Lou Chiha

From HistoryWiki

Lou Chiha

Just before World War I, a new group of xylophone players joined the Edison line-up to replace Charles Daab who had been with the company since 1910. Lou Chiha, also known as "Friscoe," was one of the new generation of recording and concert artists who arrived in 1916 and remained with Edison until 1926.

His first recording on disc contained two unaccompanied xylophone solos, both played with four mallets, "Silver Threads Among the Gold" (#50342) with Sextet from "Lucia di Lammermoor" on the reverse. The PAS Gerhardt Collection also includes two xylophone solos by “Friscoe” on the Emerson label – a two-sided 7" disc recording of I Don’t Know Where I’m Going and Peacock Strut (#7245).

"Friscoe" made twelve xylophone records for Edison, and while he was there, he also participated in the famous tone-tests, in which live performances were compared with recordings in the presence of audiences. An advertisement for "The New Edison: The Phonograph with a Soul" (September 4, 1920) describes the spectacle:

Vaudeville’s Strangest Thrill – Meet Signor Friscoe, xylophone artist extraordinary – and vaudeville’s newest purveyor of magic. Meet the New Edison – his chief "magic." Signor Friscoe comes on to the stage and plays. His agile hammers ripple merrily over the xylophone keys. Suddenly Signor Friscoe holds his hammers poised in mid-air. But his xylophone performance continues – as if some magic influence were at work upon the keys. Then the curtains part. The audience gasps. The New Edison stands revealed. It has been matching Signor Friscoe’s performance so perfectly that its Re-Creation could not be distinguished from his original performance.