CLAUDE CAVALOTTI and his Orchestra

Claude Cavalotti

Claude Oreste Cavalotti was born in London in July 1907 and was one of those bandleaders who, despite being a household name on radio, is poorly documented, possibly because he made few commercial recordings - certainly none with his own band. According to a 1931 edition of 'Melody Maker' his father was one half of the Cavalotti Brothers who did a multi-instrumental act on the London stage before the first world war. Claude - a child prodigy, was already playing the saxophone and doing some concert work. Although he had been training to be an architect, he decided to make music his career, joining pianist Fred Spreadbury in a double act at Pritchard's in Oxford Street. The duo formed the 'Coney Island Band', performing in variety and having residencies at the Empress Rooms, The Regent Palace Hotel, the Popular Cafe and the Strand Corner House - all in London.

In 1925, Claude Cavalotti joined Alfredo and his Band, staying with him for many years, certainly until the late forties, although there is evidence that he left Alfredo for a while in 1939, forming his own quartet at the Marina, St.Leonard's on Sea. He played on Alfredo's records and recorded a saxophone solo Valse Poem/Velma on Filmaphone.

He was regarded as a virtuoso player and, during the early fifties, gave recitals with piano accompaniment on the BBC Home Service. By the mid-fifties he had formed his nine-piece orchestra, comprising one trumpet, five saxes, piano, bass and drums.This commenced regular broadcasting in 1956 and during the next eleven years played regularly on 'Music While You Work' - notching up an impressive 154 editions. Although sometimes lacking finesse, they were an enthusiastic sounding band which clearly went down well with listeners. They did private engagements but were primarily a radio band. By the mid-sixties, the band was also playing in 'Breakfast Special'. Although Claude Cavalotti was known as a saxophone player (as was his brother Remo), I believe that he also played the accordion, this instrument usually being featured a couple of times in each programme.

After broadcasting ceased in the late sixties, Claude Cavalotti’s band continued to take engagements, notably at the London Hilton Hotel where he had a semi-residency. He also became an agent towards the end of his life. He died in June 1991 in Kingsbridge, Devon.

(I am grateful to Terry Brown for much of the information on the early years of Claude Cavalotti's career)

Click here!
Listen to 'Music While You Work'
played by Claude Cavalotti and his Orchestra
as broadcast in 1966

Click here!
Listen to 'Music While You Work'
played by Claude Cavalotti and his Orchestra
as broadcast in 1965

Click here!
Listen to 'Music While You Work'
played by Claude Cavalotti and his Orchestra
as broadcast at 3.31 p.m.on 27th September 1965

MUSIC WHILE YOU WORK at 3.31 p.m. on 27th September 1965
played by Claude Cavalotti and his Orchestra

Calling All Workers (Sig)
From This Moment On
In the Middle of Nowhere
A Bedouin in Baghdad
Love Me with All Your Heart
Everything's In Rhythm With My Heart
Look Through Any Window
Spoonful of Sugar
My Favourite Things
Tango '65
University Rag
Zorba's Dance
You've Done Something to My Heart
Vino Tinto
Unchained Melody
If Ever I Would Leave You
Calling All Workers (Sig)
Eric Coates
Buddy Kaye
Eric Coates

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Text by Brian Reynolds : e-mail