Jan Garber – The Idol Of The Airwaves

One of the longest careers by a bandleader would have to be the one enjoyed by Jan Garber, who was sometimes billed as 'The Idol of the Airwaves' during his early radio days*. He was barely an adult when he led his first group and was still directing musicians nearly six decades later, almost up … Continue reading Jan Garber – The Idol Of The Airwaves

Betty Jane Rhodes Had A Roller Coaster Career

She was just 15 when she first sang in a Hollywood film, and within a year was co-starring in two Jungle Jim movies, but in spite of her early start Betty Jane Rhodes had plenty of ups and downs over the course of her career. She managed to find spots in a number of films … Continue reading Betty Jane Rhodes Had A Roller Coaster Career

Machito And His Brother-In-Law

We haven't featured Latin jazz in quite a while, and even though the subject might bring to mind guys like Xavier Cugat, Perez Prado, and Tito Puente, there were many others who were a big part of the history of the music. The popular bandleader known as Machito was an early star who had a … Continue reading Machito And His Brother-In-Law

Johnny Guarnieri – Small Hands But Big Talent

I don't play the piano. I tried to learn once but gave up on it. But one thing I do remember is how difficult it was to make my fingers cover all the territory they needed to -- and I have big hands. That made it even more amazing to me when I learned that … Continue reading Johnny Guarnieri – Small Hands But Big Talent

Hal McIntyre Got A Boost From Glenn MIller

Glenn Miller was one of the biggest names around during the the big band era, and he remained an iconic figure even after his tragic death near the end of World War II. But he was also a good friend to many, as Hal McIntye could have attested. Miller not only encouraged his band-mate to … Continue reading Hal McIntyre Got A Boost From Glenn MIller

The Good Fortune Of Lucky Millinder

There's not much information around about how bandleader 'Lucky' Millinder got his nickname. It's possible that it was just a natural progression from his given name of Lucius, but you could make a case that there might be another reason. Even though he sang a little, Lucky Millinder did not play an instrument and couldn't … Continue reading The Good Fortune Of Lucky Millinder

Anatomy Of A Song – It Had To Be ME?

Isham Jones kept pretty busy in the 1920s and 1930s as the leader of a popular orchestra, but years later his legacy is more about his songwriting ability. He was the composer of a number of familiar songs, among them "I'll See You In My Dreams," "There Is No Greater Love," and our Anatomy of … Continue reading Anatomy Of A Song – It Had To Be ME?

Luis Russell Missed The Fame Express

Although there were a lot of orchestras around in the late 1920s and they were playing everything from ballroom music to dixieland, a new style was beginning to evolve. Ironically, 'hot' jazz became the coolest thing around, and its rising popularity soon led to the beginning of the big band era, a period that would … Continue reading Luis Russell Missed The Fame Express

Art Mooney Found The Magic Formula

Bandleader Art Mooney led one of the most popular orchestras around during the post-war years, but his biggest success came after he changed styles. He'd led a solid swing band for a few years, but found the magic formula to widespread popularity when he changed to a feel-good type of music, one that featured sweet … Continue reading Art Mooney Found The Magic Formula

The Many Talents Of Art Lund

You might or might not remember Art Lund, but I'm willing to bet that you'd recognize his 1947 chart-topping "Mam’selle" if you heard it. (And you can, below.) But Lund was in no way a one-hit wonder. He was actually a multi-talented guy with a long performing life that began with success as a big-band … Continue reading The Many Talents Of Art Lund