In November 2006 I wrote a post about a little piece of ephemera in my possession, an invitation to a 1927 Chicago dance. (That post is still one of my favorites.) Back then I could find no information about the orchestra hired for the dance, A. Pellegrino and His Original Alabama Syncopators. But I just did, on a page from the Chicago newspaper the Suburban Economist, May 13, 1925:
There are few dance orchestras more “zippy” than this one, to be at WBCN about 11:45 o’clock Thursday night, and which is shortly to take to the stage for a few weeks. While these boys, who travel under the name of the Alabama Syncopators, have been heard before from WBCN, their last appearance was several months ago and many who heard them may have forgotten their unusually “dancy” tempo. From left to right, those in the photo are: Pasquale Venuso, trombone; Frank Martello, trap drums; Joseph Pellegrino, cornet; Edward Kapek, piano; Anthony Pellegrino, saxophone and clarinet (director); Nicholas Pellegrino, saxophone and clarinet; James Tarentino, banjo.The Social Security Death Index lists just one Edward Kapek (1901–1985) and one Pasquale Venuso (1907–1979). There’s a Frank Martello (1905–1976) whose last residence was in Chicago, and an Anthony Pellegrino (1902–1979) and a Nicholas Pellgrino (1906–1970) whose last residences were in Illinois.
Looking at the faces in this photograph, particularly those of Martello and Venuso, I see a group of kids, really — school friends perhaps? — all together on an adventure in music. I wonder how long it lasted.
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