The big bands are back
in a new and exciting way!
    According to publicity, "In a career that spanned 60 years, Paul Whiteman changed the landscape of American music," starting with his early 1920s recordings of Whispering, Japanese Sandman, and Three O'Clock in the Morning.  "Whiteman would then introduce 'symphonic jazz,' a powerful blend of the classical and jazz idioms that represented a whole new approach to modern American music, influencing generations of bandleaders and composers."
    Although some thought that Whiteman's dominance ended by the time of The Swing Era of the 1930s and '40s, Rayno makes a case that Whiteman was still an important figure.
    "In this second volume of Rayno's magisterial treatment of the life and music of this remarkable maestro," the publicity continues, "Whiteman's career during the sceond half of his life is explored in the fullest detail as Whiteman conquers the worlds of theater and vaudeville, the concert hall, radio, motion pictures, and television, winning accolades in all of them."
    Rayno's book, with its attractive blue and aqua cover, totals 824 pages (just this new second volume alone), and he told me the Index adds another 40 pages to that!
Big Band Library rating: ABSOLUTELY EXCELLENT

Mackenzie Elmer.  "Veteran's Day big band show: Jan Garber Orchestra brings big band
    sound to Capitol Theater," [ Burlington, IA ] Hawk Eye, Nov. 8, 2012.
Adam Joseph.  "Miller time: the Glenn Miller Orchestra celebrates one of the most
    renowned big band orchestra leaders of the 1940s," Monterey County [ CA ] Weekly,
    Nov. 1, 2012.  Brief article mentions that one of Miller's brothers, herb, was in the
    59th Army Band stationed at Ford Ord, CA and lived several years in Pacific Grove,
    CA, where he was a musiciand and music teacher.
David Lobosco.  "A Trip Down Memory Lane: Helen Forrest and Her Sad Resting
    Place,"  Big band vocalist Helen Forrest
    died in 1999 but, 13 years later, she still doesn't have a headstone at her grave.
Kevin Parks.  Music & Copyright in America: Toward the Celestial Jukebox (Chicago, IL:
    ABA Publishing / Amercan Bar Association, 2012).  Includes discussions of
    Whiteman and Waring "who had a profound impact not only on American music, but
    also on the law of music copyright, in particular the nettlesome question of whether
    and to what extent performers are entitled to property rights in their sound recordings."

Count Basie Orchestra directed by Dennis Mackrel.  Nov. 3, Brockville Arts Centre,
    Brockville, Ontario, Canada.
Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra directed by Bill Tole.  Nov. 13, The Castle, Chandler, AZ.
Jan Garber Orchestra directed by Howard Schneider.  Nov. 13, Capitol Theatre,
    Burlington, IA.
Glenn Miller Orchestra directed by Nick Hilscher.  Nov. 1, Performing Arts Center of
    Pacific Grove, Pacific Grove, CA; Nov. 2, Clark Center, Arroyo Grande, CA; Nov. 3,
    High Street Arts Center, Moorpark, CA; Nov. 4, Del Norte High School, San Diego,
    CA; Nov.7, West Ranch High School Theatre, Stevenson Ranch, CA; Nov. 8, Palm
    Springs High School Auditorium, Palm Springs, CA; Nov. 9, Visalia Fox Theatre,
    Visalia, CA; Nov. 10, Walnut High School Performing Arts Center, Walnut, CA;
    Nov. 14-Nov. 30, portion of Japan tour.

Herb Geller, b.Nov. 2, 1928.  Alto saxophonist with Thornhill '50.
Jim Harwood, b.Nov. 4, 1923.  Trombonist with McKinley '42; Miller AAF '43-'44.
Louise Tobin, b.Nov. 11, 1918.  Vocalist with James '39; Goodman '39; Bradley-McKinley
Johnny Mandel, b.Nov. 23, 1925.  Trombonist - arranger with Raeburn '45; Rich '46 / '48;
    Shaw '49; Basie '53.  Composer of The Shadow of Your Smile.
Jack Sheldon, b.Nov. 30, 1931.  Trumpeter with Kenton '58-'59; Goodman '59-'60 / '65 /
    '76 / '78.

    The great trumpeter and bandleader Bunny Berigan was born on the 2nd of this month, back in 1908.  On the 6th of this month, his legacy will be celebrated on the radio in Copenhagen, Denmark.
    Michael P. Zirpolo, the author of Mr. Trumpet: The Trials, Tribulations and Triumph of Bunny Berigan (Scarecrow Press, 2011) will be the guest of broadcaster Tom Buhmann, who has a show on Copenhagen Jazz Radio.  Zirpolo will provide commentary about Berigan's life, while examples of Berigan's music will highlight portions of Zirpolo's book.
    Meanwhile, Zirpolo continues to audition and document broadcast and other rare recordings held as part of The Bunny Berigan Archive at The University of Wisconsin-Madison. 
    For more details, view the website

Whitey Thomas, 92, d.Nov. 9, 2012.  Trumpeter with Miller '38; Miller AAF '43-'45; Miller
    Orch-Beneke '46-'50.
Sandra "Sandi" Beneke, 71, d.Nov. 15, 2012.  Married Tex Beneke in Nov. 1983.
David Allyn, 93, d.Nov. 21, 2012.  Vocalist with Teagarden '40-'42; Raeburn '45-'46.
Louis Armstrong.  "Satchmo: Columbia Jazz Classics," Sony Flashback 73892.  3-CD set
    includes such favorites as West End Blues and Struttin' with Some Barbecue.
Henry Busse.  "Shuffle Time Rhythm," Audiophonic 453534.  30 selections made in the
    early and mid-1940s for Standard and Lang-Worth Transcriptions, such as Canteen
    Bounce, Dispatch From Dogpatch, Toot That Trumpet, and There I Go.
Duke Ellington.  "The Washingtonians: Rare and Early Duke Ellington Sessions," Frog
    [ UK ] 78.  Material recorded between 1924 and 1928.
Billy May.  "The Billy May Collection 1939-60," Acrobat [ UK ] 7036.  Representations of
    his work as a sideman with Barnet and Miller; his own big band; and as
    arranger-conductor for various singers and personalities.
Various artists.  "Andrews Sisters: Some Sunny Day: The Songs... The Energy...
     And The Blend," Jasmine [ UK ] JASBOX 29-4.  Among other work, includes
    collaborations with T. Dorsey, Lombardo, Morgan, and Arnaz.
---.  "The Best Years of Our Lives - The Most Popular Songs of 1940," Sounds of Yester
    Year [ UK ] DSOY 909.  Includes Miller, Shaw, T. Dorsey, Ayres, Barnet, J. Dorsey,
    and Tucker.
---.  "Jo Ann Greer: Hollywood's Secret Singing Star," Jasmine [ UK ] JASCD 228.
    A selection of 11 of her vocals with Brown, as well as work with J. Gray, Stabile, and

    In next month's "News," some more Christmas gift ideas including details of a new blockbuster Earl Hines package, a highly-collectible set of Glenn Miller CDs, the first volume of a live Artie Shaw series, Les Brown's great band of the '50s, and a couple chart-makers from Lawrence Welk.

go to Big Band Library homepage

compiled by Music Librarian CHRISTOPHER POPA
image © 2012 Scarecrow Press

    Don Rayno, who works as the Director of Raleigh-Area Concerts of Prayer, a regional ministry in North Carolina that brings together Christian pastors and lay people for united prayer activities, spent nearly 30 years of his own time researching the achievements of big band legend Paul Whiteman.
    Rayno's efforts included hundreds of interviews, extensive documentation, and exhaustive research.  Now, the second and final volume of his impressive - and definitive - Whiteman biography, Pioneer in American Music, covering the years 1930 to 1967, will be published this month by Scarecrow Press.
    I talked with Rayno on the phone on the 15th, and I'm not sure who was more excited about the book's publication - him or me, or both LOL.