The centennial of Dorsey's birth is also being celebrated with a new biography of his life and times, Tommy Dorsey: Livin' in a Great Big Way (New York City: Da Capo Press, 2005), written by publicist Peter J. Levinson (who also authored books about Harry James and Nelson Riddle). Publication occured October 17th, according to information from the Perseus Books Group, parent company of Da Capo Press.
As the website reads, "Swing has never gone out of style . . . And no musician evokes the Big Band era more strikingly than Tommy Dorsey, whose soaring trombone play and hit tunes influenced popular music for a generation . . . Drawing on exhaustive new research and scores of interviews with the musicians who knew him best, Levinson delves into Dorsey's famously eccentric lifestyle and his oversize appetite for drink, women, and perfection."
Apart from Stockdale's bio-discography, which dealt primarily with Dorsey's early career, there hasn't been a biography of Tommy since Herb Sanford's Tommy and Jimmy: The Dorsey
Years (New Rochelle, NY: Arlington House, 1972).
"BIG BAND NEWS": October 2005
compiled by Christopher Popa
The observance of the 100th anniversary of Tommy Dorsey's birth got underway a month early, thanks to several new releases.
Dorsey was always thought to have been born on November 19, 1905 in Mahanoy Plane near Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, though research by Robert L. Stockdale, in his book Tommy Dorsey: On the Side (Metuchen, NJ: Institute of Jazz Studies Rutgers-The State University of New Jersey and The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1995), revealed that official Schuykill County records list the date as November 27th.
Whichever date is correct, it was very close to his birthday when he passed away, on November 26, 1956.
Dr. Frederick J. Spencer's Jazz
and Death: Medical Profiles of Jazz
Greats (Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2002) reproduces Dorsey's death certificate, indicating that he died of asphyxia, after choking on some food.
A 3-CD set, "The Sentimental Gentleman of Swing: The Tommy Dorsey Centennial Collection," Sony/BMG Legacy catalog no. 71167, in stores October 4th, covers Dorsey's musical career from 1925 to 1956. I'm surprised that the producer, Michael Brooks, didn't go even earlier, with, for example, one of the Jean Goldkette sides, on Victor in 1924, or, perhaps, Tommy's very first two recordings, with The Scranton Sirens for OKeh in 1923, if copies were available.
Disc 1 is comprised of recordings by various ensembles which included Tommy: Dusting the Donkey (California Ramblers, Pathe, 1925), Ten Little Miles From Town (Sam Lanin and His Famous Players, Columbia, 1928), It Won't Be Long Now (Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra, Victor, 1927), Add a Little Wiggle (All Star Orchestra, Victor, 1928), Cherry - featuring TD on trumpet (Big Aces, Columbia, 1928), It's Right Here for You - featuring TD on trumpet (Tom Dorsey, Columbia, 1928), My Melancholy Baby (The Dorsey Brothers' Orchestra, Columbia, 1928), Mean to Me (The Dorsey Brothers' Orchestra, Columbia, 1929), Bugle Call Rag - featuring TD on trumpet and trombone (Eddie Lang and His Orchestra, Columbia, 1929), Breakaway (The Travelers, Columbia, 1929), Hallelujah (Red Nichols and His Five Pennies, Brunswick, 1930), Dust (Columbia Photo Players, Columbia, 1930), My Kind of a Man (Ethel Waters, Columbia, 1930), I Got Rhythm (Fred Rich, Columbia, 1930), Cinderella Brown (Charleston Chasers, Columbia, 1930), Bend Down, Sister (Columbia Studio Band, 1931), Who Stole the Lock (On the Hen House Door) Jack Bland and His Rhythmakers, ARC, 1932), Goodbye Blues (Art Jarrett, Columbia, 1932), Sentimental Gentleman From Georgia (Boswell Sisters, Brunswick, 1932), Lullaby of the Leaves (Connie Boswell, Brunswick, 1932), Bugle Call Rag (Victor Young, ARC demo), How Deep Is the Ocean? (Bing Crosby, Brunswick, 1932), Shoutin' in the Amen Corner (Mildred Bailey, ARC, 1933), Moon Country (Hoagy Carmichael and His Orchestra, Victor, 1934), and Sing (It's Good for You) (Dorsey Brothers, Brunswick, 1932).
Disc 2 collects mostly familiar Victor studio cuts by his Tommy's band, plus two selections which he and brother Jimmy recorded on their own in 1955 (and which were released posthumously by Columbia): I'm Getting Sentimental Over You (Tommy's theme song); One Night in Monte Carlo (Edythe Wright, vocal, with the Clambake Seven); Marie (Jack Leonard and band, vocal); Head Over Heels in Love (vocal by Wright, arrangement by Paul Weston); Song of India; After You (another Wright vocal with the Clambake Seven); Twilight in Turkey (Deane Kincaide's arrangement for the Clambake Seven); Melody in F (arranged by guitarist Carmen Mastren); Stop, Look and Listen (another Kincaide chart); Blues; Boogie Woogie (Kincaide); Hawaiian War Chant (Kincaide); Vol Vistu Gaily Star (Hughie Prince, vocal, with the Clambake Seven); Imagination (vocal by Frank Sinatra, arrangement by Axel Stordahl); Yes, Indeed! (Sy Oliver and Jo Stafford, vocal); Opus No.1 (Oliver's composition); On the Sunny Side of the Street (vocal by The Sentimentalists, arranged by Oliver); At the Fat Man's (vocal by Charlie Shavers, chart by Oliver); Tonight I Shall Sleep (TD, guest, with Duke Ellington and His Orchestra); The Minor Goes Muggin' (Ellington, guest, with the Dorsey band); Trombonology; Pussy Willow (a Bill Finegan original); Flagler Drive (named after the street where Dorsey lived in Greenwich, CT; and Dippermouth Blues (arranged by Howard Gibeling).
Disc 3 captures a variety, including broadcast performances from the 1940s: March of the Toys (another Kincaide arrangement), Our Love Affair (a Sinatra vocal), Easy Does It (Oliver's tune), I Could Make You Care (Sinatra), Rhumboogie (vocal by Connie Haines), Star Dust (Sinatra with the Pied Pipers), Liebestraum, East of the Sun (Sinatra and the band, vocal), Put On Your Old Grey Bonnet, Every Night About This Time, Oh! Look At Me Now (Sinatra and the Pipers), Jimtown Blues, I'll Never Smile Again (Sinatra and the Pied Pipers), Do I Worry? (another Sinatra and Pipers), Goin' Home, The Song Is You (Sinatra's "farewell"), Daybreak (Dick Haymes, vocal), (Ah Yes) There's Good Blues Tonight (a Sy Oliver arrangement for the Clambake Seven), Manhattan Serenade (Jo Stafford, vocal), Take the 'A' Train, and Heartbreak Hotel (when Elvis Presley was on the "Stage Show" telecast with the Dorsey Brothers).
Another Sony/BMG Legacy release, "The Essential Frank Sinatra with The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra," no. 71166, gathers the expected Sinatra vocals from 1940-42.
Unfortunately for Dorsey collectors, some titles are duplicated from the other set. However, producer Didier C. Deutsch and consultant Charles Granata point out that all of these Sinatra vocals are newly-transferred and restored from the original Victor session masters.
Included on disc 1 are I'll Be Seeing You, Say It, Polka Dots and Moonbeams, Fools Rush In, Imagination, You're Lonely and I'm Lonely, East of the Sun, It's a Lovely Day
Tomorrow, I'll Never Smile Again, All This and Heaven Too, Trade Winds, The One I Love Belongs to Somebody Else, The Call of the Canyon, Love Lies, I Could Make You Care, Our Love Affair, We Three (My Echo, My Shadow, and Me), Star Dust, Oh! Look At Me Now, You Might Have Belonged to Another, It's Always You, I Tried, and Dolores.
Disc 2 has Do I Worry?, Everything Happens to Me, This Love of Mine, I Guess I'll Have to Dream the Rest, You and I, Blue Skies, I Think of You, Violets for Your Furs, How About You?, The Night We Called It a Day, The Song Is You, I'll Take Tallulah, The Last Call for
Love, Just As Though You Were Here, Street of Dreams, Take Me, Be Careful It's My Heart, In the Blue of Evening, There Are Such Things, Daybreak, and Light a Candle in the Chapel.
Granata posted to "The Sinatra Family Forum" (sinatrafamily. com) about both new titles, stating "I can assure you that these new remasters sound excellent."
Gordon Minor, 90, trumpeter (Williams, Morgan), Oct. 8, 2005
Al Conte, 79, pianist (G. Lombardo), Oct. 25, 2005
Phil Brito, 90, vocalist (Donahue '39-'42), Oct. 28, 2005
KUDOS TO THE STARDUST ORCHESTRA
The Stardust Orchestra, a group of retired businessmen and community members in the Hilton Head Island area of South Carolina, favors big band music. And they're sharing their enthusiasm and expertise with young people, taking the music right to them. Formed in February 2004, the Orchestra plays a regular schedule of free concerts for local elementary and middle school students. They also have begun teaching workshops, mentoring students, and working with them one-on-one. Congratulations to The Stardust Orchestra! Keep up the great job! See also Lewis, Jacquelyn. "Stardust Orchestra members mentor young musicians," The [ Hilton Head Island / Bluffton, SC ] Island Packet, islandpacket.com, Oct. 2, 2005.
IN PRINT - SELECT LIST
"At 78, George Masso is still blowing his horn," Providence [ RI ] Journal, projo.com,
Oct. 30, 2005.
Edwards, Michael A. "Lifestyle: Buddy Rich: A riot on and off the stage," Jamaican
Observer, jamaicanobserver.com, Oct. 2, 2005.
Gondo, Nancy. "Leaders & Success: Miller Played to His Strengths," Investor's Business
Daily, investors.com, Oct. 17, 2005.
Miller, Roger K. "Tommy Dorsey biography a marvelous tale," Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
pittsburghlive.com, Oct. 30, 2005.
Pellowski, Sara. "Big band harmonizes family: 3 generations note musical commonality,"
West Bend [ WI ] Daily News, Oct. 19, 2005.
Rae, Jimmy. "Count Basie Orchestra still alive and well: 70-year-old classic jazz band
plays auditorium," Indiana [ University ] Daily Student, idsnews.com, Oct. 4, 2005.
Tumpak, John. "Ray McKinley - 75 Years with the Big Bands," Miller Notes, Oct. 2005.
ITINERARIES - SELECT LIST
Les Brown's Band of Renown directed by Les Brown Jr.: Oct. 1-5 / 8-12 / 15-19 /
22 - 26 / 29 - 31, Mickey Gilley Theatre, Branson, MO
Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra directed by Bill Tole: Oct. 15, Grand Rapids, MI; Oct. 21,
Cleveland, OH; Oct. 29, Philadelphia, PA
Woody Herman's Thundering Herd directed by Frank Tiberi: Oct. 27, Paramount
Theatre, Anderson, IN
Glenn Miller Orchestra directed by Larry O'Brien: Oct. 1, Alabama Theatre, N. Myrtle
Beach, SC; Oct. 2, Keihin Auditorium, Tarboro, NC; Oct. 3, George Washington High
School, Danville, VA; Oct. 4, Capitol Theatre, Chambersburg, PA; Oct. 6, Secrest
Auditorium, Zanesville, OH; Oct. 7, McMorran Place, Port Huron, MI; Oct. 8, Stocker Arts
Center, Elyria, OH; Oct. 9, Macomb Center, Clinton Township, MI; Oct. 11, Paramount
Theatre, Austin, MN; Oct. 13, Overture Hall, Madison, WI; Oct. 14, Performing Arts Center,
Jefferson, WI; Oct. 15, Grand Opera House, Oshkosh, WI; Oct. 16, Paramount Arts
Center, Aurora, IL; Oct. 17, Greenville High School Performing Arts, Greenville, MI;
Oct. 20, T.B. Sheldon Auditorium, Red Wing, MN; Oct. 21, Fargo Air Museum, Fargo, ND;
Oct. 22, Prairie Knights Casino, Fort Yates, ND; Oct. 23, Williston State College,
Williston, ND; Oct. 27-28, Northern Quest Casino, Airway Heights, WA; Oct. 29, Wilma
Theatre, Missoula, MT; Oct. 30, Clarkston High School Performing Arts Center, Clarkston,
Russ Morgan Orchestra directed by Jack Morgan: Oct. 30, embark on Empress of the
North cruise, Portland, OR
Artie Shaw Orchestra directed by Dick Johnson: Oct. 15, Pine Needles Lodge, Southern
Pines, NC; Oct. 16, Clayton State University, Morrow, GA; Oct. 17, Newberry Opera House,
Newberry, SC; Oct. 18, Grover C. Fields School, New Bern, NC
NEW CD RELEASES - SELECT LIST
Ray Anthony: "Dream Dancing 7: The Harry James Songbook," Aerospace 1051
Louis Armstrong: "King Louis," Proper Box 93 ( 4 CDs )
Johnny Desmond: "High and Mighty," Sepia 1057
Tommy Dorsey: "Solid Swing," Sounds of Yesteryear 683
Duke Ellington: "The Treasury Shows, Vol.12," Storyville DETS 9012 ( 2 CDs );
"1953," Classics 1398
Maynard Ferguson: "Plays Bill Holman's Arrangements" / "I Have But Two Horns,"
Fresh Sound 2209 ( 2 CDs )
Benny Goodman: "1947," Classics 1396
Bobby Hackett: "V-Disc Recording Parties," Jazz Unlimited 2094
Erskine Hawkins: "Holiday for Swing," Sounds of Yesteryear 682
Woody Herman: Charlie Byrd with the Woody Herman Big Band, "Bamba Samba
Bossa Nova," Empire Musicwerks 450755
Artie Shaw: "1950," Classics 1397
Billy Strayhorn: "Piano Passion," Storyville 8404
Jack Teagarden: "Time for T," Sounds of Yesteryear 681
Gerald Wilson: "The Artist Selects," Blue Note 31439; "In My Time," Mack Avenue 1025
various artists: "Glenn and Benny," Avid 145 ( 4 CDs ) [ delayed from Apr. '05 ]; "Victory
Parade of Spotlight Bands," The Audio File PSB450 ( 6 CDs ) [ over six hours of material
from the Coca-Cola series including several complete shows, some of the AFRS versions
of the program, and a generous sampling of individual excerpts, plus notes by big band
historian Karl Pearson; order c/o nostalgiadigest.com / 1-800-555-3179 ]
NEW DVD RELEASES - SELECT LIST
Harry James: "Young Man with a Horn," Blue Moon 4110 ( 2 DVDs )
send feedback about "Big Band News": October 2005 via e-mail