The big stage still revs Jimmy Cavallo at 88

I’ve had the chance to talk to Jimmy Cavallo for a quarter century now. Back when I worked for the big daily, he and his bud Stan Colella even allowed myself and a photographer colleague to tail them around a downtown Syracuse joint called Styleen’s Rhythm Palace as they posed for the cover of their first collaborative album of their music, ever.

Their pride was obvious.

Jimmy’s coming back to his hometown this weekend to play music, on his sax, and sing with his band, the House Rockers, on the outdoor stage of downtown’s Festa Italiana and in a club, too.

(Older photo courtesy of Guy Capone; Newer photo from

When I interviewed him on the phone from his home in Pommpano Beach, Fla., he sounded as vibrant at age 88 as he did those two-plus decades ago when that CD was being released.

He misses his friend Colella, who passed away in 2002, yes.

But he says music keeps him on his toes.

Cavallo still plays out down in Florida, two shows a week now. About to become four, he was quick to add. Not bad. Not bad at all.

I wrote about the guy who appeared in the classic Alan Freed movie Rock, Rock, Rock for my weekly Mark It Up community column for Syracuse Public Media site

If you’d like to read my column, click the link below.

Here’s a YouTube clip of the scene of Cavallo and the House Rockers performing the title cut in Rock, Rock, Rock

Do you know anybody who continues at their main pursuit in life long past what is considered retirement age, and could you please share? Do you check out the pioneering rock ‘n’ roll sound of the B&W age, and if so, what are your favorite acts and songs and why? What’s your favorite style of music for dancing, and why?


39 thoughts on “The big stage still revs Jimmy Cavallo at 88

  1. I have too many favorite styles of dancing to list them here, Mark. I assume I’ll be dancing to some oldies but goodies at my high school reunion this weekend. As usual, your questions distracted me from what I wanted to tell you: thanks for this great tribute to Jimmy Cavallo. Now I have to dance over to that other site and read your column.


    • I’m amazed that we’ve arrived to your reunion weekend, Ann! It seems just weeks ago we were dancing around Ellie B at the Happy Cottage in Cape Cod. Wow. Time for a good round of catch-up at your great, round reunion year.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s not the same as rocking it out on a stage, but there’s my mom. She never made a living with her art, but she’s exhibited her works and began selling her paintings when she was in her 80s. At 93, and with limited eye sight, she still attends a weekly art class.

    Good luck to Jimmy Cavallo. I think doing something you love helps to keep you going.


  3. Hey Mark!!!! Jimmy sounds like a really fascinating guy. I very much enjoyed the video and your column. That era of music and dance just seems so full of life and fun. I wish people still dressed that way, with the big poofy skirts, the gloves and the men in suits and hats. I think my favorite type of dance is swing. I would like to take dance lessons, learn how to do all those groovy moves. My dad used to play jazz and ragtime on the piano when I was a kid – love those sounds.


  4. It seems rare to see musicians retire. For that matter, I guess it’s rare for any artist. Probably the art is more a part of who they are than a job to them. I suppose I’ll never stop writing, and with lots of college tuition charges looming in the future, I guess I’ll never retire from my day job either. So it looks like I’ll still be plugging away at 88, though probably not having as much fun as your friend, Jimmy.


  5. Oh gosh, don’t think any of my friends are that old yet although some have continued rocking well into middle age. A lot of them have mellowed in the style of music they play though. I guess that makes sense.


  6. We are having our annual Lawn Fest today,but with the reconstruction still unfinished most people are staying away from it. Something about 150 people trying to use one elevator tends to keep us at home.


  7. He’s gotten older but man besides that his face hasn’t changed much Mark! One of my colleagues from the organization I work at now is 81 years old. He golfs with 90 year olds, is quite mobile, still drives and still has perfect eyesight! ❤
    Diana xo


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