Formed in New York City, New York, USA, in 1933, the Al Kavelin Orchestra played its first engagement at the Central Park Casino in that year. Kavelin was a graduate of the Royal Verdi Conservatory in Milan, Italy. Before becoming a band leader he had previously been an associate of Jean Goldkette. The decision to form his own orchestra was instigated by Eddy Duchin. Duchin had been enormously successful at the Central Park Casino, from where his radio appearances had made him one of the biggest names on the east coast. However, as he was still under contract with the Casino, he was forced to find a replacement for his bookings there before he could negotiate his own exit. He recommended Kavelin, who organised his band so as to replicate the Duchin sound. The new band’s best known member was singer Carmen Cavallaro. Other vocalists to perform with them included Vivian Blaine, Bill Darnell, Don Cornell and Virginia Gilcrest. Their initial eight week engagement was extended to 24 weeks, by which time they had secured prestigious airplay through the CBS organisation. Competitors MCA then stepped in to offer the group touring contracts, which took them coast to coast. The 30s and 40s saw the orchestra play most of the major hotels and ballrooms of the dance band circuit, including the Waldorf-Astoria, Essex House and the Biltmore (New York), the Blackstone Hotel (Chicago), the Mark Hopkins (San Francisco), the Baker (Dallas), the Peabody (Memphis) and the Roosevelt (New Orleans). They enjoyed their biggest recording success in 1941 when Kavelin wrote ‘I Give You My World’. This topped the Lucky Strike Hit Parade and sold heavily throughout America. By the 50s the dance band boom was fading, and Kavelin chose to set up a new business, the successful Kavelin Tours organisation.
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