Fred Elias was a legendary musician. An Arab violinist, living to an impressive age of 95 years old, passed away only a few hours ago from the publishing of this blog.
He was well regarded throughout the country, especially in the east coast. Many would call him a “helluva violin player!” He played up until near the end of his life. A staple in Middle Eastern music, Fred played with all ethnicities (Armenian, Arab, Greek, Turkish, etc) and knew more about the modes (scales) and the music than most musicians. He was trained at the Boston Conservatory of Music and was a true virtuoso that performed with countless musicians such as Eddie Kochak, Joe Kouyoumjian, Emin Gunduz, Korkoras Brothers, and Buddy Sarkissian. He recorded 78RPM records, LPs and CDs. He was an active musician with a great sense of humor. I had the pleasure of meeting and playing with Fred several years ago in Boston and he couldn’t have been any nicer to me.
For us as musicians, Fred was an icon. He was one of the masters. Loved and admired by so many musicians and patrons. He knew the Rat Pack (Sinatra, Davis, Martin) and travelled with comedian/actor Danny Thomas at one point playing gigs.
God bless Fred for all the music and enjoyment he brought to us all of these years. Enjoy these YouTube clips containing some nice music from Fred.