosted the piano work for actor Tyrone Power (and probably played better than Duchin did in the first place).

Cavallaro's work was always professional and tightly arranged (often by Cavallaro himself), but not usually too adventurous or distinctive. Although much of it is standard easy listening fare, some of his 60s stuff is fun, in the vein of other big bands tackling "now sounds."


  • Swingin' Easy, Decca DL-4287
  • The Magic Music of Hollywood, Decca DL-4668
  • Dancing in the Dark, Decca DL-5007
  • Serenade: Italian Folk Songs, Decca DL-5090
  • Music at Midnight, Decca DLP-8115
  • Dancing in the Dark, Decca DLP-8120
  • Carnival in Venice, Decca DLP-8241
  • The Master's Touch, Decca DLP-8288
  • The Eddy Duchin Story (soundtrack), Decca DL-8289
  • Guys and Dolls, Decca DLP-8290
  • Selections from "The King and I," Decca DLP-8305
  • For Latin Lovers, Decca DLP-8325
  • Poetry in Ivory, Decca DLP-8326
  • Rome at Midnight, Decca DLP-8359
  • At the Embers, Decca DLP-8389
  • Cocktails with Cavallaro, Decca DL-8805
  • The Franz Liszt Story, Decca DL-8999
  • Informally Yours, Decca DL-74017
  • I Wish You Love, Decca DL-74566
  • Cavallaro Plays Ellington, Decca DL-74774
  • Carmen Cavallaro Plays the Hits!, Decca DL-74914

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S p a c e  A g e  P o p  M u s i c
Home  ·  Listener's Guide  ·  The Songs  ·  Who's Who  ·  Liner Notes  ·  Selected Tracks  ·  What's New  ·  Search

Email: editor@spaceagepop.com

© spaceagepop 2015. All rights reserved.