Frank Marocco, May 2008
|Born||January 2, 1931
|Origin||Waukegan, Illinois, USA|
|Died||March 3, 2012
San Fernando Valley, California
|Genres||Jazz - Classical|
|Musician, Arranger, Composer|
|Instruments||Accordion, piano, clarinet|
|1948 - 2012|
Marocco's first teacher was George Stefani, who supervised the young accordionist for nine years. Although they began studying classical music, Stefani soon encouraged young Frank to explore other musical genres. In addition to the accordion, Frank studied piano and clarinet, as well as music theory, harmony, and composition. Later on, he studied with Andy Rizzo, a well-known American concert accordionist and teacher.
At the age of 17, Frank Marocco won the first prize in the 1948 Chicago Musicland festival, and was rewarded with a guest performance with the Chicago Pops Orchestra playing Chopin's Fantasie Impromptu. His success encouraged him to embark on a professional music career. He established a trio, which toured in the Midwestern states. After he met his wife, Anne, in Indiana, the couple moved to Los Angeles, California, in the early 1950s.
In the Los Angeles vicinity, Marocco created a new band, which toured hotels and clubs in Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe, and Palm Springs. Later on, he began working in Hollywood, where television studios and movie production companies provided him a successful career.
In the 1960s, Frank Marocco recorded a solo album released by Verve, a legendary jazz record label. In 1966, he worked together with Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys, and performed on the world-famous album Pet Sounds.
Marocco performed on a USO tour in Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, Guam, and other countries in the Pacific, appearing onstage with Bob Hope. He also played in the Les Brown big band, during six Love Boat cruises. Marocco performed in collaboration with hundreds of world-famous artists and conductors during his career, both on stage as well as in studio. As a musician, he contributed to hundreds of movie soundtracks, television shows and TV-series. The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences nominated him as the most valuable player eight years in a row.
In addition to his career as a musician, Marocco wrote and arranged music for solo, duet, and orchestra in a wide variety of musical styles, including jazz, popular standards, international, Latin, religious, and classical. He was the musical director and conductor of an annual "music camp", the Frank Marocco Accordion Event, which is held in Mesa, Arizona in January. The event brings together over 50 accordionists from around the U.S. and Canada, who, after three full days of instruction, rehearsal, and recreational activities, present a full concert of accordion music.
Frank Marocco also played with some of the best Jazz Musicians in America and Europe; Ray Brown, Jeff Hamilton, Zoot Sims, Joe Pass, Joey Baron, Herb Ellis, Ray Pizzi, Ivor Malherbe, Carlo Atti, Sam Most, Gian-Carlo Bianchetti, Jacob Fisher, Pekka Sarmanto, Martin Classen, Andy Martin, Tuomo Dahlblom, Ric Todd, Harold Jones, Gerry Gibbs, Mikko Hassinen, Conti Candoli, Philippe Cornaz, John Patitucci, Mats Vinding, Mogens Baekgaard Andersen, Marcel Papaux, Aage Tanggaard, Ron Feuer, Richard Galliano, Peter Erskine, Klaus Paier, Renzo Ruggieri, Massimo Tagliata, Pete Christlieb, Larry Koonse, Simone Zanchini, Andy Simpkins, Bob Shepard, Frank Rosolino, Jim Hall, Abraham Laboriel, Grant Geissman, Luis Conte and Stix Hooper just to name a few.
Frank and Anne Marocco had three daughters, Cynthia, Lisa and Venetia. Cynthia pursued a music career. She studied the flute and at age 13, had the distinction of being the youngest player in the American Youth Symphony, a group of high school and college musicians directed by Mehli Mehta. Lisa, attracted to dance, became a professional pair skater and toured for several seasons with the Ice Capades. Venetia was a physical Therapy instructor and is now a school teacher. The three Marocco daughters are married. Frank and Anne had eight grandchildren in all.
Marocco died on March 3, 2012 at his home in California's San Fernando Valley. He had been hospitalized earlier at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles for complications following hip replacement surgery, his daughter Cynthia said. He was 81 years old.
In addition to his solo recordings, Frank Marocco performed on numerous studio recordings as accompanist to various artists. His best-known contributions include Pet Sounds by Brian Wilson in 1966, and Crossroads by Tracy Chapman in 1989.