Adrian Rollini

Adrian and Lionel were the first to play the Vibes in a jazz setting. In fact I think Adrian actually came first? Anyone know if that's correct?

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Found this online:

was a child prodigy on piano; at age four he played a recital at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel (34th sreet and 5th Avenue) in New York. He led his own band at age 14 and began playing with the California Ramblers in the early 1920s. The California Ramblers were one of the most recorded bands of the 1920s. The band also featured Red Nichols, Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey. The California Ramblers played popular tunes of the day with a Jazz influence. While in that band Rollini developed his distinctive style of bass saxophone playing. He played in Red Nichols' Five Pennies and appeared on many of Red's recording sessions. He also worked with Frankie Trumbauer and his Orchestra and recorded with Cliff Edwards and Bix Beiderbecke and his Gang. In 1934 he put together some recording sessions that featured Jack Teagarden, Bunny Berigan and Benny Goodman.

Tony Miceli (new)
s k y p e: tjazzvibe

From what I found Rollini wasn't recording on vibraphone until 1938; Hamp had joined Benny Goodman's trio in 1936. Prior to playing vibes Rollini's most influential (and most popular) playing was actually on the bass saxophone!

The important thing to keep in mind is that the vibraphone had already been in existence for approximately 15 years before guys like Hamp and Rollini came along and made it a jazz instrument. Before then the function of the vibraphone had been tied strictly to color.

John H. Beck has an entry on Rollini in his Encyclopedia of Percussion in the chapter "The Vibraphone, Vibraharp, and Vibes", on page 401:

"Two events in 1930-31 forecast the important role of the vibraphone in modern jazz and the rise of vibraphone artists to international fame. In New York City, Adrian Rollini (1904-1956), a versatile saxophone player whose swinging jazz quartet was a popular draw for a 42nd Street speakeasy, added the Model 145 vibraharp to his bandstand. His driving improvisation on the new percussion instrument brought jazz musicians from many directions to hear the uniquely original sound and established Rollini as a major jazz innovator of the period."

He goes on to talk about Lionel Hampton's 1931 recording, but it sounds like Rollini beat Hamp to the vibes. However, Red Norvo was already playing a little vibes in the late '20s, so he wins as the original innovator.

Check out Beck's entry here:

wow, so rollini is a much heavier and important person in the world of percussion than we give him credit for? or I give him credit for?

Maybe...I think Beck might be overemphasizing Rollini's importance, but I'm going do more research and hopefully get to the bottom of it. I was talking to my professor about my project and he found some info. on guys who were recording on vibes in 1924/25 over in Europe, so that would beat the US if they were making jazz vibe recordings that early...or it could be vaudeville stuff like Louis Frank Chiha ("Signor Fresco") did over here around that time. Not done with my paper yet so maybe by the time I hand it in I'll have solved some of these mysteries...