ZZ Music has new Gigi Stok old stock music in stock!
How sad that due to Covid 19 restrictions the planned concert celebrating Gigi Stok’s centenary will not take place this year in Italy. Plans are afoot to postpone it till next year depending on how the virus behaves over this coming winter. However, ZZ Music will endeavour to mark the maestro’s centenary by making available some new, old stock music after the more recent Ricordi/BMG publications now out of print have become increasingly hard to find.
How wonderful that a private accordion collection housed in a cistercian abbey in Fontevivo near Parma, has been dedicated to Gigi Stok and contains one of his Fratelli Vaccari instruments which was donated by his late wife to the collection. http://fisarmonicheafontevivo.blogspot.com/
Gigi Stok was born Luigi Stocchi in Bianconese Parma, Italy in 1920. He studied the accordion under the guidance of Maestro Marmiroli, who together with Savi were amongst the best accordionists of their era. At the age of 13 he made his public debut together with his father, a singing storyteller, and here started his road to fame. He won the Concorso Nazionale di Fisarmonica in Macerata equal first place with Riccardo Ducci. In 1938 Stok joined the Tamani Orchestra a famous ensemble of its day.
After the interruption of the second World War, during which, he was dispatched to the artistic division after a colonel heard him play The Thieving Magpie on the accordion, Stok formed his own Ensemble and began to include some of his own compositions in the orchestra’s repertoire. After playing at the Casino in Parma he became a regular feature at the Giardino D’Inverno (Winter Garden) in Parma’s Ducale Park where he played three nights a week. He also played at La Bussola, the famous seaside venue in Viareggio where he met a black Cuban singer Marino Barreto who he then employed as a singer in his own Ensemble at the Giardino D’Inverno.
In 1950s Parma, where he would have found it difficult to find a hotel that would give him bed and board. Nevertheless prejudices were soon defeated by this singer’s wonderful voice. After a brief success with Stok’s band, Barreto took off on an even more successful solo career taking half of Stok’ s band with him. Within a fortnight the not-to-be-defeated Stok had formed another band with which he had continued success.
He, along with a handful of accordionists of his generation, were the accordionists that introduced the element of virtuosity into dance music just as was commonly seen in the American swing bands of the same era where artists such as Harry James on Trumpet, Artie Shaw and Benny Goodman on Clarinet, Lionel Hampton on Vibraphone, all did a similar thing in the 1940s. At the end of the 1940’s, after an audition where he played one of his own compositions namely Elettrico, His Master’s Voice/EMI in Milan La Voce Del Padrone, realising his virtuosity offered him a recording contract, a relationship which was to last until the 1970’s. His successful recording career still required him to promote himself by a tiring touring schedule.
In 1966 he was asked to compose a piece for a Film that was to star the actor Ugo Tognazzi, well-known in Italy if not so much abroad. The film was L’Immorale and the piece was Vecchi Ricordi. Although ballroom dancing went out of fashion in the 1960’s, Gigi Stok did not, and remained popular especially amongst Italians from his region living outside Italy. In the brief period when the accordion would get booed off the stage he played bass in the band and started arranging light classical music for the accordion ready for it’s anticipated comeback.
By the late seventies Gigi Stok decided to take things a little easier and launched a band called I Cadetti di Gigi Stok where he would make the odd guest appearance but the accordion playing was left largely to Corrado Medioli. In respect of his technical perfection and contribution to Italian accordion music of the popular and ballroom genre, he was awarded the Life Achievement Award at the London Accordion Festival 2001. He was unfortunately unable to attend due to his already advancing illness but Corrado Medioli, who brought a letter of thanks from his wife Carolina, accepted the award on his behalf.
Gigi Stok died at the end of February 2003 after a 3-year battle against Alzheimers. He was buried on the 2nd of March in the village of his birth, Bianconese in the province of Parma where he had begun his career accompanying his father.
Gigi Stok and his peers made young players of his generation and later my own generation aspire to playing pieces where a good technique rendered a piece exciting and was a sign of bravura. His left-hand semi-quaver runs in fast waltz tempo made many players realise that the left-hand keyboard was for more than just vamping along. Gigi Stok limited himself to playing the dance music he knew best but nevertheless raised the profile of the accordion and it’s technical possibilities within that genre.
ZZ Music now has a vast range of his music available in the form of albums containing solos and duets and, arrangements for small ensemble.
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