Jimmie Lunceford Was The Real Thing

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

The Two Eras Of Enoch Light

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

What If Saxophones Had Never Been Invented?

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?

Una Mae Met Fats And Sparks Flew

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

Buddy Greco’s Benny Goodman Moment

How talented would a 16-year-old musician in the early 1940's have had to be to grab the attention of Benny Goodman? And not only that, but to then have the King of Swing offer him a job as pianist, singer, and arranger with the biggest of the big bands? That teenager was Buddy Greco, and … Continue reading Buddy Greco’s Benny Goodman Moment

Old Radio Dog Finds New Bone

Something a little different today. (Although if you haven't been here lately you might have already noticed that the GMC itself is kind of different these days.) Regular visitors might remember that I've mentioned several times in the past that I spent a few years in the 60's working as a radio DJ. (Here's the … Continue reading Old Radio Dog Finds New Bone

Stay Away, Sleep Monster!

I found a new word the other day that I've really taken a liking to because it seems to fit me so well. An ultracrepidarian is someone who babbles on endlessly about things that they know very little about. That's me. . .just ask Mrs. BG. At the very least, it's good to know that … Continue reading Stay Away, Sleep Monster!

The Harlem Hamfats Would Be Riding High

The FCC has been in the news lately because of the repeal of net neutrality, but in California it might turn out that a lot more attention is being paid to the BCC, the Bureau of Cannabis Control. Nope, you're not dreaming, folks; bureaucracy has caught up to marijuana, which becomes legal for personal use … Continue reading The Harlem Hamfats Would Be Riding High

The Sound Of Royal Sax

A while back I posted a piece about a pair of 1960's combos with very similar names -- Tornados and Tornadoes -- but today it's a different kind of name thing. If you're at all interested in jazz, you might have run across a great saxophonist who worked with everybody from Ellington to Basie to … Continue reading The Sound Of Royal Sax

Barney Bigard Chose The Clarinet

Regular visitors to the GMC might remember that I once played the clarinet myself, and that probably contributes to my fondness for spotlighting clarinetists from the past. (The real thing, not hapless amateurs like me.) One of the best was Barney Bigard, whose career began in the 1920s and stretched for a half-century -- even … Continue reading Barney Bigard Chose The Clarinet