Carroll Gibbons was an American-born pianist, bandleader and composer who moved to London in 1924 and started a very successful career during the British dance band era. He was resident at The Savoy Hotel from 1932 to his death in 1954. “The American at The Savoy”.
In the swing of the early 1920’s, the Savoy Hotel in London set its goal to introduce the new wave of American music and dances to its post war patrons. First in 1922 they employed American Bert Ralton who led The Savoy Savanna Band, then in 1923, The Savoy Orpheans were formed by Debroy Somers. The bands employed a number of American musicians and when banjo/guitar player Joe Branelly was returning to the States on holiday, he was asked to return with more American musicians.
From the New England Conservatory in Boston, Branelly returned to the UK with Carroll Gibbons (piano) and Rudy Vallee (sax). Rudy of course achieved fame in the 30’ and 40’s as a singer. It is reputed that Gibbons travelled to London to study at the Royal Academy of Music. He ended up playing piano with The Boston Orchestra based in the Berkeley Hotel.
Here a link to the Carroll Gibbons page on the excellent Elsie Carlisle website.
In October 1931 The Savoy Hotel Orpheans recorded two sessions with Al Bowlly on vocals. “There's A Time and Place for Everything” and the immortal, “Sweet and Lovely” were released on Columbia CB-376. “Who am I” and “Linda” were released on CB-377.
The band consisted of: Carrol Gibbons (piano) & Howard Jacobs (alto sax) directing; Bill Shakespear & Billy Higgs (trumpets); Don Macaffer (trombone); Laurie Payne (clarinet, alto & baritone sax); George Smith (tenor sax); Hugo Rignold & Reg Leopold (violins); Harry Jacobson (2nd piano); Bert Thomas (guitar); Jack Evetts (string bass); Rudy Starita (drums); Al Bowlly (vocals).
There were dozens of more sides recorded with Al Bowlly, under the pseudonym, The Masqueraders or as The Savoy Hotel Orpheans. Some are very rare. The final session with Bowlly was on October 16, 1933: Al Bowlly with orchestra directed by Carroll Gibbons. The classics, “Night and Day” and “Love Locked Out”.
Gibbons also had a weekly show on Radio Luxembourg in the 1930s, sponsored by Hartley's Jam.
“As a composer, Gibbons' most popular songs included "A Garden in the Rain" (1928) and "On The Air" (1932). Gibbons' instrumental numbers "Bubbling Over" and "Moonbeam Dance" were also quite successful in the United Kingdom.”
Paul Fenoulhet: (trombone). A major arranger for the Savoy Hotel Orpheans and for Carroll Gibbons and his Boy Friends.