Have you seen the MySpace.com memorials about two of the famous big bands?
The Ellington tribute, myspace.com/dukeellingtonorchestra, was started in 2006 by Duke's grandson, Paul [ above, l. ] for both his personal use and as supplemental publicity about The Duke Ellington Orchestra. (The "official" Duke Ellington website, dukeellington.com, launched in 2008, presents biographical information, quotes, a listing of albums, film clips, a photo gallery, and an online merchandise shop.)
Paul mentions that the Duke Ellington Orchestra will perform at the Patchogue Theatre for
the Arts in Patchogue, NY on the 22nd of this month, and at the Shanghai Concert Hall in Shanghai, China two days later.
The tribute to Bob Crosby [ above, r. ], myspace.com/bobcrosbymusic, presents the story of his life, photographs and other images, audio recordings, and a blog which invites the public to share their memories of Crosby.
Congratulations to the creators of each!
The MONROE Doctrine
Kudos to Claire Schwartz for her continued dedicated work with The Vaughn Monroe Appreciation Society and its website (vaughnmonroesociety.org). She always keeps things updated by welcoming the latest Society members, adding information about Monroe, and other features.
Just before 2008 came to an end, she sent out a newsletter to all sustaining members of the Society. (Sustaining members are those who make a donation to help defray the costs of running the Society.) The newsletter contained updates about former Monroe associates, new CDs, a Camel Caravan broadcast, vintage sheet music, and more.
I urge all Vaughn Monroe fans to check out their site and join their group!
Yes, that is Benny Goodman and Fats Waller pictured on the cover of the Winter 2009 issue of Sheet Music Magazine (along with Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Eberle, and others).
Someone wrote the Editor, Ed Shanaphy, complaining that the magazine concentrates too heavily on "old songs." Shanaphy answered, "To our way of thinking, a good song, like a good novel, or a good symphony, is ageless. The fact is, many of the better songs that have been written were written some time ago."
Also IN-PRINT and / or ONLINE
Tony Eaton, "What's New," [ The Glenn Miller Society ] Moonlight Serenader, Number 320 /
5th Edition 2008, pp.6-7 [ incl. news that Hunton Downs' much-anticipated book "The
Glenn Miller Conspiracy" is now due for publication on Mar. 31, 2009 ].
Karen E. Livsey, "Hometown History: A Look At Jamestown in The Era of Big Bands,"
[ Jamestown, NY ] Post-Journal / post-journal.com, Jan. 12, 2009 [ discussing trumpeters
Joe Triscari (Krupa '43-'45 / '46 / '59) and his brother Ray (Krupa '46-'47 / '48-'51 / '59) ].
Tom Longden, "Famous Iowans: Jack Jenney," desmoinesregister.com, Jan. 16, 2009.
Jeff Sultanof, "Remembering Jan Savitt (Part One), jazz.com, Jan. 18, 2009.
---, "Remembering Jan Savitt (Part Two), jazz.com, Jan. 21, 2009.
Roland Taylor, "Miller's Mighty Service Band: The ensemble in focus," [ The Glenn Miller
Society ] Moonlight Serenader, Number 320 / 5th Edition 2008, pp.2-5 [ a continuing
chronological study, now up to May 1944 ].
Lesser-Known MILLER Music
Larry O'Brien is to be commended for digging into The Glenn Miller Orchestra's music library and including some rarely-heard music in their performances.
One of the latest songs he's resurrected is Lights Out! Hold Me Tight!, an obscure song from the "University of Pennsylvania Mask and Wig Club Revue." Billy May arranged it for the 1940 Miller band and it was a vocal for Marion Hutton.
Meanwhile, during their holiday appearances in Japan, O'Brien and today's Miller Orchestra included Jingle Bells, The Christmas Song, White Christmas, and a new arrangement of Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree.
O'Brien has also located two untitled Billy May originals, #s 791 and 793 in the book, and plans to present them at upcoming dances and the 2009 Glenn Miller Festival in Clarinda, IA.
Now, Larry... how about a whole CD of never-recorded original Jerry Gray, Bill Finegan, and Billy May charts?
Big Bands IN-PERSON
Les Brown's Band of Renown directed by Les Brown Jr., Jan. 14-17, Busch Gardens,
Tampa Bay, FL.
Tommy Dorsey Orchestra directed by Buddy Morrow: Jan. 24-Jan.31, portion of Royal
Caribbean Cruise aboard "Mariner of the Seas," embarking in Buenos Aires.
Les Elgart Orchestra directed by Russ Dorsey: Jan. 21, Alabama; Jan. 22-25, Las Vegas, NV.
Jan Garber Orchestra directed by Howard Schneider: Jan. 15, Monte Vista Village Resort,
Mesa, AZ; Jan. 16, Quail Creek Madera Clubhouse, Green Valley, AZ; Jan. 18, Sun
Dial Recreation Center, Sun City, AZ; Jan. 19, Las Palmos Grand, Mesa, AZ.
Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band directed by Slide Hampton: Jan. 12, Blue Note, New York,
NY [ two sets ].
Woody Herman's Thundering Herd directed by Frank Tiberi: Jan. 29-30, University of
Texas Conference Center, Dallas, TX.
Harry James Orchestra directed by Fred Radke: Jan. 10-18, Royal Caribbean Cruise
aboard "Mariner of the Seas," embarking in Barbados.
Gene Krupa Orchestra directed by Michael Berkowitz: Jan. 13, Iridium Jazz Club, New York,
NY [ two shows ].
Glenn Miller Orchestra directed by Larry O'Brien: Jan. 11, Clayton State University, Morrow,
GA [ two shows ]; Jan. 14, Lake Mary High School, Lake Mary FL; Jan. 15, Palm Beach
Community College, Palm Beach Gardens, FL; Jan. 16, Lely High School, Naples FL;
Jan. 17, The Parker Playhouse. Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Jan. 18, Neel Performing Arts Center,
Bradenton, FL; Jan. 19, Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater, FL; Jan. 21, Sunrise Theatre
Performing Arts Center, Fort Pierce, FL; Jan. 22, Florida Community College,
Jacksonville, FL; Jan. 23, Luck Flanders Gambrell Center Auditorium, Swainsboro, GA;
Jan. 24, Grove Park Inn & Resort ,Asheville, NC; Jan. 25, Chapman Cultural Center.
Spartanburg, SC; Jan. 28-31, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Tampa FL.
KENTON for Collectors
Stan Kenton fans can start off the year with three CDs from the collector's label Dynaflow, produced by historian Steven D. Harris.
"Stan's Singers Vol.2" [ Dynaflow 2008-1 ] brings together 20 vocalists with the Kenton band, performing live from 1942 to 1977. Besides familiar names such as June Christy, Jay Johnson, and Ann Richards, there are some surprises, by, for example, Helen Grayco (This Love of Mine), Tennessee Ernie Ford (Shotgun Boogie), and Frances Langford (No Love, No Nothin'). Others heard are The Four Freshmen, Andrea Baker, Gene Howard, Jerri Winters, Helen Carr, Kay Brown, Frank Rosolino, Chris Connor, Anita O'Day, Kent Larsen, Jan Tober, Sue Raney, Jean Turner, and 11-year-old Tony Gato (who sings Star Dust).
The second title, "Sounds in 3-Dimensions" [ Dynaflow 2008-2 ], offers 18 unissued examples of Kenton's music from 1951 to 1976, including ballads, concert, and jazz pieces. Selections range from the favorite to the unusual, including Spring Is Here, Eager Beaver, Tribute to a Poltergeist, Invention for Guitar & Trumpet, and Fearless Finlay, as well as an opening voice track by Stan.
"Kenton On Campus" [ Dynaflow 2008-3 ] rounds out the trio of releases with 15 tracks of the Kenton band playing at high schools, colleges, and universities across the country between 1966 and 1978. Among the tunes are Hey Jude, Intermission Riff, Here's That Rainy Day, Rhapsody in Blue, Pete Is a 4-Letter Word, and an unusual version of Kenton's theme, Artistry in Rhythm, in which he attempts to play part of it backwards!
More New COMPACT DISCS
Count Basie: "On My Way & Shoutin' Again!: Count Basie and His Orchestra Play Music
of Neal Hefti," Verve 001236802 [ = Verve LP V6-8511 and 2004 CD Universal ( J ) UCCV-9138 ].
Henry Jerome: "1950 and 1956: Christmas & Other Precious Memories," Circle CCD-158.
Count Basie: "Live in Berlin & Stockholm 1968," Impro-Jazz ( Sp ) 543.
various: "Ella Fitzgerald Meets Duke Ellington 1968 & Benny Goodman 1958," Impro-Jazz
( Sp ) 540.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to You
Bucky Pizzarelli, guitarist (Monroe '43 / '46-'52; Goodman '67 / '69 Reader's Digest / '70 / '71 / '72 / '73 / '74 / '75 / '77 /
'79 / '80 / '81 / '85), b.Jan. 9, 1926.
Ray Anthony, trumpeter (Al Donahue '40; Miller '40-'41; J. Dorsey '42) - bandleader ('46- ), b.Jan. 20, 1922.
Benny Golson, tenor saxophonist (Gillespie '56-'58), b.Jan. 25, 1929.
Dick Nash, trombonist (Donahue '47; G. Gray '49; Beneke '50; May '53), b.Jan. 26, 1928.
Ed [ "Eddie" ] Shaughnessy, drummer (Byrne '48; Ventura '48-'50; Millinder '51-52), b.Jan. 29, 1929.
Wally Stott, 84, arranger - conductor (Helen Forrest '71 Reader's Digest recordings), d.Jan. 14, 2009,
"complications from a fall and subsequent heart attack." [ Stott changed his gender identity and became
"Angela Morley" in 1972 ]
Whitey Mitchell, 76, bassist (Fields '51-'52; Ventura '54-'55; Krupa '55; Goodman '58; Beneke '65), d.Jan. 16, 2009,
"after a battle with cancer."
Thank You, LESLIE
I'm sorry to report the passing of the Founder/Publisher of The Mississippi Rag, Leslie Johnson, who died of cancer on January 17th. In all, she had overseen 35 years of the magazine, which was known as "The Voice of Traditional Jazz and Ragtime," and included the big bands. Her tabloid began in November 1973, switched to an online publication in January 2007, and the final issue was last month.
FEEDBACK AND FOLLOW-UP
Christopher Popa follows-up on January 23, 2009:
Incredibly, Hunton Downs' book, "The Glenn Miller Conspiracy," has been delayed yet again!
According to my friend in the UK, Tony Eaton, the due date is now April 30th.
send feedback about the January 2009 "Big Band News" via e-mail