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Gene Carrescia - Biography

   Gene Carrescia

   By Chet Williamson:
   When you need a trumpeter to blow the bats out of your belfry, Carrescia is the man. Even now, in his late '70s, he can still hit the high notes. A scholarship opportunity to the New England Conservatory was forfeited when Carrescia was called to serve in the military during World War II. The GI Bill afforded him the chance to continue his musical ambition at the Schillinger House, which later became the Berklee College of Music, and he was part of the first graduating class in the late '40s. Carrescia remembers Charlie Mariano and Emil Haddad as classmates. For years he held the lead trumpet chair in the stage band at Caesar's Monticello in Framingham, a showcase for such traveling stars as Marlene Dietrich. Still active, he appears locally with the Worcester Jazz Orchestra and the Blackstone Valley Big Band.
   Playing experience: From 1962 to the early '70s, he played in the house band at Caesar's Monticello in Framingham. He remembers supporting such stars as Martha Raye, Julie London, Sergio Franchi, Jerry Vale, Xavier Cugat, and Patti Page. “When I first went there it was under the direction of Johnny Archer,” he says. “Then Harry D'Angelis ran the band. I played the jazz chair.” During that time, he also worked at the Summit Theater in the Round in the West Springfield. “We did Broadway shows with a lot of big names,” he notes. “It was a pit band. I did about four or five years of that work.”
   Touring and other highlights: Beginning in 1959, he toured for three years with a hotel band. “We traveled around the Statler/Hilton chains,” he says. “It took us around Hartford, Buffalo, and Syracuse, New York. We got bookings in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and Texas. We used to travel to air bases and do shows. I've been up to Greenland with that show. We used to go there and play for the troops.”
   Notes and tones: “I always loved to play the trumpet and music. I'm still at it. I've had Big Bands myself in the past. Music is a wonderful thing. The type of music I like is entirely different from a lot of what is happening today. I like top musicianship. I look for people who can play well, in tune, play the instrument with good tonal qualities. I look for great arrangements. The music doesn't really matter, as long as it's well done. Music to me is a great art form and it should be treated as such and played that way, regardless of what type of music you play.”