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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Moonlight Playing Time - Frankie Froba



Moonlight Playing Time
Frankie Froba
Piano Solos with Rhythm Accompaniment
Decca Records DL 5455 (10-inch LP)

From the back cover: Born in New Orleans, Frankie Froba had a boyhood filled with the sound of the burning pianistics that blazed from a hundred early honky-tonks of the old city. A lad with a natural feeling for rhythm and improvisation, Frankie soon took to the hot keyboard like the proverbial duck to water. By the time he was fourteen, he was good enough to land a job in a local spot known as the Jitney Dance Hall.

Having definitely arrived at the decision that music was going to be his bread, butter, and occasional piece of cake, Frankie elected to avail himself of a slightly more staid and standardized bit of musical experience. So he got himself a job playing pipe organ in a local theatre. A small dose of this, however, proved unpleasant for his musical tastes and he called it quits. At sixteen he made the usual pilgrimage of most musical hopefuls: he went to New York City. His first stay was short-lived when he fell ill soon after arriving and, eventually had to return to Louisiana to rest and recuperate. Regaining his health, Frankie joined a jazz group playing at New Orleans' well-known Absinthe House and achieved a reputation for being one of the ablest pianists in a town where the competition was extremely keen.

His trip to New York had not been entirely fruitless, it turned out, for his brief sojourn in several obscure Knickerbocker spots had brought him to the attention of band builder Harold Oxley. Oxley persuaded him to leave Absinthe House and return to Manhattan for a second stab at the big time. It was not long before Frankie clicked with the young leaders whose names were soon to be among Swingdom's greats.

Frankie was with Benny Goodman for a while but left him in 1935 and went to 52nd Street's famous Onyx Club, where he remained for several years. In 1936 he was one of the first musicians to participate in a formal "swing concert" at the Imperial Theatre. He left the Onyx Club to launch his own trio, and, after a string of successful engagements in New York hotel dinning and dancing rooms, culminating in a nine month run at the Victoria Hotel in 1946, the trio departed to Frankie's native Southland, where they achieved new popularity in the sleek bistros of Miami Beach. The popularity continues – and grows. Froba's appeal is not confined to a single mood. It works its spell son the old-times and the young-in-heart – all those who refuse to grow old

Now High The Moon
Blue Moon
(There Ought To Be A) Moonlight Saving Time
Stardust Of The Moon
Moonlight On The Ganges
Moon Over Miami 
It's Only A Paper Moon

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