ARTISTS & PERFORMERS

Artist Photo Artist Bio
Russ Colombo (January 14, 1908 – September 2, 1934), was an American baritone, songwriter, violinist and actor. He is famous for romantic ballads such as his signature tune "You Call It Madness, But I Call It Love" and his own compositions "Prisoner of Love" and "Too Beautiful For Words." Columbo was born in Camden, New Jersey, the twelfth child of Italian immigrant parents, Nicola and Giulia (Julia) Colombo. He attended Everett Grammar School and started playing the violin at a very young age and debuted professionally at the age of 13. By 1... Continue reading
Russ Morgan (April 29, 1904 – August 7, 1969) was a big band orchestra leader and musical arranger in the United States during the 1930s and 1940s. He was one of the composers of "You're Nobody till Somebody Loves You". At fourteen, Morgan earned extra money as a pianist in a theater in Scranton. He also purchased a trombone and learned to play it. In 1921, he played trombone with a local band, the Scranton Sirens, which became popular in Pennsylvania during the 1920s. Besides Morgan, several of its members later became famous, including Jimm... Continue reading
Sammy Kaye (March 13, 1910 – June 2, 1987), was an American bandleader and songwriter, whose tag line, "Swing and sway with Sammy Kaye", became one of the most famous of the Big Band Era. His signature tune was "Harbor Lights". Kaye, born in Lakewood, Ohio, graduated from Rocky River High School in Rocky River, Ohio. Kaye could play the saxophone and the clarinet, but he never featured himself as a soloist on either one. A leader of one of the so-called "Sweet" bands of the Big Band Era, he made a large number of records for Vocalion Records,... Continue reading
Shep Fields (September 12, 1910 – February 23, 1981) was the band leader for the "Shep Fields and His Rippling Rhythm" orchestra during the Big Band era of the 1930s. He was born in Brooklyn, New York on September 12, 1910. He played the clarinet and tenor sax in bands during college. In 1931 he played at the Roseland Ballroom. By 1933 he led a band that played at Grossinger's Catskill Resort Hotel. In 1934 he replaced the Jack Denny Orchestra at the Hotel Pierre in New York City. In 1936 he was booked at Chicago's Palmer House, and the conce... Continue reading
Stan Kenton (December 15, 1911 – August 25, 1979) was an American jazz pianist, composer, and arranger who led an innovative, influential, and often controversial jazz orchestra. Kenton learned piano as a child, and while still a teenager toured with various bands. Kenton played in the 1930s in the dance bands of Vido Musso and Gus Arnheim, but his natural inclination was as a band leader. In June 1941 he formed his first orchestra, which later was named after his theme song "Artistry in Rhythm". A competent pianist, influenced by Earl Hines,... Continue reading
Ted Heath (March 30, 1902 – November 18, 1969) was a British musician and big band leader. He led Britain's greatest post-war big band recording more than 100 albums which sold over 20 million copies. Considered the most successful band in Britain during the 1950s, it remained in existence as a ghost band long after Heath died. His first real band gig was with an American band on tour in Europe – the Southern Syncopation Orchestra – which had an engagement in Vienna, Austria and needed a trombone player. The drummer for this band, Benny P... Continue reading
Ted Lewis (June 6, 1890 – August 25, 1971), was an American entertainer, bandleader, singer, and musician. He fronted a band and touring stage show that presented a combination of jazz, comedy, and nostalgia that was a hit with the American public before and after World War II. He was known by the moniker "Mr. Entertainment" or Ted "Is Everybody Happy?" Lewis. He first recorded in 1917 with Earl Fuller's Jazz Band, and by 1919, Lewis was leading his own band, and had a recording contract with Columbia Records, which marketed him as their answ... Continue reading
Tex Beneke (February 12, 1914 – May 30, 2000) was an American saxophonist, singer, and bandleader. Beneke started playing saxophone when he was nine, going from soprano to alto to tenor saxophones and staying with the latter. His first professional work was with bandleader Ben Young in 1935, but it was when he joined the Glenn Miller Orchestra three years later that his career hit its stride. Krupa knew that Glenn Miller was forming a band and recommended Beneke, and Miller immediately made Beneke his primary tenor sax soloist and Beneke play... Continue reading
Tommy Dorsey (November 19, 1905 – November 26, 1956) was an American jazz trombonist, composer, conductor and bandleader of the Big Band era. He was known as the "Sentimental Gentleman of Swing", because of his smooth-toned trombone playing. Although he was not known for being a notable soloist, his technical skill on the trombone gave him renown amongst other musicians. He was the younger brother of bandleader Jimmy Dorsey. After Dorsey broke with his brother in the mid-1930s, he led an extremely popular and highly successful band from the l... Continue reading
Tony Pastor (October 26, 1907 – October 31, 1969) was an Italian American novelty singer and tenor saxophonist who began playing saxophone when he was 16. He played tenor sax with John Cavallaro (1927), Irving Aaronson (1928–30), and Austin Wylie (1930), then opened his own night club in Hartford, Connecticut and led the band there for three years. After that, he played with Smith Ballew (1934), Joe Venuti, Paul Fredricks, Vincent Lopez, and Artie Shaw's first (1936–37) and second (1937–39) orchestras. In November 1939 when Shaw walked ... Continue reading