Tommy Dorsey [ l. ]; Sammy Kaye  [ ctr. ]; Artie Shaw [ r. ]

written by Music Librarian Christopher Popa

    These are fresh biographical sketches about the big band masters, incorporating comments and anecdotes from interviews, confirming vital statistics about their lives, showing various images from their careers, and providing a select list of recommended recordings of their music.  
     As a disc jockey in the 1970s and '80s, I had spoken with Ray Anthony, Frankie Carle, Warren Covington, Larry Elgart, Dizzy Gillespie, Sammy Kaye, Ray McKinley, Buddy Morrow, Alvino Rey, Artie Shaw, and others, for my radio program, "The Big Band Songbook."
     With the launch of this website in April 2004, a new initiative was started, talking with other bandleaders still living, including Louis Bellson, Bobby Byrne, Del Courtney, and Elliot Lawrence, as well as various alumni and associates of Louis Armstrong, Charlie Barnet, Blue Barron, Benny Carter, Larry Clinton, Jimmy Dorsey, Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington, Ralph Flanagan, Chuck Foster, Jerry Gray, Lionel Hampton, Neal Hefti, Woody Herman, Tiny Hill, Earl Hines, Harry James, Dick Jurgens, John Kirby, Lester Lanin, Jimmie Lunceford, Freddy Martin, Frankie Masters, Glenn Miller, Lucky Millinder, Vaughn Monroe, Red Norvo, Jan Savitt, Charlie Spivak, Jack Teagarden, Claude Thornhill, and Si Zentner.
     Contact was also established with family members of Bunny Berigan, Les Elgart, Ziggy Elman, Jan Garber, Bobby Hackett, Erskine Hawkins, Horace Heidt, Art Kassel, Wayne King, Kay Kyser, Ted Lewis, Enoch Light, Guy Lombardo, Vincent Lopez, Ralph Marterie, Clyde McCoy, Russ Morgan, Boyd Raeburn, Tommy Reynolds, Bobby Sherwood, Tommy Tucker, Rudy Vallee, Ted Weems, Paul Weston, Paul Whiteman, and Griff Williams.  
     For some bandleaders, it may be difficult to locate survivors who had a direct connection with them.  After the last member of Fats Waller's band died in 2005, for instance, it might have been easy to quote Waller's lyrics, "No one to talk to.  All by myself..."  Instead, I asked Dan Morgenstern, a jazz expert and author, and a long-time fan of Waller's, to talk on his behalf.  So, in the future, I likely will invite other specialists or aficionados to participate.
     There are many names that deserve to be added to the list below, and I plan on continuing to conduct research and seek new interviews, to assure that they are all honored eventually.    

RAY ANTHONY"Mr. Anthony's Band"   with Ray Anthony

LOUIS ARMSTRONG: (tbd)   with Jack Bradley

DESI ARNAZ"A Discography"

GEORGIE AULD"Sax Appeal"   

MITCHELL AYRES"Scratchin' the Surface"   

CHARLIE BARNET: (tbd)   with Danny Bank

BLUE BARRON"The Music Business of Yesterday and Today"   with Russ Carlyle   


LOUIE BELLSON: "Two Sticks of Dynamite"   with Louie Bellson

TEX BENEKE:  PART 1  "Lone Star Moon"   with Johnny Best, Paul Tanner, Sal Libero, Gene
   Cipriano, and Art Depew    PART 2  (tbd)   with Eddie Zandy and Sandi Beneke

BUNNY BERIGAN"'Cause You're So Supreme"   with Joyce Berigan Hansen,
   Joe Aguanno, and Ken Hansen   

WILL BRADLEY: (tbd)   with Will Bradley

RANDY BROOKS: (tbd)   with Bob Arsenault

LES BROWN: (tbd)   with Butch Stone

SONNY BURKE"Doin' the Mambo - and More"   

HENRY BUSSE"In Search of the Truth"   

BILLY BUTTERFIELD"On Lead, Solos, and Features"   

BOBBY BYRNE: "Mr. Success"   with Bobby and Marilyn Byrne

CAB CALLOWAY: "Keep That Hi-De-Ho in Your Soul"   with Cab Calloway

FRANKIE CARLE: "Tin Pan Ally"  with Frankie Carle

BENNY CARTER: (tbd)   with Ed Berger

LEE CASTLE: (tbd)   with Lee Castle

CARMEN CAVALLARO"The Poet of the Piano"   

BOB CHESTER"Bluebirds of Happiness"   

LARRY CLINTON"True Confession"   with Bea Wain

DEL COURTNEY"The Old Smoothie... Today!"   with Del Courtney

WARREN COVINGTON"For You, Mr. Covington"   with Warren Covington

BOB CROSBY: (tbd)   with Bob Crosby

XAVIER CUGAT"A Passion for Life"  

AL DONAHUE"His Life Became a First-Class Voyage"   

SAM DONAHUE"No Other Life of Which I'm Fonder"   

THE DORSEY BROTHERS: (tbd)   with Kay Weber

JIMMY DORSEY"So Rare"   with Roc Hillman    

TOMMY DORSEY:  PART 1  "Starmaker"   with Boomie Richman
   PART 2  "Swing High!"   with Billy VerPlanck

EDDY DUCHIN"Soft Lights and Sweet Music"   

SONNY DUNHAM"Memories of You"   

BILLY ECKSTINE"Mr. B and His Band"   

ROY ELDRIDGE"'Little Jazz,' a Giant of Jazz"   

LES AND LARRY ELGART"Fluid Drive"   with Larry Elgart and Joerene Elgart   

DUKE ELLINGTON"Things Ain't What They Used to Be"   with Herb Jeffries   

ZIGGY ELMAN"Fralich in Swing" with Noni Bernardi and Martin Elman   

SKINNAY ENNIS: "A Southern Gentleman"   with Carmene and Christopher Ennis

SHEP FIELDS"I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles"   

JACK FINA"Rhapsody in Blue"   

TED FIO RITO"King for a Day"   

RALPH FLANAGAN"Prime Time" with Harry Prime   

CHUCK FOSTER"For the Dancers"   

JAN GARBER: (tbd)   with Janis Garber and Con Good

DIZZY GILLESPIE"Things to Come"   with Dizzy Gillespie


GRAY GORDON"Tic-Toc Rhythm"   

GLEN GRAY"Casa Loma Cooperative"   

JERRY GRAY"A String of Pearls"   with Zeke Zarchy and Al Hendrickson

BOBBY HACKETT: "Mellow Man with a Horn"   with Ernie Hackett   NEW! MAY 2017

GEORGE HALL"Two Dreams Got Together"   

MAL HALLETT"An Earful of Music"   

LIONEL HAMPTON"Music Was His Fountain of Youth"   with Phil Leshin   

PHIL HARRIS"Fun and Fancy Free"   

ERSKINE HAWKINS: "Hit Me with a High Note"   with Asa Harris

EDGAR HAYES"A Song That Will Not Die"   

TED HEATH"Listen to My Music"   

NEAL HEFTI"Don'cha Go Away Mad"   with Frank Capp   

HORACE HEIDT: (tbd)   with Horace Heidt, Jr.

WOODY HERMAN: (tbd)   with Frank Tiberi

TINY HILL: "His Laugh Was As Big As He Was"   with Dan Windolph

EARL HINES: (tbd)   with Marva Josie

CLAUDE HOPKINS"Reflections in Swing"   

EDDY HOWARD"A Million Dreams Ago"   

HUDSON-DELANGE"Sophisticated Swing"   

DEAN HUDSON"He Had Ambition"   

INA RAY HUTTON"And Her Melodears"   

HARRY JAMES: (tbd)   with Vi Monte

JACK JENNEY"A Sprinkle of Star Dust"   


SPIKE JONES"Thank You, Music Lovers"   

LOUIS JORDAN"Jump and Jive with the Tympany Five"   

DICK JURGENS: "Here's That Band Again"   with Buddy Moreno

ART KASSEL: (tbd)   with Art Kassel III

SAMMY KAYE"Swing and Sway Is Here to Stay"   with Sammy Kaye

HAL KEMP"How I'll Miss You"   


WAYNE KING"Melody of Love"   with Dorothy King, Wayne King Jr., and Nancy Evans

JOHN KIRBY: (tbd)   with Dave Pell

ANDY KIRK"A Mellow Bit of Rhythm, a Subtle Dash of Showmanship"

GENE KRUPA: (tbd)   with Urbie Green

KAY KYSER: "Thinking of You"   with Kimberly Kyser

LESTER LANIN: "I Could Have Danced All Night"   with Julius Schwartz

ELLIOT LAWRENCE: "Sweet with a Beat"   with Elliot Lawrence

SYD LAWRENCE"Something Old, Something New"   

TED LEWIS"When My Baby Smiled At Me"   with Dawn Williams   

ENOCH LIGHT: "Music, Maestro, Please"   with Julie Klages and Mary Jack Light Wald

LITTLE JACK LITTLE"A Cheerful Songbird"   

GUY LOMBARDO"Days of Auld Lang Syne"   with Rose Marie (Lombardo) Rogers

JOHNNY LONG"Just Like That"   

VINCENT LOPEZ"Lopez Speaking"   with Vincent Lopez Jr.   

JIMMIE LUNCEFORD: (tbd)   with Gerald Wilson

ABE LYMAN"California, Here I Come"   

RICHARD MALTBY"Bow to a Big-Name Band"   

RALPH MARTERIE: "Like, Young"   with Judy and Diane Marterie

FREDDY MARTIN: (tbd)   with Clyde Rogers

FRANKIE MASTERS"Easy Listening"   with Bud Shiffman   

BILLY MAY: (tbd)   with Billy May

CLYDE McCOY"Sugar Blues Was Just the Sweet Beginning" with Maxine McCoy   

HAL MCINTYRE"A Great Guy"   

RAY McKINLEY:  PART 1  "Howdy, Friend"   with Ray McKinley and Curley Broyles
   PART 2  "It's About Time"   with Jawn McKinley-Neville

GLENN MILLER:  PART 1  "A Memorial, 1944-2004"   with Trigger Alpert
   PART 2  "A Dream Band"   with Norman Leyden and Whitey Thomas   

LUCKY MILLINDER"Big Band Rhythm & Blues" with Ed Shaughnessy   

VAUGHN MONROE"There, I've Said It Again"  with Bucky Pizzarelli and Mary Jo (Thomas)

ART MOONEY"A Dream Come True"   

RUSS MORGAN"The Path of Least Resistance"   with Jack Morgan

BUDDY MORROW: "Five-Star Trombonist"   with Buddy Morrow

OZZIE NELSON"Perfect Harmony"   

RED NICHOLS"At the Jazz Band Ball"   

RAY NOBLE"It's Just the Thought of You"   

RED NORVO: (tbd)   with Eddie Bert

SY OLIVER"Yes, Indeed!"   

WILL OSBORNE"On with the Dance"   

TONY PASTOR"When I'm Calling You"   

BEN POLLACK"Hotbed of Talent"   

TEDDY POWELL"Determined to Succeed"   

LOUIS PRIMA"Hey Boy!  Hey Girl!"      

BOYD RAEBURN: (tbd)   with Bruce Raeburn

ALVINO REY"Wizard of the Steel Pedal Guitar"   with Alvino Rey

TOMMY REYNOLDS"Collective Memory"   with Dave Swerling, Frankie Reynolds, 
   and Frank Galasso, Jr.   

BUDDY RICH"One of a Kind"    

SAUTER-FINEGAN: (tbd)   with Bill Finegan

JAN SAVITT"The Swing-Happy Years"   with Al Leopold   

RAYMOND SCOTT"An Inventive Mind"      

ARTIE SHAW:  PART 1  "The Consequences of $ucce$$"   with Artie Shaw
   PART 2  "Second Chorus"   with Ray Conniff and Hank Freeman

BOBBY SHERWOOD: (tbd)   with Carl Saunders

FREDDIE SLACK"He's Murder At the 88"   


PHIL SPITALNY"Charm School"   

CHARLIE SPIVAK"Stardreams"   with Garry Stevens   

DICK STABILE"Memories Are Made of This"   

JACK TEAGARDEN"Jazz Trombone Pioneer"   with Joe Showler   

CLAUDE THORNHILL"The Sound Hung Like a Cloud"  with Rusty Dedrick   

ORRIN TUCKER"So You're the One"   

TOMMY TUCKER"The Fundamental Things Apply"   with Dare Tucker   

RUDY VALLEE: "The Swooning Was for Real"  with Eleanor Vallee

JOE VENUTI"Fiddlesticks"   

JERRY WALD"Clarinet High Jinks"   

FATS WALLER"Mesmerizing"  with Dan Morgenstern   

CHICK WEBB"Stompin' At the Savoy"   with Van Alexander    

TED WEEMS: (tbd)   with Ted Weems, Jr.

LAWRENCE WELK"Family Values"   

PAUL WESTON"As Long As There's Music"   with Jo Stafford   

PAUL WHITEMAN"Something to Remember You By"   with Don Rayno and Cindy Magill

COOTIE WILLIAMS"Growl and Roar"   

GRIFF WILLIAMS: "Got the World On a String"   with Lynne Twist

Si ZENTNER: "Have Band, Will Travel"   with Bob Florence

BOB ZURKE"It's Me Again"   

VARIOUS ARTISTS: "And Still More Bandleaders" (Irving Aaronson; Gus Arnheim;
     Ben Bernie; Tiny Bradshaw; Lou Breese; Ace Brigode; Blanche Calloway; Gay
     Claridge; Coon-Sanders Orchestra; Al Cooper's Savoy Sultans; Bernie Cummins;
     Johnny "Scat" Davis; Buddy DeFranco; Maynard Ferguson; Larry Funk; Tom Gerun;
     Emerson Gill; Don Glasser; Jimmie Grier; Bobby Hackett; Richard Himber; Everett
     Hoagland; Carl Hoff; The International Sweethearts of Rhythm; Illinois Jacquet; Jimmy
     Joy; Roger Wolfe Kahn; Henry King; Orville Knapp; Harlan Leonard; Enric Madriguera;
     Wingy Manone; Chico Marx; The McFarland Twins; Jay McShann; Johnny Messner;
     Leighton Noble; George Olsen; Jimmy Palmer; George Paxton; Teddy Phillips; Barney
     Rapp; Carl Ravazza; Don Redman; Joe Reichman; Freddie Rich; Buddy Rogers; Luis
     Russell; Ben Selvin; Boyd Senter; Milt Shaw; Noble Sissle; Paul Specht; Bob Strong;
     Charlie Ventura; Fred Waring; Anson Weeks; Teddy Wilson; Sterling Young)

return to Big Band Library homepage     
the big bands are back
in a new and exciting way