Three original members of The Moon Maids, the female vocal quartet which worked with Vaughn Monroe from 1946 to 1952, reunited with guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, who was also on the Monroe band during that period, for a half-dozen special performances celebrating Pizzarelli's recent 80th birthday. 
    The Moon Maids -- featuring June Bratone, Mary Jo Grogan, and Tinker Rautenberg, along with Carol Piper (who joined them for some "second-time around" appearances and recordings starting in the 1980s) -- hadn't sung together since 1991. 
    The shows, titled "A Circle of Friends," took place Apr. 1-3 at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, FL and Apr. 5-6 at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach, FL, and were accompanied by Pizzarelli's trio and the Palm Beach Pops orchestra conducted by Bob Lappin. 
    The Moon Maids offered a medley of songs associated with Monroe, such as Ballerina, Riders in the Sky, and There, I've Said It Again, then sang, for Pizzarelli, Happy Birthday to You.  (One source early on indicated that the group might also do a second medley of big band favorites such as Juke Box Saturday Night and On the Atcheson, Topeka and Santa Fe.)
    An additional, private performance, with only Pizzarelli's trio, was given Apr. 4 at Loblolly Pines Country Club in Hobe Sound, FL.  It was hoped that Monroe's widow, Marian, now age 93, would be able to attend that show.

    From time to time, trumpeter Mike Vax has assembled a big band to perform Stan Kenton's music live at concerts, dances, and clinics.  This year, they traveled through northern California and Oregon.  Besides Vax, among the Kenton alumni in the group were Dennis Noday, Carl Saunders, and Jack Daversa (trumpets), Dale Devoe and Mike Suter (trombones), Joel Kaye and Kim Richmond (saxophones), Bob Florence (piano), and Gary Hobbs (drums).  
    Dates included Apr. 1, Cal State University East Bay, Hayward, CA; Apr. 2, Fort Bragg High School, Fort Bragg, CA; Apr. 3, Eureka High School, Eureka, CA; Apr. 4, Klamath Union High School, Klamath Falls, OR; and Apr. 6, Mt. Hood Community College Theater, Gresham, OR.

Count Basie Orchestra directed by Bill Hughes: Apr. 1-5 conclusion of European tour;
  Apr. 7, Christopher Newport University, Newport News, VA
Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra directed by Bill Tole: Apr. 21, [ unspecified ], CA; Apr. 22, Napa
  Valley Opera House, Napa, CA; Apr. 25, Sacramento Community Center Theater,
  Sacramento, CA
Tommy Dorsey Orchestra directed by Buddy Morrow: Apr. 8, Fitchburg State College,
  Fitchburg, MA; Apr. 9, Temple Emanu-El Brotherhood, Marblehead, MA
Les Elgart Orchestra directed by Russ Dorsey: Apr. 2, Sterling Hotel, Dallas, TX
Maynard Ferguson and Big Bop Nouveau: Apr. 4, Waseca High School, Waseca, MN;
  Apr. 7, Woodhaven High School, Brownstown, MI; Apr. 9, Goshen Middle School,
  Goshen, NY; Apr. 10, Manchester High School, Manchester, CT; Apr. 12, Casino Theatre,
  Vandergrift, PA; Apr. 15, The Company Theatre, Norwell, MA; Apr. 22, Southeastern
  Oklahoma State University, Durant, OK; Apr. 28, Shippensburg University, Shippensburg,
  PA; Apr. 29, Ridgefield Playhouse, Ridgefield, CT
Jan Garber Orchestra directed by Howard Schneider: Apr. 7, Lake Robbins Ballroom,
  Woodward, IA; Apr. 8, Starlite Ballroom, Wahoo, NE; Apr. 29, Bartlett Station
  Municipal Center, Bartlett, TN
Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All-Star Band directed by Slide Hampton: Apr. 21, Kimmel Center,
  Philadelphia, PA
Woody Herman Orchestra directed by Frank Tiberi:  Apr. 4, Liverpool High School,
  Liverpool, NY
Gene Krupa Orchestra directed by Michael Berkowitz: Apr. 7, Iridium Jazz Club,
  New York, NY
Glenn Miller Orchestra directed by Larry O'Brien: Apr. 1, Yavapai College Community
  Theatre, Prescott, AZ; Apr. 2, Del E. Webb Center for the Performing Arts, Wickenburg,
  AZ; Apr. 5, Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, Santa Rosa, CA; Apr. 6, Orchard Creek
  Ballroom, Lincoln, CA; Apr. 7, Mexican Heritage Plaza, San Jose, CA; Apr. 9, Haugh
  Performing Arts Center, Glendora, CA; Apr. 20-23, Benaroya Hall, Seattle, WA; Apr. 24,
  Tower Theatre, Bend, OR; Apr. 26, Cascade Theatre, Redding, CA; Apr. 27, Craterian
  Ginger Rogers Theater, Medford, OR; Apr. 30, Egyptian Theater, Park City, UT
Artie Shaw Orchestra directed by Dick Johnson: Apr. 25, Count Basie Theatre,
  Red Bank, NJ
Garry Stevens: Apr. 22, El Campanil, Antioca, CA [ with The Contra Costa Jazz Band ]
Stars of the Live Lawrence Welk Show [ Metzger, English, Imel, Barber, Little, Dale ]:
  Apr. 3, Centennial Concert Hall, Winnipeg, CN; Apr. 7, Southern Alberta Jubilee
  Auditorium, Calgary, CN

Kay Finegan, 95, former wife of arranger Bill Finegan (married 1936, divorced
  early '60s), Apr. 23, 2006
William Gottlieb, 89, photographer (1939-48), Apr. 23, 2006, stroke
Al Anthony, 89, alto saxophonist (Reynolds '40; A. Donahue '41; Kenton '45-'46),
  Apr. 28, 2006, heart attack

Brothers, Thomas.  Louis Armstrong's New Orleans (New York City: W.W. Norton
  & Company, 2006).  [ Brothers, an Armstrong scholar and a Professor of Music at Duke University in North Carolina,
   writes of "the indelible imprints left on Armstrong by New Orleans and its music," including "a wealth of autobiographies,
   memoirs, and interviews with family, friends, and fellow musicians. ]

Bialczak, Mark.  "Herman Orchestra offers swingin' time: Big band under direction of
  Frank Tiberi delivers kind of show Woody would have," Syracuse [ NY ] Post-Standard /, Apr. 5, 2006.
Friedwald, Will.  "The Traditionalist Who Made the Sax Modern: Bud Freeman at 100,"
  New York Sun /, Apr. 10, 2006.
Gilbert, Andrew.  "A pianist who opened minds, and doors: Toshiko Akiyoshi, a Berklee
  pioneer, returns to Boston," Boston Globe /, Apr. 23, 2006.
Hillig, Terry.  "Coliseum Ballroom [ Benld, IL ] up for sale," St. Louis Post-Dispatch /, Apr. 5, 2006.
Mullins, Michelle.  "Big band era lives on at ballroom marking its 85th anniversary,"
  Daily Southtown /, Apr. 23, 2006.  [ Willowbrook Ballroom in Willow Springs, IL ]
Richmond, Peter.  Fever: The Life and Music of Miss Peggy Lee (Holt).  464 pp  
    [ includes information about her stint with Benny Goodman's band from Aug. 1941 to Mar. 1943 ]
Ward, Lindsey.  "Welk revue offers a wunnerful time," Winnipeg Sun /,
  Apr. 2, 2006.
Willems, Jos.  Studies in Jazz #51: All of Me: The Complete Musical Legacy of Louis
  Armstrong (The Scarecrow Press, Inc.).  480 pp  [ specifies dates, locations, catalog numbers, and timings
   of performances, whether studio, unissued, live, or amateur; identifies producers and publishing companies ]

Georgie Auld: "Georgie Auld and His Hollywood All-Stars Play the Swinging Arrangements
  of Billy May," Fresh Sound Records FSR 2222 [ 2-CD ]
Charlie Barnet: "Live at Basin St. East '66," Hep [ UK ] 2005
Tex Beneke: "Midnight Serenade," Sounds of Yesteryear SOY 701
Buddy Bregman: "Swingin' Standards," Lone Hill Jazz LHJ10243
Benny Carter: "Somebody Loves Me," Sounds of Yesteryear SOY 702
Buck Clayton: "Buck Clayton-Earl Hines All Stars: Jazz from a Swinging Era," Lone Hill
  Jazz LHJ10245 [ 2-CD ]
Dorsey Brothers: "Volume 4: Recorded in New York 1930-34 The Complete Recordings,"
  Jazz Oracle BDW 8051
Duke Ellington: "Duke Ellington's Spacemen: The Cosmic Scene," Mosaic MCD-1001
Bud Freeman: "Chicago/Austin High School Jazz in Hi-Fi," Mosaic MCD-1002
Benny Goodman: "Swiss Radio Days Vol.14: Lausanne 1950," TCB 2142 [ 2-CD ]
Woody Herman: "Live From Club 15 [ excerpts of radio broadcasts from Las Vegas,
  1966 ]," Request Records 38001 [ with vocals by Mel Torme ]
Stan Kenton: "Stan Kenton & Friends," Dynaflow 20061; "Kenton for Collectors, Vol.2,"
  Dynaflow 20062; "Big Sounds From the Small Screen," Dynaflow 20063
The King Sisters: "Over the Rainbow," Flare 240 [ with Rey, Martin ]
Guy Lombardo: "Live From Club 15 [ excerpts of radio broadcasts from Las Vegas, 1966 ],"
  Request Records 38002
Glenn Miller Orchestra directed by Larry O'Brien: "Steppin' Out," Glenn Miller Productions
Ray Noble: "Al Bowlly with Ray Noble: My Song Goes Around the World," Sounds of
  Yesteryear SOY 703
Pete Rugolo: "Adventures in Jazz: The Complete Columbia Recordings 1954-1955,"
  Fresh Sound Records FSR 2213 [ 2-CD ]; "Adventures in Sound [ 1956 ]," Fresh Sound
  Records FSR 2221 [ 2-CD ]
Clark Terry: "Swahili," Lonehill Jazz LHJ10244
various artists: "Live From Club 15 [ excerpts of radio broadcasts from Las Vegas, 1966 ],"
  Request Records 38003 [ incl. Glenn Miller Orchestra directed by Buddy DeFranco, with
  Bobby Rydell; Si Zentner and His Orchestra with Mel Torme ]; "Live From Club 15,"
  Request Records 38004 [ incl. Louis Prima ]; "Jazz Live From Club 15," Request Records
  38005 [ incl. Gene Krupa; Maynard Ferguson and His Orchestra ]

    The Library of Congress has announced the discovery of a December 29, 1940 jam
session featuring one of Count Basie's former tenor saxophone stars, Lester Young, leading a small group. 
    The music, recorded onto 16-inch lacquer discs while Young played at an unidentified nightclub, were found among donated materials.  His ensemble includes trumpeter Shad Collins, who had previously worked with Cab Calloway's orchestra, and trombonist J.C. Higginbotham, who had been with (among others) Louis Armstrong's big band. 
    According to musician Loren Schoenberg, Executive Director of The Jazz Museum in Harlem, "Imagine a new Shakespearean sonnet, Chopin nocturne or Hemingway short story - that's what we have here - an American master, a true iconoclast, at his very best."

    Each year during the 21st Century, the Library of Congress has selected a number of recordings deemed worthy of preservation, as part of a National Recording Registry.  This month, Count Basie's classic One O'Clock Jump, recorded in 1937 for Decca, was among
the performances added to the list.
    "The National Recording Registry represents a stunning array of the diversity, humanity
and creativity found in our sound heritage, nothing less than a flood of noise and sound pulsating into the American bloodstream," Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said.

    The National Humanities Center has awarded fellowship grants to 39 people for the academic year 2006-07, including Theodore E. Buehrer, an Associate Professor of Music at Kenyon College in Ohio.  His topic will be "Mary's Ideas: Mary Lou Williams' Development
As a Big Band Composer."
    The Center, located in North Carolina, is a privately-incorporated institute for advanced study in the humanities.

    Rumors that the famous Capitol Records tower in Hollywood may be sold and converted
into condominiums continued.  A spokesperson for record label EMI, which owns the structure, acknowledged it had received several proposals from potential buyers.  But city leaders and preservationists said the 13-story building, which looks like a stack of records, was too much
of an icon to be turned into housing. 

send feedback about "Big Band News: April 2006" via e-mail
return to "Big Band News" directory
go to Big Band Library homepage

The Moon Maids [ above ], taken while broadcasting on the radio, over CBS, with Vaughn Monroe [ ctr. ] and His Orchestra
on Feb. 25, 1950.  The performance was connected to the American Red Cross, so the quartet wore Red Cross uniforms.
Photo courtesy of the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library in Florida.

The Moon Maids [ below ], as they are now, dressed in more glamorous outfits.
April 2006
reported by Christopher Popa