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Adrian Rollini

(June 28th 1903 - May 15th 1956)

Born in New York City in 1903 Adrian Rollini was the eldest of several children of Ferdinand Rollini and Adele Augenti Rollini. A child music prodigy he gave his first piano recital at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel billed as "Professor Adrian Rollini" at age four. Equally skilled on both the piano and xylophone Adrian dropped out of high school in his third year to pursue music full time and became a member of Arthur Hand's pop jazz group the "California Ramblers' while he was still a teen. This new inspiring world of jazz introduced Rollini to the bass saxophone the instrument for which he would become best known. Infact Rollini was so talented that he could perform on just about anything that took his fancy from drums to a cheap dime store melodica (nicknamed the goofus saxophone).

After achieving a tremendous amount of popularity with the "Ramblers" Adrian went on to appear on hundreds of sides with some of the most famous artists of the 1920's including Annette Hanshaw, Cliff Edwards, Frank Trumbauer, Fred Elizalde, Joe Venuti, and Bix Beiderbecke. Sometime during the mid-1930's the changing musical climate coupled with the manifestation of breathing difficulties attributed to pulmonary emphysema prompted Adrian to set his bass saxophone aside in favor of the vibraphone. He would enjoy a continued run of success as leader of his "Trio" and "Quintette" groups.

Adrian Rollini died on May 15th 1956 weeks after being hospitalized due to injuries caused by an automobile accident in Islamorada, Florida in the parking lot of the Green Turtle Inn. Although the physical damages he suffered (including a partially severed foot and collapsed lung) were quite serious, a glass mercury weighted feeding tube which apparently burst in his stomach caused his actual death from mercury poisoning.


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