The big bands are back
in a new and exciting way!
compiled by Music Librarian CHRISTOPHER POPA   
image copyright © 2014 Public Broadcasting Service (PBS)

    One of the most enduring mysteries of World War II has been what happened to beloved bandleader Glenn Miller in December 1944, and a PBS TV program airing this month, “History Detectives: Special Investigations,” produced by Oregon Public Broadcasting and Lion Television, is about to weigh in with its findings. 
    Three investigators will spend the entire hour's length of the show to try to solve the case: Wes Cowan, an independent appraiser and auctioneer; Kaiama Glover, professor at Barnard College, Columbia University; and Tukufu Zuberi, professor of sociology at the University of Pennsylvania.
    The 1954 Universal-International motion picture biography “The Glenn Miller Story,” starring Jimmy Stewart as Miller, depicted him, based in part on a wartime diary kept by Miller’s Army Air Force executive officer, Lt. Don Haynes, as taking off in a small Norseman plane headed from England to France, and supposedly going down into the English Channel.
    However, there have been some who disputed such a scenario and wondered out loud about a possible military cover-up.
    For instance, in 1980, a former policeman, Clive Ward, who later became a salvage diver, found what he believed to be the Norseman, some 80 feet below the Channel surface, about six-and-a-half miles west of the coast near Le Touquet, France.  He told reporters that there was no sign of Miller’s body nor that of the pilot or other passenger.
    “There was little or no damage, so the only explanation is that it must have ditched deliberately,” Ward theorized.  “The plane was empty.  I can categorically state that Glenn Miller did not go down with that aircraft.”
    Meanwhile, novelist and former Royal Air Force pilot Wilbur Wright spent a lot of time considering all of the theories and rumors, taking them on one-by-one, and sharing his thoughts about each in his books, Millergate – The Real Glenn Miller Story (Southampton: Wrightway, 1990) and The Glenn Miller Burial File (Southampton: Wright Books, 1993). 
    Like Ward had done, Wright, too, concluded that Miller was not aboard the Norseman - so whether or not that plane was raised became less important.
    Others have also remained doubtful about the official story of Miller’s death, such as Tony Eaton, a Miller expert and longtime member of the international Glenn Miller Society which operated from London, England until the spring of 2012, who continues to present an illustrated talk, “The Curious Disappearance of Glenn Miller,” to various groups in the UK.
    Even a member of Miller’s own family, his younger sibling, Herb, insisted, “I have never believed the story that my brother died in a plane crash.”
    Now, the current “History Detectives” installment, which is Episode 2 of their 11th Season, acknowledges some of the alternate possibilities by asking, “Did friendly fire destroy the plane?  Was Miller involved in espionage? Was he on a secret mission to end the war?”
    Publicity for the program boasts, “Recent discoveries-including an intriguing entry in an aircraft spotter’s log-give the History Detectives fresh leads and new clues to explore.”
    Whatever the truth, it won't change the the facts about the accomplishments of Glenn Miller nor the enjoyment of his music which many people share to this day.

Billy Eckstine.  “The Mellow Mr. B: 4 Original LPs 1957-1961,” Jasmine (E) JASCD 777.
  The albums are “Billy Eckstine and Sarah Vaughan Sing the Best of Irving Berlin,”
  “Billy Eckstine’s Imagination,” “Once More with Feeling,” and “Billy Eckstine and
  Quincy Jones At Basin Street East.”  But all of these have previously been on CD,
  so buyer beware!  A better Eckstine offering for collectors is Jasmine’s “Billy Eckstine:
  All of My Life” (JASCD 483), a two-disc set of 55 less-common recordings including
  Condemned for Life (With a Rock ‘n’ Roll Wife), which Eckstine once claimed that
  "my momma wouldn't even buy it."
Coleman Hawkins.  “The Coleman Hawkins Collection 1927 – 56,” Acrobat Music (E)
  FADCD2044.  48 influential selections on two CDs.  Besides Hawkins own groups,
  performers include Fletcher Henderson, Lionel Hampton, and the Metronome
Enoch Light.  “Big Bold and Brassy: Percussion in Brass / Vibrations,” Sepia (E) 1264.
  Two Command LPs for the first time on CD, with old favorites including Green Eyes,
  Temptation, American Patrol, and Music, Maestro, Please.
Stan Kenton.  “Concerts in Miniature: Volume Four,” Sounds of YesterYear (E)
  DSOY971.  Three broadcasts from July 1952, “complete in their original form of
Ben Pollack.  “Ben Pollack and His Orchestra: Recordings from 1926 to 1934,” Crystal
  Stream Audio (Aus) IDCD286.  Starts off with When I First Met Mary, Deed I Do, and
  He’s the Last Word.
Various artists.  “The Nelson Riddle Collection 1941 – 62,” Acrobat Music (E) ACQCD
  7073.  Over a hundred examples of Riddle’s work, including recordings with Charlie
  Spivak, Tommy Dorsey, and Billy Eckstine, spread over four CDs.

Harry James.  "Springtime in the Rockies [ 1942 ]," 20th Century Fox Cinema Archives.

Count Basie Orchestra directed by Scotty Barnhart.  Jul 5-7, Yoshi’s, Oakland, CA;
  Jul 9, Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, CA.
Tommy Dorsey Orchestra directed by Terry Myers.  Jul 5, “Montreal Jazz Festival,” La
  Maison Symphonique, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Jul 10, Civic Theatre, Rotorua,
  New Zealand; July 12, ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre, Auckland, New Zealand; Jul
  13, Founders Theatre, Hamilton, New Zealand; Jul 16, Marlborough Civic Theatre,
  Blenheim, New Zealand; Jul 17, NBS Theatre, Westport, New Zealand; Jul 18,
  Regent Theatre, Greymouth, New Zealand; Jul 19, CBS Canterbury Arena,
  Christchurch, New Zealand; Jul 20, Theatre Royal, Timaru, New Zealand; Jul 21,
  Oamaru Opera House, Oamaru, New Zealand; Jul 22, Civic Theatre, Invercargill,
  New Zealand; Jul 23, Regent Theatre, Dunedin, New Zealand; Jul 24, Ashburton
  Trust Event Centre, Ashburton, New Zealand; Jul 25, Town Hall, Masterton, New
  Zealand; Jul 26, Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington, New Zealand; Jul 27, Regent
  On Broadway, Palmerston North, New Zealand; Jul 30, TSB Showplace, New
  Plymouth, New Zealand; Jul 31, Royal Wanganui Opera House, Royal Wanganui,
  New Zealand.
Gene Krupa Orchestra directed by Michael Berkowitz.  Jul 12, The Lackland
  Performing Arts Center, Centenary College, Hackettstown, NJ.
Glenn Miller Orchestra directed by Nick Hilscher.  Jul 1, Calumet Theatre, Calumet,
  MI; Jul 2, Cheboygan Opera House, Cheboygan, MI; Jul 3, Pigeon Band Shell,
  Pigeon, MI; Jul 5, “Montreal Jazz Festival,” Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Jul 7,
  Artpark, Lewiston, NY; Jul 9, Lake Placid Centre for the Arts, Lake Placid, NY;
  Jul 11, Nara Park Amphitheater, Acton, MA; Jul 12, Ridgefield Playhouse,
  Ridgefield, CT; Jul 14, Saratoga National Golf Club, Saratoga Springs, NY; Jul
  16, Tim McLoone’s Supper Club, Asbury Park, NJ; Jul 18, Rehoboth Beach
  Bandstand, Rehoboth Beach, DE; Jul 19, private dance; Jul 20, Baker Band
  Shell, Frederick, MD; Jul 22, Holland Theatre, Bellefontaine, OH; Jul 23, Lake
  Anna Park, Barberton, OH; Jul 24, Bearcreek Memories Theatre, Celina, OH;
  Jul 25, St. Clair Park Amphitheater, Greensburg, PA; Jul 27, Newton Theatre,
  Newton, NJ; Jul 30, The Royal Canadian Legion, Startford, Ontario, Canada.

Doc Severinsen, b.Jul. 7, 1927.  Trumpeter with FioRito ’45; Barnet ’47-’49; S.
    Donahue ’48; T. Dorsey ’50.
Larry O’Brien, b.Jul. 15, 1933.  Trombonist with T. Dorsey Orch ’61-’65; leader
    of Miller Orch ’81-’83 / ’88-’10.
Kay Starr, b.Jul. 21, 1922.  Vocalist with Crosby ’39; Miller ’39; Venuti ’39-’42;
    Barnet ’43-’45.
Michael P. Zirpolo, b.Jul. 22, 1950.  Jazz historian and author (various pieces for
    IAJRC Journal; Bunny Berigan Mr. Trumpet biography). 
Gloria DeHaven, b.Jul. 13, 1925.  Singer with Savitt ’42.
Ronny Lang, b.Jul. 24, 1927.  Saxophonist with Ennis ’47; Brown ’49-’90? [ not
    continuous ].
Peter Duchin, b.Jul. 28, 1937.  Son of Eddy Duchin; pianist-leader of his own

Norman Leyden, 96, d.Jul. 23, 2014.  Arranger with Miller AAF '44-'45; Miller Orch-
    Beneke '46-'49; Columbia "Once Upon a Time" LP with Johnny Desmond '59.

Earl Warren, b.Jul. 1, 1914.  Alto saxophonist-composer with Basie ’37-’45 / ’48-
    ’49 / ’49-’50.  Wrote Tom Thumb, Wiggle Woogie, Circus in Rhythm, Rockin’
    the Blues, and (with Buster Harding) 9:20 Special.
Billy Usselton, b.Jul. 2, 1926.  Tenor saxophonist with Dunham ’47-’48; Anthony
    ’48-’49 / ’51-’52; T. Dorsey ’49-’50; Brown ’54-’60.
Lawrence Brown, b.Jul. 3, 1905.  Trombonist with Ellington ’32-’51 / ’60-?.
Jerry Gray, b.Jul. 3, 1915.  Violinist-arranger for Shaw ’36-’39; Miller ’39-’42;
    Miller AAF ’43-’45; leader of own band.
Vern Friley, b.Jul. 5, 1924.  Trombonist with McKinley ’46-’47, Sauter-Finegan '52-'53;
    Herman '53.
Karl Kiffe, b.Jul. 6, 1927.  Drummer with J. Dorsey ’45 / ’50-‘53; Auld ’48-’50;
    Herman ’57; Norvo ’58-’59.
Frank Rehak, b.Jul. 6, 1926.  Trombonist with Gillespie ’56-’57.
Nick Brignola, b.Jul. 7, 1936.  Baritone saxophonist with Herman '63.
Bill Trujillo, b.Jul. 8, 1930.  Tenor saxophonist-clarinetist with Herman ’53-’54;
    Barnet ’56.
Billy Eckstine, b.Jul. 8, 1914.  Vocalist with Hines ’39-’43; leader of own band.
Louis Jordan, b.Jul. 8, 1908.  Alto saxophonist-vocalist with Webb ’36-’38;
    leader of own band.
Johnny Mince, b.Jul. 8, 1912.  Clarinetist-saxophonist with Noble ’34-’35; T.
    Dorsey ’36-’41.
Irv Kluger, b.Jul. 9, 1921.  Drummer with Auld ’42-’43; Slack ’43-’44; Raeburn
    ’45-’47; Kenton ’47-’48; Shaw ’49 / ’53-’54.
Milt Buckner, b.Jul. 10, 1915.  Pianist with Hampton ’41-’48 / ’50-’52.
Dick Cary, b.Jul. 10, 1916.  Trumpeter with G. Gray ’43; Butterfield ’46;
    Armstrong ’47-’48; J. Dorsey ’49; Hackett ’56-’57.
Noble Sissle, b.Jul. 10, 1889.  Leader of own band.
Will Bradley, b.Jul. 12, 1912.  Trombonist with Noble ’35-’36; leader of own
Rusty Dedrick, b.Jul. 12, 1918.  Trumpeter with Stabile ’38-’39; Norvo ’39-
    ’41; Thornhill ’41-’42 / ’46-’47.
Conte Candoli, b.Jul. 12, 1927.  Trumpeter with Herman ’43? / ’45 / ’50; Kenton
    ’48 / ’52.
Paul Gonsalves, b.Jul. 12, 1920.  Tenor saxophonist with Gillespie ’49-’50;
    Ellington ’50-’53 / -’74?; T. Dorsey ’53.
Sam “the Man” Taylor, b.Jul. 12, 1916.  Tenor saxophonist with C. Williams ’41-
    43 / ’45-’46; Millinder ’44-’45; Calloway ’46-’52.
Buddy Moreno, b.Jul. 13, 1912.  Vocalist with Griff Williams ’40?; Jurgens ’40-
    42; James ’43-’44.
Nat Pierce, b.Jul. 16, 1925.  Pianist with Clinton ’48; Herman ’51-’55.
Danny Bank, b.Jul. 17, 1922.  Baritone saxophonist with Barnet ’42-’44 /
    ’49?; Goodman ’45-46 / ’85; Shaw ’49; Sauter-Finegan '52 / '53 / '61.
Don Bagley, b.Jul. 18, 1927.  Bassist with Kenton ’50-’54.
Charlie Teagarden, b.Jul. 19, 1913.  Trumpeter with J. Dorsey ’47-’51; Crosby
    ’54-’58.  Brother of Jack Teagarden.
Ernie Wilkins, b.Jul. 20, 1922.  Saxophonist-composer with Hines ’48; Basie
    ’51-’55; composer for T. Dorsey ’55; James ’58-’60.
Lou McGarity, b.Jul. 22, 1917.  Trombonist with Bernie ’38-’40; Goodman ’40-’42
    / ’46-’47; Scott ’42-’43.
Danny Barcelona, b.Jul. 23, 1929.  Drummer with Armstrong ’58-?.
Herbie Haymer, b.Jul. 24, 1915.  Tenor saxophonist with Norvo ’35-’37;
    Kyser '42.
Joe Thomas, b.Jul. 24, 1909.  Trumpeter with F. Henderson ’34 / ’36-’37;
    Carter ’39-’40.
Cootie Williams, b.Jul. 24, 1908.  Trumpeter with Ellington ’29-’40 / ’62-’75;
    Goodman ’40-’41; leader of own band.
Johnny Hodges, b.Jul. 25, 1906.  Alto saxophonist for Ellington ’28-’51 / ’55-
Louie Bellson, b.Jul. 26, 1924.  Drummer with Goodman ’42-’43? / ’85-’86;
    T. Dorsey ’47-’49; Ellington ’51-’53; Dorsey Bros. ’55-’56; leader of own band.
Erskine Hawkins, b.Jul. 26, 1914.  Leader of own band.
Charlie Queener, b.Jul. 27, 1921.  Pianist with Spanier ’42; Goodman ’45;
    Hackett '50.
Corky Corcoran, b.Jul. 28, 1924.  Tenor saxophonist with James ’41-’48 / ’49 /
    ’51 / ’54 / ’58?-’70s; T. Dorsey ’48.
Don Redman, b.Jul. 29, 1900.  Saxophonist with F. Henderson ’23-’26;
    McKinney’s Cotton Pickers ’27-’31; leader of own band.
Jimmy Blanton, b.Jul. 30, 1921.  Bassist with Ellington ’39-’41?.
Hilton Jefferson, b.Jul. 30, 1903.  Alto saxophonist with Hopkins ’27-’29; Webb
    ’29-’30; F. Henderson ’32-’33; Calloway ’40-’51; Ellington ’52-’53.
Hank Jones, b.Jul. 31, 1918.  Pianist with Shaw ’53-’54; Goodman ’56-’58.

Brian Belton.  "B.B.'s Big Band Beat," In Tune International, No 269 / Jul 2014,
  pp.30-31.  Reviews of recent CDs by Goodman, Beneke, Sam Donahue, and
Frank Foster.  A Jazz Master: Frank Foster: An Autobiography ( PFDGS Media, 2013).
  Story of the Basie saxophonist (and leader of the Basie Orchestra '86-'95) who died
  in 2011 at age 82.
Richard Havers.  Verve: The Sound of America (New York City: Thames & Hudson Inc.,
  2013).  400-page history of the famous jazz label with 1,200 illustrations.
Mark J. Price.  "Local history: Big bands entertained local workers in World War II
  radio program," Akron [ OH ] Beacon Journal /, Jul 6, 2014.  Price traces 
  "The Victory Parade of Spotlight Bands" which aired from 1941 to 1945 on various
  stations such as WAKR in Akron and WHBC in Canton.  Bands which performed on
  it included Nelson, Thornhill, Tucker, T Dorsey, Pastor, and James.
Gerry Stonestreet.  "The Bargain Basement," In Tune International, No 269 / Jul
  2014, p.27.  Review of "Count Basie: One More Time" (Music Digital 5CD 90527). 
---.  "CD Reviews," In Tune International, No 269 / Jul 2014, p.20.  Review of
  "Viva Cugat / The Best of Cugat" (Sepia 1258).  "Superb on every front," he

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