A Man With A Horn – Harry James

He was a driving force behind Benny Goodman’s success. He launched the career of singer Frank Sinatra. And during the 40’s he married the most famous “Pin-up Girl” of the Second World War. Trumpeter and Bandleader Harry James began his music career playing in a traveling circus with his father in Texas. Later, Harry joined … Continue reading A Man With A Horn – Harry James

Broadcasting From A Bunker: Jay Lawrence’s Love of Big Bands

It is often said we remember where we were and what we were doing when the milestones of life occur. Your first kiss. That marriage proposal. The birth of your first child. But for many presenters, that time when the broadcasting bug first “bit” seems elusive.  You just somehow always instinctively knew you were destined … Continue reading Broadcasting From A Bunker: Jay Lawrence’s Love of Big Bands

That “Sentimental Gentleman” of Swing

Trombonist and band leader Tommy Dorsey (or simply “TD” as many of his friends called him) was arguably one of the most important musical ‘influencers’ of the Big Band Era. Known to many as the “Sentimental Gentleman of Swing”, he gave a start to many fine vocalists including Frank Sinatra, Dick Haymes and the Pied … Continue reading That “Sentimental Gentleman” of Swing

Pearl Bailey – An American Treasure

Vocalist. Actress. Ambassador. An American Treasure. That, in part, describes the life and talent of singer Pearl Bailey. Born in Newport News, Virginia at the end of World War One, her father was a pastor and her brother Bill a professional tap dancer. From an early age, Pearl had a talent for singing and often … Continue reading Pearl Bailey – An American Treasure

African-American Jazz & Swing Artists during Black History Month

Surrounded by shelves containing vintage recordings and a desk filled with various radio broadcasting apparatus, Craig Roberts gestured toward a stack of 78RPM records, “there sits some rare Ella Fitzgerald recordings for our 100th birthday tribute to the Queen of Jazz!”, he said with obvious pride. Roberts, who says his age is “the same as … Continue reading African-American Jazz & Swing Artists during Black History Month

Jazz by the Numbers: Neil Sheldon’s Equation for Great Music

It’s a little past 5 O’clock in the morning when I am startled out of a deep slumber by the clamor of the phone ringing. I fumble for the receiver in the darkness and mutter a half-hearted hello. A friend from the east coast is calling, clearly oblivious to the three hour time difference in … Continue reading Jazz by the Numbers: Neil Sheldon’s Equation for Great Music

Louis Prima Vocalist & Spouse Keely Smith Passes

Keely Smith, who made a name for herself as vocalist for big band legend Louis Prima, has passed at the age of 89. The wife of New Orleans-born swing trumpeter and singer Louis Prima (1910-1978), Smith became a household name when together they became the hottest act in Las Vegas in the 1950’s. The vocalist … Continue reading Louis Prima Vocalist & Spouse Keely Smith Passes

‘Hooked On Swing’ Leader Larry Elgart Passes

Larry Elgart, best known to younger generations as the musical genius behind the ‘Hooked On Swing’ hits and co-founder of the Elgart Big Band, has passed. The alto saxophone player worked with some of the most popular big bands of the era, including that of Tommy Dorsey, Red Norvo, Woody Herman, and Charlie Spivak. The … Continue reading ‘Hooked On Swing’ Leader Larry Elgart Passes

Vocalist Bea Wain dies at 100

Bea Wain, former lead vocalist with Larry Clinton’s Orchestra and wife of famed radio announcer Andre Baruch, has died at her home in in Beverly Hills, California. The singer died at the age of 100 of congestive heart failure, according to her daughter, Bonnie Barnes. Wain was born in New York and began her singing … Continue reading Vocalist Bea Wain dies at 100

Gatsby Summer Afternoon Takes Attendees ‘Back In Time’

It feels like a giant time machine. For one afternoon each second Sunday in September, the lawn of an historic estate near San Francisco is transformed into Long Island, New York in the 1920’s. While it seems like a page right out of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s famed 1925 novel, “The Great Gatsby”, it is in … Continue reading Gatsby Summer Afternoon Takes Attendees ‘Back In Time’