Newsletter #43, Sept., 1998, Jan Garber Orchestra as led by Howard Scheider based in Wisconsin
This is TOMMY DORSEY and His Orchestra, volume 1
The Ron Smolen Big Band / Orchestra P.O. BOX 346152 Chicago, Illinois 60634 (773) 545 - 1881 Proudly serving Chicagoland and
the Midwest for over 30 years. Represented by.... Central Booking ----------- Chicago, Illinois Perfect Impressions Ent. --
Springfield, Illinois C.P. Ramer ---------------- Memphis, Tennessee J.C. Promotions ----------- South Bend, Indiana A-1 Entertainment
--------- Skokie, Illinois The Ron Smolen Orchestra is a member of.... A.M.U. American Musicians Union * Dumont, New Jersey
B.B.A.A. Big Band Academy of America * Hollywood, California N.B.E.A. National Ballroom and Entertainment Association * Decorah,
Iowa http://WWW.NBEA.COM The Guy Lombardo Society * Richmond, Virginia http://snow.prohosting.com/lombardo/
The Overtones, Kearney, Missouri
Somers Dream Orchestra
Big Band Live Productions
Big Bands Database
The Territory Bands Database
Monrovia Sound Studio
KC Blues/Jazz Festival 2001
1) Ray Anthony, born 1922, raised in Cleveland, OH; Raymond Antonini played trumpet first with Al
Donahoue in 1938. Enlisted in Navy in 1942. Formed his big band in 1946 and gave it up in 1955. He went on with a small band,
continuing into the 1970s playing club dates.
2) Louis Armstrong, born in New Orleans, Louisiana July 4, 1900. Formed
first band in Chicago in 1927. Usually worked with a six piece Dixieland Band first for dancers and later for listening audiences.
Was in Hollywood pictures and played tours worldwide. Died July 6, 1971.
3) Ben Bernie, born 1891, Benjamin Anzewitz;
violinist, formed his band in 1921. Played the Sherman Hotels College Inn from 1930 through 1933. Long tenure on the east
coast known as Ben Bernies Hotel Roosevelt Orchestra. The band was active until 1940. Died October 20, 1943.
Barnet, born in 1912 into a wealthy southern family; played tenor saxophone, fronted his band in 1933. His first vocalist
was Harry Von Zell. Notable band members were singer Lena Horne and Trumpeter Doc Severeninsen. Gave up his big band in 1958.
Reorganized 7 piece band and played into the 1970s.
5) Blue Barron, born 1911, Harry Friedland. Formed band in 1938
based in Cleveland. His vocalist was Russ Carlyle Band was accused of imitating the Guy Lombardo style. Band active through
6) Count Basie, born August 21, 1904. Formed band in 1935 in Kansas City. Moved to Chicago in 1936. Known
for his simple but swinging piano style. Continued right through post WWII big band decline and performed up to Basies death
on April 26, 1984.
7) Gus Arnheim, born 1897; Formed band in Chicago and moved to Los Angeles in 1928. Returned to
Chicago to the Congress Casino in the 1930s. Notable band members were Stan Kenton, Woody Herman and Fred MacMurray the move
actor; died January 9, 1955.
8) Bunny Berigan, born 1908 in Fox Lake, WI; an outstanding trumpeter; one of a few who
achieved lasting fame. Played for Hal Kemp Orchestra in 1928; formed band in 1936. Health failed and died June 2, 1942.
Will Bradley, born 1912, raised in Newton, NJ, sideman for Artie Shaw in 1928, started first band in 1939 which included Ray
McKinley and Bill Butterfield. The band lost most of its musicians to the war draft in 1942. Performed with a small band after
10) Les Brown, born 1912, received training in music conservatory from 1926 to 1929, Started college band while
attending Duke University from 1932 to 1936. First Big Band in 1938. Vocalist Doris Day, Television programs in 1950s and
band continued into 1960s.
11) Henry Busse, Trumpeter Busse, trained in Germany, came to U.S. and joined Paul Whiteman
in 1918. Formed own band in 1930 and played until Apr. 1955. Died during performance at the Claridge Hotel. Feeling sick,
succombed backstage from a heart attack.
12) Billy Butterfield, Trumpet virtuoso born 1917 in Middleton, OH. Playing
in campus dance bands (from age 13 on) joined Bob Crosby, 1937, then to Artie Shaw in 1940, and Goodman in 1941. Then studio
work until he formed big band in 1946-1947. Then with New York City Jazz Combos (at Nicks). With Saxophonist Flip Phillips
in 1970s. Died Mar. 18, 1988.
13) Bobby Byrne, Trombonist Bobby was born 1918 in Columbus, OH. Starting in 1934, with
the Dorseys, he stayed until 1939, when he formed first big band. Went to Meadowbrook Ballroom (1940), and Glen Island Casino
(1941). 3 years in Army, he reorganized in 1946. Led small band with TV work. Quit 1954.
14) Cab Calloway, Cabell
Calloway born Dec. 25, 1907, in Rochester, NY. Started in 1930 at New Yorks Cotton Club. Became very popular later in life,
when starred in movie, The Blues Brothers. Died Nov. 18, 1994.
15) Frankie Carle, Born 1903. Talented Pianist began
career 1918. Played with Mal Hallett and Horace Heidt before forming own band at Caf Rouge in New Yorks Hotel Pennsylvania
in 1944. Daughter Marjorie Hughes was his vocalist. Cut down to 5 pieces after 1950. Retired from club dates in 1967.
Benny Carter, Born 1907. Played trumpet and tenor sax. Starting in 1920, worked up through bands until 1928 when arranging
for Ellington. Formed big band then, and worked at New Yorks Arcadia Ballroom until 1935. Working in England and Europe until
1938. Back in the U.S., big band folded in 1941. Still performing with small combos.
17) Carmen Cavallaro, Born 1913.
Was a classical pianist and played in Rudy Vallees Band. Formed own small unit in 1936. Was still active in 1950s.
Bob Chester, Born 1908. Tenor sax player raised in wealthy family in Detroit. Played with Russ Morgan before forming first
band, which failed its first job at Detroit Athletic Club. Tommy Dorsey rescued him by getting him engagements in some better
ballrooms in 1940. Copying Miller style, band was successful during the war years.
19) Larry Clinton, Born 1909 in
Brooklyn. Trumpeter Larry started with Ferde Grofe in 1932. Was arranger 1933-1937. Formed own band in 1938. Went into Airforce
in 1942. Back to work in 1948 and disbanded in 1950. Singer was Bea Wain. Larry entered the recording business. Died May 2,
20) Coon-Sanders, Carleton Coon and Joe Sanders formed successful jazz band in Kansas City in 1920. Popularity
was achieved from location in Muehlebach Hotel. Broadcasting on WDAF after 1921. Went into Blackhawk Restaurant in 1926. Coon
died 1932. Sanders died 1965. Band played until 1950.
21) Bob Crosby, Born 1913. Fronted band as vocalist. Dance band
specialized in Dixieland jazz. Active in 1930s until 1942 when disbanded. Formed again in 1946 and lasted until 1950. Notable
members at different times, were Trumpeters Billy Butterfield, Muggsy Spanier, and Pianist Jess Stacy. Died Mar. 9, 1993.
22) Xavier Cugat, Born 1900 in Spain and specialized in Latin-American music. Started career as violinist with Phil
Harris. Started own band in 1930 and was based in Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Band was active through 1940s. 4 marriages included
Abbe Lane and Charo.
23) Meyer Davis, Born in 1895. Was pianist playing in own band after formed in 1925. Became famous
as booking agent, supplying bands performing under his name. These were One Night Stand bands, using musicians picked up from
union locals closest to the job. Advised these musicians dont shake hands on the bandstand. Died Apr. 5, 1976.
Al Donohue, Born in Boston. Was song writer and arranger for many big bands. Formed own band in 1938 and played through 1940s.
Vocalist was Paula Kelly. Died Feb. 20, 1983.
25) Jimmy Dorsey, Born Feb. 29, 1904 in Shenandoah, PA. Brother Tommy
walked out of Dorsey Brothers Band in 1935. Jimmy performed band under his name. Fronted band, playing alto saxophone. Died
Jun. 12, 1957 from throat cancer.
26) Tommy Dorsey, Born 1905 in PA. Fronted own band in 1935, playing trombone. Band
was successful, using arrangements by Si Oliver. Choked to death while asleep at night on Nov. 26, 1956. Trumpeter Lee Castle
took over temporarily until replaced by Warrin Covington. Played into 1960s.
27) Eddy Duchin, Born 1910. Pianist Eddy
began career with Leo Reisman before starting own band in 1931. Was active in 1930s and 1940s. Died of Leukemia on Feb. 9,
1951. Tradition carried on by son, Peter Duchin, also a pianist.
28) Sonny Dunnham, Born 1914 in Brockton, MA.
Elmer Dunnham was one of very few trumpet players doubling on trombone. Beginning 1930, played first with Paul Tremaine. Then
with Glen Gray in 1932. Fronted own band in 1940. Band lasted 5 years. Went with Tommy Dorsey in 1951.
29) Les Elgart,
Born 1918 in New Haven, CN. Trumpeter Les worked from 1935-1945 with name bands. Started own band in 1945. Became Les and
Larry Elgart in 1953. Then Larry in 1958, when Les retired to CA.
30) Duke Ellington, Born 1899 in Washington, D.C.
Played piano for various bands from 1918-1926. Band existed from 1926-1974, the year of Edward Kennedy Ellingtons death. Band
was so well coordinated that they responded to tempo of Ellingtons intro on piano without use of a 4-count downbeat. Died
31) Shep Fields, Born 1910. Discovered rippling rhythm sound, while sipping glass of Coca-Cola in restaurant
in Rockford, IL. Scene of one of his one night stands started in 1934, as sax playing leader. Settled at Palmer House in Chicago.
Active through 1950s. Died 1981.
32) Ted Fio Rito, Born 1900. Started playing piano for various bands around
Detroit. Formed own band in 1922 in Chicago. Betty Grable was vocalist for a time in 1933. Band was active through 1940s.
One of his attractions was vocalist, Candy Candido. Died Jul. 22, 1971.
33) Ralph Flanagan, Born 1919 in Lorain, OH.
Was pianist for Sammy Kaye in late 1930s. Then arranged for name bands, all during 1940s. Hired by RCA Victor People in 1948
to write Glenn Miller Arrangements. Then formed big band to play these until 1956, when cut down to small band, which continued
34) Chuck Foster, Chuck Fodi had territory band in Midwest, based in Chicago, playing at Aragon and
Trianon Ballrooms. Played in 1940s.
35) Jan Garber, Known as the idol of the airlanes. Long popular dance band leader,
was active from 1921-1960s, when still traveled many weeks out of each year. Patterned sax section on that of Guy Lombardo,
which accounted for his popularity. Majority of his activity was in Midwest.
36) Benny Goodman, Born 1909 in Chicago.
Started playing clarinet in Art Kassels Band in 1925. Formed own band in 1934. Active until 1961. Continued with smaller groups.
Assembled his big band, once again, for recording session in 1986. Died a few months later.
37) Glen Gray, Born 1906.
First played alto sax around Detroit in 1925. Took the name Casa Loma Orchestra from a canadian night club, which never opened
for his scheduled booking in 1929. Band worked until 1945. Was revived in 1950, using studio musicians to record name band
favorites. Died Aug. 23, 1963.
38) Larry Green, Had society band, similar to that of Meyer Davis, but active in Boston
area. Band was active in Mid-1940s and 50s. Larry was pianist.
39) Jimmy Grier, Born 1902. Clarinetist Grier formed
band in CA in 1930. Band became well known through radio broadcasts in 1930s. Was co-writer of the tune, the Object of My
Affection. Band was active during 1930-1936. Died Jun. 4, 1959.
40) Mal Hallet, Born 1893. Worked in Europe on a tour
of France during war years, 1914-1918. Returned to Boston and worked with various bands as violinist, until forming own unit
in 1930. Members included at times, Frankie Carle and Gene Krupa. Band was active until 1945. Died Nov. 20, 1952.
Lionel Hampton, Born 1913. Started in 1928 in Chicago. Joined Benny Goodman in 1930s and 1940s as vibraharpist. Started own
band in 1940. Members were Bassist Charles Mingus, and Singers Dinah Washington and Joe Williams. Band was still active in
42) Erskine Hawkins, Born 1914. Starting from Alabama State College, Trumpeter Hawkins formed own band in 1935.
Composer of the tune, Tuxedo Junction, broke up his big band in 1955. Switched to four piece combo in 1960 and played sporadically
43) Horace Heidt, Born 1901. Started band in Oaklands Athens Club in 1927. Followed the Lombardo style,
differing only with the leading sound of electric guitarist, Alvino Rey, until he left in 1938. Was not talented as instrumentalist.
Gave up band in 1945 and retired to CA in 1957. Died 1986.
44) Fletcher Henderson, Born 1897. Formed band at Roseland
Ballroom in 1924. As pianist leader of popular jazz band, also wrote many arrangements for name bands in 1930s. 1941 was last
year for his big band. Died Dec. 29, 1952.
45) Woody Herman, Born 1913 in Milwaukee. Played sax from age of 9, first
in vaudeville. Fronted his bands, playing clarinet, with first big band formed in 1936. Popularity was insured with members
Stan Getz and Bill Harris. Bands were active in 1980s. Died 1987.
46) Tiny Hill, At 350 lbs., ran a territory band,
playing dance halls throughout the Midwest. Active in late 1930s-1950s. Popularity achieved due to his rendition of the tune,
47) Earl Hines, Pianist Fatha Hines was born 1905 in Duquesne, PA. Worked with Armstrong in 1927. Left Louie
and formed own band, based in Chicagos Grand Terrace Caf. Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie were with him in 1940s. Disbanded
in 1947, the big band formed again in 1964. Died 1983.
48) Eddy Howard, Was vocalist with Dick Jurgens Band for 6
years before 1940. Band was formed in 1940 and was active through 1950s. Band was based in Chicago. Died May 3, 1963.
Ina Ray Hutton, Born 1916 in Chicago. Started an all girl swing band in 1935, which lasted until 1939. Led an all male band
for one year in 1940. Made television appearances through the 1960s. Died Feb. 21, 1984 at age of 68.
50) Harry James,
Born 1916. Was taught to play trumpet at age of 9 by his father. Circus trumpeter in TX. First dance band experience was at
age of 13. After time with Benny Goodman, started own band in 1935. Band was active until death Jul. 5, 1983.
Isham Jones, Born 1894 in Coalton, OH. Started band in 1920 and was based in Chicago. Was probably the best dance band in
existence before 1936. Band failed in late 1930s in spite of his excellent tenor sax playing. Comeback attempt
53) Dick Jurgens
54) Art Kassel
55) Sammy Kaye
56) Hal Kemp
57) Stan Kenton
58) Wayne King
59) Andy Kirk
60) Gene Kupra
61) Kay Kyser
62) Nick Larocca
64) Little Jack Little
65) Guy Lombardo
66) Johnny Long
67) Vincent Lopez
69) Abe Lyman
70) Wingy Manone
71) Ralph Marterie
72) Freddie Martin
74) Clyde McCoy
75) Hal McIntyre
76) Ray McKinley
77) Vaughn Monroe
79) Buddy Morrow
80) Red Nichols
81) Ray Noble
82) Red Norvo
84) Will Osborne
85) Tony Pastor
86) Ben Pollack
87) Teddy Powell
89) Louie Prima
90) Boyd Raeburn
91) Leo Reisman
92) Alvino rey
93) Jan Savitt
94) Raymond Scott
95) Artie Shaw
96) Bobby Sherwood
97) Whispering Jack Smith
99) Charlie Spivak
100) Freddy Slack
101) Jack Teagarden
102) Claude Thornhill
103) Frankie Trumbauer
104) Orrin Tucker
105) Rudy Vallee
106) Fats Waller
108) Lu Watters
109) Anson Weeks
110) Ted Weems
111) Lawrence Welk
113) Griff Williams