The Hot Frittatas

The Hot Frittatas specialized in Italian Ballo Liscio style music: traditional instrumental dance tunes. They collected these lively tunes from local San Francisco musicians, old records, old sheet music, and numerous other sources. This music includes tarantellas, mazurkas, polkas, waltzes, tangos and contemporary arrangements of popular Italian favorites (O Solo Mio, Funiculi Funicula, Arrivederci Roma, and more). The band recorded three CDs between 2009 and 2014, toured in California, Nevada, Arizona and Oregon, wrote original music for TV (one episode of “The Bachelor”) and also appeared on the NPR quiz show “Says You” on three shows recorded in San Francisco.

The band performed from 2000 to 2015, after which some of the band members pursued other directions. The original trio included Gus Garelick on mandolin and fiddle,  Don Coffin on guitar, and Dennis Hadley on accordion. The group later added Sam Page on bass and Gail Sharpsteen on violincello.

The three recordings of The Hot Frittatas are available below. The band occasionally reunites for shows, wineries, festivals, etc. Gus continues to play Italian music with the Mazurka Madness band in San Francisco.

What’s Next? (2009)
• Vecchia Spagna
• Vola Palumba, Vola
• No te Enganes Corazon
• El Morere
• Soir de Paris
• La Bella Bruna Medley
• Mazzurca Siciliana
• Tarantella Time
• Mazurka Fantaisie
• Creola
• Las Perlitas Polka
• El Zopilote Mojado
• Il Pensiero Polka

Invitation to the Dance (2004)
• Bella Piccinina
• Tango Delle Stelle
• Noche de Ronda
• Tarantella Medley
• Autunno Senze Te
• Polka Milanese
• Jota Variata
• Baciama Forte
• Dengozo
• Beaver’s Tarantella
• Cavaquinho Balade
• Araby March
• A Media Luz
• Quel Fazzolettino (Jim’s Farewell Tarantella)

Caffe Liscio  (2001)
• Parigina Polka
• Tra Veglia e Sonno
• Rosa di Maggio Polka
• Speranze Perdute
• O Detto al Sole
• Chi Ridere Polka
• Tenebre Infinita
• Frescalittata
• Mezza Note
• Napoli C’hina e Femmine
• Sicilian Tarantella
• Signora Fortuna
• Caterina’s Mazurka
• Quando Tramonda
• Funiculi Funicula

Some comments about our new album: What’s Next?

What the Hot Frittatas are doing is absolutely unlike anything else anybody else is doing. The virtuosity in the playing is mind-blowing. It also makes me really happy. In soggy gridlocked Los Angeles traffic last week it effectively relieved my natural homicidal tendencies. It sounds like eating fish tacos, squashing grapes on Mr.Hulot’s Holiday and I’ve just joined the Mafia all at the same time. Speaking of which, if you’re ever kidnapped by the Mafia, play them this record and they will start blubbering and let you go, guaranteed.
Steve Werner, Los Angeles, CA (Songwriter, Recording Artist)

I have listened to the music many times and it is just magical. I am under the spell. The arrangements are complex enough to stay fresh time after time. What I like best is your very personal violin sound and of course your dynamic mandolin. … the French pieces:  they are both very interesting and new to me (an added quality).   You have developed your own style. Honestly, I do not listen to any other Italian band. I command you for keeping a tasteful repertoire, and arrangements that keep the audience on its toes.
Odile Lavault, Berkeley, CA (Accordionist, The Baguette Quartette)

The music on this CD sounds as if it has had many performances before being recorded and has a burnished lived-in quality that shows the Hot Frittatas’ love and respect for these tunes. I would categorize this as an excellent example of café music as one might have heard it in the 1920’s – 1930’s…. While this CD is thoroughly enjoyable to sit and listen to, it should be in every mandolinist’s CD library under “party music”. This is a delightful CD sure to please any mandolin loving crowd – party or no – serve with a nice California red, sit back, and enjoy.
Miles Kusic, Kalamazoo, MI (Review for the Classical Mandolin Society of America)

“What’s Next?” delivers a tasty concoction of classical and contemporary roots music from Spain, Italy, France, Sicily, Argentina, Venezuela and Mexico.  Waltzes, tangos, polkas, musettes, tarantellas and marches performed with expertise, equanimity, style and vivacity.  “What’s Next?” transports the listener to Tuscany, Parisian cafes, Spanish bullfights, and Mexican fiestas.  You’ll want to book a flight and boogie with the Hot Frittatas!
Burney Garelick, Florence, OR (Writer and Editor), Review in Arts and Entertainment, Siuslaw News (Oregon)

Your take on “Vola, Palumba Vola” is perfect. I might even like it better than my own recording. How can this be?  … Once again, thanks for your beautiful rendition of my tune.
Peter Ostroushko, St.Paul, MN (Mandolinist, composer)

I just returned from Italy visiting my family in Tuscany and today I listened with GREAT PLEASURE to your album, “What’s Next?” The song selections are delightful and the mix is great, plus the musical performance is absolutely superb.  You all captured the spirit of each number and the arrangements are just wonderful.

I know the making of an album is no simple task but your performances are relaxed, happy, smooth, clean and expressive.  Your love of the songs comes through and you will make a lot of happy listeners.
Al Fabrizio, Menlo Park, CA (Mandolinist)

I love the CD.  Such a great sound you guys have.  You each make the song your own and I love your style.  You have a wonderful way of turning a phrase and making the song unique.  You give me a new perspective on some songs I have played forever, like the Mazurka for example.  So nice.  Gus, your violin tone is very personal and up close with great intonation. Dennis is fabulous. His accordion phrasing is also so musical.  Sam drives the whole thing with much power.  He is a wonderful bass player  I love what you guys did on Gino’s tune (Vecchia Spagna). Great work.
Billy Packard, Santa Cruz, CA (Mandolinist, Guitarist)

I want to tell you how much I loved your performance last week.  You have truly captured the essence and the spirit of that genre.  Your mandolin playing reminded me of Matteo [Casserino] very much and your violin was exquisite.  The teamwork was also exquisite.  In short I loved it and the CD is wonderful also.  Best Italian CD music I have heard ever yet and you can quote me on that.  The sound is good and all the playing is excellent.
Phil Lawrence, Sebastopol, CA (Mandolinist, band leader, teacher)

It’s a real foot-tapper, literally; either that or I have a  new twitch in my leg!  I think you asked my opinion about the variety of tunes and I certainly don’t think it goes far afield from the basic Hot Frittatas sound, that  is, traditional Mediterranean. It’s all beautifully done and the whole  production is professional and should come with its own gourmet café.
Jim Kohn, Asheville, NC (Musician and writer)