Downs, a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army, claims that Miller didn't die in a small plane over the English Channel, he was assasinated by the Nazis.
According to the Creative Book Publishers International website, Downs "discovered hints of a conspiracy and cover up during his specialized military service thoughout Europe just after the war, and embarked on a 55-year search for the truth. Through RAF and [G]erman secret documents he accessedo [sic] in his military work, and through information that has since been de-classified, Downs pieced together, bit by bit, the amazing story of Glenn Miller's work for the US Psychological Warfare Division and his subsequent role as a secret envoy for Eisenhower in Ike's attempt to end the war as early as possible."
It is alleged on the website that Eisenhower had "a secret agenda to end WWII early, contrary to his orders and contrary to the public declarations by the Allies."
Downs, who wrote the fictional espionage novel Murder in the Mood (Southhampton, England: Wright Books, 1998), was, as stated on the website, "nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for Vietnam reporting. Later, as News Editor of Voice of America, he won the Edward R. Murrow Citation for 'Excellence in Reporting', for his daily broadcasts from the Berlin Wall."
In 1992, an important, 552-page biography about Fats Waller, Fats in Fact, compiled by Laurie Wright (with contributions from a number of people, including a memoir from Ernie Anderson) was published by Storyville.
Now, an international Waller research group intends to produce "a corrected and 'updated' version" of Wright's work. To join in, contact Carl A. Hallstrom via firstname.lastname@example.org.
More In-Print and / or Online
Greg Bailey, "Glenn Miller concert swings a perfect score," Gadsden [ AL ] Times /
gadsdentimes.com, Feb. 10, 2008 [ review of 2/7/08 performance by The Glenn Miller
Orchestra directed by Larry O'Brien, including vocals by Ryan Garfi (Five Minutes More,
A Gal in Calico, et al) ].
---, "Music fans wanting original Glenn Miller recordings don't have to look far," Gadsden
[ AL ] Times / gadsdentimes.com, Feb. 13, 2008 [ as a follow-up to the above concert,
Bailey recommends CDs of original Miller band music ].
Justin Berton, "Black History Month: Jerome Richardson," San Francisco [ CA ] Chronicle /
sfgate.com, Feb. 19, 2008 [ Richardson (Hampton '49-'51; Hines '54) ].
"Blindfold Test: Anthony and Gerald Wilson," DownBeat, Feb. 2008, p.98+ [ with Gerald
Wilson (Lunceford '39-'42) and his son ].
Jon Burlingame, "George Duning at 100: Composer of Picnic, Big Valley remembered on
centennial," filmmusicsociety.org, Feb. 25, 2008 [ Duning (Kyser '33-'43?) ].
Christine Cole, "Carrying on the Hi De Ho," Orlando [ FL ] Sentinel / orlandosentinel.com,
Feb. 23, 2008 [ C. Calloway Brooks, Cab Calloway's grandson, comments ].
Tony Eaton, "Chris Dean Restores GM in Annual Tribute," [ Glenn Miller Society ]
Moonlight Serenader, Number 316 / 1st Edition 2008, p.1+ [ the annual December concert
by the Syd Lawrence Orchestra returned to an almost-all Glenn Miller song selection ].
---, "CD Reviews: 'Broadcast Instrumentals' Glenn Miller & His Orchestra Sounds of
YesterYear DSOY744," [ Glenn Miller Society ] Moonlight Serenader, Number 316 /
1st Edition 2008, p.7.
---, "CD Reviews: 'Snafu Jump' The Glenn Miller Service Orchestra Sounds of
YesterYear DSOY743," [ Glenn Miller Society ] Moonlight Serenader, Number 316 /
1st Edition 2008, p.8.
Don Heckman, "Hank Jones offers up ageless standards," Los Angeles Times /
latimes.com, Feb. 14, 2008 [ a review of a Feb. 12, 2008 performance at UCLA's
Fowler Hall by the now 89-year-old Jones (Kirk '45; Shaw '53-'54; Goodman '56-'58) ].
Jay Popa, "R.I.P., Debbie Lang," Glenn Miller Fans Yahoo Group, Feb. 1, 2008
[ Debbie Lang, who worked as a female vocalist with The New Glenn Miller Orchestra
directed by Ray McKinley, died Friday, Jan. 25, 2008 of a heart attack at the age of 67.
She joined the band around the fall of 1960, in time to take part in an extensive (and
typical) tour of one-night stands. At the beginning of November, for instance, the band
was in North Carolina, then Pennsylvania, and on the 6th, played at The Tuxedo Ballroom
in New York City, where, for example, she sang I'm Glad There Is You and Over the
Rainbow, and a reviewer called her "young and attractive" and "wonderful." She and the
Miller Orchestra then headed into the Midwest for a couple of weeks, followed by a couple
of dates into the South including Louisiana and Texas. On New Year's Eve, they broadcast
from the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago and a few weeks later performed at President John
F. Kennedy's inaugural ball in Washington, DC. Marriage must have been in the air with
the Miller Orchestra, for lead alto saxophonist and road manager Lenny Hambro was wed
to Lynn Michels on November 5, 1960, and not long afterwards, Debbie married the group's
lead tenor saxophonist, Lou Chev, who had been with the band since 1957. Debbie and
Lou left the road to start and raise a family. ].
Robert J. Robbins, "The USA CD Scene: Michael Berkowitz and The Gene Krupa
Orchestra Thinking of Gene (Sea Breeze SJ-2143)," Big Bands International, No.122 /
Feb. 2008, pp.23-24.
Philip Schwartz, "Sax player James Moody, 82, says he's still learning from 'young lions,'"
Schenectady [ NY ] Daily Gazette, Feb. 19, 2008 [ Moody (Gillespie '46-'48) ].
Roland Taylor, "Miller's Mighty Service Band: The ensemble in focus," [ Glenn Miller Society ]
Moonlight Serenader, Number 316 / 1st Edition 2008, pp.2-6 [ the chronology continues,
now into January and February 1944 ].
---, "The New 1930s Leader," [ Glenn Miller Society ] Moonlight Serenader, Number 316 /
1st Edition 2008, pp.10-12 [ an in-depth survey of one of Miller's early bands continues,
now into August and September 1937 ].
Bryan Wente, "News from the Glenn Miller Orchestra tour bus," On the Road, Feb. 2008 /
#076 [ Jerry Gray original Enlisted Men's Mess [ aka Bye-Bye Benito and Bums Away ]
(Miller AAF) and Chelsea Bridge (transcribed from the 1963 LP "Uniquely Mancini: The
Big Band Sound of Henry Mancini") have been added to road band's music library ].
Geoffrey Wheeler, "The Boston Version: Benny Goodman's Second 'Carnegie Hall' Concert,"
IAJRC Journal, Vol.41, No.1 / Feb. 2008, pp.34-47 [ in-depth study of Goodman's swing
concert at Symphony Hall in Boston on May 1, 1938 ].
Rick Wills, "Conneaut Lake Park's ballroom now a memory," Pittsburgh [ PA ]
Tribune-Review, Feb. 2, 2008 [ Dreamland Ballroom burned to the ground on Feb. 1,
New Award for Cab (and it's Doris' day, too)
Cab Calloway will be honored posthumously with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 50th Grammy Awards ceremony, on the 10th of this month in Los Angeles.
"A 'larger-than-life' figure, immortalized in cartoons and caricatures, he also led one of the most talented swing orchestras," it was stated on the website grammy.com. "After more than 60 years of performing, he conquered every branch of show business from nightclubs to radio and film and television to theater."
Among others to receive the Award is Doris Day.
"Aside from Day's commanding and beautiful voice, her success was also based on her ability to sing a song that projected a unique intimacy with not only a crowd or a mass audience but also with each individual listener," it was offered on the Grammy website.
The Lifetime Achievement Award honors lifelong artistic contributions to the recording medium.
"These profoundly inspiring figures are being honored as legendary performers, creative architects and technical visionaries," Neil Portnow, the President/CEO of The Recording Academy, commented. "Their outstanding accomplishments and passion for their craft have created a timeless legacy."
Morty Savada, 85, owner of "Records Revisited" store, 34 W. 33rd St., New York City,
d.Feb. 11, 2008, complications of lung cancer.
Rick Selvin, 64, son of bandleader Ben Selvin, d.Feb. 12, 2008, multiple organ failure.
Gene Allen, 79, baritone saxophonist (Prima '44 V-Discs; Thornhill '49-'50; Beneke '52-'53; Sauter-Finegan '53-'55 /
'57 "Straight Down the Middle" LP / '58 "Memories of Goodman and Miller" LP / '60-'61 United Artists recordings; Goodman '58
incl. European tour and "Benny in Brussels" LP / '62 incl. "Bell Telephone Hour" and "Benny in Moscow" LP; Herman '62-'63),
d.Feb. 14, 2008, "passed away of the flu."
Jerry Graff, 87, singer- arranger for the vocal group The Beachcombers (Long '46; T. Dorsey 7/29/52
You Could Make Me Smile Again Decca recording) and for Warren Covington's "Pied Pipers" (1970s),
d.Feb. 14, 2008, cancer.
Harry Geller, 94, trumpeter (Shaw Aug. '39-Nov. '39 / May 13, 1940 Victor session; Goodman Nov. '35-May '36),
d.Feb. 15, 2008.
Teo Macero, 82, producer at Columbia Records (1957-1975), d.Feb. 19, 2008, "had been
ill for some time."
Mel Zelnick, 83, drummer (Wald '45; Les Elgart '45; Goodman '48; Raeburn '50), d.Feb. 21, 2008,
Phil Bodner, 90, saxophone (Goodman '55 / '77 / '86; Light '60s-'70s Command and Project 3 LPs; Bellson '92
"Black, Brown & Beige" album), d.Feb. 24, 2008.
F.M. Scott III, 87, producer (Time-Life "The Swing Era"; Time-Life "As You Remember Them"), d.Feb. 29, 2008.
Happy Birthday to You
Snooky Young, trumpeter (Lunceford '39-'42; Basie '42 / '43 / '45 / '46-'48 / '57-'62; Hampton '44-'45),
b. Feb. 3, 1919
Sammy Nestico, arranger - composer (Basie '67-'84), b. Feb. 6, 1924
Buddy Morrow, trombonist (Shaw '36-'37; T. Dorsey '38-'39; Whiteman '39-'40; Crosby '41-'42) - bandleader ('50-'73;
Miller Orch. '74; T. Dorsey Orch. '77- ), b.Feb. 8, 1919
Gene Lees, author (Leader of the Band: The Life of Woody Herman; Meet Me at Jim & Andy's Jazz Musicians and Their World;
Gene Lees' Jazzletter), b.Feb. 8, 1928
Elliot Lawrence, pianist - bandleader, b.Feb. 14, 1925
Pete Christlieb, tenor saxophonist (J. Gray '63-'64; Zentner '65; Bellson '67; Severinsen / Tonight Show '72-'92),
b.Feb. 16, 1945
Orrin Tucker, saxophonist - bandleader, b.Feb. 17, 1911
Buddy DeFranco, clarinetist (Fio Rito '42; Barnet '43-'44; T. Dorsey '44-'45 / '45-'46 / '47; Basie '50) - bandleader
('51; Miller Orch. '66-'74), b. Feb.17, 1923
Joe Wilder, trumpeter (Hampton '46; Lunceford '47; Basie '53-'54), b.Feb. 22, 1922
Joe LaBarbera, drummer (Herman '72 "The Raven Speaks"), b.Feb. 22, 1948
Dave Pell, tenor saxophonist (Brown '48-'55), b.Feb. 26, 1925
Where Are They Now?
Don Sebesky played trombone and arranged or composed for some of the best big bands, such as Warren Covington (1956), Maynard Ferguson (1958-59), Stan Kenton (1959), and The Glenn Miller Orchestra directed by Buddy DeFranco (1967).
"Stan was probably the major musical influence in my life," Sebesky later reminisced. "When I was 11 or 12 years old, I remember riding in a car with my parents and hearing the Kenton band, an air shot, that completely turned me around. That moment was probably a watershed in my life and from then on, I got everything of Kenton's I could get my hands on."
Sebesky received his first Grammy nomination in the '60s and his first win in 1999 for "Best instrumental Arrangement" of Waltz for Debby, a track from an album tribute to jazz pianist Bill Evans. In 2000, he won two more Grammy Awards, for "Best Instrumental Composition" with his Joyful Noise Suite, a tribute to Duke Ellington, and for "Best Instrumental Arrangement" with his chart of Chelsea Bridge.
A few months ago, Sebesky turned 70 and he has been nominated for another Grammy, for "Best Musical Album for Children" with "The Velveteen Rabbit-Love Can Make You Real." It actually started as a homemade tape for his young daughters, Olivia, now age 17, and Elizabeth, now 29.
The winner will be announced on the 10th of this month. Best of luck, Don!
Big Bands In-Person
Tex Beneke Orchestra directed by Jim Snodgrass, Feb. 17, Maricopa County Events
Center, Sun City, AZ [ "A Tribute to Glenn Miller and the Fabulous Dorsey Brothers"
including The Modernaires with Paula Kelly Jr., The Pied Pipers, trombonist Bill Tole,
others ]; Feb. 20, McCallum Theatre, Palm Desert, CA [ same except String of Pearls
vocal group replaces The Modernaires ]; Feb. 23, California Center for the Arts,
Escondido, CA; Feb. 24, Civic Arts Plaza, Thousand Oaks, CA.
Cab Calloway Orchestra directed by C. Calloway Brooks, Feb. 4, Rabobank Convention
Center, Bakersfield, CA [ with The Ink Spots ]; Feb. 24, Mount Dora Music Festival,
Mount Dora, FL [ with Brooks' 7-piece group, The Cab Jivers, not the full band ].
Tommy Dorsey Orchestra directed by Buddy Morrow, Feb. 29, Tradition community,
Port St. Lucie, FL.
Jan Garber Orchestra directed by Howard Schneider, Feb. 10, Quality Inn, Hannibal, MO
[ featuring trombonist Bob Havens (Welk '60-'82) ].
Harry James Orchestra directed by Fred Radke, Feb. 9, Idaho Falls, ID; Feb. 11,
Wenatchee, WA; Feb. 12, Bremerton Performing Arts Center, Bremerton, WA; Feb. 13,
Grants Pass, OR; Feb. 15, Elko, NV; Feb. 17, Richland, WA; Feb. 18, Everett, WA.
Glenn Miller Orchestra directed by Larry O'Brien: Feb. 1-3, Busch Gardens, Tampa, FL; Feb.
5, Troy University, Troy, AL; Feb. 7, Center Stage, Rainbow City, AL; Feb. 9, private,
Houston, TX; Feb. 10, Leander High School, Leander, TX; Feb. 11, Nederland High School,
Nederland, TX; Feb. 12, Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi, TX; Feb. 14, Eisemann
Center for the Performing Arts, Plano, TX; Feb. 16, Bama Theatre, Tuscaloosa, AL;
Feb. 17, National Museum of Naval Aviation, Pensacola, FL; Feb. 19, Cross Creek
Country Club, Mount Airy, NC; Feb. 21, James Warren Citizen Center. Lincolnton. NC;
Feb. 22, Lenoir Community College, Kinston, NC; Feb. 23, Alabama Theatre, N. Myrtle
Beach, SC; Feb. 24, Polk County High School, Columbus, NC; Feb. 25, Newberry Opera
House, Newberry, SC; Feb. 27, Cultural Arts Center, Glen Allen, VA; Feb. 28, Lincoln
Theatre, Marion, VA; Feb. 29, Woodrow Wilson High School, Beckley, WV.
Artie Shaw Orchestra directed by Dick Johnson, Feb. 1-2, Ferguson Center for the Arts,
Christopher Newport University, Newport News, VA; Feb. 7-10, Busch Gardens, Tampa,
FL; Feb. 12, St. Augustine, FL; Feb. 13, Tradition Hall, Port St. Lucie, FL.
Oh! Look at Him Now
Entertainer Frank Sinatra, Jr. will be honored with a star on the Palm Springs, CA "Walk of Stars" on the 28th of this month.
At age 19 in 1963, he was hired as featured vocalist with The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra directed by Sam Donahue. (Not long afterwards, he was kidnapped from Harrah's in Lake Tahoe and released two days later, when his father paid $240,000 in ransom. The kidnappers were later caught and convicted.)
Now 64, Sinatra, Jr. continues to sing and will perform at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert, CA on February 29th and March 1st.
New Compact Discs
Bob Crosby, "The Complete Bob Cats Jazz Me Blues Volume 2," Sounds of YesterYear
( UK ) 751 [ second of 3 projected volumes; WARNING: Crosby's big band and small group
Decca recordings were already issued on CD by Halcyon ( UK ) ].
---, "Connie Haines: Nightingale From Savannah," Sepia ( UK ) 1107 [ a selection of Haines'
1950s Coral recordings, among them Destination Moon and What Have You Done for
Me Lately? as vocal duets with Bob Crosby ].
Sam Donahue, "Jingle Jangle Jump," Montpellier ( UK ) 43 [ = 12" Capitol T-624 "Classics
in Jazz: Sam Donahue" + 7 selections by Donahue's 1950s band ]. WARNING: Contents
of former previously included on various Donahue Hep ( UK ) CDs and latter previously
released on CD in 2001 with additional tracks as "Sam Donahue: Dance Date,"
Collectors' Choice Music CCM-243 ].
Duke Ellington, "The Duke Ellington Legacy: Thank You Uncle Edward," Renma Records
6400 [ the debut CD of a 9-piece group including Edward Kennedy Ellington II ( guitar ),
Joe Temperley ( baritone sax / bass clarinet ), and Nancy Reed ( vocals ) ].
Erskine Hawkins, "Erskine Hawkins the 20th Century Gabriel and His Tuxedo Junction
Orchestra," Vocalion ( UK ) CDVS 1953 [ 24 selections recorded for Bluebird and RCA
Victor from 1939-50 ].
Ted Heath, "Those Were the Days" / "Big Band Themes Remembered Vol.2," Vocalion
( UK ) CDLK 4350 [ NOTE: When I wrote asking why Heath's two "Big Band Themes"
albums were not paired on the CD, a member of the Vocalion team told me that the tapes
for "Vol.1" are "lost" ].
Guy Lombardo, "Broadway and Beyond," Montpellier ( UK ) 42 [ = 12" Capitol LPs W-738
"Guy Lombardo in Hi-Fi" and T-788 "Decade On Broadway (1946-1956)" ].
Freddy Martin, "Make Believe," Montpellier ( UK ) 41 [ = two RCA Victor "Designed for
Dancing" albums, "Freddy Martin Plays Jerome Kern" volumes 1 and 2 + the "Midnight
Music" album ) ].
Boyd Raeburn, "Dancin' and Romancin'," Montpellier ( UK ) 44 [ as companion to
Montpellier 38, with additional 1956-57 Columbia recordings ].
Buddy Rich, "Buddy Rich Just Sings," Jazz Beat 522 [ = 1957 Verve LP MGV-2075 "Buddy
Rich Just Sings" + 1959 Mercury LP MG-20461 / SR-60144 "The Voice Is Rich" ].
---, "Very Alive At Ronnie Scott's," BGO [ Beat Goes On ] ( UK ) 785 [ = 2-LP set RCA ( UK )
DPS-2031 ]. WARNING: Contents nearly identical -- but more inclusive -- than "Rich in
London," issued twice recently as Mosaic Singles MCD-1009 and BMG (Japan )
Raymond Scott, "Ectoplasm," Basta ( Sw ) 3091572 [ a selection of his Quintette recordings
from the late 1940s, including Ectoplasm, Snake Woman, and Dedicatory Piece to the
Crew and Passengers of the First Experimental Rocket Express to the Moon ].
Paul Whiteman, "Volume 2: 'Makin' Whoopee,'" Vocalion ( UK ) CDEA 6137 recorded
between 1927-35 ].
FEEDBACK AND FOLLOW-UP
On May 3, 2008, Christopher Popa follows-up:
The website for the distributor of The Glenn Miller Conspiracy now gives a publication date of January 15, 2009 ( ! ).
send feedback about February 2008 "Big Band News" via e-mail