The Flippers’ – The Flippers’ Way (1960) RCA featuring Franco Bracardi, Max Catalano, Maurizio Catalano, Romolo Forlai, Jimmy Polosa, Stefano Torossi, and Fabrizio Zampa
In 1960, The Flippers released their debut album The Flippers’ Way on RCA Italiana featuring Max Catalano on trumpet, Jimmy Polosa and Franco Bracardi on piano, Romolo Forlai on vibraphone, Maurizio Catalano and Stefano Torossi on bass, and Fabrizio Zampa on drums.
The pop and jazz album has a dozen tracks, all eventually released as A-sides or B-sides. “Muskrat Ramble Cha Cha,” the first Flippers’ hit single recorded in 1959, opens the album.
“Muskrat Ramble Cha Cha,” a composition by Edward “Kid” Ory, with Max Catalano on trumpet, Maurizio Catalano on bass, Romolo Forlai on vibes, Jimmy Polosa on piano, and Fabrizio Zampa on drums, is on YouTube:
The Flippers’ Way contains their interpretations of several other tunes by American jazz artists including Fats Waller and Andy Razaf’s “Honeysuckle Rose,” Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler’s “Stormy Weather,” Clifford Brown’s “Tiny Capers,” and Tom Delaney’s “Jada,” in addition to their twist on a traditional classic,”When The Saints Go Rockin’ In.”
Four Italian songs on the vinyl LP include a pair of classics by Ernesto De Curtis, “Torna a surriento” and “Maria mari’ (Oi Mari),”and one apiece from Giuseppe “Pino” Spotti, “Le tue mani,” and Giuseppe Cioffi, “‘Na sera ‘e maggio.” The final two songs on the album, “Baci Cha Cha Cha“ and “Happy Cha Cha,” both appeared in films, and are also the only two with pianist Franco Bracardi (in place of Jimmy Polosa) and bassist Stefano Torossi (for Maurizio Catalano).
“Jada,” the third track on The Flippers’ Way, was also the A-side, paired with “Tiny Capers,” on a 45 single released by RCA as well as a vinyl EP. Recorded in Rome in 1960, players include Max and Maurizio Catalano, Romolo Forlai, Jimmy Polosa, and Fabrizio Zampa (the photo on the sleeve, used on at least six singles, depicts Franco Bracardi, Fabrizio Zampa, Max Catalano, Romolo Forlai, and Stefano Torossi):
Stefano Torossi recently explained how he came to join the band:
In fact my replacement of Maurizio Catalano is why I joined the Flippers when I came back from the USA [where Torossi studied on a scholarship between 1958 and 1960, first as an undergraduate at Williams College and then returning as a graduate student at Brandeis University, both located in Massachusetts].
He was due in the army and a mutual friend, Romolo Forlai (the vibraphonist) suggested my name. And that’s how it all started.
Angelo Francesco Lavagnino’s “Baci Cha Cha Cha,” paired with “Cha-Cha dell’ impiccato,” was also in Odissea nuda (Nude Odyssey), a film by director Franco Rossi.
The back sleeve of the RCA 45 shows Franco Bracardi, Stefano Torrosi, Fabrizio Zampa, Romolo Forlai, and Max Catalano, who unlike in many other instances on Flippers’ singles, are also the same musicians on the recording. This image was later reused for the cover of the 1996 Flippers’ CD Rarity Collection by JB Productons.
Lavagnino’s “Baci Cha Cha Cha” is also on I grandi successi originali (2002), a two-CD collection by BMG and RCA Italiana.
“Happy Cha Cha,” a composition by pianist Franco Bracardi and Marcello Gigante, featuring Bracardi, Max Catalano, Romolo Forlai, Stefano Torossi, and Fabrizio Zampa, was used in director Roberto Bianchi Montero’s Un alibi per morire (An Alibi For Murder).
The Flippers’ “Happy Cha Cha” is currently found online:
A photo on the back of the “Happy Cha Cha” 45 sleeve features Stefano Torossi, Fabrizio Zampa, Franco Bracardi, Romolo Forlai, and Max Catalano.
In addition to the pair of tracks on the The Flippers’ Way, Stefano Torossi was involved in The Flippers’ holiday single “Santa notte e Cha Cha Cha”- “Bianco natale Cha Cha,” also released in 1960. Torossi is given co-writing credit for “Santa Notte e Cha Cha Cha (Stille nacht),” with original author Franz Gruber, on the A-side, and credit for arranging “Bianco natale Cha Cha (White Christmas)” on the B-side.A video for The Flippers’ “Bianco natale Cha Cha” is online:
Stefano Torossi also co-wrote “Non gridar bambina,” with Prosaico (an alias of Sergio Jacquier),
In 1981, The Flippers compilation album At Full Tilt was issued by RCA, including six of the tracks on their 1960 LP plus another ten. Three tracks feature Stefano Torossi on bass, “Bombolo,” “Dinah,” and “White Christmas.” In addition, he also arranged “White Christmas.”
The Flippers released more than twenty 45 vinyl singles and EPs plus two full length LPs between 1960 and 1966. Many of these original records can be found on auction sites such as discogs and eBay. In addition, the Flippers’ two-CD collection I grandi successi originali is also usually available on eBay. Some rare sheet music from The Flippers participation in a film Lo specchio is found below.
And one more from The Flippers’ Way, the fifth track by Ernesto De Curtis, “Torna a surriento”: