Anna and I recently saw the new Disney-Pixar film Ratatouille (two thumbs up!) and we came away big fans of Michael Giacchino’s soundtrack, particularly for its liberal use of the accordion. (As you might expect from a film set in Paris.) But who was squeezing the bellows as Remy and his buddies took over the kitchen at Gusteau’s? Sure enough, it was the hardest-working accordionist in Hollywood, Frank Marocco.
Frank Marocco grew up just outside of Chicago (Waukegan) and started playing the accordion when he was only seven years old. By the 1950s, he had formed his own trio and played the hotel and club circuit around Las Vegas and Palm Springs before moving to Los Angeles. There, he played with the Les Brown Band, joined Bob Hope on countless tours overseas, and began his career as a highly sought-after session musician. His hundreds of credits range from the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds to the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Odds are, if you hear an accordion in a movie, TV show, or commercial — it’s Frank Marocco.
One of Marocco’s hallmarks has always been his versatility. Jazz, classical, latin… regardless of the genre, he always plays flawlessly and passionately. Here’s a video clip of Marocco performing his own arrangement of Astor Piazzola’s classic tango, “Oblivion”: