Adrian Rollini Biography

28 June 1904, New York City, New York, USA, d. 15 May 1956, Homestead, Florida, USA. After starting out on piano and xylophone, Rollini switched to bass saxophone in the early 20s. As a member of the prolific recording band the California Ramblers he played with many leading jazzmen of the day including Bix Beiderbecke, Frank Trumbauer and Red Nichols. His younger brother, Arthur Rollini, was also a sometime member of the Ramblers. Rollini had a great influence upon many young white jazzmen in the USA and also in the UK, where he worked towards the end of the decade as a member of Fred Elizalde’s band. In the mid-30s and 40s he was mostly in New York where he held several long hotel residencies, at the time adding the vibraphone to the list of instruments on which he was adept. He continued playing into the 50s but in Florida where he had moved to run his own hotel. Despite the cumbersome nature of the bass saxophone, Rollini always played with great flair and swing and few other musicians in jazz have matched him on this instrument. He influenced Harry Gold and several baritone saxophonists including Harry Carney. He died in 1956.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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