Carlo Alberto Rossi and Luciano Zotti

Carlo Alberto Rossi is one of the most important Italian composers of popular music. His music is as important as that of  Gershwin  or Irvin Berlin.

In the 60s, my father Luciano Zotti was offered a position as musical director at the “Fonorama”, a state of the art recording studio owned by Carlo Alberto Rossi, where some of the most famous musicians, singers and artist  recorded many hits. In the 60s my family moved to Milano, where my father was to start a brilliant career as a musical director of one of the most famous recording studios in the world.

Maestro Carlo Alberto Rossi

As a young child, my father often took me with him at the Fonorama, where I used to watch and listen to big orchestras play. That was an experience that is still with me today. I felt the sound of the wonderful orchestras penetrate my whole body and I used to watch in awe, wondering how such beauty could be created by humans. I was seeing and hearing the best that humanity has to offer their younger generation: creativity, music and art.

It was not uncommon for people like Lionel Hampton, Mina, or Sarah Vaughan to come to me and say: “What beautiful eyes, what a beautiful child, what is your name?” ” I am Alfredo” I would say very politely, and it was a big thing for me to say it because I was very shy. They all liked me, possibly because I was the quietest and most behaved 7 year old child they had seen. I was a little man who, already at that age, had some concern about humanity and the world. I could concentrate for long periods of time and this was unusual.  Usually young children are always on the move and onto something new after a couple of minutes. Not me, I could sit and watch the orchestra play and I spent a lot of time in the sound  room where the final mixes were done. It is there that I learned a lot, at that tender age, and that experience inspired me later to build my own home studio where I record many of my compositions today.

Alfredo Zotti at the age of 5

It was a wonderful life I lived as a child, for about 4 years, where I had the pleasure to meet some of the most talented people in the world and learn all about creativity. I decided then that that was going to be my life, the life of an artist.

The songs of Carlo Alberto Rossi are still popular today, and the hundreds of melodies that Rossi has composed have been sung by people like Julio Iglesias, Sara Vaughan, Nat King Cole, Tom Jones, Johnny Mathis and many others.

Maestro Carlo Alberto Rossi with Sarah Vaughan

We migrated to Australia back in 1974, after my father had lost his position at the Fonorama, because the recording studios had to close down.

Today I still live in Australia and, unfortunately, although Australia is a lucky country, there is hardly any market for composers and song writers and it is common knowledge that musicians, singers and artists often go overseas to work and find fame and fortune. But I love this country very much and I could not leave it, not even for a few days.  So, I am happy to stay here even though I know that there is  no market for my music.

Luciano Zotti with his second wife Paola Zotti

The songs that I remember well, written by Carlo Alberto Rossi, are:

I Wish I Knew, sung by Nat King Cole

What’s Good for Me, sung by Sarah Vaughan

Eccomi, sung by Ertha Kitt

Without You, sung by Tom Jones

United, sung by Nat King Cole

Na Voce e na Chitarra, sung by Connie Francis

Below are three photos of the recording studios of the Fonorama. Each of the three recording rooms had a Steinway piano kept perfectly tuned.  Studio C had the famous Hammond B3 with its great sounding tone-wheels mechanism. I remember that I walked inside these rooms many times. The doors where airtight much like the doors of a plane.

Studio A

Studio B

Studio C

Today, with modern technology, there is no need for these big and expensive studios, or expensive musical instruments for that matter. A recording studio can be just a room and some synthesizers (like the Roland 80) can reproduce the exact sounds of a Stainway or an Hammond B3. Below is my home recording studio.

One of my favorite LPs, which is part of my personal collection of LPs, is SEMPRE. Sempre is Italian for  “Always” and it is a collection of the best songs of Carlo Alberto Rossi performed by orchestras conducted and arranged by famous European musician: Enzo Ceragioli, Angelo Pocho Gatti, Franco Monaldi and Renato Sellani.  In this album, my father was the organist on the legendary B3 and he also played the mouth organ in Louisiana, a famous blues piece written by Rossi. These were some of the best musician of Europe in the 60s and 70s and this album is not only a collection of popular songs but rapresents an important time in the history of Italian music. Below there is a picture of the rare LP

Today, Giorgio Rossi , who is a software engineer and a music lover, and the son of Carlo Alberto Rossi, continues his father’s work and is the director of C.A. Rossi Editore of Italy/Europe. He has worked with famous singers like Mario Biondi and musicians like  He organises large scale  shows,  especially jazz revivals of the music of Duke Ellington and Gershwin and he is in touch with some of the best musician and singers of Europe. I am fortunate to know Giorgio and to keep in touch with him.

2 Responses

  1. ciao Alfredo, sono Rossella Rossi figlia di Carlo Alberto,ricordo bene tuo padre al Fonorama. ero piccola e seguivo mio padre mentre suonava e lavorava con il tuo.ho tantissimi ricordi legati a quei tempi.un abbraccio a te ed alla tua famiglia.mi ha fatto piacere leggere le cose che hai scritto.Rossella

  2. Ciao Rosella, anche io ho tanti bellissimi ricordi di quei tempi. Tuo padre era un uomo bravissimo ed era un musicista a compositore dotato. Mi ricordo bene anche se ero piccolo. Io suono il pianoforte per hobby e la musica e’ una grande passione. Ma di questi giorni sto studiando per prendermi una laurea in psicologia clinica a Sydney. Comunque ascolto sempre la musica di tuo padre specialmente le sue canzoni suonate dalle grandi orchestre.

    Un abbraccio anche a te ed alla tua famiglia. Alfredo

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