If Ted Fio Rito hadn't become a bandleader, he could have made a comfortable living as a songwriter; among the titles to his credit are "Toot, Toot, Tootsie, Goodbye" and "Laugh, Clown, Laugh." Born in Newark, New Jersey, he began as a pianist with bands led by Harry Yerkes, then moved to Chicago to join Dan Russo's band. The following year, he joined Russo to become co-leader of the Oriole Terrace Orchestra, which he took over when Russo left in 1928.
Before coming to the Cocoanut Grove in mid-1933, Fio Rito spent years touring the East Coast and Midwest, including engagements in Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City and Cincinnati. An early radio enthusiast, Fio Rito's band was frequently heard on the air - preparing him for the regular broadcasts scheduled to emanate from the Grove during his stay.
Musically, the orchestra Fio Rito brought to the Grove was sweet, smooth and clever, playing danceable music accented with temple blocks, rapid triplets, and an occasional solo on the Hammond organ by Ted himself.
These recordings come from 1933 and 1934 live band remotes from the Cocoanut Grove at Los Angeles' Ambassador Hotel.