Caravelli, real name Claude Vasori (12 September 1930, Paris) is a French orchestra leader, composer and arranger of orchestral music.
The son of an Italian father and a French mother, Vasori was initially instructed in music by his mother in piano and voicing/harmony at seven years old, and later, when he was thirteen he began to attend the Paris Conservatoire.
At twenty he was professionally touring, accompanying singers on piano, and at 26 years old he started as orchestra conductor.
Vasori took his stage name in 1956 from the newly introduced twin-jet Caravelle from Caravelle Aerospatiale. This plane was the first jet created for the short-haul market. The first Caravelle entered service for Air France on May 9, 1959. He made it more Italianate in honor of his father’s origins, changing the last letter: “CARAVELLI et son Violons Magiques/& his Magnificent Strings”.
In 1959 with the help of the French jazz musician Ray Ventura, he obtained a contract to form his own orchestra oriented to popular music. He signed a contract with the French record label Versailles. His first album Dance Party was recorded. Under licenses these early recordings were released internationally (20th Century Records in USA, Ariel in Argentina, Fermata in Brasil and Discophon in Spain)
In 1962 he composed Et Satan conduit le bal original soundtrack under his real name, French film starred by young Catherine Deneuve. In 1963 he composed Accroche-toi Caroline! which was used by the BBC as the theme to the Vision On television series.
The Versailles label was acquired by Columbia Records in 1964. The wider distribution of their product led to gold records in France, Japan, Israel and South America. In Brazil his first released CBS album was titled Voyage Musical, in Argentina Merci Cherie. With his orchestra he also made recordings with Maurice Chevalier and Charles Trenet (La mer/Beyond the sea) among other singers. In 1970 he composed the music for the film L’Homme Qui Vient De La Nuit, starred by Ivan Rebroff, and in the same period recorded an album in USA. His first Japan Live Concert is recorded in 1972 by CBS. In 1973 one of his own compositions was included in the Frank Sinatra album Old Blue Eyes is back: “Laisse moi le temps” / “Let me try again”, original French lyrics by Michel Jourdan, English lyrics by Paul Anka.
This song was previously presented in competition at the “Festival Internacional de la Canción de Viña del Mar”, Chile, representing France and obtaining a 2nd prize (a Chile song was the winner), although it was considered the best song by critics and people. Making a delayed justice, a few years ago, it was proclaimed the Best Song in the history of this Festival, in its 40th Anniversary, something unusual for a non 1st prize in any song contest. This song was also covered by Raymond Lefevre. In 1978 he composed and recorded the title song of “Goldorak et les 2 Mazingers”, for the Japan anime/cartoon.
In 1981 he toured with his orchestra in the ex-Soviet Union in Riga and Moscow with great success (all concerts were sold out). The summer of following year, he returned to the country, this time to make a record for the Melodiya label with Russians musicians and female singers (in his style without lyrics). This record Caravelli in Moscow includes 12 songs, the majority written by young pop Russian composers, with a couple of traditional tunes. Two of the pieces were recorded in Paris with his own orchestra. In 1983 Caravelli plays Seiko Matsuda was recorded in Japan.
In the middle 1980s in order to update his sound he used rhythm arrangements by his son Patrick Vasori (born c.1950) using musicians like Gilles Gambus and Serge Planchon, who also played keyboards with the orchestra. In November and December 2002 he recorded an album titled A new day has come” with his Grand Orchestre in Brussels, Belgium, for Readers’s Digest.