Big Band & Swing News

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

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

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

‘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