Born: May 11, 1913 | Died: April 13, 2005 Primary Instrument: Arranger
Though his name was never out front, Tutti Camarata played an important role as an arranger during the big band era and conducted studio orchestras for many top vocalists. A trumpet player, Camarata studied music at Julliard. He worked as an arranger for Charlie Barnet and on Bing Crosby's radio program during in the mid-1930s. In 1938 he joined Paul Whiteman. When Whiteman soon after scrapped his band to form a new outfit he joined Jimmy Dorsey, where he helped shape the orchestra's success.
Dorsey's group was featured on a radio program sponsored by Twenty Grand cigarettes, and the sponsor required that the last three minutes of each show feature all the band's stars. Camarata came up with the concept of a ''three-in- one'' arrangement. They would open with a smooth ballad tempo for singer Bob Eberly then switch to a up-tempo beat for vocalist Helen O'Connell, then they would end it featuring Dorsey and the orchestra. This combination was responsible for the hits ''Tangerine,'' ''Green Eyes,'' ''Amapola'' and ''Yours.''
Leaving Dorsey in 1942 Camarata arranged for the Casa Loma Orchestra and Benny Goodman. During the war he served as a flight instructor in the Army Air Force. After the war Camarata became musical director for Decca Records, where he worked with many top artists. His most famous studio credits are perhaps his string arrangements for Billie Holiday.
Also adept in the classical field, Camarata moved to England in 1948, where he formed the Kingston Symphony and co-founded London Records. In 1950 he returned to the United States and again worked for Decca. During this period he formed the Commanders, a brass-heavy big band. In 1956 he led the orchestra on The Vic Damone Show, a summer replacement series. In the late 1950s and throughout the 1960s he served as musical director at Disney, where among his charges was the supervision of recordings made by Annette Funicello. He also co-founded Disneyland Records.