Marco PETRASSI

Male Abt 1935 - 2017  (~ 82 years)


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  • Name Marco PETRASSI 
    Birth Abt 1935  Fermoy, Co Cork, Ireland Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Occupation Jazz Musician 
    Residence 2016  Connolly Park, Ballyphehane, Cork City, Co Cork, Ireland Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • before admission into the Mercy Hospital
    _UID E4DDD6874A024720A23E5DCC575CDA4EB594 
    Death 27 Sep 2017  Mercy Hospital, Grenville Place, Middle Parish, Cork City, Co Cork, Ireland Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Burial 2 Oct 2017  St Mary's Cemetery, Curraghkippane, Co Cork, Ireland Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Notes 
    • Evening Echo - Cork - Thursday 10 March 1983

      From Pizza Making To Playing Jazz


      ALL over sunny Italy the name Petrassi may be associated with the pizza making business, but here in Cork the name has become synonymous with something much more artistic - music-making, and with jazz in particular.

      The Petrassi in question Marco by name, has been a source of inspiration to many Irish bands since his arrival on the Cork jazz and dance band scene almost 30 years ago. His impeccable trumpet playing, easily recognisable for its rich sound and lyrical phrasing, continues to thrill audiences wherever he happens to blow, and that could as easily be in the orchestra pit in the Opera House, at a cabaret gig, or playing his real love, hot jazz - a tribute to his versatility and his flexible approach to music.

      I think its a mistake for a musician to stick exclusively to one bag," Marco asserts. 'It's far more interesting and a greater challenge to a musician's abilities to tackle as many styles as possible."

      Many people will be surprised, as I, was, to learn that Marco was born - not in Italy or indeed Cork city, but a few miles up the Dublin road - in Fermoy, in fact. His father was in business there when Marco was born and it wasn't until he was five or so that the family, moved to Cork in 1940.

      "My father was always a lover of music," Marco recalls. He was a good mandolin player - being Italian, I suppose. However, the accordian was the chosen instrument for me - I really didn't have much say in the matter, which may be the reason that after a time I became bored to tears with it."

      But there were other influences. Marco had his ears tuned into sounds much more exciting than he could produce on the squeeze-box. Big-band swing was all the rage then and at every opportunity he listened to late-night radio record shows - especially those featuring the Harry James' Band.

      The James' trumpet sound fascinated Marco to such an extent that he decided that that was the instrument for him. Eventually, after putting in long hours doing extra chores in the family's very successful fish and chip business, Marco had enough money to buy his first trumpet - a new, gleaming Selmer.

      He enrolled at the School of Music where he spent a number of years learning the ins and outs of trumpet playing.. During this period he was particularly struck by the powerful playing of British jazz trumpeter Freddie Randall. "I couldn't believe that that kind of power sound could come out of a trumpet."

      After gigging around with a number of local amateur bands, Marco landed a place in the Tommy Power Orchestra. "One trumpet, five saxes - a rough blow for a starting player. It was orchs. all the way and no messing."

      Did sight-reading come easy to him?

      "I don't know. I'd say it was almost 70% ear at the beginning."

      From there it was into the touring bands. In the early 'fifties he was on the road with the Pat Navan Orchestra where he stayed for about two years before moving on to the Regal Orchestra.

      "It was with the Regal that I realised what being a pro was all about. The money was big for the time - 12 a week - but that involved playing six nights a week and travelling all over the country."

      After two years with the Regal, Marco joined the Maurice Mulcahy Orchestra and he stayed with that band until the leader's sudden death at a gig in Ballybunion. He then rejoined the Regal before auditioning for the Johnny Butler Band in Dublin. "Benny McNeil, Bobby Burns and' Jack Flahive were just a few of the lads in the band at the time. It was one of the best outfits in the country and I enjoyed my stay enormously."

      But then the big break came. Phil Murtagh offered the trumpet chair in his band to the young, but by now very experienced Corkman.

      "That was the band and the job then," Marco emphasises. "That was in '55/'56 and the money every week was 35 - fantastic in those days."

      He was with Murtagh for almost three years i which included residencies at Butlin's holiday camp. It was while he was at Butlins he married and, shortly afterwards, with his young wife, Pat, he decided to widen his horizons and move to America to gain further experience.

      St. Petersburg, Florida, was their destination and within a week or two, Marco successfully auditioned with the Bill Evans Big Band- a 15-piece swing outfit and he stayed there, for two years before returning home and signing on with the Denis Cronin Orchestra which was based in Tralee and that lasted for a year.

      Marco's abiding memory of that stint was the cold. "I couldn't stand the cold. I was frozen to death after Florida. We played in some terrible halls and marquees with the backs wide open. I really don't know how I survived."

      After short periods again with the Regal and the Mulcahy bands, he got an 5 offer from Dublin to join the Jim Farley band, The Tophatters.

      "That was a great band. There were 26 people in the outfit. He had dancers, singers and a full complement of musicians. I actually took over the trumpet lead from Benny McNeil when I joined. The other trumpets included Joe Mclntyre, Davy Martin and Mike Nolan - really top-class players."

      Marco did a six-week tour of Germany with the band, visiting all the American army bases. "A world tour" had, in fact, been set up for the 26-piece outfit but the whole thing fell through when the band broke up following a disagreement ' between Jim Farley and manager T. J. Byrne regarding the dancers in the band whom Jim wanted to drop."

      From there, Marco went into the showband country and western scene with Gerry and the Ohio, before again linking up with Jim Farley who had formed an eight-piece.

      After two years of one night stands with the Farleyband, Marco decided to call it a day and returned home. He dropped playing altogether to concentrate on a new business venture - a fish and chip outlet sited in, St. Lukes. But two years further on, he couldn't resist the temptation of an offer from Dublin. Jim Farley was forming another band and he wanted the Corkman on trumpet.

      This final foray into the showband wilderness didn't last very long, and before the year was out, Marco was back in Cork again, this time teaming up with pianist Jack Brierly in an organ, trumpet and drums trio.

      And so ended the saga of one-night stands and the wearying drag of travelling all over the country.

      Little wonder then, that with such a varied musical career with top bands, the name and the man, Marco Petrassi, is widely respected throughout the length and breadth of the country as a trumpet player par excellence. And now that he is back once more with his first real love, jazz, Marco is - in happy unison with his many jazz admirers - enjoying his trumpet blowing like never before.

      *You can catch the Marco Petrassi Jazzmen in action at the Grand Parade Hotel tonight!

      Evening Echo - Cork - Friday 29 September 2017

      Petrassi (Connolly Park and North Main Street, Cork): On September 27, 2017, peacefully, in the presence of his loving family at the Mercy University Hospital, MARCO (Jazz Musician), dearly beloved husband of Patricia (nee Callanan), loving father of the late Adelina and adoring grandfather of the late Tara.
      Deeply mourned and sadly missed by his heartbroken wife, sons Marco and Enzo and, daughters Santina (Tina) and Therese, grandsons Marco and Brendan, granddaughters Sarah, Gabriella and Julianna, great-granddaughter Sophia, sister Vera, nephews, nieces, sons-in-law William and Martin, relatives, neighbours and a large circle of friends.
      Reposing at O'Connor Bros. Funeral Home, North Gate Bridge. Rosary this (Friday) Evening at 7pm. Removal on tomorrow (Saturday at 4pm to the Church of the Assumption, Ballyphehane. Requiem Mass on Monday at 2pm. Funeral afterwards to St Mary's Cemetery, Curraghkippane.
      Requiescat in pace
    Person ID I4418  falvey08
    Last Modified 23 Jul 2022 

    Family Patricia A (Pat) CALLANAN,   b. Abt 30 Sep 1933, Cork City, Co Cork, Ireland Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 6 Sep 2021, University Hospital, Wilton, Cork City, Co Cork, Ireland Find all individuals with events at this location (Age ~ 87 years) 
    Marriage Abt 30 Sep 1957  Cork City, Co Cork, Ireland Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Address Address:
    Marco & Pat PETRASSI
    44 Connolly Park, Pouladuff Rd Ballypheha 
    _UID BEAF3E0E65A148D6ADA8A2E08424387509C5 
    Children 
     1. Adelina PETRASSI   d. 24 Jul 2015, Marymount Hospice, Curraheen Rd., Curraheen, Cork City, Co Cork, Ireland Find all individuals with events at this location
     2. Enzo PETRASSI   d. 15 Dec 2017, Florida, USA Find all individuals with events at this location
     3. (Confidential)
     4. (Confidential)
     5. (Confidential)
    Family ID F3260  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart
    Last Modified 23 Jul 2022 

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBirth - Abt 1935 - Fermoy, Co Cork, Ireland Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarriage - Abt 30 Sep 1957 - Cork City, Co Cork, Ireland Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - 2016 - Connolly Park, Ballyphehane, Cork City, Co Cork, Ireland Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDeath - 27 Sep 2017 - Mercy Hospital, Grenville Place, Middle Parish, Cork City, Co Cork, Ireland Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBurial - 2 Oct 2017 - St Mary's Cemetery, Curraghkippane, Co Cork, Ireland Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 
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