Carmen Cavallaro was an American pianist born in New York. He established himself as one of the most accomplished and admired light music pianists of his generation.
Known as the ?Poet of the Piano?, Carmen Cavallaro showed a gift for music from age three, picking out tunes on a toy piano. His parents were encouraged by a friend to develop the child?s musical talents and he studied classical piano in the United States. As a young pianist, he toured Europe performing in many capitals.
In 1933, Cavallaro joined the jazz band of Al Kavelin, where he quickly became the featured soloist. After four years he switched to a series of other big bands, including Rudy Vallee’s in 1937. He also worked briefly with Enrico Madriguera and Abe Lyman.
Starting his own band, a five-piece combo, in St. Louis in 1939, his popularity grew and his group expanded into a 14-piece orchestra, releasing some 19 albums for Decca over the years. Although his band traveled the country and played in all the top spots, he made a particular impact at the Mark Hopkins Hotel in San Francisco, which became a favourite venue, and which many years later, was to be re-visited in the same way by George Shearing and Mel Tormé. Other venues where he drew large and devoted audiences included New York?s Waldorf-Astoria, Chicago?s Palmer House and the Los Angeles? Coconut Grove. In 1963, he had a million seller hit with the song Sukiyaki.