Then – and even better – thanks to the continuing diligent work of Michael P. Zirpolo, author of the mammoth Berigan study Mr. Trumpet: The Trials, Tribulations and Triumph of Bunny Berigan (Scarecrow Press, 2011), Hep Records of England, in cooperation with The Bunny Berigan Archive at the University of Wisconsin, will be releasing a compact disc of Berigan broadcast performances, including at least 12 previously-unissued selections!
The original aircheck discs are housed in the University’s Mills Music Library, and will be sonically restored and digitally remastered by respected sound engineer Doug Pomeroy.
The exact tracks will be chosen by Hep owner Alistair Robertson, from a batch of airchecks made while Berigan and his orchestra appeared at, variously, the Hotel Pennsylvania, the Paradise Restaurant, and Roseland Ballroom in New York City in 1937 and 1938. Also, a recording that seems to have been made in a studio in the fall of ’38 may also be included.
"I have heard dubs of the acetates that have not been optimally transferred or sonically restored,” Robertson explained. “Although there is much great playing on them by Bunny and they are pretty good soundwise, until I get the final digital transfers that have been cleaned-up by Doug Pomeroy, I cannot say with certainty exactly how many of them will be of sufficient sound quality for commercial issue. But I hope that the CD will have at least a dozen previously unissued tracks on it. The balance of the tracks on the CD will be rare but previously issued airchecks that all have excellent Berigan playing on them, and range in sound quality from very good to excellent. My objective with this CD is to present as much previously unissued Berigan music as possible in the best sound possible with the best Berigan playing possible.”
Zirpolo adds, “I will assist Mr. Robertson in any way I can with the production of this CD. I will be writing the liner notes, compiling the necessary information about each selection, and providing the photos that will be used.”
It is hoped that the new Berigan CD on Hep will be out this summer.
Hep already has one Berigan disc on the label, “Gangbusters” (Hep 1038), and it’s a very good compilation of music recorded for Victor in 1938 and 1939.
BOZY'S BUNNY BOOKS
Tommy Dorsey was considered by many to have been trumpeter-bandleader Bunny Berigan’s most loyal friend, Norm Krusinki called himself “Bunny’s Number One Fan,” but Bozy White surely had to be his most dedicated researcher.
For Bozy, documenting Berigan’s life and career was a labor of love (or should I say an obsession?) for more than 45 years.
Even though Bozy was murdered at age 76 in 2004, just before his work was to be printed, his dream has now became a reality, recently published as The Miracle Man of Swing: A Bio-Discography of Bunny Berigan (Eugenia, Ontario, Canada: George A. Vandeburgh and Naperville, IL: Shoestring Records Press), totaling some 1400 pages in two volumes plus an Adobe .pdf index on DVD.
So how does Bozy’s work, now finally available, differ from two other Berigan admirers who made it into print before he did - Zirpolo's afore-mentioned Mr. Trumpet and Robert DuPuis’ Bunny Berigan: Elusive Legend of Jazz (Louisiana State Press, 1993)?
All three books trace Berigan’s life, career, and recordings and I found each of them to be worthwhile, but they approach their topic in different ways. In fact, in his “Forward,” Bozy acknowledges that his book was not intended as a typical biography.
“You will find no long-winded chapter on Bunny’s alcoholic illness, nor WHY he drank,” he wrote in December 2003, only a few months before his death. “Whatever biographical information is included may be of interest to the reader and perhaps some future writer with the necessary skills to do a serious biography, will find them of some help.”
That almost seems prophetic, as Zirpolo, who had been given a copy of Bozy’s manuscript, stepped in; his work is, admittedly, heavily based on the material which Bozy had gathered.
In The Miracle Man of Swing, Bozy follows Berigan’s life and career in chronological order, with over 900 interviews of family, friends, and associates, as well as hundreds of hours of research into contemporary press reports and “mini-biographies” of musicians who worked with and for Berigan.
How much work Bozy put into this!
When citations or sources are written at the end of, for example, the press reports and interview comments, it makes it easy for a reader to see where Bozy got some of his data. (Though his research ended nine years ago, Ed Polic and Perry Huntoon graciously edited Bozy’s manuscript and shepherded it to publication, and updated the death dates of those musicians who died between Bozy’s own passing and the spring of 2012.)
Bozy also attempted to document, in minute detail, all of Berigan’s performances, whether in-person or on radio or film, and particularly on recordings, listing the catalog numbers of commercial releases of his music in the 78, LP, 45, cassette, 8-track, and CD formats from all around the world. For instance, he located and studied over 2,500 rare 78 rpm records.
Despite that tremendous effort, including correcting errors by others, there are still a number of Bozy’s own mistakes or omissions (to take an illustrative slice from the two volumes, such as calling RCA Victor WPT-17 a “10-inch” LP rather than a 45 boxed set on p.811; notating RCA Camden CAL-550 as CL-550 on p.886; Bluebird AXM2-5584 as AXM2-6684 on p.889; saying he is uncertain whether the 12” RCA Victor LPT-1003 is a 10” disc on p.906; showing RCA Camden CAL-550 as CAK-550 on p.921; and writing the CD label Jazz Classics as “Jazz Clas-sics” on p.961). Given the magnitude of record releases and reissues from all over the world, my remark may seem, on a basis of the amount of listings, unfair, but, to me, a discography is nothing without assuring the complete accuracy of whatever catalog numbers are listed. It's difficult getting every number right.
There are also some minor typos throughout, like spelling the small Ohio town of Steubenville as “Stubenville” on p.899 and the overlapping text on p.777 and 807.
In contrast to Bozy’s format, DuPuis’ and Zirpolo’s texts are more traditional flowing narratives, incorporating many of the same sources. Zirpolo’s, given the benefit of the other two works plus his own 40-year interest in Berigan’s music, arguably comes off as particularly scholarly, with commentary, analysis, and a discussion of the performances from a musical standpoint, to go along with the facts.
But, when all is said and done, none of this detracts from Bozy's unparalleled devotion.
During his lifetime, he never lost his enthusiasm for Berigan’s music and legacy, and the two volumes of The Miracle Man of Swing are a fine and fascinating tribute to his relentless dedication and search for accurate information. Anyone who has an interest in Berigan owes him a debt.
Thank you, Bozy, for your incredible amount of work over all of those decades! Your killer was caught and sentenced in 2006 and your book is at last available to all.
May you rest in peace.
Big Band Library rating: EXCELLENT AND ADMIRABLE
MORE NEW COMPACT DISCS
Isham Jones. “’Shadows On The Swanee’: 1932 – 1934,” Rivermont 1159. 23 examples
of Jones’ music from 1932-34, most previously unavailable on CD, and including two
recently-discovered private recordings by him in 1933.
Stan Kenton. “Stan Kenton ‘live’: East Coast Encores,” Mr. Music MMCD-7032. 18 tracks
performed in November 1952.
Enoch Light. “Provocative Percussion 3 & 4: Enoch Light & The Light Brigade,” Sepia
[ E ] 1220. 24 songs recorded for Command.
Billy May. “Merman …her Greatest!,” Sepia [ E ] 1221. The 11-title Reprise album
arranged and conducted by Billy May, with 9 live bonus tracks made between 1937
Various artists. “Stars For A Summer Night: All-Star Festival!,” Sepia [ E ] 1218. 2-CD
set including Columbia recordings by Les and Larry Elgart, Billy Butterfield, and Les
WILL CEASE OPERATION
Just as it announced renewed availability of select Chronological Classics titles and the importing of the Crystal Stream catalog from Australia, Worlds Records of Novato, California has disclosed that it will cease operation after its on-hand stock is depleted.
“There was no one, over-riding reason that led to my decision,” owner Reny Brown told me. “There were several factors- one was declining sales as some labels either stopped producing or cut back on their productions. Another factor was a declining customer base as other options for enjoying music became available. A disturbing factor was the change in distribution where suppliers became aggressive competitors on the internet. These suppliers use a sub-distributor price to mark down the value of their products while under-cutting the stores and mail order companies they service. And one more reason is that I wish to spend more time with my family.”
I’ve personally been dealing with Worlds Records since 1974 and it was always a pleasure to get a new catalog or listing of, originally, LPs, and, later, CDs, from Reny. Worlds Records offered the titles I wanted and with good service. Thousands of albums later, I thank you, Reny!
BIG BAND JUMP NEWSLETTER DISCONTINUED
Big band fans also took another hit lately as radio host Don Kennedy announced that his “Big Band Jump” newsletter would, after 25 years, end publication. He said that with a dwindling list of subscribers and rising postage costs, it wasn’t possible to go on.
However, Kennedy will continue hosting his “Big Band Jump” music program both on radio and on the Internet.
NAME BANDS LIVE
Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra directed by Bill Tole. Apr. 10, Orlando, FL.
Tommy Dorsey Orchestra directed by Terry Myers. Apr. 4-7, Seattle, WA; Apr. 8, Richland,
WA; Apr. 9, Spokane, WA; Apr. 10, Missoula, MT; Apr.11, Bozeman, MT; Apr. 12,
Blackfoot, ID; Apr. 14, North Platte, NE; Apr.16, Grand Island, NE; April 17, Lincoln, NE
Apr. 18, Richmond, MO; Apr. 20, Plainwell, MI; Apr. 21, Coldwater, MI; Apr. 22,
Anderson, IN; Apr. 26, Rutland, VT; Apr. 27, Mamaroneck, NY.
Les Elgart Orchestra directed by Russ Dorsey. Apr. 25, Old Bedford School, Bedford, TX.
Harry James Orchestra directed by Fred Radke. Apr. 1, private event, The Library of
Congress, Washington, DC.
Glenn Miller Orchestra directed by Nick Hilscher: Apr. 1-9, completion of Crystal Serenity
cruise; Apr. 12, Robidoux Theatre, St. Joseph, MO; Apr. 14, Lake Michigan College,
Benton Harbor, MI; Apr. 16, Oak Glen School, New Cumberland, WV; Apr. 19, Iowa
Western Community College, Council Bluffs, IA; Apr. 21, Kaskaskia College, Centralia,
IL; Apr. 27, A Center for the Arts, Fergus Falls, MN; Apr. 28, Myles Reif Performing Art
Bert Whyatt, 92, d.Apr. 13, 2013. Record collector, discographer, and author of
Muggsy Spanier: The Lonesome Road.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY WISHES
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
Doris Day, b.Apr. 3, 1924. Vocalist with Crosby '40; Brown '40-'41 / '44-'46.
Derek Smith, b.Apr. 17, 1931. Pianist with Goodman '61 / '67 / '69 / '71 / '72-'73.
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
Harry Carney, b.Apr. 1, 1910. Baritone saxophonist with Ellington.
Hymie Shertzer, b.Apr. 2, 1909. Alto saxophonist with Goodman, T Dorsey, Hampton,
Bill Finegan, b.Apr. 3, 1917. Arranger – composer for T Dorsey, Miller. Leader of own
band with Sauter.
Ken Kersey, b.Apr. 3, 1916. Pianist with Kirk, Teagarden.
Knobby Totah, b.Apr. 5, 1930. Bassist with Krupa.
Gerry Mulligan, b.Apr. 6, 1927. Baritone saxophonist – composer with Krupa, Thornhill,
Ralph Flanagan, b.Apr. 7, 1914. Pianist –arranger for Kaye. Leader of own band.
Billie Holiday, b.Apr. 7, 1915. Vocalist with Basie, Shaw.
Peanuts Hucko, b.Apr. 7, 1918. Clarinetist – tenor saxophonist with Bradley, Miller,
McKinley, Teagarden, Welk. Leader of Miller Orch.
Julian Dash, b.Apr. 9, 1916. Tenor saxophonist with E Hawkins.
Morty Corb, b.Apr. 10, 1917. Bassist with Crosby.
Chano Pozo, b.Apr. 10, 1915. Bongo – conga drums with Gillespie.
Lionel Hampton, b.Apr. 12, 1908. Vibraphonist with Armstrong, Goodman. Leader of
Bud Freeman, b.Apr. 13, 1906. Tenor saxophonist with Noble, T Dorsey, Goodman.
Henry Mancini, b.Apr. 16, 1924. Pianist – arranger with Miller Orch, Beneke.
Joe Dixon, b.Apr. 21, 1917. Clarinetist and saxophonist with T Dorsey, Arnheim, Berigan.
Lou Stein, b.Apr. 22, 1922. Pianist with McKinley, Ventura, Hefti, Bellson.
Dave Tough, b.Apr. 26, 1908. Drummer with T Dorsey, Berigan, Goodman, Shaw,
Matty Matlock, b.Apr. 27, 1909. Clarinetist with Pollack, Crosby, Hackett.
Everett Barksdale, b.Apr. 28, 1910. Guitarist with Carter.
Duke Ellington, b.Apr. 29, 1899. Leader of own band.
Billy Ver Planck, b.Apr. 30, 1930. Trombonist – arranger with Thornhill, Dorsey Bros,