Does anyone remember when some of the famous big bands would be taken over by a relatively unknown leader when the star retired or died? An example that comes to mind is when Glenn Miller was lost over the English Channel in 1944 and saxophonist/vocalist Tex Beneke took over. It was billed as Tex Beneke … Continue reading Ghost Bands Could Be Scary Good
This edition of Anatomy of a Song features a selection that revisits the iconic songwriting team of the Gershwins. It was the last song written by George Gershwin before his death in 1937, and brother Ira then added the lyrics as a tribute to his sibling. Although the song didn't get a lot of attention … Continue reading Anatomy Of A Song – About Staying Power
Early jazz era bandleader Jimmie Lunceford was mentioned in an earlier piece about the Cotton Club but I thought we should dig a little deeper into his story. After all, he was one of the best, even if his star has dimmed a little in the many years since his heyday. Born on a Mississippi … Continue reading Jimmie Lunceford Was The Real Thing
Once again I've discovered that something I'd always more or less ignored is actually a pretty good idea. I have a habit of doing that, unfortunately. When something new comes along I tend to think it's just a fad, and has nothing to offer me. I guess I'm the opposite of an early adopter. . … Continue reading A New Way To Listen
(Note: this is the last post I had ready to go before my hospital adventure. From now on I'll have to come up with some new ones, so wish me luck! BG) A good friend of mine, who has been gone for many years now, had a working vintage jukebox in his living room. But … Continue reading Jukeboxes I Have Known
I can remember hearing music by Enoch Light's orchestra many times through the years, but I now realize that I always had a few misconceptions about him. By the time I started noticing him in the 1950s and 1960s he was known as someone who specialized in cutting-edge music, and as a pioneer in producing … Continue reading The Two Eras Of Enoch Light
Some people say there's no such thing as a coincidence, mostly because they believe that things happen for a reason, either fate or a higher power. Logical statisticians will tell you that random pairings will always occur in large numbers of events. As for me, I'm not too sure how they happen but I believe … Continue reading Are Airships In Our Future?
I always thought Bent Fabric -- the pianist and composer who had a big hit with "Alley Cat" in 1962 -- had picked a strange stage name, one that sounded like a folded piece of cloth. But it turns out that it's almost his real name. The Danish-born musician, who is now in his nineties … Continue reading Yes, Bent Fabric Is For Real
I've mentioned a few times before that I played the clarinet as a kid (and compared myself to Benny Goodman) but I've also always had a fondness for the sound of a saxophone. I've never played one -- it was all I could do to manage the clarinet -- but I had a couple of … Continue reading What If Saxophones Had Never Been Invented?
An early jazz entertainer and songwriter, Una Mae Carlisle had a world of talent and a dazzling stage presence, all of which helped her become a popular star. Unfortunately her career was shortened by health problems, but for two decades she was a very successful part of the music scene. And it in no way … Continue reading Una Mae Met Fats And Sparks Flew