Francis Nunzio Carlone, professionally known as Frankie Carle (1903-2001), was a popular pianist whose sweet dance band rose to prominence during the 1940s, followed by a second wave of popularity in the easy listening market throughout the 1950s. Just months after his passing, Living Era assembled a splendid tribute to this accomplished entertainer, consisting of 28 recordings made during the years 1937-1947. As is typical of this excellent reissue label, some of the artist's best representative recordings are prefaced with a version of his most famous composition (in this case performed by Glen Gray & the Casa Loma Orchestra), then placed in context using an early example of his work as a sideman in an orchestra led by Mal Hallett. After subsequently serving as pianist and arranger for Horace Heidt's Musical Knights, Carle formed his own band in 1944 and was soon turning out hit records. "Oh, What It Seemed to Be!" for example, charted at number one for no less than 11 weeks. The layout of this album is exceptionally fine, as Carle's small rhythm combo alternates with the full-sized Carle Orchestra, garnished at times with vocals by crooner Paul Allen and Carle's daughter Marjorie Hughes. Frankie Carle was a master of accessible interpretation; in addition to a handful of his own tunes this album finds him handling pleasant melodies by a range of composers and songwriters including Cole Porter, Zez Confrey, Jacques Offenbach, George Gershwin, Scott Joplin, Euday Bowman, and Isham Jones. As an introduction and a salute to the life and work of Frankie Carle, Living Era's Sunrise Serenade is simply unparalleled.
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