compiled by Christopher Popa
Count Basie Orchestra directed by Bill Hughes: Dec. 18, Cascade
  Theatre, Redding, CA; Dec. 19-21, Benaroya Hall, Seattle, WA; Dec. 22,
  Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco, CA
Les Brown's Band of Renown directed by Les Brown Jr.: Dec. 1-4
  and Dec. 6-11, Mickey Gilley Theatre, Branson, MO
Cab Calloway Orchestra directed by C. Calloway Brooks: Dec. 31,
  aboard USS Hornet, Alameda, CA
Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra directed by Bill Tole: Dec. 11, Logansport, IN
Sammy Kaye Orchestra directed by Roger Thorpe: Dec. 3, Mohonk
  Mountain House, New Paltz, NY; Dec. 7-17, Holland America cruise
  aboard ms Maasdam to the Eastern Caribbean (originating at Norfolk, VA)
Gene Krupa Orchestra directed by Michael Berkowitz: Dec. 3,
  Mt. Lebanon, PA [ with singer Lynn Roberts ]
Glenn Miller Orchestra directed by Larry O'Brien: Dec. 1-11, tour of
  Japan continues; Dec. 14, Lobero Theatre, Santa Barbara, CA; Dec. 15,
  Historic Yuma Theatre, Yuma, AZ; Dec. 16, Pinnacle Presbyterian Church,
  Scottsdale, AZ; Dec. 18, Tropicana Hotel, Las Vegas, NV; Dec. 31, The
  Centrum, Spring, TX  
Russ Morgan Orchestra directed by Jack Morgan: Dec. 4-11, cruise
  aboard the Empress of the North Sea (originating at Portland, OR) *

    * Best smile for the month: Jack Morgan quips, "Everyone come to the aft of the ship to help me unload the band equipment.  LOL [ which, on the Internet, means 'laugh out loud.' ]"

    National Public Radio's 12-hour New Year's Eve special will originate from Tipitina's nightclub in New Orleans, beginning at 6 pm EST December 31st.  Throughout the night, performances from other locations will be featured, including the Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band from Kennedy Center in Washington, DC and the Chico O'Farrill Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra in New York City.

Louis Armstrong: "Jeepers Creepers (1938-1939)," Naxos Jazz Legends
Charlie Barnet: "Battle Royal," Sounds of Yesteryear SOY 689
Count Basie: "Stages," Varese Sarabande 61526; "Coming Out Party
  (1940-1942)," Naxos Jazz Legends 8.120819
Tex Beneke: "Memories," Sounds of Yesteryear SOY 690
Lionel Hampton: "Jiving the Blues," Sounds of Yesteryear SOY 691
Ted Heath: "Salutes Tommy Dorsey and Benny Goodman," Vocalion
  CDLK 4309; "Decca Singles & Rarities, Volume 3," Vocalion CDLK
Harry James: "There They Go 1948-1949 (Arrangements By Neal Hefti),"
  Fresh Sound Records FSRCD 399; "Trumpet Time," Vocalion CDVS
Isham Jones: "Blue Room," Hep 1083
Spike Jones: "Spiking the Classics (1945-1950)," Naxos Jazz Legends
Art Kassel, "Music, Maestro, Please: 26 Original Recordings 1929-1949,"
  ASV Living Era AJA 5594
Gene Krupa: "Starburst," Sounds of Yesteryear SOY 688
Peggy Lee: "Sings Leiber & Stoller," Hip-O Select   [ 1975 ]
Glenn Miller: "Timeless Christmas with The Glenn Miller Orchestra,"
  LaserLight 32 643; "Swingin' Santa with The Glenn Miller Orchestra,"
  LaserLight 32 644 [ previously-released recordings such as In the Christmas Mood et al ]
various artists: "Beat the Band to the Bar: A Collection of American Dance
  Fun," ASV Living Era AJA 5599

    Chicago Tribune Arts Critic Howard Reich selected some of the best jazz compact discs of 2005 in the December 11th paper, and one of them was Gerald Wilson's "In My Time" on the Mack Avenue label.
    According to Reich, "The mainstream big-band tradition keeps on swinging, and no one addresses it with more buoyancy and optimism than octogenarian bandleader-composer Wilson.  The verve of these performances, as well as the muscularity and originality of Wilson's compositions, reaffirm the man's place at the top of the large-ensemble world."

    Two budget compact discs released January 27, 2004 made it onto the Billboard "Top Jazz" chart for December 10th.  At #24 was the CD "20 Best of the Glenn Miller Orchestra," Madacy 5329, which includes 20 original Miller recordings or broadcasts such as April in Paris, Johnson Rag, and Perfidia.  At #25 was "20 Big Band Favorites," Madacy 4795, which includes Benny Goodman, Jimmy Dorsey, and others.

Duke Ellington: "Tivoli (1969)," Image Entertainment
various artists: "The Five Pennies" [ 1959 motion picture biography of
  Red Nichols, starring Danny Kaye, also with Louis Armstrong and Bob
  Crosby ], Paramount Home Video

Bob Olah, 81, violinist (Jurgens, Welk), Dec. 11, 2005, cancer
"Doc Wheeler" [ r.n. Wheeler Morin ], 95, leader (Sunset Royals) - trombonist,
  Dec. 15, 2005   the Sunset Royals orchestra was the source of Marie for Tommy Dorsey
Gerald R. "Buck" Jensen, 84, trumpeter (Dunham '46), Dec. 19, 2005

    Have you tried the new message board which debuted last month on the official Buddy Rich website?  Sign up at buddyrich.com/forum, and you'll be able to post messages and interact with other fans.

    During the Tuesday, December 6th "Today" show on NBC-TV, there was a segment about office romances.  And the song which played underneath much of the story was It Had to BeYou by Artie Shaw (Bluebird).

"2005: Lost lives that touched our own: Artie Shaw," The Hollywood
  Reporter, hollywoodreporter.com, Dec. 30, 2005.   [ celebrity deaths which
   occured in the last 12 months ]
"Auld Lang Syne: The song that rings in the year," seacoastonline.com,
  [ Hampton, NH ], Dec. 31, 2005.
Beurskens, Katie.  "2005 Year in Review: Industry Says Goodbye:
  Artie Shaw," Billboard, Dec. 24, 2005.
Brothers, Michael A.  "Love's melody lives on: Late husband's lost song a
  portal to the past for singer," Springfield [ MO ] News-Leader,
  news-leader.com, Dec. 2, 2005.   [ Henry Busse once wanted Betty Bauer to sing with his band
   on a tour in the 1940s, but she chose to settle down and have a family instead.  Now, to help her deal with
   the recent loss of her husband, she returned to singing. ]
Edwards, Andrew.  "Balboa Pavilion gets a new owner," [ Newport Beach
  and Costa Mesa CA ] Daily Pilot, dailypilot.com, Dec. 5, 2005.   [ landmark where
   the "Balboa" dance step originated; the Pavilion's popularity led to the construction of a larger ballroom,
   the Rendezvous, a few blocks away ]
Friedwald, Will.  "The Greatest Talent Scout of His Era," The New York Sun,
  nysun.com, Dec. 13, 2005.   [ examines Ben Pollack's career and the 7 volumes of his music
   on the Jazz Oracle label ]
Gillespie, James.  "The Movies of Benny Goodman: A Pictorial
  Retrospective," The Clarinet, Dec. 2005, pp.60-64.   [ first installment ]
Kimmel, Eric.  A Horn for Louis.   [ 96-pg. hardcover "Stepping Stone Book," published for
   ages 4-8 by Random House ]
Stark, Karl.  "Tommy Dorsey: A sweet tempest," Philadelphia Inquirer,
  philly.com, Dec. 15, 2005.   [ review of Peter J. Levinson's biography about Dorsey ]
Thomas, Mike.  "For Sinatra, the song was Dorsey," Chicago Sun-Times,
  sun-times.com, Dec. 25, 2005.   [ studies Sinatra's working relationship with Tommy Dorsey,
   as detailed in Peter J. Levinson's biography about Dorsey ]

    Sally Bennett's Big Band Hall of Fame now occupies its own building in Yesteryear Village on the South Florida Fairgrounds in Palm Beach County.  Though the newly-erected structure had suffered water damage from Hurricane Wilma, materials were moved into the building during early December.  The Hall of Fame, previously housed in the Bink Glisson Historical Museum (also in Yesteryear Village), held its grand opening on December 10th.  The 2006 South Florida Fair will take place January 13th through the 29th. 

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    New Year's Eve was always a great night to hear the big bands!  People could go out dancing on a smooth floor at a ballroom, or stay home listening to the radio and counting down the time 'til 12 midnight.
    As the flyer from the USS Hornet Museum in California shows [ r.], nowadays those opportunities are a less-common special event.