APRIL 2012
compiled by Music Librarian

On-Stage with Guy Lombardo
    How should Guy Lombardo's hometown of London, Ontario, Canada honor him?  The museum dedicated to him there closed in 2007 because of a lack of visitors and funding, and, so far, city officials don't seem concerned that it be re-opened.
    "London has been struggling about how to make a proper tribute to the Lombardos.  So why not show them on stage, doing what they did best their music and telling their story?" playwright David Scott, who is age 46, asked in the London, Ontario Free Press.
    For more than four years, Scott has been working on a Lombardo script that focuses on Guy and two of his siblings, Carmen and Lebert.
    "The three brothers -- Guy, Carm and Lebe -- were . . . equal owners in the band.  I guess through birth order, Guy was always the leader," Scott suggests.
    Portions of Scott's script, now titled "The Sweetest Sound" and trimmed to just over a hundred pages, have been presented in readings and in-house workshops at the Grand Theatre in London.
The big bands are back
in a new and exciting way
    No date has been chosen yet for a public opening.
    "It's a play with music," Grand Theatre Artistic Director Susan Ferley explains.  "We're just exploring to see what happens when you add some music to it."

    Cab Calloway, born in Rochester, NY on Christmas Day, 1907, will be one of the inaugural class of nine inductees into the Rochester Music Hall of Fame this month.
    The induction ceremony will take place the night of the 29th, and will include one of Cab's daughters, Cecelia, performing songs made famous by her father.
    Congratulations to the Calloway family!
Swing Into Spring
Count Basie Orchestra directed by Dennis Mackrel.  Apr. 1, Benaroya Hall, Seattle, WA.
Tex Beneke Orchestra directed by Jim Snodgrass.  Apr. 1, "Tribute to Glenn Miller and the
    Big Band Vocalists," California Center for the Arts, Escondido, CA.  With The Pied
    Pipers, Polly Podewell, Cassie Miller, Madeline Vergari, and others.
Les Elgart Orchestra directed by Russ Dorsey.  Apr. 26, concert but location not
    specified [ ! ].
Harry James Orchestra directed by Fred Radke.  Apr. 25-30, portion of cruise on the
    American Queen Mississippi riverboat, embarking in Memphis, TN.
Glenn Miller Orchestra directed by Nick Hilscher.  Apr. 1, Strand - Capitol Performing Arts
    Center, York, PA; Apr. 2, Mars Area High School, Mars, PA; Apr. 5, Florida StateCollege,
    Jacksonville, FL; Apr. 14, Patchogue Theatre, Patchogue, NY; Apr. 15, Union County
    Performing Arts Center, Rahway, NJ; Apr. 17, Washington & Jefferson College,
    Washington, PA; Apr. 20, Rogers Center for the Arts, Andover, MA; Apr. 21, St. Anselm
    College, Manchester, NH; Apr. 22, Paramount Theatre, Rutland, VT; Apr. 25, Salle J.
    Antonio Thompson, Trois Rivieres, Quebec, Canada; Apr. 26, Theatre Marcelin-
    Champagnat du College Laval, Laval, Quebec, Canada; Apr. 27, Theatre Lionel-Groulx,
    St. Therese, Quebec, Canada; Apr. 28, Theatre Granada, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada;
    Apr. 29, Cinema Laurier, Victoriaville, Quebec, Canada.
Buddy Rich Big Band.  Apr. 2, 25th annual memorial concert, London Palladium.

Phoebe Jacobs, 93, d.Apr. 9, 2012.  Former Director of P.R. at Rainbow Room and Grill,
     New York City; publicist for Oliver and Ellington; advocate of jazz who helped to
     organize various remembrances of Armstrong, Ellington, and Goodman.
Hal McKusick, 87, d.Apr. 11, 2012, "natural causes."  Saxophonist and / or clarinetist with
    Brown '43; Raeburn '44-'45; Rich '48; Thornhill '49-'50; E. Lawrence '54-'57.
Teddy Charles, 84, d.Apr. 16, 2012, heart failure.  Pianist / vibraphonist with Brooks '48;
    Goodman '48; Shaw '50.
Joe Muranyi, 84, d.Apr. 20, 2012.  Clarinetist with Armstrong '67-'71; Hampton '77;
    clarinetist / saxophonist with Eldridge '75.

Paula Kelly, Jr., R.I.P.
    A few months ago, Paula Kelly, Jr., the lead singer of The Modernaires, had surgery on her vocal chords.  Her sister, Julie, moved over to lead vocals for The Mods, and brought in Ginger Berglund as a replacement female voice. 
    This month, a family friend reported that Paula Jr. was seriously ill with a brain aneurysm, and, due to complications, she underwent surgery on the 24th.  Two days later, on the 26th, I was sorry to learn that she passed away, though thankfully it was said that she died peacefully.         It was in 1978 that Paula Jr. had taken over the lead role with The Modernaires, upon the retirement of her mother, Paula Kelly.  Her mother, a former vocalist for Al Donahue, Glenn Miller, and Artie Shaw, died in 1992.  Her father, Hal Dickinson, who was one of the original members of The Modernaires, died in 1970.
    Paula Jr. was always very nice in the contacts I had with her, and my brother Jay and I send our condolences to her family and friends.

Dick Clark and... Glenn Miller
    People have been remembering "American Bandstand" m.c. - game show host - producer Dick Clark, who died at the age of 82 on the 18th of this month from a heart attack.  They may have seemed an unlikely combination, but Clark appreciated Glenn Miller's music.
    An article in the Daytona Beach Morning Journal on April 30, 1960, "Personalities in the News: Dick Clark Hit Top Quickly," revealed that when he was at home, Clark would listen to his personal record collection "featuring the soft strains of the late Glenn Miller."
    (Though Clark later said that "disco" was his favorite type of music.)
    And in 2000, when Clark announced the top 10 "Millenium Mix" party songs, to celebrate the new year and define the spirit of the millenium, he said, "Somebody's going to ask, where's Glenn Miller, where's the Bing Crosby record?  This was done on an Internet music site so the people and the songs were more contemporary."
    Rest in peace, Dick Clark.

Happy Birthday to You
Boomie Richman, b.Apr. 2, 1921.  Tenor saxophonist with Paxton '44-'45; T. Dorsey '45-'51
    [ off and on ]; Goodman '51 / '52 / '53 / '54 / '55 / '58; Reynolds '55 "Songs for Happy
    Feet" album.
Doris Day, b.Apr. 3, 1924.  Vocalist with Crosby '40; Brown '40-'41 / '44-'46.
Slide Hampton, b.Apr. 21, 1932.  Trombonist with B. Johnson '55-'57; Hampton '58;
    Ferguson '58-'59; and leader of the Gillespie All Star Big Band '04- .
Mundell Lowe, b.Apr.21, 1922.  Guitarist with McKinley '46-47.
Bea Wain, b.Apr. 30, 1917.  Vocalist with Shaw '37 (If It's the Last Thing I Do); Clinton

New CDs
Enoch Light.  "Stereo 35MM / Far Away Places," Sepia [ UK ] 1191.  Two Command LPs
    on one CD.
Various artists.  "Big Band Divas of the 1940s," Bygone Days 77074.  Includes Kirk, Basie,
    Shaw, T. Dorsey, J. Dorsey, Goodman, James, Ellington, Powell, Barnet, Kenton, Krupa,
    Herman, Brown, Raeburn, and Thornhill.
---.  "Rock and Roll - The Establishment Fights Back and Loses," Jasmine [ UK ] JASCD
    168.  2-CD set.  Monroe, Morrow, McKinley, Eckstine, and others.

New DVDs
Gene Krupa.  "Gene Krupa Story," Sony Pictures Choice Collection.  Previously released on
    DVD as Columbia Pictures 03760 in 2004.
Kay Kyser.  "Carolina Blues," Columbia Pictures.
---.  "Kay Kyser Double Feature: Swing Fever / Playmates," Warner Bros. Archive
Freddie Slack.  "The Sky's the Limit," Warner Bros. Archive Collection.

New In-Print and/ or Online
Jackie Bridges.  "Local man remembers his brother's days with Shaw, Miller and Goodman,"
    Gaston [ County, NC ] Gazette, Apr. 27, 2012.  Herman Best, 96, the brother of trumpeter
    John Best, comments about his brother's life and career.
"Duke Ellington at the Movies," legacy.com, Apr. 29, 2012.

Sneek Peek
    In next month's "Big Band News," a reminder about the annual Wisconsin party in memory of Bunny Berigan, which this year will present Berigan historian Michael P. Zirpolo.

return to Big Band Library homepage

Guy Lombardo
photograph by Alex Gotfryd