Page Cavanaugh

Page Cavanaugh was a Kansas native, born January 1922 in Cherokee. He was ten years of age when he began to play the piano. By his teens, he was an expert on keyboards. In the late nineteen thirties, he began steady work in the territory band, The Ernie Williamson Orchestra. Cavanaugh served as the replacement pianist for the Army trio The Three Sergeants in Sacramento, California. He also made acquaintance with Lloyd Pratt and Al Viola, who would later form a musical partnership. In the mid-forties, the small unit known as The Page Cavanaugh Trio, based in Los Angeles began to gain club work in Southern California. Their musical style was influenced by the King Cole Trio. They developed a distinctive vocal sound that consisted of unison soft singing. They soon received great reviews and gained popularity. They started recording for small West Coast labels, and soon discovered musical spots in motion pictures. The ARA label was the first place that the trio recorded their first recordings. These are “Air Mail Special”/”Saipan” (#151), and “Fish And Chips”, and “After You’ve Gone”. Sides recorded for Encore included “Crazy Rhythm”, “Too Soon”, and “Don’t Blame me” / When The Gooses Return To Massachusetts” (# 504). “Jump Easy” / You Go To My Head” was # 516. Mastertone Records followed up with “Autumn In New York” as well as the first recording of “The Three Bears”, # 7519. Also, # 7523 featured a remake of “Saipan and “Vine Street Hayride”. Signature Records, a Chicago-based independent record label, was next to release “Body And Soul” (# 15190) and “Blue Moon” (# 15195), and “I’ll Remember April” and “The Man I Love” (# 15195). The Page Cavanaugh Trio was signed to RCA Victor Records after these independent records. The trio’s greatest record success was achieved with this major label. RCA # 2085 released “All Of Me” as well as a remake “The Three Bears”. The group’s hit “Bears”, which was particularly popular on the West Coast, was a big seller. Johnny Desmond performed with the trio on “I’ll Close My Eyes”, and “Guilty” (#22109). Jane Harvey sang “Foggy River” as well as “My Number One Dream Came True” (# 2149). On # 2246, “Heartbreakin”, “Walking My Baby Back Home”, and “Love’s Got Me In A Lazy Mood,” followed. They had Frank Sinatra as a fan and also recorded. They made a few appearances on “Songs By Sinatra”, a radio program on CBS in late 1946 and early 1947. They also backed Sinatra on “That’s How Much I Love You” (Columbia # 37231) The trio was also a featured act on the Jack Pair Show for NBC radio, 1947. The Page Cavanaugh Trio supported Mel Torme, another great vocalist, at this time. They recorded many songs with Torme for MacGregor Transcriptions, which was later released on CDs by Glendale. In the late fifties, Musicraft Records released some of these collaborations. These collaborations included “I Can’t give you anything but love” / Three Little Words on Musicraft # 528; “Love Is A Funny Thing / I’ll Always Be In Love with You” # 530; “Magic Town” # 12118; and “And Mimi” # 15114. The trio began working in motion pictures in the late 1940s. The first was “Record Party”, a Name Band Musical Short. In 1948, “Big City” followed by “A Song Is Born” where Page played a dramatic role. Then, in 1948, “Big City” and then “Jingle Jangle Jingle”, and finally, “Romance On The High Seas,” which featured Doris Day in her debut leading role. The trio made a huge appearance at the Strand Theater, New York with Sarah Vaughn. They recorded “Anything For You”, “Ok’l Baby Dok’l”, # 2646, and “Daisies Don’t Tell” # 2910. “I Would Do Anything For You”, “I Want A Little Girl” # 3027, and “You Say The Nicest Things”, # 3345. “Bianca” was also recorded. In March 1948, the Page Cavanaugh Trio was featured on Guest Star. Capitol Records recorded the trio with “Daddy-O”, and “That’s How He Does It”, featuring Lillian Lane singing. In 1948, Frank Sinatra called the trio and they accompanied him on a tour along the East Coast. Al Viola, guitarist, quit the group to study theory and composition and learn classical guitar. He was also a part of the often lucrative industry of studio musicians in the Hollywood area. Viola’s departure caused the trio to change their lineup, adding drums to replace the guitar. The Page Cavanaugh Trio had become a quartet by 1950, with Robert Morgan playing guitar and Charles Parnell on bass. Alvin Stoller was added to the band on drums (who would become part of the orchestra of Billy May). They recorded two sides for Discovery Records, a subsidiary of Savoy Records in New Jersey. “Don’t Go Away Mad”, “Except For Loving You” were # 527 and # 528 respectively. “Of All Things” was # 528. “This Time The Dream’s on Me” was # 528. The trio also made a motion picture appearance in “Lullaby Of Broadway”, starring Doris Day, in 1951. The Page Cavanaugh Trio was a popular nightclub attraction in Hollywood’s Trocadero and Ciro’s in the 1950s. Frank Sinatra joined the trio in the studio to record “I’m Glad there Is You” (Columbia # 40229, released late 1952). The trio recorded some of the first LP albums in the early 50s. These included “The Page Cavanaugh Trio”, which was recorded for Vaya. Another recording with the same title was for label X. Tops also recorded “Page cavanaugh”. In 1952, the trio also filmed another Name Band Musical Short featuring Billy May’s band. Page Cavanaugh was the voice and music director for “The Truth About Mother Goose”, a Walt Disney animated short. It was released in 1957. The next year saw the release of “Frankenstein’s Daughter”, which was exactly what you would expect. Cavanaugh, his trio, and some of the music were composed by him. The LPs were still being made in the 50s and 60s. “Page Cavanaugh Plays for the Cocktail Hour” on Tops and “Softly” and “Three Of A Kind”, both featuring Art Van Damme (and Les Paul) on Design. # 2810 saw the release of “Impact At Basin Street East”, a live LP by RCA. In the 1960s, Page started to grow his small group. His group recorded “Fats Sent Me”, an LP for Capitol, on # 879. He continued his experiment and added one more member to form The Page 7. The group recorded “An Explosion In Pop Music”, an LP for RCA Victor (# 2734). Cavanaugh started his own nightclub in 1962. His trio and other small groups used the club as their home base for a while. Al Viola would occasionally return to Cavanaugh, allowing for a brief reunion with the trio. Viola was a frequent collaborator with Sinatra, including the Capitol LPs “Only The Lonely”, Point Of No Return and “The Swinging Session”, as well as with Bill Miller, who was musical arranger for Sinatra live performances. Viola was also a motion picture producer, most famous for his mandolin performance in “The Godfather”. Page Cavanaugh continued to play. The Page 7 septet was featured on “The Lively Ones”, a television show that Nellie Lutcher hosted in 1963. Reprise Records recorded “Something’s Happening at Page Cavanaugh’s”, an LP. In the late 60s, he was back with the trio and made many club appearances. This continued for many more years. Cavanaugh was a performer for over six decades by the time of the century and the music still flows. The trio, which included long-time bass player Phil Mallory, and drummer Dave Tull, still performs at night spots like The Bicycle Shop, Santa Monica, Spazio, Sherman Oaks, Chaya Brasserie and the Balboa Bay Club, Newport Beach. Page Cavanaugh’s style of swinging jazz-influenced tunes and sentimental songs has been a hit since before his forties. This has pleased generations of people. The musical legacy of the American music giant Page Cavanaugh will be enhanced by the availability of CDs featuring his music and that of other groups. The Digital Page 1 and 2 are the two halves of a live concert that was held in the early eighties. “The Digital Page 3: The Phoenix Tapes” was a 1969 live performance that took place in this Arizona city. All three CDs were released by Star Line in 1998. “Plays For The Cocktail Hour”, the Tops LP, was digitally remastered by Simitar in 1998. Tiara’s “Spotlight on Page Cavanaugh”, “Swinging Down the Road From Paris to Rome” on Pitol and “Crazy Rhythm”, a live CD that was released in 1995 by Cabaret, are some other examples. The CD “The Uncollected Doris Day” with the Page Cavanaugh Trio is a fascinating one. Soundies Inc. also has a CD of Standard transcriptions made by Doris in 1952. SGA also released “Great Songs Of The Swing Era” in 1999. Wow, what a career and what a great musician. I’m done. from

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