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, 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.
LOUIS ARMSTRONG: (tbd) with Jack Bradley
CHARLIE BARNET: (tbd) with Danny Bank
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
Joe Aguanno, and Ken Hansen
WILL BRADLEY: (tbd) with Will Bradley
RANDY BROOKS: (tbd) with Bob Arsenault
LES BROWN: (tbd) with Butch Stone
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
BOB CROSBY: (tbd) with Bob Crosby
THE DORSEY BROTHERS: (tbd) with Kay Weber
TOMMY DORSEY: PART 1 "Starmaker" with Boomie Richman
PART 2 "Swing High!" with Billy VerPlanck
LES AND LARRY ELGART: "Fluid Drive" with Larry Elgart and Joerene Elgart
SKINNAY ENNIS: "A Southern Gentleman" with Carmene and Christopher Ennis
JAN GARBER: (tbd) with Janis Garber and Con Good
ERSKINE HAWKINS: "Hit Me with a High Note" with Asa Harris
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
HARRY JAMES: (tbd) with Vi Monte
DICK JURGENS: "Here's That Band Again" with Buddy Moreno
ART KASSEL: (tbd) with Art Kassel III
JOHN KIRBY: (tbd) with Dave Pell
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
ENOCH LIGHT: "Music, Maestro, Please" with Julie Klages and Mary Jack Light Wald
JIMMIE LUNCEFORD: (tbd) with Gerald Wilson
RALPH MARTERIE: "Like, Young" with Judy and Diane Marterie
FREDDY MARTIN: (tbd) with Clyde Rogers
BILLY MAY: (tbd) with Billy May
RAY McKINLEY: PART 1 "Howdy, Friend" with Ray McKinley and Curley Broyles
PART 2 "It's About Time" with Jawn McKinley-Neville
BUDDY MORROW: "Five-Star Trombonist" with Buddy Morrow
RED NORVO: (tbd) with Eddie Bert
BOYD RAEBURN: (tbd) with Bruce Raeburn
and Frank Galasso, Jr.
SAUTER-FINEGAN: (tbd) with Bill Finegan
PART 2 "Second Chorus" with Ray Conniff and Hank Freeman
BOBBY SHERWOOD: (tbd) with Carl Saunders
RUDY VALLEE: "The Swooning Was for Real" with Eleanor Vallee
TED WEEMS: (tbd) with Ted Weems, Jr.
GRIFF WILLIAMS: "Got the World On a String" with Lynne Twist
Si ZENTNER: "Have Band, Will Travel" with Bob Florence
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)