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Connections between the Philippines and the jazz scene are slight — but here is one for sure, half of a pair of brothers born into one of that island nation's wealthiest families. Both Fred Elizalde and Manuel Elizalde led dance bands in London, England, beginning in the second half of the '20s; they were sent there to attend posh Cambridge, naturally. The Elizalde brothers eventually dipped into the pool of brilliant New York City recording session players to bolster the staff of their band, certainly one reason that an ensuing Savoy Hotel stint was such a smash.
Fred Elizalde laid the groundwork for his later in-depth studies with the brilliant composer Maurice Ravel by himself scribbling out a minuet at the ripe age of four. Both brothers were shipped around to only the best schools — besides the aforementioned Cambridge there was Stanford University in California where, at only 16, Elizalde assumed leadership of the Stanford University Band for a Biltmore Hotel gig in Los Angeles. Moving from there to England only furthered his career as a bandleader and arranger: but his parents had meant otherwise, apparently horrified at their sons' interest in performing popular music.
An ensemble bravely called the Quinquaginta Ramblers was the first group Fred Elizalde took over upon arrival in England. The noted bandleader Bert Ambrose, often credited under just his surname, took a liking to the Filipino lad's piano playing as well as his ideas for compositions, and was an early employer. Near the end of the '20s, Elizalde disbanded his British-American ensemble and moved elsewhere in Europe, studying classical music in Spain and working privately with Ravel in France. In the early '30s there were some further Elizalde recordings done in England, but in later years he would return there only for classical concerts, basically settling back in the Philippines where he ran his own radio station.