In reference to the current interest in Vincent Lopez and his
recordings for Ampico, I'd like to add the following.
My feeling is that the Vincent Lopez Ampico arrangements were the work
of Carroll and Fairchild, and their intent was to make extremely full,
"flashy" sounding arrangements which gave the listener the impression
of the Lopez orchestra. In listening to the old Vincent Lopez Orches-
tra 78-rpm recordings, one can readily hear that Carroll and Fairchild
were quite successful. The arranging style is very much reminiscent of
Lopez' orchestrations. There was certainly no hand-playing involved,
but it was not the intent to reproduce hand playing.
I vaguely remember seeing an old Ampico ad which talked about these
rolls intending to give the impression of the live Lopez orchestra.
As far as Vincent Lopez as a pianist, I remember seeing a Vitaphone
short film featuring him and his orchestra, done in the early 1930's.
He played Felix Arndt's old chestnut "Nola" during the clip, and the
playing is very competent and clean. But it's clear that, compared
to the pianistic giants which were around during his day -- Carroll,
Rainger, Fairchild, not to mention many others -- he was probably
overshadowed in technical ability.
Lopez also wrote a number of original compositions, i.e. "Novelty Piano
Solos", which were published by Robbins during the 1920s and 30s, all
of which reflect his playing style. He even wrote a method book for
piano study, and collected three volumes of popular novelty piano solos
for publication by Robbins. As far as I'm aware, Lopez never recorded
any piano solo material which would have given listeners a clearer view
of his abilities as a pianist.
[ I think I read somewhere that Lopez's own arranger sent the
[ orchestra scores (or adaptations) to Ampico as the basis for
[ the piano rolls. I wish I could remember the arranger's name;
[ he was very talented. -- Robbie