Charles Albertine

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Charles Albertine was among the premier arrangers of the space-age pop era, shaping the direction of easy listening through his work with the Three Suns and Les & Larry Elgart. Albertine was born…
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Charles Albertine was among the premier arrangers of the space-age pop era, shaping the direction of easy listening through his work with the Three Suns and Les & Larry Elgart. Albertine was born in Passaic, NJ in 1929, and began playing piano at age five; in subsequent years he mastered a number of woodwinds, and after high school played oboe with the Radio City Music Hall pit band. A stint as a tenor saxophonist behind Sammy Kaye followed, and in 1952 Albertine was tapped as the arranger for Les Elgart's swing band; he would later write a number of songs for the group as well, and Elgart's brother Larry later recorded a complete album of Albertine compositions titled Music for a Barefoot Ballerina. Still, he earned his greatest notoriety as an arranger, taking full advantage of stereo technology to create some of the boldest and most dynamic orchestrations of the period -- characterized by its steady tempos and clear melodies, the so-called "Elgart Sound" also spotlighted a distinctive interplay between trumpets, trombones and reeds, restricting guitars and drums to the background. While continuing to collaborate with the Elgarts, Albertine also began working with the Three Suns, arranging classic RCA "Living Stereo" releases like Movin' & Groovin', Fever & Smoke and On a Magic Carpet. He additionally worked on recordings from Sammy Kaye and Lawrence Welk before relocating to Hollywood in 1964, arranging and conducting scores for films and television; over time, however, Albertine's confidence in his own skills eroded to the point that he considered pursuing a new line of work, although after a seven-year hiatus he eventually regained his footing and returned to music in the mid-'70s. He died May 18, 1986.