Posted on Mon, Apr. 18, 2005
Music arranger-composer Salvador "Tutti" Camarata dead at 91
BURBANK, Calif. - Salvador "Tutti" Camarata, who worked with everyone from Bing Crosby to Billie Holiday to Disney teen heartthrob Annette Funicello in a long and distinguished career as a composer, arranger and trumpeter, has died at the age of 91.
Camarata died Wednesday at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank after a brief illness, said his son, Paul Camarata.
In addition to his Big Band work in the 1930s and '40s, Camarata was the musical conductor for several TV series, including "Startime," "The Vic Damone Show" and "The Alcoa Hour." He was also the vocal supervisor for the 1963 movie "Summer Magic," which included musical performances by Hayley Mills and Burl Ives.
While living in England in the late 1940s, Camarata co-founded London Records with Sir Edward Lewis to make classical and pop recordings for U.S. distribution. Among the label's best known artists were the Rolling Stones.
Returning to the United States in the 1950s, he joined with Walt Disney in co-founding Disneyland Records, which recorded such pop stars as Funicello and Mills.
It was there that he helped Funicello the former "Mickey Mouse Club" mousketeer, develop the vocal style that briefly made her a pop star in the mid-1960s.
"Annette felt she couldn't sing," Camarata once said. "So I developed a way of recording her voice, creating an echo. The first time she heard it, she was surprised and happy. She began to gain more confidence as a vocalist."
In 1960 he opened Sunset Sound Recorders, where the Rolling Stones, Van Halen, Miles Davis and others have recorded. His son currently runs the studio.
Camarata studied music at the Juilliard School in New York before embarking on a career as a Big Band trumpeter in the 1930s. He was both lead trumpeter and arranger for Jimmy Dorsey's band, arranging such hits as "Tangerine," "Green Eyes" and "Yours."
He left Dorsey in the early 1940s to work as an arranger for Glen Cray and the Casa Loma Orchestra and for Benny Goodman's band. He also arranged music for Crosby, Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and others.
His own recordings include "Tutti's Trumpets," recorded in 1957 and considered a classic for trumpet composition. In the 1970s, he orchestrated and conducted a series of albums for the London label that showcased the work of Bach, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff.