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Whatever happened to Desi's band members?

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In another thread Brock had mentioned that one of the trumpeters in Desi's band was still alive. It made me wonder -- does anyone know what happened to the rest of the guys in the years after I Love Lucy? Were the same musicians used on subsequent Lucy shows? Did they stay together as a group for years & years or scatter after The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour shows?

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Interesting topic. Brock got me thinking about this too. I can’t really offer any insight into this but here is what I know.

 

We know that Wilber Hatch was the Musical Director on the show. This was another person that was brought over from My Favorite Husband to do the same job. His involvement with Lucy continued well on past ILL. I believe it was in the Lucy Book that mentions he stayed on in the same capacity until his death sometime around the mid-point of HL. Also I had been listening to some Screen Actors Guild radio shows and he was Musical Director there as well which Lucy appeared on many times.

 

The last issue of the Fan Club magazine that came out I believe in 1999 had an article about Marco’s passing in it. I’m sure it shed light on his post ILL work. I’d have to dig that up. As we know he was interviewed for the Home Movies doc. I got thinking awhile ago that he might be the most frequent uncredited bit player on ILL. Think about all the times he appears. Of course anytime the band is shown, but we have episodes like Passports where he comes in with Ricky just to do that musical number in the apartment when Lucy is locked in the trunk. Heck he even gets mentioned in shows he is not even in. I’m blanking on the episode now but Lucy is trying to tell this story about the musician’s picnic and she keeps getting who was in each car messed up. Marco is mentioned a ton here. Correct me if I am wrong but wasn’t most all the piano playing done by Marco and whoever was playing onscreen just faked it? I know there are a few instances where this is not true like in The Ballet that is Viv really playing piano there.

 

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Pepin Betancourt, one of the band members, was a regular extra on Lucy's later series. He also appeared on The Mothers-in-Law with Desi.

 

Marco was a guest in Jamestown in 1998. He also wrote a biography of Desi that was never published.

 

Some of Desi's band members are in The Facts of Life scene when Lucy and Bob dance in Acapulco.

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In another thread Brock had mentioned that one of the trumpeters in Desi's band was still alive. It made me wonder -- does anyone know what happened to the rest of the guys in the years after I Love Lucy? Were the same musicians used on subsequent Lucy shows? Did they stay together as a group for years & years or scatter after The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour shows?

 

Tony Terran went to Carol Burnett Show for many more episodes than I Love Lucy....see alphabet thread this Lounge....

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Marco and a few other band members are w Desi in Holiday in Havana ;pre I Love Lucy.

 

This is what I have been able to find, to date:

 

Marco Rizo, childhood friend of Desi Arnaz; in 1940, he migrated to the US, having received a scholarship to The Juilliard School of Music in NYC; an original member, Desi Arnaz Orchestra; piano player, travelling with the Orchestra until 1950; appears with Desi, Holiday in Havana, 1949; musician member, (“I Love Lucy”) “The Diet”, 1951,“Ricky Loses His Voice”, “The Saxaphone”, 1952, “The Diner”, 1954; Headliner, Lucy-Desi Memorial Day Festival in Jamestown, NY, 1998, as well as wrote an unpublished biography, The Desi I Knew, 1991, which was donated with other personal effects, by his surviving relative, a sister, to New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Music Division, Lincoln Center, NYC, in 1998; is born this date in 1915.

 

 

Thanks, also, to you Dizzy4Arnaz; for your entry; do you have any idea where I can find the OTHER band members' names???? Working on Tony Terran, who survives, as we speak.... Fondly, JK

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Marco Rizo's manuscript is available to read at the Lincoln Center Library. I've read it and I don't recall anything particularly notable about it. It's nice to hear Marco's thoughts on Desi, but it's mostly a straightforward biography of Desi.

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Marco Rizo's manuscript is available to read at the Lincoln Center Library. I've read it and I don't recall anything particularly notable about it. It's nice to hear Marco's thoughts on Desi, but it's mostly a straightforward biography of Desi.

I thought that infamous bio had been left to his nephew, LOL!

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I used to have a forum with that kind of information but I pulled the plug on it several years ago :(

 

WELL.... NUTS!!!! I'm going to try to check with wikipedia; and see what I can find; any other suggestions? Thanks, though; here's what I came up with, adding to Tony Terran information; and he survives, as far as I know:

 

 

Tony Terran, musician; has had an impact on the LA music scene for more than four decades; was in high school when he started working on live radio shows in Buffalo, NY, where he was born. In 1944, he arrived in LA, and in 1945, began working with Bob Hope, and then with Desi Arnaz in 1946; Armaz also worked with Hope. His relationship with Arnaz helped shape Cuban/Latin music in the United States; as well as (“I Love Lucy”): The Very First Show, uncredited trumpet player, (1951)/1990; he is the last surviving member of the Desi Arnaz Orchestra from (“I Love Lucy”), where he has the distinction of playing on the first-filmed television sitcom (“I Love Lucy”); trumpet player/band member, (“I Love Lucy”) “The Girls Want to Go to the Nightclub”, uncredited, 1951; (“I Love Lucy”) musician - trumpet player, 178 episodes, 1951-57; Terran played on many recordings of television shows and film soundtracks, after (“I Love Lucy”): The Lucy Show, (“Here's Lucy”), Star Trek, Mission: Impossible, each, a Desilu Company, and/or Lucille Ball Production show, among many others; as well as was musician; trumpet player, The Carol Burnett Show, 276 episodes, 1967-78. He was also a featured soloist for composers and conductors, and received the Most Valuable Player award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, 1974; is born this date, 5/30, in 1926.

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Here is Marco's page at the NYPLibrary website: http://nypl.bibliocommons.com/search?t=author&search_category=author&q=Marco+Rizo&commit=Search&searchOpt=catalogue I searched Lucy, Viv & Bill, too & there was a lot on them as well. If I'm ever in NY it would be fun to spend a few hours browsing around. And here is a link the main page of the Music Division, including phone number: http://www.nypl.org/locations/lpa/music-division.

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Found this photo with some of the guys identified.

 

1282.jpeg

 

I'm just wondering if Tony Terran has ever appeared in Jamestown?  According to this website here, he is the last surviving member of the Desi Arnaz Orchestra.

 

http://tonyterran.com/

 

And according to imdb, he participated in 178 I Love Lucy episodes.  He worked with many of the very biggest names in music.  What an amazing career he has had!  He must have many stories to tell.

 

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm4532933/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Terran

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Found this on Facebook yesterday

 

One of our members asked a very good question about the Ricky Ricardo Orchestra - also known as the Desi Arnaz orchestra. As I noted in response to her post, Wilbur Hatch conducted the Desi Arnaz/Ricky Ricardo orchestra on I Love Lucy. But the orchestra had a real life of its own, on and off I Love Lucy. Here is some background on the orchestra that will help us better understand how the orchestra came to be, as told by trumpeter Tony Terran in a 2008 NPR interview.

Terran said that it didn't take much to turn the orchestra into Ricky Ricardo's orchestra: "They retained much of Desi's character and his emotional side."

Terran is the last surviving member of the Ricky Ricardo Orchestra, the band that backed Ricky in that I Love Lucy nightclub. Terran says that, while Ricky may have been fictional, his band was very real.

The Ricky Ricardo Orchestra was made up mostly of the Desi Arnaz Orchestra, which had been playing in ballrooms and theaters around the country when not performing on Bob Hope's radio show.

Yet many in Hollywood had their doubts about a TV show based on all-American girl married to a Latino. The band's musicians felt differently.

"I think the general feeling in the band was that it was quite a venture," Terran says. "It made some sense to us — we didn't have the same doubts that CBS had."

After all, Terran says, many popular orchestras back then were designed for mass appeal, alternating between swing and Latin rhythms, with vocalists singing in both English and Spanish.

Desi Arnaz got his start in the late 1930s, with a band led by an early Latin crossover success, Xavier Cugat. Arnaz wrote in his autobiography that he patterned his own band after Cugat's. Terran agrees, saying the Ricky Ricardo Orchestra played the same kind of music.

"We were commercial," Terran says. "We were more for TV."

"It was corny but commercial," says Johnny Rodriguez, Jr. "I mean, it wasn't the hip Latin music."

Rodriguez, a percussionist, remembers both kinds of orchestras. His father played in both Latin bands and so called "society bands" in New York in the late 1940s. The younger Rodriguez got his start at age 17, with Tito Puente in 1962.

He says he heard from his dad, and from older musicians in Puente's band, that there were plenty of rewards for orchestras like Ricky Ricardo's.

"They weren't [playing] the standard Latin gigs," Rodriguez stresses. "It was upper end, the better-paying jobs. This is Broadway, this is the Paramount Theatre, Roxy Theatre — this is not the Palladium, not a Latin club. I'm talking about playing to Americanos."

Millions of Americanos tuned into I Love Lucy, and most of them probably didn't realize that Ricky Ricardo's signature song was a tribute to an Afro-Cuban god.

"Babalu," written by Cuban composer Margarita Lecuona, is about Babalu-Aye, one of the seven main gods of the Afro-Cuban religion Santeria. It was first recorded by Cuban vocalist Miguelito Valdes in 1941 — and among fans of more traditional Latin music, Valdes was the real Mr. Babalu.

Latin music fans will also say Ricky Ricardo was probably not the most authentic Afro-Cuban percussionist but John Rodriguez says that was OK.

"I remember my dad saying that he was a terrible conga player," John Rodriguez says. "You'd see him playing on TV, and ... the way they staged it, it looked good. And that's all that mattered."

It mattered because TV, and Ricky Ricardo, helped spread the word about Latin music across the country.

TV had this show, and had this Latin music, on a regular basis every week," says Fordham University sociology professor Clara Rodriguez. "They were the No. 1 show for 6 years."

She points out that folks in the U.S. got their first taste of Latin music from films of the 1940s, featuring Carmen Miranda and Desi Arnaz' old boss, Xavier Cugat.

But while those film stars were exotic, TV's Ricky Ricardo had much more in common with Middle America.

"He played a Latino who had a steady job; they lived a middle-class way of life," Rodriguez says. "He was the man ... who was the bread winner in the family. ... So he introduced a character which wouldn't have been very different if he had not been ethnic."

Ricky Ricardo was easy for non-Latins to accept. But I've often wondered whether or not this Latino Everyman would have been as successful a band leader as his real-life counterpart, Desi Arnaz, was in the television business.

Tony Terran, who worked with both men, the real one and the fictional one, says yes.

"If," Terran says, "Lucy wouldn't get him in trouble all the time."

Here is a fairly recent picture of Tony Terran, along with a picture of the younger Terran with Lucy (standing next to Lucy holding the trumpet)...

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Tony Terran was present at the 2007 TV Land Awards and at the tribute to the music of I Love Lucy at the the LA Paley Center in 2011.

 

Thanks!  I haven't seen the TV Land Awards in years, so I missed that.  And I didn't even know about that 2011 tribute.

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This is what I have on Terran - mentioned earlier in this thread:

 

Tony Terran, musician; has had an impact on the LA music scene for more than four decades; was in high school when he started working on live radio shows in Buffalo, NY, where he was born. In 1944, he arrived in LA, and in 1945, began working with Bob Hope, and then with Desi Arnaz in 1946; Armaz also worked with Hope. His relationship with Arnaz helped shape Cuban/Latin music in the United States; as well as (“I Love Lucy”): The Very First Show, uncredited trumpet player, (1951)/1990; he is the last surviving member of the Desi Arnaz Orchestra from (“I Love Lucy”), where he has the distinction of playing on the first-filmed television sitcom (“I Love Lucy”); trumpet player/band member, (“I Love Lucy”) “The Girls Want to Go to the Nightclub”, uncredited, 1951; (“I Love Lucy”) musician - trumpet player, 178 episodes, 1951-57; Terran played on many recordings of television shows and film soundtracks, after (“I Love Lucy”): The Lucy Show, (“Here's Lucy”), Star Trek, Mission: Impossible, each, a Desilu Company, and/or Lucille Ball Production show, among many others; as well as was musician; trumpet player, The Carol Burnett Show, 276 episodes, 1967-78. He was also a featured soloist for composers and conductors, and received the Most Valuable Player award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, 1974; is born this date (5/30) in 1926.

 

Rizo is mentioned earlier in this thread - Jamestown 1998; long before I was involved; when arrdubya was still with Arts Council, perhaps....  Oddly, he passed in 1998; now, THAT's strange!  ANYONE??

 

I would REALLY appreciate being able to identify ALL members of the Desi Arnaz Orchestra for the chronology . . . Harry????

 

 

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Found this photo with some of the guys identified.

 

1282.jpeg

 

Hi, Luvs... - Can you type the names for me; I tried to bring them up; but, can't enlarge the photo... many thanks if you can.  Loving you, JK

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This is what I have been able to find, to date:

 

Marco Rizo, childhood friend of Desi Arnaz; in 1940, he migrated to the US, having received a scholarship to The Juilliard School of Music in NYC; an original member, Desi Arnaz Orchestra; piano player, travelling with the Orchestra until 1950; appears with Desi, Holiday in Havana, 1949; musician member, (“I Love Lucy”) “The Diet”, 1951,“Ricky Loses His Voice”, “The Saxaphone”, 1952, “The Diner”, 1954; Headliner, Lucy-Desi Memorial Day Festival in Jamestown, NY, 1998, as well as wrote an unpublished biography, The Desi I Knew, 1991, which was donated with other personal effects, by his surviving relative, a sister, to New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Music Division, Lincoln Center, NYC, in 1998; is born this date in 1915.

 

 

Thanks, also, to you Dizzy4Arnaz; for your entry; do you have any idea where I can find the OTHER band members' names???? Working on Tony Terran, who survives, as we speak.... Fondly, JK

 

This does not show the date of birth for Marco - duh.... - I should have inserted, 11/30 up there  And...he passed 9/8/98....  JK

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Found this on Facebook yesterday

 

One of our members asked a very good question about the Ricky Ricardo Orchestra - also known as the Desi Arnaz orchestra. As I noted in response to her post, Wilbur Hatch conducted the Desi Arnaz/Ricky Ricardo orchestra on I Love Lucy. But the orchestra had a real life of its own, on and off I Love Lucy. Here is some background on the orchestra that will help us better understand how the orchestra came to be, as told by trumpeter Tony Terran in a 2008 NPR interview.

Terran said that it didn't take much to turn the orchestra into Ricky Ricardo's orchestra: "They retained much of Desi's character and his emotional side."

Terran is the last surviving member of the Ricky Ricardo Orchestra, the band that backed Ricky in that I Love Lucy nightclub. Terran says that, while Ricky may have been fictional, his band was very real.

The Ricky Ricardo Orchestra was made up mostly of the Desi Arnaz Orchestra, which had been playing in ballrooms and theaters around the country when not performing on Bob Hope's radio show.

Yet many in Hollywood had their doubts about a TV show based on all-American girl married to a Latino. The band's musicians felt differently.

"I think the general feeling in the band was that it was quite a venture," Terran says. "It made some sense to us — we didn't have the same doubts that CBS had."

After all, Terran says, many popular orchestras back then were designed for mass appeal, alternating between swing and Latin rhythms, with vocalists singing in both English and Spanish.

Desi Arnaz got his start in the late 1930s, with a band led by an early Latin crossover success, Xavier Cugat. Arnaz wrote in his autobiography that he patterned his own band after Cugat's. Terran agrees, saying the Ricky Ricardo Orchestra played the same kind of music.

"We were commercial," Terran says. "We were more for TV."

"It was corny but commercial," says Johnny Rodriguez, Jr. "I mean, it wasn't the hip Latin music."

Rodriguez, a percussionist, remembers both kinds of orchestras. His father played in both Latin bands and so called "society bands" in New York in the late 1940s. The younger Rodriguez got his start at age 17, with Tito Puente in 1962.

He says he heard from his dad, and from older musicians in Puente's band, that there were plenty of rewards for orchestras like Ricky Ricardo's.

"They weren't [playing] the standard Latin gigs," Rodriguez stresses. "It was upper end, the better-paying jobs. This is Broadway, this is the Paramount Theatre, Roxy Theatre — this is not the Palladium, not a Latin club. I'm talking about playing to Americanos."

Millions of Americanos tuned into I Love Lucy, and most of them probably didn't realize that Ricky Ricardo's signature song was a tribute to an Afro-Cuban god.

"Babalu," written by Cuban composer Margarita Lecuona, is about Babalu-Aye, one of the seven main gods of the Afro-Cuban religion Santeria. It was first recorded by Cuban vocalist Miguelito Valdes in 1941 — and among fans of more traditional Latin music, Valdes was the real Mr. Babalu.

Latin music fans will also say Ricky Ricardo was probably not the most authentic Afro-Cuban percussionist but John Rodriguez says that was OK.

"I remember my dad saying that he was a terrible conga player," John Rodriguez says. "You'd see him playing on TV, and ... the way they staged it, it looked good. And that's all that mattered."

It mattered because TV, and Ricky Ricardo, helped spread the word about Latin music across the country.

TV had this show, and had this Latin music, on a regular basis every week," says Fordham University sociology professor Clara Rodriguez. "They were the No. 1 show for 6 years."

She points out that folks in the U.S. got their first taste of Latin music from films of the 1940s, featuring Carmen Miranda and Desi Arnaz' old boss, Xavier Cugat.

But while those film stars were exotic, TV's Ricky Ricardo had much more in common with Middle America.

"He played a Latino who had a steady job; they lived a middle-class way of life," Rodriguez says. "He was the man ... who was the bread winner in the family. ... So he introduced a character which wouldn't have been very different if he had not been ethnic."

Ricky Ricardo was easy for non-Latins to accept. But I've often wondered whether or not this Latino Everyman would have been as successful a band leader as his real-life counterpart, Desi Arnaz, was in the television business.

Tony Terran, who worked with both men, the real one and the fictional one, says yes.

"If," Terran says, "Lucy wouldn't get him in trouble all the time."

Here is a fairly recent picture of Tony Terran, along with a picture of the younger Terran with Lucy (standing next to Lucy holding the trumpet)...

 

 

MANY THANKS for this VERY interesting information; and thanks for posting....Loving you, JK

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