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A Birth of Jazz

A YouTube History of Music

Swing Era 1

Big Bands

Group & Last Name Index to Full History:


Tracks are listed in chronological order by year, then alphabetically.

Listings do not reflect proper order by month or day: later oft precedes earlier.

Not on this page? See history tree below.



Bunny Berigan    Charlie Barnet    Count Basie    Tex Beneke     Chu Berry    Jimmy Blanton    Will Bradley    Les Brown
Blanche Calloway    Cab Calloway    Frankie Carle    Casa Loma Orchestra    Charlie Christian    Buck Clayton    Cozy Cole    Bob Crosby    Xavier Cugat
Putney Dandridge    Vic Dickenson    Jimmy Dorsey    Tommy Dorsey    Eddy Duchin
Billy Eckstine    Roy Eldridge    Duke Ellington
Don Fagerquist    Roy Fox    Bud Freeman
Carroll Gibbons    Nat Gonella    Benny Goodman    Glen Gray    Sonny Greer
Edmond Hall    Lionel Hampton    Phil Harris    Clyde Hart    Erskine Hawkins    Horace Heidt    Woody Herman    Richard Himber    Earl Hines    Johnny Hodges
Harry James    Louis Jordan
Sammy Kaye    Gene Krupa    Kay Kyser
Jimmie Lunceford
Joe Marsala    Freddy Martin    Billy May    Ray McKinley    Jay McShann    Glenn Miller    Lucky Millinder
Ray Noble    Red Norvo
Hot Lips Page    Remo Palmier    Louis Prima
Allan Reuss    Buddy Rich
Artie Shaw    Stuff Smith    Lew Stone    Reinhold Svensson
Art Tatum    Claude Thornhill
Chick Webb    Teddy Wilson
Lester Young



Featured on this page loosely in order of first recording if not record release (as possible).

Names are alphabetical, not chronological, per year:



Earl Hines

1924 Duke Ellington    Sonny Greer
1925 Blanche Calloway    Frankie Carle    Roy Fox    Carroll Gibbons
1927 Jimmy Dorsey    Tommy Dorsey    Bud Freeman    Edmond Hall    Horace Heidt    Gene Krupa    Chick Webb
1928 Benny Goodman    Johnny Hodges    Kay Kyser    Stuff Smith
1929 Casa Loma Orchestra    Glen Gray    Lionel Hampton    Hot Lips Page    Lew Stone
1930 Bunny Berigan    Cozy Cole    Vic Dickenson    Nat Gonella    Jimmie Lunceford    Freddy Martin    Ray Noble
1931 Cab Calloway    Bob Crosby    Phil Harris    Clyde Hart
1932 Xavier Cugat    Eddy Duchin    Woody Herman    Art Tatum
1933 Charlie Barnet    Chu Berry    Richard Himber    Red Norvo
1934 Ray McKinley    Glenn Miller    Louis Prima    Teddy Wilson
1935 Putney Dandridge    Roy Eldridge    Joe Marsala    Allan Reuss    Claude Thornhill
1936 Count Basie     Erskine Hawkins    Lester Young
1937 Buck Clayton    Sammy Kaye    Artie Shaw
1938 Tex Beneke    Les Brown    Louis Jordan    Buddy Rich
1939 Jimmy Blanton    Charlie Christian    Harry James
1940 Will Bradley    Jay McShann
1941 Billy May    Lucky Millinder    Reinhold Svensson
1942 Billy Eckstine
1944 Don Fagerquist    Remo Palmier


  If what you're seeking isn't on this page it might be found on any of the other jazz pages. Early swing musicians such as Andy Kirk, Ben Moten, Fletcher Henderson, Louis Armstrong, etc., are listed in Jazz 1. Other swing musicians such as Big Sid Catlett, Papa Jo Jones, Coleman Hawkins, Django Reinhardt, Stephane Grappelli, Sweets Edison, Julian Dash, etc., will be found on other jazz pages.



Born in 1903 in Pennsylvania, extraordinary pianist Earl "Fatha" Hines, first recorded with 'Congaine' in 1923 with Lois Deppe. Hines had left home at age seventeen to play piano in Philadelphia at a nightclub called the Liederhaus with a band named the Symphonian Serenaders led by Lois Deppe. He was paid board, two meals a day and $15 per week. In 1925 he moved to Chicago to play at the Elite No. 2 Club and tour to Los Angeles with Carroll Dickerson's band. Upon his return he fortuitously met Louis Armstrong at the musician's union, with whom he began playing at the Sunset Cafe. He then met Jimmie Noone at the Apex, with whom he recorded 14 tracks in 1928, along with 38 sides with Louis Armstrong and fifteen name solos (CRS and Okeh labels). It was also 1928 that Hines began leading his own orchestra, at the Grand Terrace Cafe owned by Al Capone. With as many as 28 members in his band Hines began broadcasting nationally on radio from the Grand Terrace. Touring in the summers, the Grand Terrace closed in 1940, after which Hines took his band traveling year round. In 1943 the draft for World War II made it difficult for Hines to keep a band together, so he formed an all female orchestra. It was during that time in the early forties that Hines began seeding bebop, the first period of modern jazz often associated with sax man Charlie Parker and trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, both of whom passed through Hines' orchestra. Between 1948 and 1951 Hines played with Louis Armstrong's All-Stars, after which he began touring again in 1954 with the Harlem Globetrotters (an exhibition basketball team). Things slowed down for Hines in the sixties, when he opened a tobacco shop, though he did tour much internationally. But the list of prominent musicians with whom Hines played and recorded in the seventies is nigh endless. Among Hines' notable performances were solos for Duke Ellington's funeral, the White House (twice) and the Pope. It is thought Hines last recorded in 1981 in São Paulo, Brazil: 'One O'clock Jump' with Eric Schneider and the 150 Band (unfound). He died in 1983 in Oakland, California.

Earl Hines   1923


      With Lois Deppe

Earl Hines   1928

   I Ain't Got Nobody

Earl Hines   1929

   Glad Rag Doll

Earl Hines   1932

   Blue Drag

Earl Hines   1934


   Rock and Rye

   That's a Plenty

Earl Hines   1938

   Please Be Kind

      Vocals: Ida James

Earl Hines   1939



Earl Hines   1942

   Stormy Monday Blues

Earl Hines   1963

   Squeeze Me

Earl Hines   1964


Earl Hines   1965

   All Of Me

      Duet with Teddy Wilson

   Blues In Thirds

   Lover Come Back to Me

   Memories of You

Earl Hines   1976

   Boogie Woogie on St. Louis Blues/Deed I Do

      Filmed live   Wolf Trap Park Jazz Festival

   La Grande Parade du Jazz

      Concert filmed live

   Live in Bercelona

      Concert filmed live


Birth of Swing Jazz: Earl Hines

Earl Hines

Source: Draai om je oren

Birth of Swing Jazz: Duke Ellington

Duke Ellington

Source: Pre-Party

Born in 1899 in Washington D.C., pianist and big band leader Duke Ellington is another early example of a major swing musician thought good enough to entertain white America, but not to eat in its dining rooms or sleep in its hotels. He married a girl named Edna in 1918 who remained with him until his death. It isn't known who picked his suits. We've got no big gripe about what he's wearing to the left. But we think he could have used a little assistance sometimes. I almost choked upon espying him in that orange thing: "Caution, my tailor's an inmate." That was before I was confronted with Hillary Clinton in her orange pantsuit. I immediately veered away, mistaking her for a Schneider baby. The Duke began his vinyl career in 1924 with Sonny Greer, Alberta Pryme and Jo Trent, recording 'Parlor Social De Luxe' for the Blu-Disc label. (Ellington and Greer had earlier recorded an unissued test session that same month.) Ellington and Greer's next recordings were the same month, as the Washingtonians, also for Blu-Disc: 'Choo Choo' and 'Rainy Nights'. He and Greer next partnered with Jo Trent to form Jo Trent & The D C'ns, recording 'Deacon Jazz', also for Blu-Disc. His final recording that month was also with Greer, as Sunny & the CD'ns: 'Oh How I Love My Darling'. Ellington took up residency at the Cotton Club in December 1927. Ellington appeared in his first film, 'Black and Tan', in 1929. Among his major credits is hiring pianist Billy Strayhorn in 1939 (whom he had met the year before) to arrange, compose and otherwise collaborate until Strayhorn's death of cancer in 1967. Strayhorn's first composition for Ellington was 'Something to Live For' in 1939 (unfound). A few of the tracks below were composed by Strayhorn, including 'Take the 'A' Train' (first recorded in 1939), or in collaboration with Ellington. A few of the more important musicians to pass through Ellington's orchestra were bassist Jimmy Blanton, sax men Johnny Hodges and Ben Webster, Cootie Williams, Ray Nance and pianist Mary Lou Williams (as an arranger). A few of the vocalists he employed were Herb Jeffries, Al Hibbler and Ivie Anderson. In the sixties Ellington cut vinyl with Louis Armstrong, Coleman Hawkins, John Coltrane, Charles Mingus and Max Roach. Ellington himself considered his most important works to be the three Sacred Concerts he composed in 1965, 1968 and 1973. Upon a remarkably full career Ellington is thought to have given his final concert in March 1974 at Northern Illinois University, the year he died that May of lung cancer and pneumonia. His last words were reportedly, "Music is how I live, why I live and how I will be remembered." His son, Mercer, assumed leadership of Ellington's band until his death in 1996. Banjo is played by George Francis in all tracks for 1924 below.

Duke Ellington   1924

   Choo Choo

      The Washingtonians

   Deacon Jazz

      Jo Trent & The D C'ns

   Oh How I Love My Darling

      Sunny & The D C'ns

   Rainy Nights

      The Washingtonians

Duke Ellington   1927

   East St. Louis Toodle-Oo

   What Can A Poor Fellow Do?

Duke Ellington   1928  

   Black and Tan Fantasie

   The Black Beauty

   I Must Have That Man

   Jubilee Stomp

   The Mooche

Duke Ellington   1929

   The Duke Steps Out

Duke Ellington   1930

   Double Check Stomp

   Mood Indigo

   Old Man Blues

   Ring Dem Bells

   Shout 'Em Aunt Tillie

Duke Ellington   1931

   Keep a Song in your Soul

Duke Ellington   1932

   It Don't Mean a Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing

      Composed 1931

Duke Ellington   1940

   Don't Get Around Much Anymore

Duke Ellington   1941

   Take the A Train

      Composition: Billy Strayhorn

Duke Ellington   1943

   It Don't Mean a Thing

Duke Ellington   1944

   Live at the Hurricane Club

      Radio transcription

Duke Ellington   1947

   Don't Get Around Much Anymore

      Vocal: Al Hibbler

Duke Ellington   1953

   Satin Doll

Duke Ellington   1957

   All Of Me

   Such Sweet Thunder

      Live at Ravinia Festival

   All Of Me

Duke Ellington   1965


   Sacred Concert


Duke Ellington   1970

   Portrait of Wellman Braud

      Bass: Joe Benjamin



Birth of Swing Jazz: Sonny Greer

Sonny Greer

Source: Rock e Martello

Born in 1895 in Long Branch, New Jersey, drummer Sonny Greer began his career playing with both banjoist, Elmer Snowden, and the Howard Theatre Orchestra. In 1919 he met Duke Ellington, the two becoming close friends. It was with Ellington that Greer made his first recordings in November of 1924 for the Blu-Disc label. After a prior unissued test session that month Greer and Ellington joined Alberta Pryme and Jo Trent to record 'Parlor Social De Luxe'. Further recordings that month for Bu-Disc by Ellington and Greer were made variously as the Washingtonians, Jo Trent & the D C'ns and Sunny & the DC'ns: 'Choo Coo', 'Rainy Nights', 'Deacon Jazz' and 'Oh How I Love My Darling'. Greer was Ellington's drummer until 1950, a dispute permanently ending their relationship, said to concern his heavy drinking and increasing undependability. Ellington had hired drummer, Butch Ballard, to take Greer's place when Greer was indisposed, which Greer found to be a disagreeable threat. Greer afterward freelanced, appeared in films and briefly led his own band. Greer died in 1982. As Greer is on nigh every recording made by Ellington from 1924 to 1950, we list only the first four as of the Washingtonians, with a couple tracks he recorded with Ellington as Sonny Greer and his Memphis Men. Albeit Greer's status wasn't that of a star, a quarter century with Duke Ellington made him a major contributor to swing jazz.

Sonny Greer   1924

   Choo Choo

      The Washingtonians

   Deacon Jazz

      Jo Trent & The D C'ns

   Oh How I Love My Darling

      Sunny & The D C'ns

   Rainy Nights

      The Washingtonians

Sonny Greer   1929

   Beggars Blues

      Memphis Men

   Saturday Night Function

      Memphis Men



Birth of Swing Jazz: Blanche Calloway

Blanche Calloway

Source: werkitbitch

Born in 1902 in Rochester, New York, Blanche Calloway, sister of Cab Calloway, below, made her professional debut in Baltimore in 1921 with Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle's musical 'Shuffle Along'. After touring for a few years she made her first recording in 1925, below, with Louis Armstrong. This was about the time she put together her orchestra, the Joy Boys, as well. Calloway could well be placed in Swing Jazz Song (as well as her brother, Cab, five years younger than she) but that she belongs on this page as a bandleader. And a remarkable one at that, not only musically but in consideration of what she was up against: first the Depression, having to disband the Joy Boys in 1938 and declare bankruptcy. Then a patriarchal and segregationist America: it's told she was jailed and fined $7.50 in 1956 for using the women's bathroom at a gas station in Yazoo, Mississippi. One member of her band, taking a pistol whipping, was arrested with her. While in jail another musician in her ensemble stole the band's funds, forcing Calloway to sell her yellow Cadillac for money and putting the tour to an end. The forties had been a lean time for Calloway, she moving to Philadelphia. In the fifties she headed for Washington D.C. to run the Crystal Caverns nightclub, then moved to Miami Beach where she spent the next couple decades as a disc jockey for WMBM radio. It's said Calloway was the first black woman to vote in Florida in 1958. It would seem she had good reasons as well to be an active member of the NAACP, the Congress of Racial Equality and the National Urban League. Calloway died in Baltimore in 1978.

Blanche Calloway   1925

   Lazy Woman's Blues

      Trumpet: Louis Armstrong

Blanche Calloway   1931


   I'm Gettin' Myself Ready For You

   I Got What It Takes

   It's Right Here For You

   It Looks Like Susie

   Last Dollar

   Make Me Know It

Blanche Calloway   1934

   Catch On

   I Need Lovin'

   What's a Poor Girl Gonna Do

Blanche Calloway   1935

   I Gotta Swing




Birth of Swing Jazz: Frankie Carle

Frankie Carle

Source: Coast Pink

Born Francis Nunzio Carlone in 1903 in Providence, Rhode Island, pianist and composer Frankie Carle began working professionally in his latter teens. He early changed his name to Carle because Carlone sounded too Italian. in 1921 he joined Edwin J. McEnelley's band, with whom he made his debut recording in November 1925 for the Victor label: 'Spanish Shawl'. In 1936 Carle began working with Mal Hallett's orchestra. He joined Horace Heidt in 1939, which brought him to national attention via radio. From a kid earning a dollar a week to play gigs, Carle was now pocketing a thousand dollars a week plus 5% of gross. He left Heidt to form his own orchestra in 1944. In 1955 he dissembled his band to pursue a solo career. Carle died in Mesa, Arizona, in 2001, his career spanning seventy years.

Frankie Carle   1925

   Spanish Shawl

      Edwin J. McEnelly Orchestra

Frankie Carle   1937


      Mal Hallett Orchestra

   Ridin' High

      Mal Hallett Orchestra

Frankie Carle   1939

   Sunrise Serenade

      Glen Gray & the Casa Loma Orchestra

Frankie Carle   1940


   Twelflth Street Rag

Frankie Carle   1941

   Carle Meets Mozart (Turkish March)


Frankie Carle   1942



Frankie Carle   1944

   A Little On the Lonely Side

Frankie Carle   1945

   Carle Boogie

   Oh! What It Seemed to Be

Frankie Carle   1946

   It's All Over Now

   One More Tomorrow

   Rumors Are Flying

Frankie Carle   1947

   Beg Your Pardon

   Midnight Masquerade

Frankie Carle   1950

   I'm Afraid to Love You

      Vocal: Joan House

   Powder Blue

Frankie Carle   1953

   Sunrise Serenade

Frankie Carle   1968


Frankie Carle   1973

   Sunrise Serenade

      Filmed live


  Born in 1901 in Denver, Roy Fox was raised in Hollywood in a Salvation Army family together with his sister. He first performed in public at age thirteen, playing cornet in a newsboy band with the 'Los Angeles Examiner'. He next worked as a studio musician, playing bugle, until joining the Abe Lyman Orchestra at age sixteen. In 1920 he formed his own band, with which he first recorded in 1925 (nothing at YouTube earlier than 1929). He first recorded in London in 1930, for the BBC, after which he lived and toured largely in Europe (though later lived in Australia for a time). In 1952, somewhat retiring from performing music, he opened a booking agency. Fox died in London in 1982.

Roy Fox   1929

   Painting the Clouds With Sunshine

   Tip Toe Through The Tulips With Me

Roy Fox   1931

   Reaching For the Moon

   Sweet and Hot

Roy Fox   1932

   I Got Rhythm

   Jig Time

   Put That Sun Back In The Sky

Roy Fox   1933

   Nobody's Sweetheart


Roy Fox   1934

   Dinner at Eight

   Midnight, the Stars and You

   What a Difference a Day Made

   You Oughta Be In Pictures

Roy Fox   1935

   1935 Medley

Roy Fox   1936

   Let's Face The Music And Dance

      Vocal: Denny Dennis

   Miracles Sometimes Happen

Roy Fox   1937

   Harbor Lights

   Let's Call the Whole Thing Off


Birth of Swing Jazz: Roy Fox

Roy Fox

Source: R2OK

Birth of Swing Jazz: Carroll Gibbons

Carroll Gibbons

Source: Songbook

Born in 1903 in Clinton, Massachusetts, pianist Carroll Gibbons is thought to have first recorded in 1925. Gibbons had traveled to London in his latter teens to study at the Royal Academy of Music, beginning a career in which he traveled much between the States and the UK, as he moved to London in 1924 where he shared leadership of the Savou Orpheans with Howie Jacobs and led his own band, the New Mayfair Orchestra. The latter first recorded for HMV label in 1929. In 1931 he began releasing records as Carroll Gibbons and His Boy Friends. The following year he assumed sole leadership of the Savoy Hotel Orpheans, with which Gibbons recorded numberless records until his death in 1954. Gibbons died in London only age fifty-one.

Carroll Gibbons   1925


      With Arthur Young

   Everybody Stomp

Carroll Gibbons   1926

   Waitin' For The Moon

Carroll Gibbons   1927


Carroll Gibbons   1928


      Vocal: Whispering Jack Smith

Carroll Gibbons   1931

   You Are My Heart's Delight

Carroll Gibbons   1932

   The Good Companions

   Isn't It Romantic

   Let Me Give My Happiness to You

   On the Air

Carroll Gibbons   1933

   Dinner at Eight

      Vocal: Harry Bentley

Carroll Gibbons   1934

   For All We Know

   Better Think Twice

Carroll Gibbons   1935

   Black Coffee

      Vocal: Marjorie Stedeford

   My Kid's A Crooner

      Vocals: Frances Day & Sybil Jason

   Top Hat, White Tie and Tails

Carroll Gibbons   1936


Carroll Gibbons   1937

   Gershwin - King of Rhythm

   On the Avenue

   Shall We Dance

Carroll Gibbons   1938

   Double Or Nothing

   Two Sleepy People

Carroll Gibbons   1939

   I Want to Go Back to Bali

   Day Dreaming/The Latin Quarter



Birth of Swing Jazz: Jimmy Dorsey

Jimmy Dorsey

Source: Wikipedia

Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey were brothers who didn't always get along, but played together off and on over the years. Jimmy (largely a clarinetist) and Tommy (mostly trombone) began their careers playing in the same band, recording 'Coquette' in 1927 (unfound). They  later split apart and developed each their own orchestras. Jimmy made his first recording without Tommy, 'You Let Me Down', in 1935. Tommy likewise began recording apart from Jimmy in 1935. Jimmy worked with vocalists Helen O'Connell and Kitty Kallen; Tommy employed Frank Sinatra and and Connee Boswell. They got together again in 1953 when Jimmy joined Tommy's orchestra, of which he became leader upon Tommy's death in November 1956 (choked while eating). The Fabulous Dorsey Orchestra disbanded upon Jimmy's death of throat cancer in June the following year. It's thought the band last performed in 1958 (releasing 'Tea For Two Cha Cha' that year) with leader, Warren Covington, though a ghost band was created in 1961 by Tino Barzie.

Jimmy Dorsey   1935

   You Let Me Down

Jimmy Dorsey   1938

   Arkansas Traveler

   Boogie Woogie

   Song of India

   You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby

Jimmy Dorsey   1939

   The Nearness of You

   On the Sunny Side of the Street

   Opus One

Tommy Dorsey   1944

   I Should Care

      Vocal: Bonnie Lou Williams

   On The Sunny Side Of The Street

Tommy Dorsey   1949

   Dry Bones

Jimmy & Tommy Dorsey   1954

   You're My Everything

Jimmy Dorsey   1957

   Sophisticated Swing


Birth of Swing Jazz: Tommy Dorsey

Tommy Dorsey

Source: Wikiwand

Birth of Swing Jazz: Bud Freeman

Bud Freeman

Born Lawrence Freeman in 1906 in Chicago, bandleader Bud Freeman also played tenor sax and clarinet. Freeman was an original member of the Austin High School Gang. In 1927 he moved to NYC and became a session player. Freeman is thought to have first recorded with McKenzie and Condon's Chicagoans in 1927. In 1936 he joined Tommy Dorsey's orchestra, then played with Benny Goodman in 1938. 'The Eel', below (1939), is fairly representative of Freeman's style (thus titled 'The Eel'). During World War II Freeman led an Army band, stationed in the Aleutian Islands. Returning to NYC after the war, Freeman freelanced with various orchestras. Notable work in his later career was work with the World's Greatest Jazz Band. He published his first memoir in 1974, followed by a second in 1976. Freeman moved to England in 1974, then returned to Chicago in 1980, where he died in 1991. He was inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame in 1992.

Bud Freeman   1927

   China Boy

      With the Chicagoans

   Nobody's Sweetheart

      With the Chicagoans

Bud Freeman   1928


Bud Freeman   1929

   After a While

      With Benny Goodman and His Boys


      With Red Nichols

   Basin Street Blues

      With the Louisiana Rhythm Kings

   That Da-Da Strain

      With the Louisiana Rhythm Kings


      With Benny Goodman and His Boys

Bud Freeman   1938

   Exactly Like You

   I Got Rhythm

Bud Freeman   1939

   I've Found a New Baby

   The Eel

Bud Freeman   1940


      With the Chicagoans

Bud Freeman   1945

   Inside on the Southside

Bud Freeman   1947


Bud Freeman   1960


Bud Freeman   1978

   Tea For Two

      Live performance



Birth of Swing Jazz: Edmond Hall

Edmond Hall

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Born in 1901 in Reserve, Louisiana, clarinet player Edmond Hall had been a farmhand until beginning his professional career in New Orleans in 1920. He is thought to have first recorded in August of 1927 with Alonzo Ross and the Deluxe Syncopators (Victor Records). In 1930 he is found with Claude Hopkins until 1935. In the latter thirties Hall played with Lucky Millinder, Zutty Singleton, Joe Sullivan and Henry Red Allen before his major break occurred by joining Teddy Wilson's orchestra in 1941. In 1950 he joined Eddie Condon's band, in 1955 Louis Armstrong's All Stars. Hall saw California with the All Stars in 1956, to shoot the film, 'High Society'. He had already toured Canada, the States, Europe and Ghana, and would make a failed attempt to live in Ghana in 1959 as a music instructor. Hall made his last studio recordings in Copenhagen in 1966. He gave his last performance at the Governor Dummer Academy in February 1967 with George Poor (available on CD as 'Edmond Hall's Last Concert'). He died nine days latter of heart attack. Hall was overall a steady, clean-living, non-drinking (preferring lemonade), wife-faithful (twice) musician. 'Blue Interval', below, is an excellent example of early "smooth" jazz.

Edmond Hall   1927

   Believe Me, Dear

      With Alonzo Ross

Edmond Hall   1932

   Hopkins Scream

      With Claude Hopkins

   Mush Mouth

       With Claude Hopkins

Edmond Hall   1941

   Last Mile Blues

      With Ida Cox

   Ole Man River

      Piano: Ken Kersey   Trumpet: Henry Red Allen

   Profoundly Blue

      Guitar: Charlie Christian

Edmond Hall   1944

   Blue Interval

      Piano: Teddy Wilson   Vibes: Red Norvo

   Night and Day

       Piano: Teddy Wilson

   When Or Where

Edmond Hall   1949

   Flyin' High

Edmond Hall   1955


Edmond Hall   1958

   Muskrat Ramble

      Film   Trumpet: Louis Armstrong


  Born in 1901 in Alameda, California, Horace Heidt put together his first band, the Californians, in 1923 while in college. His first recordings are thought to have been a couple tracks for Victor in April of 1927: 'Mine' and 'Hello cutie'. Heidt would also direct the Brigadiers and the Musical Knights. Heidt was especially large via radio, hosting 'Pot o' Gold', 'Tums Treasure Chest', 'The American Way' and 'The Horace Heidt Youth Opportunity Program' throughout the forties, the last becoming a television show in 1950. In the fifties Heidt largely traded music for business and other personal interests, building a resort apartment complex of 180 units, with a golf course, on ten acres of land in the San Fernando Valley (CA). Heidt is said to have been the first to put a band on a vaudeville stage, give away money via radio, host a television talent show and perform with a big band on television. He passed away in 1986.

Horace Heidt   1927

   Hello Cutie

Horace Heidt   1928

   Golden Gate

   What a Wonderful Wedding That Will Be

Horace Heidt   1929

   I'm Ka-Razy For You


   Turn On the Heat

   The Wedding of the Painted Doll

Horace Heidt   1937

   Gone With the Wind


   There's A Gold Mine In The Sky

Horace Heidt   1938

   The Bells Of St. Mary's (The Building Of A Band)

   Sing For Your Supper

Horace Heidt   1939

   Parade of the Wooden Soldiers

   Tomorrow Night

Horace Heidt   1941

   G´bye Now

   I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire

Horace Heidt   1942

   Deep in the Heart of Texas

Horace Heidt   1944

   Don't Fence Me In

Horace Heidt   1950



Birth of Swing Jazz: Horace Heidt

Horace Heidt

Source: Horace Heidt


Born in 1909 in Chicago, drummer Gene Krupa, famous for his work with Benny Goodman, recorded as early as 1927 with Eddie Condon and Red McKenzie. Krupa expanded the drums ensemble beyond the usual bass, cymbals and snare. After working with Condon, Krupa recorded with Thelma Terry in 1928. He joined Benny Goodman's orchestra in 1934. Krupa formed his own band in 1939, also debuting that year in Hollywood in the film, 'Some Like It Hot'. Krupa was such a skilled drummer that it was inevitable the drum solo be introduced to jazz, if not the later battles (such as the example below for 1952). Krupa died of leukemia and heart failure in Yonkers, New York, in 1964. Much more Gene Krupa under Eddie Condon in Early Jazz 3.

Gene Krupa   1927

   China Boy

      With the Chicagoans

   I'm Nobody's Sweetheart

      With the Chicagoans

Gene Krupa   1928

   Starlight And Tulips

Gene Krupa   1929

   China Boy

      Film   With the Chicagoans

Gene Krupa   1930

   After You've Gone

Gene Krupa   1935

   Blues of Israel

      With the Chicagoans

   Jazz Me Blues

      With the Chicagoans

   Three Little Words

       With the Chicagoans

Gene Krupa   1937

   Sing, Sing, Sing

      Film: 'Hollywood Hotel'

      With Benny Goodman

Gene Krupa   1939

   Brush Drum Solo


Gene Krupa   1941

   Drum Boogie

      Film: 'Ball of Fire'

      Actress: Barbara Stanwyck

      Voice dubb: Martha Tilton

Gene Krupa   1946

   Follow That Music

      Film   Vocal: Judy Carroll

Gene Krupa   1949

   Let Me Off Uptown


Gene Krupa   1952

   Drum Battle at JATP (Jazz at the Philharmonic)

       Live at Carnegie Hall

      With Buddy Rich

   Flying Home

      Live at Carnegie Hall   With Buddy Rich

Gene Krupa   1954

   Sing, Sing, Sing

Gene Krupa   1967


      With Benny Goodman


Birth of Swing Jazz: Gene Krupa

Gene Krupa

Source: Quotation Of


Born William Henry Webb in 1905 in Baltimore, drummer Chick Webb left Maryland for New York City in 1922 (age 17), to form his own band, the Harlem Stompers, in 1926. Webb's first recording in 1927 (no title on record) wasn't issued (though a film short, recorded in 1929, was found for this history). Getting his major professional break by securing a gig at the Savoy Ballroom in 1931, Webb first officially recorded that same year. In 1935 he would discover Ella Fitzgerald, for which he is largely credited and known. The Savoy was famous for its "Battle of the Bands" in which the "King of Swing" was voted. Webb won over Benny Goodman, lost to Duke Ellington in 1937, then won over Count Basie in '38 (though not without dispute by musicians). Unfortunately Webb's great talent was cut short at the young age of 34 when spinal tuberculosis claimed his life, his last words reportedly, "I'm sorry, I've got to go." More Chick Webb under Ella Fitzgerald at Swing Jazz Song.)

Chick Webb   1929

   After Seben


Chick Webb   1931

   Blues In My Heart

Chick Webb   1934

   If It Ain't Love

      Vocal: Charles Litton

Chick Webb   1936

   A Little Bit Later On

      Vocal: Ella Fitzgerald

   Under the Spell of the Blues

      Vocal: Ella Fitzgerald

   Vote For Mister Rhythm

      Vocal: Ella Fitzgerald

Chick Webb   1937

   I Got a Guy

      Vocal: Ella Fitzgerald

   Midnight In a Madhouse

   You Showed Me the Way

      Vocal: Ella Fitzgerald

Chick Webb   1938

   F.D.R. Jones

      Vocal: Ella Fitzgerald

Chick Webb   1939


      Vocal: Ella Fitzgerald


Birth of Swing Jazz: Chick Webb

Chick Webb

Source: In One Ear

Birth of Swing Jazz: Benny Goodman

Benny Goodman

Source: Radionomy

A good example of swing in full bloom is sweet jazz bandleader and clarinetist Benny Goodman. Born in 1909 in Chicago, Goodman's first recordings were at age 16 as a session clarinetist with the Ben Pollack orchestra. His first name recordings were released in 1928. Among Goodman's major credits are the hiring of pianist Ted Wilson and vibraphonist Lionel Hampton early in their careers, especially during that psychotic period (like there's ever been an era in the history of mankind that wasn't) when it wasn't proper for black and white musicians to play in the same band. Goodman's is also the orchestra with which Charlie Christian plays in the majority of examples of Christian's guitar below. Among the vocalists Goodman employed were Helen Forrest, Peggy Lee and Anita O'Day. Though Goodman experimented with bebop in the forties it wasn't his bag, and he returned to the swing of his major arranger, Fletcher Henderson. Goodman was also a classical musician, releasing his first classical recordings in 1938 with the Budapest Quartet. He died of heart attack in 1986 in New York City. More Benny Goodman under Peggy Lee in Swing Jazz 2.

Benny Goodman   1926

   Deed I Do

      Bandleader: Ben Pollack

Benny Goodman   1928


   Jungle Blues

   That's A Plenty

   Whoopee Stomp

   Wolverine Blues

Benny Goodman   1933

   Tappin' the Barrel

Benny Goodman   1935

   I Wished On the Moon

      With Billie Holiday

   Miss Brown To You

      With Billie Holiday

   Sing, Sing, Sing

Benny Goodman   1936

   Breakin' In a Pair Of Shoes

   It's Been So Long

      With Helen Ward

   Pennies from Heaven

      With Billie Holiday

   Stompin' At the Savoy

Benny Goodman   1937


   These Foolish Things

      Vocals: Helen Ward

Benny Goodman   1938

   Clarinet Quintet in A Major K. 581

      With the Budapest String Quartet

      Original composition: Wolfgang Mozart

   Contrasts for Violin, Clarinet and Pianoforte

      Original composition: Béla Bartok

Benny Goodman   1941

   On The Sunny Side Of The Street

      Vocals: Peggy Lee

   Soft As Spring

      Vocals: Helen Forrest

   'Tis Autumn

      Vocals: Tommy Taylor

Benny Goodman   1943

   I've Found a New Baby

   Sugar Foot Stomp

Benny Goodman   1945

   Rattle and Roll

   Slipped Disc

Benny Goodman   1948

   Stealin' Apples

      Tenor Sax: Wardell Gray   Trumpet: Fats Navarro

   Lullaby Of The Leaves

Benny Goodman   1959

   Bugle Call Rag/St. Louis Blues

      Filmed live in Holland

Benny Goodman   1967

   Clarinet Concerto No.1

      Original composition: Carl Weber

   Clarinet Concerto No.2

      Original composition: Carl Weber

Benny Goodman   1973

   After You've Gone



Born in 1906 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Johnny Hodges, clarinet and sax, is largely associated with Duke Ellington, both as a composer and musician. Hodges first played professionally as a kid, performing piano for eight dollars an evening. He was playing soprano sax by the time he was teenager and was making a local name for himself around Boston when he moved to New York City in 1924. He joined Ellington's orchestra in 1928, (both featured and not in examples below). Hodges released his first album as a band leader, 'Passion Flower', in 1946. Hodges' last performance was at the Imperial Room in Toronto, Ontario, in 1970. He died of heart attack at the dentist several days later, while working on his eighth studio album, 'New Orleans Suite'. All tracks for 1928 below are with Duke Ellington.

Johnny Hodges   1928

   Diga Diga Doo

   Hot And Bothered

   I Must Have That Man

   Just a Memory

   The Mooche

Johnny Hodges   1936

   It's Like Reaching For the Moon

      With Billie Holiday

Johnny Hodges   1938

   Jeep's Blues

Johnny Hodges   1941

   Passion Flower

Johnny Hodges   1946


Johnny Hodges   1956

   Passion Flower

      Album: 'Blue Rose'   With Duke Ellington

Johnny Hodges   1965

   Take the 'A' Train

      Album: 'Wings and Things'   With Wild Bill Davis

Johnny Hodges   1969

   Don't Get Around Much Anymore

      Live performance


Birth of Swing Jazz: Johnny Hodges

Johnny Hodges

Source: Michihisa Ishikawa

  Born James Kern Kyser in 1905 in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, Kay Kyser grooved his first records, for Victor, in November 1928 as a bandleader: 'Broken Dreams Of Yesterday' and 'Tell Her'. He had already led a band at the University of North Carolina, taking over the Carolina Club Orchestra in 1927 upon Hal Kemp, its prior leader, leaving for NYC to lead his first professional orchestra. Choosing the middle initial of his name to call himself Kay, Kyser was best known for his 'Kollege of Musical Knowledge' radio broadcasts beginning in 1938 for Mutual Radio, then NBC from 1939 to 1949. Albeit Kyser was a comedian he was also recognized as a top notch musician. He first appeared in film in 'That's Right You're Wrong' in 1939. Among the vocalists with whom Kyser recorded after World War II were the actress Jane Russell, Frank Sinatra and Dinah Shore. About 1955 Kyser became a Christian Scientist. Kyser died in Chapel Hill, North Carolina in June 1985.

Kay Kyser   1928

   Tell Her/Broken Dreams of Yesterday

   The Umbrella Man

Kay Kyser   1932


      Radio broadcast

Kay Kyser   1939

   Three Little Fishies

Kay Kyser   1940

   She's Making Eyes At Me

      Vocal: Sully Mason

   You'll Find Out


Kay Kyser   1941

   Romeo Smith And Juliet Jones

      Vocals: Harry Babbitt & Ginny Simms

Kay Kyser   1942

   Fuddy Duddy Watchmaker

      Vocal: Julie Conway

   Jingle Jangle Jingle

Kay Kyser   1943

   Praise The Lord & Pass The Ammunition

Kay Kyser   1946

   Ole Buttermilk Sky

      Vocal: Mike Douglas

Kay Kyser   1947

   Managua Nicaragua

      Vocal: Gloria Wood

Kay Kyser   1948

   On A Slow Boat To China

      Vocals: Harry Babbitt & Gloria Wood

   Woody Wood-Pecker

      Vocals: Harry Babbitt & Gloria Wood


Birth of Swing Jazz: Kay Kyser

Kay Kyser

Source: Pretty & Vacant

Birth of Swing Jazz: Stuff Smith

Stuff Smith

Source: Discogs

Alternate: Rocker Stomp

Born in 1909 in Portsmouth, Ohio, it is thought that violinist Stuff Smith first recorded in 1928. But nothing earlier than a 1930, singing for Alphonse Trent, is found at YouTube. After working with Trent, Smith went to New York City in 1935, formed a sextet and took residence at the Onyx Club. His first name recordings followed in 1936 for Vocalion. Smith is said to be the first to use electric amplification on a violin. He died in 1967.

Stuff Smith   1930

   After You've Gone

      With Alphonse Trent

Stuff Smith   1936

   Here Come the Man With the Jive

   I'se a Muggin'

   You'se a Viper

Stuff Smith   1944

   Desert Sands

   Don't You Think

   Look At Me

   Skip It

Stuff Smith   1961

   One O'clock Jump

Stuff Smith   1965

   Bugle Call Blues




Jean Goldkette's Orange Blossoms were formed in 1927. But Goldkette had trouble getting his musicians paid. So in 1929 the Blossoms became the Casa Loma Orchestra with sax player Glen Gray as leader, 'Love Is a Dreamer' among their first recordings that year. Gray incorporated the band, members paid by shares rather than hired, which may be what took the band through the Depression. The corporation was dissolved in 1942 but Gray kept the orchestra working with employed musicians until 1947. Gray returned with another version of the band in the fifties, which finally disbanded for good in 1963 upon Gray's death that year in August. Glen Gray means Casa Loma Orchestra in all the samples below.

Glen Gray   1929

   Love Is a Dreamer

Glen Gray   1932

   One Little Word

Glen Gray   1933

   Blue Prelude

   Under a Blanket of Blue

      With Kenny Sargent

Glen Gray   1937

   Smoke Rings

Glen Gray   1939

   Sunrise Serenade

      Piano: Frankie Carle

Glen Gray   1942

   Talk Of The Town


Birth of Swing Jazz: Glen Gray

Glen Gray

Photo: Rockwell O'Keefe Inc.

Source: Planet Barberella

Birth of Swing Jazz: Lionel Hampton

Lionel Hampton

Source: Cyber College 34

Born in 1908 in Louisville, Kentucky, Lionel Hampton was a no-joke drummer but he more distinguished himself with the vibraphone. He first recorded with Paul Howard and the Quality Serenaders in 1929, later played with Benny Goodman, and worked several years with various orchestras before forming his own band in 1940. From that point onward every who's who in jazz passed through his band at one time or another, too many for this concise history to list. Among the vocalists with whom he worked were Dinah Washington and Annie Ross. Hampton married his business manager, Gladys Riddle, in 1936. Upon her death in 1971 he never remarried. Hampton was a Republican and had worked to raise money for Israel. He also became involved in philanthropic housing projects in New York and New Jersey. He later became a Christian Scientist and was a 33rd degree Mason. Ironically, in 1997 his apartment caught fire and his possessions destroyed. Hampton died of heart failure in NYC in 2002.

Lionel Hampton 1929

   Gettin' Ready Blues

      With the Serenaders

Lionel Hampton   1937

   On The Sunny Side Of The Street

Lionel Hampton   1939

   Early Session Hop

   AC-DC Current

      With Charlie Christian and Benny Goodman

   Hot Mallets

   It Don't Mean a Thing

   The Jumpin Jive

   Memories of You

Lionel Hampton   1940

   Bogo Jo

      Guitar: Irving Ashby

   Flying Home


      Guitar: Irving Ashby

   Save It Pretty Mama

Lionel Hampton   1945

   Vibe Boogie

Lionel Hampton   1949

   Benson Boogie

   The Hucklebuck

      With Betty Carter

Lionel Hampton   1951


Lionel Hampton   1958

   Live in Belgium

     Filmed concert

Lionel Hampton   1978

   Sea Breeze

      Album: 'Sea Breeze'   With Chick Corea

Lionel Hampton   1982

   Air Mail Special

      Live performance



Born in 1908 in Dallas, trumpeter and vocalist Hot Lips Page (Oran Thaddeus Page), began his musical career as a teenager performing at circuses and minstrel shows. Not long before he would be backing blues singers such as Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith and Ida Cox. He likely first recorded in that capacity, but such recordings remain uncertain or unfound. Nor are recordings found upon his joining Walter Page's Blue Devils in 1926. The earliest track found on which Page certainly appears isn't until 1929 with Walter Page, the same year he began performing and recording with Bennie Moten's Kansas City Orchestra. Upon Moten's death in 1935 Page worked briefly with Count Basie before moving to New York City in 1936 to put together his first band, taking a residence at Small's Paradise in Harlem. He eventually worked various clubs in NYC and toured the eastern United States. Among the bigger names with whom Page recorded during his career were Artie Shaw, Wynonie Harris, Pearl Bailey, Mezz Mezzrow and Sidney Bichet. Page died in New York in November 1954. More Hot Lips Page in Early Jazz 1.

Hot Lips Page   1929

   Blue Devil Blues

      With Walter Page

Hot Lips Page   1930

   Somebody Stole My Gal

      With Bennie Moten

Hot Lips Page   1932

   Blue Room

      With Bennie Moten

Hot Lips Page   1940

   Gone With the Gin


Hot Lips Page   1941

   St. James Infirmary Blues

Hot Lips Page   1944

   Fish For Supper

   Rockin' at Ryans

   You Need Coachin'

Hot Lips Page   1945

   The Sheik Of Araby

Hot Lips Page   1949

   Baby It's Cold Outside

Hot Lips Page   1952

   Last Call For Alcohol


Birth of Swing Jazz: Hot Lips Page

Hot Lips Page

Photo: William P. Gottlieb

Source: Wikipedia

Birth of Swing Jazz: Lew Stone

Lew Stone

Source: Vintage Jazz & Dance Band

Born in 1898 in London, Lew Stone began arranging in 1927 for the Savoy Orpheans, Ray Starita and Bert Ambrose. Among his first recordings in 1929 is 'Breakaway', below, as Lewis Stone and His Orchestra. In 1931 Stone assumed leadership of the Roy Fox Orchestra at the Monseigneur Restaurant in Piccadilly while Fox was convalescing from illness in Switzerland. When Fox returned seven months later his band was the most popular in London. When Fox's contract expired in 1932, Stone became leader of the band as radio broadcasts from the Monseigneur made his fame. Stone later led various bands, working largely in ballrooms and restaurants while broadcasting. He was also musical director of a number of musicals. Stone died in 1969 in London.

Lew Stone   1929


Lew Stone   1932

   My Woman

      Vocal: Al Bowlly

Lew Stone   1933

   How Could We be Wrong

   Keep Young and Beautiful

Lew Stone   1934

   As Long As I Live

   The Continental

   Fare Thee Well

   I've Had My Moments

      Vocal: Al Bowlly

   Milenburg Joys

   That's a Plenty

Lew Stone   1935

   Anything Goes

   Cheek to Cheek

      Vocal: Sam Browne

   The Girl With the Dreamy Eyes

      Vocal: Tiny Winters

Lew Stone   1938

   You Couldn't Be Cuter

Lew Stone   1939

   1939 Medley

Lew Stone   1941

   Wednesday Night Hop


  Born Roland Bernard Berigan in 1908 in Hilbert, Wisconsin, trumpeter Bunny Berigan played in local orchestras as a teenager until joining Hal Kemp's band in 1930, with whom he made his first recordings the same year. Berigan toured Europe with Kemp, after which he became a session player in NYC. His recording debut as a singer was 'At Your Command' in 1931. He joined Paul Whiteman's orchestra in 1932, Abe Lyman's in '34, then Benny Goodman's in '35. As a studio musician Berigan recorded hundreds of tracks, perhaps his most significant with Tommy Dorsey. In 1936 Berigan began performing on the 'Saturday Night Swing Club' radio show for CBS. Berigan was something unique in that he consistently delivered high quality music while at once an alcoholic with a death wish, and it was alcohol that killed him of liver cirrhosis at the young age of only 33 (1942) in NYC.

Bunny Berigan   1930

   Them There Eyes

      With Hal Kemp and His Orchestra

Bunny Berigan   1931

   At Your Command

      With Fred Rich and His Orchestra

Bunny Berigan   1932

   Crazy People

      With the Boswell Sisters    Guitar: Eddy Lang

Bunny Berigan   1933

   Gosh Darn!

      With Bennie Krueger and His Orchestra

       Vocal: Dick Robertson

   If I Had My Way 'Bout My Sweetie

      With the ARC Studio Band

   We're In the Money

      As Benno Bondy

Bunny Berigan   1934

   Blue Moon

Bunny Berigan   1936

   I Can't Get Started With You

   That Foolish Feeling

   Until Today

      Live with the Freddie Rich Orchestra

Bunny Berigan   1937

   Blue Lou



   I Can't Get Started

   Mother Goose

   The Prisoner's Song

Bunny Berigan   1939


      Live radio broadcast at Manhattan Center


Birth of Swing Jazz: Bunny Berigan

Bunny Berigan

Source: Jazz Profiles

  Born in 1909 in New Jersey, drummer Cozy Cole began his professional career in 1928 by joining the Wilbur Sweatman band. In 1930 he joined Jelly Roll Morton's Red Hot Peppers, with whom he recorded for the first time that same year. Cole's first experiences as a band leader arrived in 1944. He later recorded with Benny Goodman and Ella Fitzgerald before joining Louis Armstrong's All-Stars in 1949. In 1954 he opened a drumming school with Gene Krupa, remaining in business until Krupa's death in 1973. In 1957 Cole toured Europe with Earl Hines and Jack Teagarden. He was awarded an honorary degree from Capital University in Columbus in 1983, where he often lectured as well. Cole died of cancer in 1981 in Columbus, Ohio.

Cozy Cole   1930

   Load of Coal

      With Jelly Roll Morton

Cozy Cole   1936

   These Foolish Things

      With Billie Holiday

   Here Comes The Man With The Jive

      With Stuff Smith

Cozy Cole   1939

   The Ghost Of Smokey Joe

      With Cab Calloway

Cozy Cole   1940

   One Sweet Letter From You

      With Lionel Hampton

   Are You Hep to the Jive

      With Cab Calloway

Cozy Cole   1944

   Blue Moon

   Stompin' At the Savoy

   Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams

Cozy Cole   1945

   Willow Weep For Me

Cozy Cole   1957


      Live with Gene Krupa

Cozy Cole   1958


      With Earl Hines

   Topsy Part 1

   Topsy Part 2

   The World of Jazz After Hours


       Saxophone: Coleman Hawkins   Trumpet: Roy Eldridge

Cozy Cole   1974

   Cozy Cole



Birth of Swing Jazz: Cozy Cole

Cozy Cole

Source: Ecstatic Presentation

Birth of Swing Jazz: Vic Dickenson

Vic Dickenson

Photo: 'Life' magazine

Source: Jazz Lives

Born in 1906 in Xeniz, Ohio, trombonist Vic Dickenson's career spanned early to modern jazz. He first played professionally in 1921 with the Elite Syncopators. He performed a number of local and territory bands until making his debut recordings, as a vocalist, in 1930 with Luis Russell. Not until 1933, upon joining Blanche Calloway's orchestra, did Dickenson begin to arrive to a national stature. In 1936 Dickenson began three years with Claude Thornhill. He started working with Benny Carter in 1939 and Count Basie in 1940. After another brief time with Carter Dickenson gave up big bands for smaller ensembles. Together with leading his own bands Dickenson worked largely as a freelancer, performing with pianist, Eddie Haywood, Henry Red Allen, the Saints and the Sinners. In 1957 he participated in the CBS broadcast of 'The Sound of Jazz'. He and Eddie Condon toured Asia in 1964. Dickenson began working with Bobby Hackett in 1968. During the seventies he performed with The World's Greatest Jazz Band. Dickenson died of cancer in 1984 in New York City. The earliest tracks found on which Dickenson definitely appears aren't until 1940, sharing trombone, unfeatured, with two others in the band of Count Basie.

Vic Dickenson   1940

   Five O'Clock Whistle

      Count Basie Orchestra

   Take It, Pres

      Count Basie Orchestra

Vic Dickenson   1946

   It's Only A Paper Moon

      With Lester Young

   Love Me Or Leave Me

      Vocal: Kay Starr

   Sweet Lorraine

      Vocal: Kay Starr

Vic Dickenson   1953

   I Cover the Waterfront

Vic Dickenson   1958

   Russian Lullaby

   Basin Street


      Filmed live at Cannes

   Yellow Dog Blues


      Filmed live at Cannes

Vic Dickenson   1976

   La Grande Parade du Jazz

      Concert filmed live with Earl Hines

Vic Dickenson   1977


      Album: 'Live at the Roosevelt Grill'

      With Bobby Hackett

   Struttin' With Some BBQ

      Album: 'Live at the Roosevelt Grill'

      With Bobby Hackett

Vic Dickenson   1983

   If I Could Be Wih You

      Filmed live



Birth of Swing Jazz: Nat Gonella

Nat Gonella

Source: R2OK

Born in 1908 in London, bandleader and vocalist Nat Gonella's first professional engagement was playing trumpet with a pit orchestra, the Busby Boys Band, in 1924. He quit that band in 1928 to work for the Louisville Band, then joined Billy Cotton's orchestra in '29, with whom he issued his first recordings the following year. In 1933 Gonella published 'Modern Style Trumpet Playing'. In 1935 he formed his own orchestra, the Georgians. Gonella interrupted his career in 1941 to join the Army, becoming a member of Stars in Battledress, a British Armed Forces entertainment organization during World War II. After the war Gonella put the Georgians back together. He continued to perform as late as 1997, dying in August of 1998.

Nat Gonella   1930

   Bessie Couldn't Help It

Nat Gonella   1931

   Tell Me Are You From Georgia

Nat Gonella   1932

   Crazy Song

Nat Gonella   1933

   It Ain't No Fault of Mine


   Let Him Live

Nat Gonella   1934

   Georgia On My Mind

Nat Gonella   1935

   Black Coffee



Nat Gonella   1936

   Bye Bye Blues

   You Rascal You

Nat Gonella   1988


      Live performance



Birth of Swing Jazz: Jimmie Lunceford

Jimmie Lunceford

Source: Preston Lauterbach

Born in 1902 in Fulton, Mississippi, bandleader Jimmie Lunceford, alto sax, grew up in Denver where he studied music under Paul Whiteman's father, Wilberforce J. Whiteman. Upon graduating from high school he attended Fisk University in Nashville. Lunceford was an athletic instructor at Manassas High School in Memphis, Tennessee, when he put together an orchestra first called the Chickasaw Syncopators in 1927. (That band made one solitary recording, without Lunceford, in December 1927.) His first recorded as a bandleader in 1930. Among Lunceford's most important associations was with arranger, Sy Oliver, with whom he worked in the thirties. In 1937 Lunceford took his band to Europe. He died of cardiac arrest in 1947 in Seaside, Oregon, while signing autographs. It's thought, though not proven, that he was poisoned by a restaurant owner for having to serve a black person, as other members of his band became ill as well. Every recording Lunceford's band made from 1930 to 1949 (the band directed by Eddie Wilcox and Joe Thomas after Lunceford's death) is available in ten volumes as 'The Chronological Jimmie Lunceford & His Orchestra'.

Jimmie Lunceford   1930

   Sweet Rhythm

Jimmie Lunceford   1934


   Because You Are

   Breakfast Ball

   Here Goes


   Leaving Me


   Star Dust

   Rhythm Is Our Business

   Trummy Young

   Unsophisticated Sue

Jimmie Lunceford   1936

   On the Beach at Bali-Bali

Jimmie Lunceford   1937

   Annie Laurie

Jimmie Lunceford   1939

   Baby Won't You Please Come Home

   Blue Blazes

   I Want The Waiter

   The Lonesome Road

   Sassin' the Boss

   Shoemakers Holiday

   White Heat

   You're Just A Dream

Jimmie Lunceford   1940

   I Ain't Gonna Study War No More

      With the Dandridge Sisters

Jimmie Lunceford   1941

   Blues In the Night

   Hi Spook

Jimmie Lunceford   1946

   Jay Gee

   Sit Back And Ree-Lax

Jimmie Lunceford   1947

   Call the Police!


  Born in 1906 in Cleveland, Ohio, bandleader and tenor saxophonist Freddy Martin led his first band in high school. He first recorded in 1930 with Jack Albin's Hotel Pennsylvania Music. (There are a number of tracks of Hotel Pennsylvania Music offered at YouTube. But as it isn't certain that Martin appears on any they aren't included below.) Martin next recorded in 1932 for Columbia with his own band, among his earliest releases found below. Martin and his band largely played dance music in hotels. Radio was another of Martin's important venues, NBC's 'Maybelline Penthouse Serenade' among the numerous shows on which he appeared (1937). Among the vocalists he employed were Merv Griffin, Buddy Clark and Helen Ward prior to her time with Benny Goodman. Martin and his orchestra began appearing in Hollywood films in the forties. He performed with his band into the eighties, booking hotels in high demand most the way. Martin died in Newport Beach, California, in 1983.

Freddy Martin   1933

   Tu Sais-Tango

Freddy Martin   1934

   April In Paris

   Spin A Little Web Of Dreams

Freddy Martin   1935

   Love Dropped In For Tea

   A Two-Cent Stamp

Freddy Martin   1940

   Mama's Gone, Goodbye

Freddy Martin   1941

   Tonight We Love

Freddy Martin   1942

   Rose O'Day

Freddy Martin   1945


Freddy Martin   1946

   Managua, Nicaragua

   To Each His Own

Freddy Martin   1948

   The Dickey Bird Song

Freddy Martin   1949

   I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts

      With Merv Griffin

Freddy Martin   1951

   Deep In the Heart of Texas

      With Merv Griffin   The Freddy Martin Show

   I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts

      With Merv Griffin   The Freddy Martin Show


Birth of Swing Jazz: Freddy Martin

Freddy Martin

Source: Songbook

  Born in 1903 in Brighton, England, British bandleader Ray Noble studied at the Royal Academy of Music. In 1929 he was made leader of the New Mayfair Dance Orchestra, a studio band for HMV Records, no issues known to precede 1930. Noble moved to New York City in 1934, whence he recruited Glenn Miller to both play trombone and help find members for his new orchestra. Noble began appearing in films in 1935 ('Top Hat'). He died in London of cancer in 1978. Vocalist Al Bowlly appears on nearly all tracks below unless otherwise noted.

Ray Noble   1930

   Happy Days Are Here Again

      Vocal: Harry Shalson

   Harmony Heaven

   In the Moonlight

      Vocal: Pat O'Malley

   King of Jazz Medley

   Kleine Maat (Little Pal)

   Die Eensaam Weg (The Lonesome Road)

   The Prisoner's Song

   Song of the West Medley

Ray Noble   1931

   Goodnight Sweetheart

   Goodnight Sweetheart

      Vocal: George Metaxa

   There's Something In Your Eyes

   Time On My Hands

Ray Noble   1932

   Love Is the Sweetest Thing

   Pagan Moon

Ray Noble   1933

    Good Night Sweetheart

   Three Wishes

   What A Perfect Combination

Ray Noble   1934

   I Love You Truly

   It's All Forgotten Now

   Midnight, the Stars and You

   The Very Thought Of You

Ray Noble   1935

   Top Hat

Ray Noble   1936

   The Touch Of Your Lips

Ray Noble   1946


      Vocal: Buddy Clark


Birth of Swing Jazz: Ray Noble

Ray Noble

Source: Archive Org


Born in 1907 in Rochester, New York, extraordinary performer Cab Calloway was the younger brother, by nearly six years, of Blanche Calloway. Early associated with the Savoy and the Cotton Club, Calloway made his first recording in 1931 with 'Minnie the Moocher'. Upon graduating from high school, the zoot-suited indisputable Master of hi-de-ho and jive had joined his sister in the traveling revue, 'Plantation Days'. He then attended Crane College while playing drums in various Chicago nightclubs, eventually becoming vocalist for the Alabamians. He next led a band called the Missourians in 1930, which would become Cab Calloway and His Orchestra, to fill Duke Ellington's vacant spot at the Cotton Club. This was so Ellington could tour. Ellington would then fill Calloway's vacancy while the latter toured. Calloway's fame was by then made, as NBC regularly broadcasted live from the Cotton Club. Calloway's arranger in those early days was Walter Thomas. Calloway began appearing in films in the early thirties, Hollywood's another medium instrumental to Calloway's soaring career. In 1944 Calloway published 'The New Cab Calloway's Hepsters Dictionary: Language of Jive'. He also wrote a column called 'Coastin' with Cab' for 'Song Hits Magazine'. In 1976 he published his memoir, 'Of Minnie the Moocher and Me'. Calloway died in 1994 in Delaware.

Cab Calloway   1931

   Minnie the Moocher

   The Nightmare

   St. James Infirmary

Cab Calloway   1932

   I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues


   The Scat Song

Cab Calloway   1933

   Reefer Man

Cab Calloway   1939

   Jumpin' Jive

   The Ghost of Smokey Joe

Cab Calloway   1941

   Geechy Joe

Cab Calloway   1943

   Geechy Joe

      Film: 'Stormy Weather'

   Jumpin' Jive

      Film: 'Stormy Weather'

Cab Calloway   1950

  Calloway Boogie

   Filmed live


Birth of Swing Jazz: Cab Calloway

Cab Calloway

Source: Songbook

  Born in 1913 in Spokane, bandleader and vocalist Bob Crosby, younger brother of Bing Crosby, began his singing career as one of the Delta Rhythm Boys in 1931. He also began working with the Anson Weeks Orchestra in 1931. Crosby's first recordings were likely in 1931 but are unfound. In 1935 he put together his first band, the Bob-Cats, with previous members of the Ben Pollack Orchestra. Among the vocalists with whom Crosby performed was Doris Day. When World War II broke out Crosby served as a bandleader in the Marines in the Pacific. Afterward, radio became a major venue for Crosby, airing 'The Bob Crosby Show' from 1943 to 1950, then 'Club Fifteen' from 1947 to 1953. Married once (1938), Crosby died of cancer in 1993 in La Jolla, California.

Bob Crosby   1933

   It's Not A Secret Anymore

      With the Anson Weeks Orchestra

Bob Crosby   1934

   Waitin' at the Gate for Katy

Bob Crosby   1936

   Swing Me A Lullaby

      With Connee Boswell

Bob Crosby   1937

   South Rampart Street Parade

Bob Crosby   1939


   The World Is Waiting For the Sunrise

Bob Crosby   1942

   That Dada Strain


Birth of Swing Jazz: Bob Crosby

Bob Crosby

Source: persons-info

  Bandleader, vocalist and actor Phil Harris began his career as a drummer in a circus band, his parents both circus performers. In the latter twenties he and Carol Lofner formed an orchestra in San Francisco in which he performed as both a drummer and singer. First recording with Lofner in 1931, upon the dissolution of their partnership in 1932 Harris put together his own orchestra with which he released his first records as a bandleader in 1933. He won an Academy Award that same year for the film, 'So This Is Harris!' (The Academy Awards or, Oscars, were conceived in 1929.) In 1941 Harris married actress and singer Alice Faye, having previously been married to Marcia Ralstone. In 1946 he became musical director for the radio program, 'The Jell-O Show Starring Jack Benny', with which he remained some years. It was also 1946 when he and Alice Faye began 'The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show', which aired until 1954. In the latter sixties Harris began working as a voice actor on a number of Disney animated films, which he would continued into the latter eighties. His last film role was in 1991 for 'Rock-a-Doodle'. Harris died in California in 1995 of heart attack.

Phil Harris   1931

   The River

      Carol Lofner Orchestra

   I'm Sorry Dear

      Carol Lofner Orchestra

Phil Harris   1933

   What Have We Got To Lose?

   It's Gonna Be You

      Vocal: Leah Ray

Phil Harris   1935

   Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

   Riddle Me This

Phil Harris   1947

   The Preacher and the Bear

   Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette)

   That's What I Like About The South

Phil Harris   1948

   Minnie and the Mermaid

Phil Harris   1950

   The Old Master Painter

   The Thing


Birth of Swing Jazz: Phil Harris

Phil Harris

Source: Famous Fix

  Born in 1910 in Baltimore, pianist Clyde Hart began his professional career in 1930 with Gene Coy, also playing with Jap Allen. The next year (1931) he joined Blanche Calloway's orchestra, making his first recordings with her Joy Boys. Upon leaving Calloway in 1935 Hart went to NYC to play with the Cotton Pickers. He formed his own quartet and arranged for Andy Kirk as well. Hart's career exploded in 1936, recording with such as Billie Holiday, trumpeter Henry Red Allen and violinist Stuff Smith. Hart later recorded with tenor saxophonist Lester Young, trumpeter Roy Eldridge and bop artists Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. Sadly, Hart was stricken with tuberculosis and died in 1945, only 35 years old.

Clyde Hart   1931

   I Got What It Takes

      With Blanche Calloway

Clyde Hart   1936

   A High Hat A Piccolo & A Cane

      Trumpet: Henry Red Allen

      Vocal: Putney Dandridge

   The Skeleton In The Closet

      Trumpet: Henry Red Allen

      Vocal: Putney Dandridge

   When My Dreamboat Comes Home

      Trumpet: Henry Red Allen

Clyde Hart   1939

   Twelfth Street Rag

      With Lionel Hampton

   Wizzin' The Wizz

      With Lionel Hampton

Clyde Hart   1945

   All the Things You Are

      Saxophone: Charlie Parker

      Trumpet: Dizzy Gillespie

   Sorta Kinda

      Saxophone: Charlie Parker

      Trumpet: Dizzy Gillespie



Birth of Swing Jazz: Xavier Cugat

Xavier Cugat

Source: Big Band Library

Born in 1900 in Girona, Spain, Xavier Cugat was relocated to Cuba by his family at age five. Trained in classical violin, Cugat was twelve when he began playing with the Orchestra of the Teatro Nacional in Havana. In 1915 he immigrated to New York with his family, where he performed recitals with opera singer, Enrico Caruso. In 1918 he briefly became a member of the tango band, the Gigolos, before becoming a cartoonist with the 'Los Angeles Times'. He formed the Latin American Band in 1920, which often played at the Coconut Grove in Los Angeles and appeared in several films before becoming the house band at the new Waldorf Astoria Hotel in NYC in 1931. (Construction on the Waldorf had been completed in 1931.) It was Cugat's trademark to conduct while holding a Chihuahua underarm. His first recordings were transcription discs (to wit, from radio broadcasts) for Western Electric in 1932. In 1933 he issued his first studio recordings for Victor: 'Silencio', 'Ombo - My Shawl', 'Gypsy Air Tango' and 'Rancho Grande' (none found). Cugat hired Dinah Shore in 1939, whence she made her debut recordings. Beyond the tango, Cugat also recorded the mambo, the cha-cha-cha, the rumba, the twist and music especially for the conga. Cugat's fifth and last wife had been actress, singer and Spanish guitarist, Charo, from 1966 to 1978. He died of heart failure in 1990 in Barcelona.

Xavier Cugat   1932

   Adios Muchachos

   Let's Go to Town

Xavier Cugat   1933


Xavier Cugat   1935

   Para vigo me voy

Xavier Cugat   1939


Xavier Cugat   1943


   She's a Bombshell from Brooklyn

      Film: 'Stage Door Canteen'

Xavier Cugat   1947

   Miami Beach Rhumba

Xavier Cugat   1959

   Eso es el amor

      Television program with Abbe Lane

Xavier Cugat   1962


      'Il signore delle 21' television show with Abbe Lane



Birth of Swing Jazz: Eddy Duchin

Eddy Duchin

Photo: Paramount Productions

Source: One's Media

Born in 1909 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, pianist Eddy Duchin was a pharmacist before hiring on to Leo Reisman's orchestra playing at the Central Park Casino in NYC in 1930. By 1932 he became that band's leader. Albeit Duchin's was a "sweet" band, performing polite music intended for hotel dancing, his 1938 rendition of Louis Armstrong's 'Ol Man Mose' was banned in Great Britain, due that the lyric, "bucket," sounded like "fuck it." It nevertheless reached the No. 2 spot on Billboard in the States and sold a huge (at the time) 170,000 copies. (Billboard [magazine] itself was founded in 1894, covering all variety of live entertainment from carnivals and circuses to minstrels and vaudeville. It began covering film in 1909 and radio in the twenties. With the rise of the jukebox in the thirties Billboard began charting songs. Its first three categories were Pop, Rhythm and Blues, and Country and Western. Billboard began covering television in the fifties.) Duchin served as an officer on a destroyer in the Pacific during World War II. He reentered the music industry after his tour, but didn't have long to accomplish a lot, dying of leukemia in February 1951 in New York City, only 41 years old.

Eddy Duchin   1932

   After You've Gone

   The Clouds Will Soon Roll By

   Now You've Got Me Worryin' For You

   Speak To Me Of Love

Eddy Duchin   1933

   Did You Ever See A Dream Walking

      Vocal: Lew Sherwood

Eddy Duchin   1934

   Dust On the Moon

   I Only Have Eyes For You

      Vocal: Lew Sherwood

   Let's Fall In Love

      Vocal: Lew Sherwood

Eddy Duchin   1935

   Lovely To Look At

   You Are My Lucky Star

Eddy Duchin   1936

   It's De-Lovely

   Love and Learn

Eddy Duchin   1938

   Ol Man Mose

      Original composition: Louis Armstrong

      Vocal: Patricia Norman

Eddy Duchin   1940

   My Twilight Dream

   Only Forever

Eddy Duchin   1941




Birth of Swing Jazz: Woody Herman

Woody Herman

Source: Jazz Wax

Born in 1913 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, clarinetist and sax player Woody Herman first recorded as a vocalist, in 1932 with the Tom Gerun Orchestra for the Brunswick label: 'My Heart's At Ease' and 'Lonesome Me' (neither found). He made his debut recording as a band leader for Decca in 1936 with 'Wintertime Blues' ('Wintertime Dreams'). In 1944 Herman put together his First Herd, a progressive ensemble blending swing with bebop. Albeit that band was a phenomenal success Herman retired it in 1946 to be with his family. In 1947 he formed his Second Herd, followed by his Third Herd from 1950 to 1956, followed in turn by the New Thundering Herd in 1959, of which there would be other formations for the next thirty years. (Having performed and/or recorded with nigh all the big names in the book for the last four decades, Herman formed the Young Thundering Herd in 1974 to make opportunity for inexperienced musicians.) Herman died in West Hollywood in 1987.

Woody Herman   1936

   Wintertime Blues (Wintertime Dreams)

Woody Herman   1939

   Blue Flame

   Golden Wedding

   Woodchopper's Ball

Woody Herman   1943

   Down Under

Woody Herman   1945


      First Herd


      First Herd

Woody Herman   1947

   Four Brothers

     Second Herd

Woody Herman   1949

   Summer Sequence

      Recorded 1946-47   Composition: Ralph Burns

Woody Herman   1963

   After You've Gone

Woody Herman   1964

   Sister Sadie

      Live performance



Birth of Swing Jazz: Art Tatum

Art Tatum

Photo: William P. Gottlieb

Source: Bo Knows Music

Born in 1909 in Toledo, Ohio, Pianist Art Tatum, nigh completely blind, is thought to have made his first recordings in 1932 with Adelaide Hall. He played a lot of classical music as well and was highly regarded by Rachmaninoff. Due much to virtuosos like Fats WallerEarl Hines and Art Tatum the piano bar (lounge music) became a favorite American late-night haunt. Tatum was learning to play piano at age three. His piano teacher, like most, taught classical, and discouraged Tatum's inevitable creativity, improvisation and jazz. His first professional position was for WSPD radio in 1927. At nineteen he began creating a reputation for himself among some of the bigger names in jazz at the Waiter's and Bellmans' clubs. Thus Adelaide Hall stole him away for her world tour in 1931. Tatum is thought to have made his first four recordings with Hall in 1932: 'Strange As It Seems', 'You Gave Me Everything But Love', 'I'll Never Be The Same' and 'This Time It's Love'. In 1933 Tatum entered a stride piano cutting contest at a place called Morgan's in NYC with James Johnson, Willie the Lion Smith and Fats Waller. His win against such intimidating competition was well trumpeted, and Tatum would soon be leaving the old stride masters behind as he joined such as Earl Hines and Teddy Wilson as a developer of swing and, though he wasn't much a composer of original material, nor pursued bebop, a herald of modern jazz. Tatum grooved his first name solos for Brunswick in 1933, thereafter his favored venue being nightclubs, though he toured to England in 1938. He also preferred to play solo rather than with groups, his ornate style demanding such. Tatum gave his last performance in Detroit in April 1956 at a club called Baker's Keyboard Lounge. He died of uremia in November 1956 in Los Angeles.

Art Tatum   1932

   Sophisticated Lady

   Strange As It Seems

      Vocal: Adelaide Hall

   Tea For Two

   This Time It's Love

      Vocal: Adelaide Hall

   You Gave Me Everything

      Vocal: Adelaide Hall

Art Tatum   1933

   Tiger Rag

Art Tatum   1943

   Esquire Blues

      With the Leonard Feather All Stars

   Esquire Bounce

      With the Leonard Feather All Stars


      Bass: Slam Stewart   Guitar: Tiny Grimes

Art Tatum   1944

   I Know That You Know

      Bass: Slam Stewart   Guitar: Tiny Grimes

   My Ideal

      With the Leonard Feather All Stars

Art Tatum   1947

   Art's Blues

      With the Dorseys

Art Tatum   1948


Art Tatum   1956

   The Album

    Album with Ben Webster 



Birth of Swing Jazz: Charlie Barnet

Charlie Barnet

Source: VK



Born in 1913 in NYC, bandleader and saxophonist Charlie Barnet began his recording career in 1933 with Melotone Records, the year he shaped his own orchestra. The earliest recordings found are from 1934. Born to a wealthy family, Barnet largely retired from music in 1949. His autobiography, 'The Swinging Years', was published in 1984. Barnet died of Alzheimer's disease and pneumonia in San Diego in 1991.

Charlie Barnet   1934

   Baby Take a Bow


      Vocal: Helen Heath

Charlie Barnet   1936

   I'm an Old Cowhand

Charlie Barnet   1939

   Lilacs In The Rain

Charlie Barnet   1940

   Redskin Rhumba

   Southern Fried

   Where Was I

Charlie Barnet   1941

   Afraid to Say Hello

Charlie Barnet   1943

   The Moose

      Piano: Dodo Marmarosa


Charlie Barnet   1947

   Charleston Alley

   Pompton Turnpike

   Rockin' in Rhythm

Charlie Barnet   1948

   East Side, West Side

      With Doc Severinsen   Vocal: Bunny Briggs

Charlie Barnet   1962

   Jazz Skyliner



Birth of Swing Jazz: Chu Berry

Chu Berry

Source: Vintage Jazz & Dance Band

Born in Wheeling, West Virginia, in 1908, tenor saxophonist Chu Berry got his first break from Sammy Stewart in 1929. He first recorded with sax player Benny Carter and pianist Teddy Wilson in 1933 (below). Berry worked with Wilson until 1935 when he joined Fletcher Henderson's orchestra. From 1937 to 1941 he played for Cab Calloway. He also recorded as a bandleader for the Vocalion, then Commodore, labels during that time. Berry was also a preferred session player, working with a list of big names too long to highlight. Berry died in his prime, a passenger in an auto accident, in 1941. Traveling from a gig in Brooklyn to another in Toronto, the auto slid into the end of a bridge fifteen miles from Conneaut, Ohio. With a recording career of but a decade, and only four sessions (sixteen tracks) of that as a bandleader, Berry nevertheless managed to become one of the most memorable names in jazz.

Chu Berry   1933

   Blue Interlude

      With Benny Carter and Teddy Wilson (Chocolate Dandies)

   I Never Knew

       With Benny Carter and Teddy Wilson (Chocolate Dandies)

   Krazy Kapers

       With Benny Carter and Teddy Wilson (Chocolate Dandies)

Chu Berry   1937


Chu Berry   1939

   Shufflin' At the Hollywood

       With Lionel Hampton

   Sweethearts On Parade

      With Lionel Hampton

   Wizzin' The Wizz

      Guitar: Allen Reuss   Piano: Milt Hinton



Birth of Swing Jazz: Richard Himber

Richard Himber

Source: Songbook

Born Herbert Richard Imber in 1900 in Newark, New Jersey, violinist and bandleader Richard Himber had been sent to military school when he was fifteen, from which he ran away to New York City to play violin in Sophie Tucker's Five Kings of Syncopation. He next worked vaudeville and in Tin Pan Alley before becoming a booking manager for Rudy Vallée. Himber first recorded in 1933 for Vocalion as Dick Himber, 'It Isn't Fair' among his first tracks. Himber was also a magician, often performing sleight of hand during performances with his band. He died in NYC in 1966. Vocals on all tracks tracks below are by Stuart Allen or Joey Nash unless otherwise indicated.

Richard Himber   1933

   It Isn't Fair

   Life's So Complete

Richard Himber   1934


      Vitaphone film   Violin: Richard Himber

   Say When

   Stars Fell On Alabama

   Winter Wonderland

Richard Himber   1935

   Broadway Rhythm

   Monday In Manhattan

   You Hit the Spot

   Zing Went The Strings Of My Heart

Richard Himber   1936

   Every Once In a While

   So This Is Heaven

Richard Himber   1937

   Parade of the Bands

Richard Himber   1940

   Whose Theme Song?

Richard Himber   1941

   I Know Why

      Vocal: Johnnie Johnston



Born in 1908 in Beardstown, Illinois, vibraphonist Red Norvo's first recordings under his own name were in 1933 for the Brunswick label: 'Knockin' on Wood' and 'Hole In the Wall'. Norvo had begun his professional career in Chicago in 1925 in a band called the Collegians. Some of the bigger name bands with whom he became employed were Paul Whiteman's, Benny Goodman's, Charlie Barnet's and Woody Herman's. In 1938 Norvo scored two No. 1 positions on the charts with 'Please Be Kind' and 'Says My Heart'. Norvo formed a trio in 1949 of vibraphone, bass and guitar, which through the years would employ such as Red Kelly, Mundell Lowe, Tal Farlow, Jimmy Raney, Charles Mingus and Red Mitchell. In 1959 he toured Australia with Frank Sinatra. Norvo continued performing and touring until a stroke retired him in the eighties. He passed away in 1999 in a nursing home in Santa Monica, California. Norvo's most important musical association was also his wife for twelve years, Mildred Bailey, whom he had married in 1931 and with whom he made numerous recordings. More Red Norvo will be found under Mildred Bailey in Swing Jazz Song.

Red Norvo   1933

   Hole In the Wall

   Knockin' On Wood

Red Norvo   1935

   Blues In E Flat

Red Norvo   1937


Red Norvo   1938

   Please Be Kind

      With Mildred Bailey

   Says My Heart

      With Mildred Bailey

Red Norvo   1939

   Three Little Fishies

      With Mildred Bailey

Red Norvo   1945

   Downhearted Blues

      With Mildred Bailey

Red Norvo   1957



Birth of Swing Jazz: Red Norvo

Red Norvo

Source: Last FM




Drummer Ray McKinley is believed to have met Glenn Miller (below) in Dallas in 1929 before either of them had made much progress in their musical careers. Together they joined the Dorsey Brothers in 1934. In 1939 McKinley and trombonist Will Bradley formed their own orchestra in Bradley's name, after which McKinley put together his own band in 1942. McKinley is drummer in some of the entries for Glenn Miller below.

Ray McKinley   1942

   Big Boy

   Hard Hearted Woman

Ray McKinley   1946


      Piano: Lou Stein


Birth of Swing Jazz: Ray McKinley

Ray McKinley

Photo: William P. Gottlieb

Source: Jazz Wax



Born in 1904 in Clarinda, Iowa, trombonist Glenn Miller first recorded with the Dorseys in 1934, then formed his own band some three years later. Miller's band was a flop in 1938, but met with such success in 1939 that Miller performed at Carnegie Hall that year. Miller then began broadcasting on CBS for Chesterfield cigarettes. Among the vocalists with whom he worked were the Andrew Sisters, Gordon "Tex" Beneke, the Modernaires, Marion Hutton and Kay Starr. His last recordings were made with Dinah Shore. In 1941 Miller's dance band appeared in the film, 'Sun Valley Serenade', followed by 'Orchestra Wives' the next year. Miller gave his last concert on November 27, 1942 in Passaic, New Jersey. For Miller joined the Army for patriotic causes in 1942, sacrificing an income in the vicinity of $70,000 per month to lead an Army band. He was soon promoted to captain, then major, then even more swiftly downed over the English Channel in a plane with a faulty carburetor. Miller's last recordings were radio transcriptions with the Army Air Force Band in November of 1944, prior to being listed missing in action in December that year. Among those recordings were 'Everybody Loves My Baby', 'Jeep Jockey Jump', 'All The Things You Are', 'Swing Low, Sweet Chariot', 'Body and Soul', 'Beat Me Daddy', 'Get Happy', 'Moonlight Serenade' and 'Auf Wiedersehen'. All tracks below are chronological by year only. All for year 1944 are with the Army Air Force Band. More Glenn Miller under Marion Hutton in Swing Jazz Song.

Glenn Miller   1934

   Annie's Cousin Fannie

      With the Dorseys

Glenn Miller   1935

   Dese Dem Dose

      With the Dorseys

   Solo Hop

Glenn Miller   1938

   Live at the Paradise Restaurant

      Radio broadcast   Vocals: Ray Eberle & Marion Hutton

Glenn Miller   1939

   In the Mood

   Little Brown Jug

   Moonlight Serenade

   Sunrise Serenade

Glenn Miller   1940

   Tuxedo Junction

Glenn Miller   1941

   Chattanooga Choo Choo

      Film: 'Sun Valley Serenade'

Glenn Miller   1942

   At Last

      Film: 'Orchestra Wives'   Vocals: Lynn Bari and Ray Eberle

   A String Of Pearls

Glenn Miller   1944

   All the Things You Are

      Vocal: Johnny Desmond

   Jeep Jockey Jump


   Moonlight Serenade

   Smoke Get's In Your Eyes

   War Bond Parade


Birth of Swing Jazz: Glenn Miller

Glenn Miller

Photo: Chesterfield (cigarettes)

Source: Glenn Miller Orchestra

Birth of Swing Jazz: Louis Prima

Louis Prima

Photo: Manny Korman/Frank Driggs Collection

Source: Peoples

Born in 1910 in New Orleans, vocalist Louis Prima, whose parents were Sicilian immigrants, received a major boost in his young career in 1933 by joining the David Rose Orchestra at radio station WGN in Chicago. Prima led the band, the New Orleans Gang, and played trumpet. Prima was well known in association with Keely Smith, whom he hired into his band in 1947, to become his duet partner in Las Vegas the next year. They married in 1953, their divorce and last performance together at the Desert Inn in Las Vegas in 1961. Their last recordings together were released the same year on the album, 'Return of the Wildest'. Prima's own last album was released in 1975: 'The Wildest'. Prima died in 1978 in a nursing home in New Orleans after three years in coma, following surgery to remove a brain stem tumor in 1975.

Louis Prima   1934

   Let's Have a Jubilee

   Sing It Way Down Low

Louis Prima   1936

   Cross Patch

Louis Prima   1957

   Oh Marie/Buona Sera

Louis Prima   1959

   Just a Gigolo/I Ain't Go Nobody

      Live performance with Keely Smith



Birth of Swing Jazz: Teddy Wilson

Teddy Wilson

Photo: Hank O'Neal

Source: Hank O'Neal

Born in 1912 in Austin, pianist Teddy Wilson started his professional career in 1933 playing alongside Roy Eldridge for Speed Webb. That same year he joined the Chocolate Dandies. Though he recorded earlier solos his first record contract came in 1935, backing Billie Holiday with his own orchestra. Holiday and Wilson enjoyed a close musical relationship such that to say the one is to say the other. It is Holiday who sings in many of the samples of Wilson's band below. Holiday will also be found in Swing Jazz Song. Wilson also employed vocalists Lena Horne and Helen Ward. He taught summer music classes at Julliard between 1945 and 1952.  Wilson actively performed into the final years of his life, dying in 1986 in New Britain, Connecticut.

Teddy Wilson   1934


      Piano solo

Teddy Wilson   1935

   Body and Soul

      With Benny Goodman and Gene Krupa

   Eeny Meeny Miney Mo

      With Billie Holiday

   If You Were Mine

      With Billie Holiday

   I'm Painting the Town to Red

      With Billie Holiday

   Life Begins When You're In Love

      With Billie Holiday

   Spreadin' Rhythm Around

      With Billie Holiday

   These 'N' That 'N' Those

      With Billie Holiday

   What a Little Moonlight Can Do

      With Billie Holiday

   You Let Me Down

      With Billie Holiday

Teddy Wilson   1937

   Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man

      With Billie Holiday

   The Hour Of Parting

      With Boots Castle

   There's a Lull In My Life

      With Billie Holiday

   Where or When

      With Benny Goodman and Gene Krupa

Teddy Wilson   1938

   You're So Desirable

      With Billie Holiday

Teddy Wilson   1939


      With Billie Holiday

   Tiger Rag

Teddy Wilson   1941

   Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

Teddy Wilson   1944

   Rose Room

Teddy Wilson   1956

   All Of Me

      Duet with Lester Young

   Sophisticated Lady

Teddy Wilson   1985

   But Not For Me

      Live performance



Birth of Swing Jazz: Putney Dandridge

Putney Dandridge

Source: Last FM

Born in 1902 in Richmond, Virginia, pianist and vocalist Putney Dandridge began his professional career in 1918, spending a decade or so touring and doing shows before forming his own band in Ohio in the early thirties. He first released his own recordings in 1935. Dandridge died in New Jersey in 1946, only 44 years of age.

Putney Dandridge   1935

   Double Trouble


Putney Dandridge   1936

   It's The Gypsy In Me



Birth of Swing Jazz: Roy Eldridge

Roy Eldridge

Source: Sooze Blues & Jazz

Born in 1906 in Pittsburgh, Roy Eldridge (Little Jazz) recorded his first trumpet solos with Teddy Hill in 1935 (unfound). Eldridge had gotten expelled from school in ninth grade, whence upon he began working in traveling shows of small repute. Back in Pittsburgh at age twenty, he led a band billed as Roy Elliott and his Palais Royal Orchestra, after which he joined various bands, among them those directed by Horace Henderson (brother of Fletcher Henderson) and Speed Webb. Finally making it to New York in 1930, Eldridge played with a number of bands, made his first solo recordings, joined Fletcher Henderson's orchestra, and recorded with Billie Holiday as well. In 1936 he put together an octet in Chicago, with which he performed on radio and recorded that year too. In 1941 Eldridge became a member of Gene Krupa's band, until Krupa was arrested for cannabis possession in 1943 and that band dissolved. (Krupa had been jailed and fined on one occasion when he picked a fight with a restaurant manager who didn't wish to serve Eldridge because he was black.) Eldridge then moved to Artie Shaw's orchestra in 1944. In 1950 Eldridge toured with Benny Goodman. In 1951 he established a residency at the Birdland in NYC with another of his bands, then worked with various others. From 1963 to 1965 Eldridge toured with Ella Fitzgerald, then with Count Basie. In 1969 he began a residency of several years at Jimmy Ryan's in Manhattan. A heart attack in 1980 forced Eldridge to cease performing. He died nine years later in Valley Stream, New York.

Roy Eldridge   1935

   Miss Brown to You

      With Billie Holiday

Roy Eldridge   1936

   Blue Lou

      With Fletcher Henderson

   Christopher Columbus

      With Fletcher Henderson

Roy Eldridge   1937

   Wabash Stomp

   Where the Lazy River Goes By

      Vocal: Gladys Palmer

Roy Eldridge   1941

   After You've Gone

Roy Eldridge   1942

   Let Me Off Uptown

      Drums: Gene Krupa   Vocal: Anita O'Day

   Thanks For the Boogie Ride

      Drums: Gene Krupa   Vocal: Anita O'Day

Roy Eldridge   1945

   Little Jazz Boogie

   Fish Market

   Rockin' Chair

Roy Eldridge   1949

   Watch Out!

      Drums: Gene Krupa   Vocal: Dolores Hawkins

Roy Eldridge   1957

   It Don't Mean a Thing

      Guitar: Herb Ellis   Piano: Oscar Peterson

      Vocal: Ella Fitzgerald

Roy Eldridge   1961





Born in 1907 in Chicago, clarinetist Joe Marsala had played with such as Wingy Manone and Ben Pollack in the twenties. He left Chicago for New York City in 1936 to play at the Hickory House for the next decade. Marsala's major recording period was from '36 to '42, though an earlier recording from 1935 with Adrian Rollini is found (available on a Rollini album issued as 'Bouncin' In Rhythm'). In 1948 Marsala largely retired from performing upon becoming a music publisher. He died of cancer in 1978 in Santa Barbara, California.

Joe Marsala   1935

   I Got A Need For You

      With Adrian Rollini & Jeanne Burns

Joe Marsala   1936

   A Star Fell Out of Heaven

      With Putney Dandridge

   If We Never Meet Again

      With Putney Dandridge

   The Skeleton In The Closet

      With Henry Red Allen

   Swingin' On That Famous Door

      With Roy Eldridge and the Delta Four

Joe Marsala   1941

   Bull's Eye

Joe Marsala   1944

   Unlucky Woman

      With Linda Keene

Joe Marsala   1945

   Gotta Be This Or That

   My Melancholy Baby

Joe Marsala   1948

   Someone to Watch Over Me

Joe Marsala   1952

   Sweet Mama, Papa's Getting Mad


Birth of Swing Jazz: Joe Marsala

Joe Marsala

Photo: William P. Gottlieb

Source: Flickr

Birth of Swing Jazz: Allan Reuss

Allan Reuss

Source: Pro Jazz Club

Born in 1915 in North Hollywood, Allan Reuss began studying guitar under George Van Eps in 1933 and would soon replace Van Eps in the Glenn Miller orchestra. His first solos were recorded with Miller in 1935 ('If I Could Be With You' and 'Rosetta'), the same year he recorded with Lionel Hampton. In 1939 Reuss joined Jack Teagarden's band, Jimmy Dorsey's in 1941 and Harry James' in 1942. Though largely a rhythm guitarist, Reuss was often employed as more than only a beat accompanist, but as the rhythmic drive to which bands attuned themselves. Reuss died in 1988 in North Hollywood.

Allan Reuss   1935

   If I Could Be With You

      With Benny Goodman

Allan Reuss   1936

   Pennies from Heaven

      With Billie Holiday

Allan Reuss   1938

   Ring Dem Bells

      With Lionel Hampton

Allan Reuss   1939

   Pickin' For Patsy

      With Jack Teagarden

Allan Reuss   1941

   Peck's Bad Boys

Allan Reuss   1945

   Someone To Watch Over Me

       Sax: Coleman Hawkins

      Trumpet: Howard McGhee

       Bass: John Simmons

      Drums: Denzil Best


       Sax: Coleman Hawkins

      Trumpet: Howard McGhee

       Bass: Oscar Pettiford

      Drums: Denzil Best

Allan Reuss   1946

   Bye Bye Blues

      With Benny Carter

Allan Reuss   1968




Born in 1908 in Terre Haute, Indiana, bandleader, composer and pianist Claude Thornhill was 16 when he and Artie Shaw began their careers together in Cleveland with Austin Wiley. Six years later, in 1931, they went to New York City together. It was 1935 when Thornhill joined Glenn Miller who was making his first recordings in his own name. Maxine Sullivan made her first recordings with Thornhill's orchestra in 1937. He was earning about $40,000 per month at the Paramount Theater in NYC when he gave it up to join the Navy during World War II, becoming a bandleader in the Pacific. Released from the Navy in 1946, Thornhill began experimenting with bebop. Thornhill was Tony Bennett's musical director for a brief period in the fifties. He died of heart attack in 1965. More Claude Thornhill under Gil Evans in Jazz Orchestration.

Claude Thornhill   1937

   Harbor Lights

      Vocal: Jimmy Farrell

   I'm Coming, Virginia

      Vocal: Maxine Sullivan

   Loch Lomond

      Vocal: Maxine Sullivan

Claude Thornhill   1941

   Autumn Nocturne


   Where Or When

Claude Thornhill   1942

   Buster's Last Stand

Claude Thornhill   1947


      Arrangement: Gil Evans

   A Sunday Kind of Love

      Vocal: Fran Warren


Birth of Swing Jazz: Claude Thornhill

Claude Thornhill

Source: Bill Crow


Born in 1904 in Red Bank, New Jersey, pianist and swing band leader Count Basie began his musical career in Red Bank with drummer Sonny Greer, playing at dances and resorts. About 1920 he made his way to Harlem where Greer, who had preceded him to NYC and was drumming for Duke Ellington, introduced him to his scene. Basie then began touring the States with vaudeville acts. Returning to Harlem in 1925, his first employment of note was at a place called Leroy's where cutting contests were held for upper class clientele. Finally, in 1928 Basie joined Walter Page's Blue Devils in Tulsa. Beginning to make progress now (and beginning to be called the "Count"), he joined Bennie Moten's band the next year in Kansas City. It was with Moten that Basie started to shine as a talent to be dealt with, and he briefly led that orchestra upon Moten's eventual absence in the early thirties, renaming it the Cherry Blossoms. In 1936 he reshaped that orchestra, called it the Barons of Rhythm, and began a residency in Chicago at the Grand Terrace Ballroom. Basie's first recordings with that orchestra in 1936 were also tenor saxophonist Lester Young's first four solo releases: 'Shoe Shine Boy', 'Evening', 'Boogie Woogie' and 'Oh, Lady Be Good'. The next year Basie began recording for Decca (such as 'Pennies From Heaven' and 'Honeysuckle Rose'), upon moving his band to NYC for a residency at the Roseland Ballroom. He also played at the Apollo Theater and the Savoy before hiring vocalist Helen Humes in 1938, who remained with him for the next four years. Following World War II Basie experimented with bebop while maintaining his disciplined rhythm. Basie first took his orchestra to Europe in 1958. He didn't begin wearing his trademark yachting cap until 1964. Basie died in Hollywood, Florida, in 1984.

Count Basie   1936

   Oh, Lady Be Good

   Shoe Shine Boy

   Boogie Woogie

Count Basie   1937

   Honeysuckle Rose

   One O'clock Jump

   Pennies From Heaven

Count Basie   1938

   I Sent For You Yesterday and Here You Come Today

Count Basie   1939

   You Can Depend On Me

      With James Rushing

Count Basie   1948


Count Basie   1950

   Little White Lies

      Featuring Clark Terry

Count Basie   1951

   Every Tub

      Featuring Wardell Gray

Count Basie   1954

   Lover Man

      Vocal: Billie Holiday

Count Basie   1957

   April In Paris

   Corner Pocket

Count Basie   1960

   Blues in Frankie's Flat



      Live   Flute: Frank Wess

   Who Me?

      Composition: Frank Foster   Film

Count Basie   1968

   All of Me



Birth of Swing Jazz: Count Basie

Count Basie

Source: Time Toast

Birth of Swing Jazz: Erskine Hawkins

Erskine Hawkins

Photo: Jerry Tavin/Everett Collection

Source: Jazz Wax

Born in 1914, trumpeter Erskine Hawkins attended high school in Birminham, Alabama. While in high school he formed the band, the Bama State Collegians, with which he made his first recordings in 1936 for Vocalion: 'I Can't Escape From You' and 'Until the Real Thing Comes Along'. In the latter thirties Hawkins alternated with Chick Webb's band at the Savoy Ballroom in Manhattan. In the early fifties Hawkins moved away from the big band sound toward smaller ensembles, swing having begun its evolution toward rhythm and blues. From 1967 to 1993 Hawkins' was the resident band at the Concord Resort Hotel in Kiamesha Lake, New York. Hawkins passed away in his home in November of 1993, yet performing at the Concord.

Erskine Hawkins   1936

   I Can't Escape From You

Erskine Hawkins   1937

   Deviled Ham


Erskine Hawkins   1939


   Tuxedo Junction

Erskine Hawkins   1942

   Don´t Cry, Baby

      Vocal: Jimmy Mitchell

Erskine Hawkins   1945


      Vocal: Ace Harris

   Tippin' In

Erskine Hawkins   1946

   Hawk's Boogie

Erskine Hawkins   1949

   Corn Bread

Erskine Hawkins   1950

   Tennessee Waltz



Born in 1909 in Woodville, Mississippi, Lester Young began his career in 1933 in Kansas City, playing clarinet, tenor sax and trumpet with various bands. Young first recorded in 1936 in the orchestra of pianist Count Basie, with whom he worked now and again throughout his career. During his early intermittent Basie days Young also played in Fletcher Henderson's and Andy Kirk's orchestras. In 1939 his clarinet was stolen, so he played not that instrument again until 1957. Young left Basie in 1940, whence he recorded with Billie Holiday and Nat King Cole. ("The Pres" was a nickname given him by Holiday.) Young played with Basie again in 1943, before getting drafted into the Army, then dishonorably discharged after serving a year in detention for alcohol and marijuana possession. In 1946 Young joined Norman Granz's Jazz at the Philharmonic (JATP) with which he kept for the next twelve years, also recording with Nat King Cole again during that period. In 1955 Young experienced a nervous breakdown, said to be precipitated by alcohol abuse. In 1956 Young laid tracks with Teddy Wilson on the album, 'Prez and Teddy', also recording the album, 'Jazz Giants '56'. That same year he toured Europe with both Miles Davis and the Modern Jazz Quartet. He also performed engagements at the Patio Lounge in Washington D.C.. Young gave his last performances with drummer Kenny Clarke in Paris in March of 1959. He died that year within hours of returning to NYC, having drank himself to death. Young is said to have coined the colloquialisms, "cool" for fashionable and "bread" for money. Most of the earlier examples below are with Basie.

Lester Young   1936

   Boogie Woogie

      With Count Basie

   Oh, Lady Be Good

      With Count Basie

   Shoe Shine Boy

      With Count Basie

Lester Young   1937

   Swingin' the Blues

      With Count Basie

Lester Young   1938

   Allez Oop

      With Count Basie

   Way Down Yonder In New Orleans

      With the Kansas City Six

Lester Young   1939

   Exactly Like You

      With Glenn Hardman

   Lester Leaps In

   You Can Depend On Me

      With Count Basie   Vocalist: James Rushing

Lester Young   1940

   Blues for Greasy

   Take It, Pres

      Count Basie Orchestra

   Wholly Cats

      Guitar: Charlie Christian   Piano: Count Basie

Lester Young   1946

   It's Only A Paper Moon

Lester Young   1948

   Just You, Just Me

      Drums: Roy Haynes

   Mean to Me

      Drums: Roy Haynes   Piano: Junior Mance

   Sweet Georgia Brown

      Drums: Roy Haynes

Lester Young   1949

   Be Bop Boogie

      Drums: Roy Haynes   Piano: Junior Mance

   Blues n' Bells

      Drums: Roy Haynes   Piano: Junior Mance

   I Cover the Waterfront

Lester Young   1951

   Ghost of a Chance

Lester Young   1955

   One O'Clock Jump

      Bass: Ray Brown   Piano: Oscar Peterson

      Drums: Buddy Rich   Trumpet: Sweets Edison

Lester Young   1956

   All of Me

      Piano: Teddy Wilson

Lester Young   1957

   Waldorf Blues

Lester Young   1958

   Mean to Me

      Live performance


Birth of Swing Jazz: Lester Young

Lester Young

Source: Soose Blues & Jazz

Birth of Swing Jazz: Buck Clayton

Buck Clayton

Source: Brown Bag Discussion Group


Born in 1911 in Parsons, Kansas, arranger and trumpeter Buck Clayton formed his first band in 1929 upon graduating from high school. Five years later he took off for Shanghai and played jazz with Chinese musicians. Upon his return he first recorded with Billie Holiday and the Teddy Wilson Orchestra in 1937 ('Why Was I Born'). His first recorded solo was the same year with Count Basie ('Swingin’ at the Daisy Chain'). Though Clayton also freelanced, he stayed with Basie until he was drafted in 1943. Upon honorable discharge, he began arranging for Basie in 1946, as well as Benny Goodman and Harry James. He also joined Norman Granz’s Jazz at the Philharmonic (JATP). The following year he served a residency at the Café Society in NYC. Clayton took his band to France in 1949, then Italy in 1953. He also toured Japan, Australia and New Zealand in 1964, then England in 1965. During the fifties and sixties his career would consist of shuttling between France, England and the States on various occasions. Due to lip surgery Clayton ceased playing trumpet in 1972. He made an attempt to perform during a tour of Africa in 1977, but had to give it up permanently in 1979. Clayton's autobiography, 'Buck Clayton’s Jazz World', was published in 1986, the same year he formed his last band, to tour internationally. Clayton died in his sleep in New York City in 1991.

Buck Clayton   1937

   Why Was I Born

      With Billie Holiday

   Swingin’ at the Daisy Chain

Buck Clayton   1942

   St. Louis Blues

Buck Clayton   1949

   Good Morning Blues

      Guitar: Charlie Christian   Saxophone: Lester Young

Buck Clayton   1953

   The Huckle-Buck

      With Joe Newman

   Sentimental Journey

Buck Clayton   1955

   Rock-A-Bye Basie

      With Coleman Hawkins

Buck Clayton   1958

   All Of Me

      Live performance

Buck Clayton   1961

   Outer Drive

      Live performance

   Rompin' at Red Bank

      With Buddy Tate

   Stomping at the Savoy

      Live performance

   Thou Swell

      With Buddy Tate

   Why Can't We Be Friends

      With Buddy Tate

Buck Clayton   1967

   My Romance

      Tenor sax: Ben Webster



Born in 1910 in Lakewood, Ohio, Sammy Kaye got his first real start in 1938 with his own orchestra, billing at the Commodore Hotel, where Tommy Dorsey had been playing. Also a vocalist, Kaye would become known for "sweet" swing (dance music originating and popular in hotels). Though Kaye played both saxophone and clarinet he never performed or recorded solos. He died in Manhattan in 1987.

Sammy Kaye   1937

   Swing and Sway

Sammy Kaye   1938

   Love Walked In

Sammy Kaye   1941


Sammy Kaye   1946

   The Old Lamplighter

      Vocal: Billy Williams

Sammy Kaye   1951

   Goodnight Sweetheart

   I Love You Because


Birth of Swing Jazz: Sammy Kaye

Sammy Kaye

Photo: James Kriegsmann

Source: Wikiwand


Born in 1910 in New York City, clarinetist Artie Shaw, also a writer, liked to mix classical into his jazz. One of the more unique of the big band leaders, Shaw's first known recording, 'Interlude in B Flat', was in 1937. But it was the popularity of 'Begin the Bequine' in 1938 that launched his career. It was also 1938 when Shaw hired Ella Fitzgerald and began touring the South. He began appearing in films in 1939. Like other big band leaders, Shaw formed a band within a band in 1940, calling it the Gramercy Five and recording eight tracks with it that year. The Gramercy Five disbanded in 1941 but its recordings are available on a CD called 'The Complete Gramercy Five Sessions' released in 1990. During World War II Shaw served as a bandleader in the Pacific. After the conflict, instead of returning to his prior highly successful status, he walked away from a million dollar career in jazz to join the New York Philharmonic under Leonard Bernstein. (Shaw was an early proponent of Third Stream, to wit, classical-jazz fusion, the term coined by Gunther Schuller in 1957.) In 1952 Shaw published his autobiography, 'The Trouble With Cinderella: An Outline of Identity', and later published novels and short stories. Shaw stopped playing clarinet in 1954, citing compulsive perfectionism as the reason. (If such the statement was more than banter, and Shaw was experiencing compulsive disorder, he had a very good reason to stop playing.) In 1981 he formed another small band, but assigned its leadership to clarinetist Dick Johnson. Shaw topped out with eight wives during his life, said to be abusively domineering. Beyond music, Shaw was an expert marksman and fly fisherman. One measure of Shaw's enormous popularity during his swing years is the fact that he did nothing for money, and yet died in 2004, in Thousand Oaks, California, with an estate worth $1,420,000. (He was making $60,000 per week as a bandleader before the war.) His rendition of 'Moonglow' below is eight years after it was first recorded in 1933 by jazz violinist Joe Venuti.

Artie Shaw   1937

   Interlude in B Flat

Artie Shaw   1938

   Begin the Bequine

Artie Shaw   1940

   Concerto For Clarinet

Artie Shaw   1941


Artie Shaw   1942

   Dancing In the Dark

Artie Shaw   1945

   Artie Shaw and His Orchestra Play Gershwin


Artie Shaw   1953

   Besame Mucho


Birth of Swing Jazz: Artie Shaw

Artie Shaw

Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Source: Jazz Wax


Born Gordon Lee Beneke in 1914 in Fort Worth, Texas, Tex Beneke began to playing saxophone professionally in 1935 with bandleader Ben Young (no recordings with such found). In spring of 1938 he was hired by Glenn Miller (who began calling him "Tex"). Recommended to Miller by Gene Krupa, Beneke quickly became first sax. He was also a highly popular vocalist with Miller before assuming leadership of Miller's orchestra upon Miller's death (1944). Beneke's first recorded vocal with Miller may have been banter on an NBC radio transcription from the Paradise Restaurant in NYC on June 20th, 1938: 'Doin' the Jive', also featuring singer Gail Reese (unfound). The earliest example found featuring Beneke at saxophone is alongside sax man Al Klink in 'In the Mood' in 1939 (both featured below in a 1941 version as well). Beneke joined the Navy and led a military band in Oklahoma before taking over the Glenn Miller orchestra in 1945. He left that band in 1949 to form his own in 1950. Always a swing musician, Beneke died of respiratory failure in Costa Mesa, California, in 2000.

Tex Beneke   1939

   In the Mood

Tex Beneke   1941

   Chattanooga Choo Choo

      Film: 'Sun Valley Serenade'

   In the Mood

      Film: 'Sun Valley Serenade'

Tex Beneke   1942

   Gal in Kalamazoo

      Film: 'Orchestra Wives'

Tex Beneke   1946

   Blue Skies

   A Girl In Calico

   Give Me Five Minutes More


   In the Mood


      With Lillian Lane

   The Woodchuck Song

Tex Beneke   1965

   Chattanooga Choo Choo

        Film   With Paula Kelly & the Modernaires


Birth of Swing Jazz: Tex Beneke

Tex Beneke

Source: Obits in Orbit

Birth of Modern Jazz: Les Brown

Les Brown

Source: Jazz Wax

Born in 1912 in Reinerton, Pennsylvania, although Les Brown (Sr.) played saxophone he is better known as an arranger and bandleader, as well as for his work with Doris Day and later Bob Hope (USO tours). Brown formed his first orchestra at age fourteen (1926) and first recorded in 1938 (unfound), the same year he renamed the Blue Devils, a band he had formed at Duke University, to his Band of Renown. He first appeared in film in 1942 in 'Seven Days' Leave'. Among the numerous big names with whom Brown worked through the years were Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole. In 1950 Brown joined Bob Hope in the first of eighteen USO tours and his Band of Renown would remain Hope's orchestra for several decades to come. Brown's was also the house band for the Steve Allen Show (1959 to '61) and the Dean Martin Show (1965 to '72). Brown died of lung cancer in 2001 in Los Angeles, after which Les Brown Jr. assumed leadership of the Band of Renown.

Les Brown Band of Renown   1940

   Let's Be Buddies

      Vocal: Doris Day

   Three At a Table For Two

      Vocal: Doris Day

Les Brown Band of Renown   1949

   I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm

Les Brown Band of Renown   1951


      Film montage   Vocal: Lucy Ann Polk

Les Brown Band of Renown   1963

   Lover, Come Back to Me

      Vocals: Brenda Lee

Les Brown Band of Renown   1983

   Mack the Knife

      Vocals: Henry Butch Stone

   Sing, Sing, Sing


      Vocals: Jo Ann Greer



Birth of Swing Jazz: Louis Jordan

Louis Jordan

Source: Bio



Born in 1908 in Brinkley, Arkansas, bandleader, saxophonist and vocalist Louis Jordan got his big break when Chick Webb invited him to join his gig at the Savoy Ballroom in 1936. Which was great until Jordan developed the notion that Ella Fitzgerald might leave Webb's orchestra to help him form his own band. Webb fired him for the attempt, after which Jordan put his own band together anyway, 'Honey In the Bee Ball' among his first recordings as a bandleader in 1938. From thereon Jordan never missed a beat, enjoying a stellar career that rivaled the likes of Cab Calloway and Count Basie, largely with his band, the Tympany Five, until his death by heart attack in 1975. Not only an important jazz musician, Jordan was a natural to rock & roll later in his career. (For samples of that see Louis Jordan in A Birth of Rock & Roll 1.)

Louis Jordan   1938

   Honey In the Bee Ball

Louis Jordan   1939

   Keep a Knocking But You Can't Come In

Louis Jordan   1944

   Deacon Jones

   Is You Or Is You Ain't My Baby

Louis Jordan   1946


   Don't Worry 'Bout That Mule

   Let the Good Times Roll

Louis Jordan   1947

   Open the Door, Richard!

   Wham, Sam!

      Film: 'Reet, Petite and Gone'   Dancing: Mabel Lee

Louis Jordan   1949

   Beans and Cornbread

Louis Jordan   1951

   You Will Always Have a Friend

Louis Jordan   1956

   Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying



Birth of Swing Jazz: Buddy Rich

Buddy Rich

Source: VK

Born in 1917 in Brooklyn, Buddy Rich was another remarkable drummer who got his start in swing with Joe Marsala in 1937. He first recorded with the Vic Schoen Orchestra in 1938. (For Vic Schoen see the Andrew Sisters in Swing Jazz Song.) He began performing with Tommy Dorsey the same year, entered the world conflict as a Marine in 1942, then rejoined Dorsey in 1946. It was about this time that he put together his first band. While leading his own groups Rich played in other well-regarded bands and was in as high demand as a session musician as one could get. The list of big names with whom he played is too long for this paragraph, though Harry James was major. Rich's favored drum sets were made by Slingerland and Ludwig-Musser. Known for his temper, from January 1983 to January '85, Rich's pianist, Lee Musiker, secretly recorded a number of Rich's tantrums on touring buses or backstage. Though not precisely music to one's ears (and glad my own tantrums were never recorded), those tapes bottom out the index below, revealing a musician frustrated by his own unusually high standards. Explosion that he was, Rich performed nigh to his dying day, passing away in 1987 of heart failure following an operation for a brain tumor.

Buddy Rich   1942

   Ship Ahoy

      Film excerpt   With Eleanor Powell

Buddy Rich   1955

   Barney's Bugle

      With Sweets Edison

   Easy Does It

      With Sweets Edison

   Nice Work If You Can Get It

      With Sweets Edison

   One O'Clock Jump

      With Sweets Edison

   You're Getting To Be A Habit With Me

      With Sweets Edison

   Yellow Rose of Brooklyn

      With Sweets Edison

Buddy Rich   1965

   Drum Solo

      Television broadcast with Jerry Lewis

   Two O'Clock Jump


Buddy Rich   1970

   Drum Solo


Buddy Rich   1972

   Dancing Men

Buddy Rich   1973

   Norwegian Wood

       Live performance

Buddy Rich   1978

   Drum Duet

      The Tonight Show   With Ed Shaughnessy

Buddy Rich   1982

   Bugle Call Rag

Buddy Rich   1983

   The Buddy Tapes



Birth of Swing Jazz: Jimmy Blanton

Jimmy Blanton

Source: Sooze Blues & Jazz


Born in 1918 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, phenomenal double bassist Jimmy Blanton joined the Jeter-Pillars Orchestra upon graduating from college. If he recorded with Jeter and Pillars' band no record of it is found. Briefly afterward Blanton began working with Duke Ellington, with whom he first recorded in November 1939 on Columbia: 'Blues' and 'Plucked Again' (neither found). Blanton's next two recordings with the Duke were in 1940 on Victor: 'Body and Soul' and 'Mr. J.B. Blues'. Unfortunately Blanton's last recording session occurred in September of 1941, prior to commitment to a sanatorium for tuberculosis, of which he died in California in July 1942, only 23 years of age. Blanton is featured with Ellington on all tracks below.

Jimmy Blanton   1940

   Body and Soul

   Ko Ko

   Mellow Tone

   Mr. J.B. Blues

   Pitter Panther Patter

   Sophisticated Lady

Jimmy Blanton   1941

   Jive Rhapsody



Birth of Swing Jazz: Charlie Christian

Charlie Christian

Source: New Vintage Guitars

Born in 1916 in Bonham, Texas, though raised in Oklahoma City, Charlie Christian was too talented to play guitar only to keep rhythm, thus was instrumental in helping to make the guitar a primary solo instrument in modern jazz. He had made a name for himself in the Midwest when he was discovered by Mary Lou Williams. Having switched from acoustic to electric guitar about 1936, Williams referred Christian to record producer, John Hammond, who in turn referred him to Benny Goodman. It's thus Goodman with whom Christian made his debut recordings in 1939. The majority of the examples of Christian below are with Goodman. Playing with all the big names from Buck Clayton to Fletch Henderson to Count Basie to Lionel Hampton, Christian was among the first to employ the electric guitar. (Others were Alvino Rey, George Barnes and T-Bone Walker.) Christian joined Goodman about the middle of the swing era (oft rigidly demarcated from 1935-'46, generally figured in this history from development to decline from 1930-'50) and was quick in pursuit of bebop while with Goodman. Unfortunately he had little opportunity to greater advance, as he died of tuberculosis March 2, 1942. Christian was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.

Charlie Christian   1939

   Flying Home

   I Never Knew

      Trumpet:  Buck Clayton

   Rose Room

       Piano:  Fletcher Henderson

   Roast Turkey Stomp


Charlie Christian   1940

   Poor Butterfly

   With Lionel Hampton

   Till Tom Special

      With Lionel Hampton and Count Basie

Charlie Christian   1945

   Echoes of Harlem



Born in 1916 in Albany, Georgia, trumpeter Harry James had circus personnel for parents, his father a bandleader, and his mother an acrobat and horseback rider, with the Haag Circus. His parents settled in Beaumont, Texas, in 1931 where, at age fifteen, James began playing with local bands. He was with a band led by Herman Waldman when he was discovered by Ben Pollack, whose orchestra he joined in 1935. In 1937 he switched to Benny Goodman's operation, before forming his own band and releasing 'You Made Me Love You' in 1939. James' was the first band of stature to employ Frank Sinatra (1939). In 1942 James filled Glenn Miller's vacant spot on the 'Chesterfield Radio Show' upon Miller joining the Army. In 1946 James dismantled his orchestra, at least partially for financial causes, and put together a smaller ensemble called the Music Makers. Beyond music, James loved horseracing, owned several that won stakes and was an original investor in the Atlantic City Race Track (now Atlantic City Race Course) in New Jersey which first opened in July 1946. (Other investors included Xavier Cugat, Sammy Kaye, Bob Hope and Frank Sinatra). James last performed in 1983 in Los Angeles, nine days before his death in Las Vegas of lymphatic cancer.

Harry James   1939

   You made Me Love You


Harry James  1942

   I Had the Craziest Dream

   I've Heard That Song Before

      With Helen Forrest

Harry James   1945

   It's Been a Long, Long Time

      With Kitty Kallen

Harry James   1952

   You'll Never Know

      With Rosemary Clooney


Birth of Swing Jazz: Harry James

Harry James

Source: The Music's Over


Born Wilbur Schwictenberg in 1912 in Newton, New Jersey, trombonist Will Bradley formed his own orchestra with drummer Ray McKinley in 1939, at which time he changed his name to Bradley. Bradley may be best known for boogie woogie, as after military service during World War II (as a member of Glenn Miller's Air Force band) he had difficulty keeping an orchestra together. For example, while playing in Detroit he lost six musicians all at once to the draft. Giving up, he became a favored session musician, later becoming a member of the Tonight Show Band (Carson era). Via boogie woogie Bradley well represents a bridge between swing jazz and later rock n roll. Bradley died in 1989.

Will Bradley   1940

   Beat me Daddy, Eight to the Bar

      Piano: Freddie Slack

   Down the Road a Piece

      Piano: Freddie Slack

   Rock-A-Bye The Boogie

   Scramble Two

   Scrub me Mama, With a Boogie Beat

Will Bradley   1941

   Chicken Gumboog(ie)


Birth of Swing Jazz: Will Bradley

Will Bradley

Source: Last FM



Born in 1916 in Muscogee, Oklahoma, bandleader and pianist Jay McShann left Oklahoma for the Kansas City music scene in 1936, forming his own orchestra that same year. McShann was drafted in 1944. After the war he hired singer Jimmy Witherspoon in 1945. Several years later his would later be the band that backed Kansas City rocker Priscilla Bowman. McShann made his last recording, 'Hootie Blues', in Toronto, Ontario, in February 2001. He died in 2006 upon a career of more than six decades. More Jay McShann in Blues 4.

Jay McShann   1940

   Lady Be Good

      Saxophone: Charlie Parker

Jay McShann   1941

   Dexter Blues

   Body and Soul

      Saxophone: Charlie Parker

   Hold 'Em Hootie

   Hootie Blues

   Vine Street Blues

Jay McShann   1944

   Come On Over to My House

      Vocal: Julia Lee

Jay McShann   1946

   I Want a Little Girl

      Vocal: Jimmy Witherspoon

Jay McShann   1949

   Hot Biscuits

   Slow Drag Blues

Jay McShann   1981

   Jump the Blues

      Live performance

Jay McShann   2001

   I'll Catch the Sun


Birth of Swing Jazz: Jay McShann

Jay McShann

Source: Kickmag

  Born in 1916 in Pittsburgh, PA, arranger, trumpeter and composer, Billy May, began his career with swing and would come to compose for film and television. His first notable employment was in 1938, arranging for the Charlie Barnet Orchestra (such as Ray Noble's 'Cherokee'), later playing trumpet with the band. Wikipedia has him recording 'The Wrong Idea', 'Lumby' and 'Wings Over Manhattan' with Barnet, but neither session nor release dates are found. May exchanged Barnet for Glenn Miller in 1940, also as an arranger, but now getting featured on trumpet. He performs on muted trumpet on 'Song of the Volga Boatmen', recorded with Miller in 1941. He was also featured on Part 1 of 'Anvil Chorus' that year. 1942 was the year that Miller wrapped up his band to become a World War II pilot (soon to be thusly killed). May then worked with Les Brown a bit before becoming a staff arranger for NBC radio, then Capitol Records. Discogs has May composing the 10" 'Sparky's Magic Piano' in 1948 with pianist, Ray Turner. In 1952 he issued his LP, 'A Band Is Born', containing the track, 'Charmaine'. 'A Big Band Bash' followed the same year. In 1956 May and his orchestra appeared in the film, 'Nightmare'. Among his compositions for television were 'Somewhere in the Night' in 1960 for the 'Naked City' series. He would work with Nelson Riddle for that show. Among the films for which he composed were 'Sergeants 3' ('62) and 'Johnny Cool' ('63). May was also known for his work with Frank Sinatra in the latter fifties and early sixties. Having released nearly thirty albums as a leader or co-leader into the latter seventies, May died in January of 2004 in San Juan Capistrano, California. Per 1948 below, 'Sparky's Magic Piano' is a sample of early composition by May. Piano is Ray Turner. Per 1959 below, 'Just One of Those Things' is a sample of May arranging Cole Porter compositions.

Billy May  1941

  Anvil Chorus

      With Glenn Miller

  Song of the Volga Boatmen

      With Glenn Miller

Billy May  1948

   Sparky's Magic Piano

      Part 1

  Sparky's Magic Piano

      Part 2

  Sparky's Magic Piano

      Part 3

Billy May  1952

  All of Me

      LP: 'A Band Is Born'


      LP: 'A Band Is Born'

  If I Had You

      LP: 'A Band Is Born'

  My Silent Love

      LP: 'A Band Is Born'


      LP: 'Big Band Bash'

Billy May  1956

   The Man with the Golden Arm

Billy May  1958

  Big Fat Brass

      Side 1

  Big Fat Brass

      Side 2

Billy May  1959

  Just One of Those Things

      LP: ''Anita O'Day Swings Cole Porter'

Billy May  1960

  The Odd Couple Theme

Billy May  1962

  Once Again

      LP: 'Process 70'


Birth of Swing Jazz: Billy May

Billy May

Source: Rate Your Music

Lucky Millinder

Source: Black Kudos

Born in 1910 in Anniston, Alabama, bandleader Lucky Millinder was raised in Chicago. He played no instrument but is an important bridge from swing to rock and roll. He began his career as a bandleader in 1932 but didn't record until 1941 with Sister Rosetta Tharpe: 'Trouble In Mind'. It was during his time with Tharpe that Millinder began advancing toward rhythm and blues, hiring Wynonie Harris in 1944, then Ruth Brown. Millinder's band began waning in popularity in the fifties, he having to take a job as a dj in 1952, though he continued to tour and record until 1960. He died in NYC six years later of a liver ailment. More Lucky Millinder in Rock 1.

Lucky Millinder  1941

   Trouble In Mind

      Vocal: Rosetta Tharpe

   Big Fat Mama

      Vocal: Trevor Bacon

   Mason Flyer

Lucky Millinder  1942

   Are You Ready

Lucky Millinder  1943


       Vocal: Trevor Bacon

Lucky Millinder  1950

   Silent George

      Vocal: Myra Johnson



Born in Husum, Sweden, in 1919, pianist, Reinhold Svensson, is a more obscure figure in jazz as a Scandinavian musician. He's a bit peripheral to these histories, but not entirely, as he was an important figure in the development of swing jazz culture in Stockholm, a rather more remote region in Svensson's time than now. He became blind of unknown causes at some time after his birth. He graduated in organ in 1941 from the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. It was that year that he began to appear on vinyl for the Sonora (Swing) label in Sweden: 'Ain't Misbehavin'' and 'Body And Soul'. Another discography shows those released for the Tono label in Denmark as well, as recordings by Sonora often were. 'Rosetta'/'Tea for Two' was issued in 1942 by Sonora. 1944 saw the Sonora issue of 'Jazz Me Blues'/'That's a Plenty', again for Sonora. In 1945 he recorded 'Roses of Picardy' and 'Tango Illusion' with violinist, Ake Jelving, also Sonora. Among other early recordings were titles with Odeon in Stockholm in 1947 and Cupol in Stockholm in '48. Svensson recorded several titles with Sonora in 1949, both solo and with his trio, before he joined Putte Wickman's outfit that year to record on May 24: 'I'm Getting Sentimental Over You'/'Memories Of Paris' and 'I Surrender, Dear'/'There's a Small Hotel', again Sonora. Svensson and Wickman had also performed at the Paris Jazz Festival together that May on the 8th. By 1950 Svensson was among Sweden's main talents on keys, having accomplished Sonora's purpose, to spread swing jazz in Sweden. He'd been a bandleader from 1942 to 1948, but pairing up with Wickman was an especially powerful combination. They were among the names who played at the Nalen nightclub with Wickman's house band, the Nalen being Stockholm's jazz hotbed where musicians from Europe and the United States inevitably performed on tour. Thus Svensson's reputation began to grow internationally, though less so with fans than musicians. By that time Stockholm was producing musicians who could well hold their own with those from the Continent, the U.K. and the U.S.. Svensson performed with Wickman until the latter fifties, after which he expanded into film and theatre. Svensson had also recorded as Ralph Bell in the early fifties. During that period he also issued numerous duets with boogie woogie pianist, Charlie Norman, as Ralph and Bert Berg (Metronome) as well as the Olson Brothers (Metronome and Musica). Svensson died in November of 1968. Per below, the list reflects Svensson's early career and varietal repertoire apart from Wickman, with the track in 1958 lending a taste of what Wickman had been doing at the Nalen.

Reinhold Svensson   1944

  Song of Paradise

    Violin: Einar Groth

  Song of Songs

    Violin: Einar Groth

Reinhold Svensson   1949

  How Deep Is the Ocean

  I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm

Reinhold Svensson   1951

  Flying Home

  I Wished Upon the Moon

Reinhold Svensson   1954

  Den Gula Paviljongen


Reinhold Svensson   1955


Reinhold Svensson   1958

  Softly As In a Morning Sunrise

    Clarinet: Putte Wickman


Birth of Swing Jazz: Reinhold Svensson

Reinhold Svensson

Source: Discogs

Born in 1915 in Pittsburgh, vocalist Billy Eckstine first recorded with Earl Hines in 1942 ('Jelly, Jelly' and 'Stormy Monday Blues'). Eckstine left Hines' orchestra in 1943 to form his own band the next year. Like Frank Sinatra, his major rival, Eckstine would bring jazz crooning into the popular vein and is a bridge from late swing to modern jazz. He recorded his last album with Benny Carter in 1986: 'Billy Eckstine Sings with Benny Carter'. Eckstine died in March of 1993. More of Eckstine under Art Blakey in Jazz 9.

Billy Eckstine   1942

   Stormy Monday Blues

      Original composition: T-Bone Walker    Piano: Earl Hines

Billy Eckstine   1944

   Good Jelly Blues/I Stay In the Mood For You

Billy Eckstine   1945

   I Love The Rhythm In A Riff

   Prisoner of Love

Billy Eckstine   1946

   Cool Breeze

Billy Eckstine   1947

   Blues For Sale

   Everything I Have Is Yours

Billy Eckstine   1948

   Blue Moon

Billy Eckstine   1949


   My Foolish Heart

Billy Eckstine   1950

   I Apologize


Birth of Swing Jazz: Billy Eckstine

Billy Eckstine

Photo: William P. Gottlieb

Source: Time Goes By

Birth of Swing Jazz: Don Fagerquist

Don Fagerquist

Source: Le Coeur Qui Jazze

Born in 1927 in Worcester, Massachusetts, Don Fagerquist was sixteen when he hired on to the band of Mal Hallett in 1943. He joined Gene Krupa's band in 1944, with whom he is thought to have first recorded in November that year as one of four trumpeters in Krupa's band, though he may have played lead. Those were for Columbia: 'What is There To Say' unissued, 'I Walked In (With My Eyes Wide Open)' and 'I'll Remember Suzanne' thought released the same year. Fagerquist continued recording with Krupa until joining Artie Shaw's outfit, again thought to play lead as one of four trumpeters. His first two tracks listed with Shaw's orchestra are 'So Easy' in December of 1949 and 'Fred's Delight' in January 1950 for the Solid Sender label. Another recording of 'So Easy' was also made that January for various labels. While with Shaw's big band he also performed in Shaw's Gramercy Five before joining Woody Herman's band in 1951, followed by Les Brown and the Dave Pell Octet in 1953. Among his most important musical associates in the sixties was Nelson Riddle. One reason Fagerquist isn't in Modern Jazz Trumpet is due his short career, poor health forcing Fagerquist to retire in 1966. He died in California in January 1974.

Don Fagerquist   1944

   I'll Remember Suzanne

      With Gene Krupa and the G-Notes

   I Walked In

       With Gene Krupa

Don Fagerquist   1950

   Fred's Delight

      With Artie Shaw

Don Fagerquist   1950

   Love Is Just Around the Corner

Don Fagerquist   1957

   All the Things You Are

  Easy Living

  Easy to Love

  Lullaby of Broadway

  Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

  The Song Is You

Don Fagerquist   1963

   All The Things You Are

      Ella Fitzgerald & the Nelson Riddle Orchestra


  Born in 1923, Remo Palmier (Palmieri) had originally intended to become an artist, supporting his studies by playing guitar. It was 1942 when he decided to make music his career, forming a trio with guitarist Nat Jaffe and bassist Leo Guarnieri. None of his first four recordings with that trio in 1944 are found for this history: 'Blues In Nat's Flat', 'These Foolish Things', 'A Hundred Years From Today' and 'If I Had You'. While with the Nat Jaffe Trio Palmier worked briefly with sax player Coleman Hawkins  in 1943, then with vibraphonist Red Norvo in 1944. Though Palmier recorded as late as 1985 he is most remembered as a swing musician, due largely to a career as an uncredited accompanist. Indeed, he worked for CBS for 27 years with the Arthur Godfrey Show. In 1952 Palmier changed his name from Palmieri to avoid confusion with the Puerto Rican bandleader, Eddie Palmieri. Upon the cancellation of the Arthur Godfrey Show in 1972 Palmier began playing nightclubs in New York. He continued performing well into the nineties, also teaching guitar. Palmier died in 2002.

Remo Palmier   1944

   Seven Come Eleven

      Vibes: Red Norvo

   Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams

      Clarinet: Barney Bigard

Remo Palmier   1945

   All the Things You Are

      Trumpet: Dizzy Gillespie

   Time After Time

      Vocal: Sarah Vaughan


Birth of Swing Jazz: Remo Palmier

Remo Palmier

Photo: Phil Lindsay

Source: Discogs


With Remo Palmier we pause this history. We will be adding more material as such occurs.




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