The Rondels

sax player that was on the radio at the time and all of the songs we were doing reached another level because of Ray's ability. The Rhythm Rockers were now three guitars, drums and sax and it was beginning to feel like we were finding ourselves.

We did many record hops and school dances, even studio work around the Boston area as the word about us was spreading and we were getting better and better by the day. My vision for the band as we were now configured was to get a record out with our own material and not long after we did just that!

Ray Pizzi was brought up in Boston's predominantly Italian ghetto, Quincy, and got his first sax, a Martin tenor, when he was just fourteen. "I was a product of the Quincy Department of Education's music programme" recalled Ray, "and I first started on the clarinet in my fifth grade at high school before later switching to sax." At the time he was under the spell of the sax players on the early rock & roll records by Fats Domino, Bill Haley and Little Richard which featured sax men such as Herb Hardesty, Rudy Pompilli and Lee Allen.

Ray was soon seeking outlets for his blossoming talent and would play in the high school band as well as with anyone else who might be interested in using a hot young sax player. By 1956 he was the featured sax man with a band called The Rainbows who included some rock instrumentals as well as R&R ballads "so that the kids could dance real close" laughed Ray! "Some of our repertoire came out of the Combo Orchestrations book which was arranged for trumpet and sax, and others were just what we heard on the radio. I also played in strip clubs, with jazz combos, symphonic bands and at wedding parties from the age of fifteen to nineteen. I joined The Rhythm Rockers around 1957 after Lennie and Jimmy saw me play at one of my gigs. I remember we used to do an instrumental version of Rock Around The Clock where I got down on my knees, bent over backwards, and held the longest note known to mankind – probably for about two minutes!"

Lennie takes up the story: "Right around this time we met another local group called The 3 D's. They had a hit in the Northeast titled Billy Boy and were signed to a New York label called Paris Records on which they had two or three releases. I had written a song called The Happiest Boy And

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The Rhythm Rockers at a record hop in 1959 ~ l-n Lennie Petze, Jimmy Petze, Nicky Latteo, Eddie Grispi

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Article written by Dave Burke of Pipeline Magazine www.pipelinemag.co.uk