Today’s excursion starts with Dave Apollon (1897-1972), arguably one of the most adventurous mandolinists of the 20th century and an inspiration to this day. Here he is with with Victor Borge, playing a Chestnut (Hora Staccato, written by Grigoras Dinicu in 1906):
(might be worthwhile to watch Jascha Heifetz playing it too).
Dave Apollon mostly made his living playing vaudeville in the 1920s, and then as a night club performer. One of his signature pieces was Russian Rag, George Cobb’s 1918 take on Rachmaninoff’s C# minor Prelude. Alas, there’s no YouTube of Dave Apollon playing it, but these three versions are in the same spirit, and each has its own charm:
Russian Rag by Velvet Sun (Japanese ensembles are often enlightening, and sometimes have great hats):
Modern Mandolin Quartet:
The Old 78s: