The Pint-sized Songstress of Pittsburgh – Maxine Sullivan

At 4 foot 11 inches tall and weighing a mere 82 pounds, her diminutive size could hardly be considered imposing. But the moment she began to sing, she brought everything to a standstill- and became the biggest talent in the room. Performing before a crowd of over 20,000 people at a memorial concert for the … Continue reading The Pint-sized Songstress of Pittsburgh – Maxine Sullivan

Artie Shaw: The Temperamental Grumpyman of Swing

If bandleader Tommy Dorsey was known as “The Sentimental Gentleman of Swing”, then fellow bandleader Artie Shaw well could have deserved the moniker “The “Temperamental Grumpyman of Swing”. Widely regarded as one of jazz’s finest clarinetists alongside performers like Benny Goodman, Shaw led one of the most popular big bands of the late ‘30s and … Continue reading Artie Shaw: The Temperamental Grumpyman of Swing

“Mrs. Swing” Rocks the House – The Story of Mildred Bailey

It was a typical New York evening… that January of 1944. The Metropolitan Opera House at 1411 Broadway in Manhattan had played host to many talented artists and vocalists. Enrico Caruso, Lawrence Tibbett and Conductor Arturo Toscanini had all graced its stage. But on that cold 18th of January in 1944, the Metropolitan Opera House … Continue reading “Mrs. Swing” Rocks the House – The Story of Mildred Bailey

Swingin’ High – The Bibulous Bunny Berigan

He was a musical child prodigy admired by the likes of Louis Armstrong and Harry James. His talent on the trumpet helped propel bandleaders like Benny Goodman to fame. But his love of liquor ultimately paved the way to a tragic ending for this electrifying musician of the 1930’s. Bunny Berigan was a handsome musician … Continue reading Swingin’ High – The Bibulous Bunny Berigan

It Had To Be You – Vocalist Dick Haymes

When big band aficionados gather to discuss their favorite crooners of the Big Band period, inevitably three names come up. Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Argentinian-born Dick Haymes. Haymes was perhaps one of the most popular vocalists of the 1940’s and 1950’s. Born to Irish and British parents in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1918, his … Continue reading It Had To Be You – Vocalist Dick Haymes

Arranger & Musical King Maker: The Jerry Gray Story

When musicians debate the question of which were the biggest hits to emerge from the big band era, inevitably two titles come to the forefront: Artie Shaw’s “Begin the Beguine” and Glenn Miller’s “A String of Pearls”.  Ironically, neither of these two songs, both of which became million sellers, might never have become hits were … Continue reading Arranger & Musical King Maker: The Jerry Gray Story

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