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We Remember Duke

Duke Ellington is one of my favorite composers, bandleaders and jazz icons. I have been collecting Ellington music for a long while first on vinyl albums then on cd's and now mp3s. Since I have a pretty extensive collection I can share his music with my listeners. Duke passed away on May 24th 1974 so I am a few weeks late with this program. I always like to remember Duke either on his birthday or on the day of his passing. To remember Duke I picked the year of 1940 to focus on. It was a...


We Remember Doris Part 2

For part two of our Doris Day tribute, I am going to wind up with some of the great Les Brown recordings and then play a few of her own recordings and then wind up with a radio remote from 09-20-1945 on the One Night Stand program. It is a program featuring Les Brown with Doris Day on the vocals. Doris is featured on two or three numbers and Brown band is in top form. I didn't do much announcing on this show since on last week's show I did a lot while talking about Doris' career. The Big...


We Remember Doris Part 1

Doris Day - whenever I hear her name I think of the many movies she starred in. But she was a very gifted vocalist whose first hits were made while she was a member of the Les Brown Orchestra. We lost Doris a few weeks ago, she was 97 years old. But thankfully we have the many recordings she made throughout her career. On this program, part one of two, I'll be featuring many of the songs that Doris recorded with the Band of Renown. We'll also take a look at her career from her youth in...


Memorial Day with the Victory Parade of Spotlight Bands

Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country's armed forces. In 1941, the Mutual Radio Network had the idea of broadcasting Swing Bands remotely from various halls around the country. Coca Cola was sold on the idea, and the first edition of Spotlight Bands was broadcast just days before Pearl Harbor. Patriotism is front and center and the music is hot! And it was on Spotlight Bands/Victory Parade. Benny Goodman,...


Remembering Patty Andrews and Paul Tanner

This is a show that I produced shortly after the passing of Patty Andrews and Paul Tanner. Paul was the last surviving member of the Glenn Miller Orchestra at the time of his death. Patty was of the singing Andrews Sisters. I pulled this show out of the Big Band Bash archives as I did not have time to produce a new show for this week. This show contains a radio remote featuring the Andrews Sisters with the Glenn Miller Orchestra. There is some great music in this show and I hope you enjoy...


The Music of World War II Part 2

On Big Band Bash this week we will continue with part 2 of the "Music of World War 2". Some of the artists we'll be hearing from today are Bing Crosby, Tommy Dorsey, Kay Kyser, Nat King Cole, Freddy Martin, Jimmy Dorsey, and Charlie Spivak. These were the songs that our men in the service were listening to as they headed into battle. World War 2 changed the big bands. During this time there were recording bans and out of this the vocalists became very popular. Also, because of gas...


The Music of World War II Part 1

A few months ago I had a request to do a program on the music of World War II. I did a program on this several years ago so I went into the Big Band Bash vault and pulled out this two part program. Produced in 2011, this program has some great songs from the years of 1940 to 1945. This was before I started the Big Band puzzler so that will be back soon. I hope you enjoy this nostalgic look at some of the songs that inspired us during the war years. I will have a new program in a couple of...


The Music of Jimmy McHugh

Jimmy McHugh was an American composer. One of the most prolific songwriters from the 1920s to the 1950s, he is credited with over 500 songs. One of the most important songwriting partners McHugh had was lyricist Dorothy Fields, with whom he wrote "I Can't Give You Anything but Love" (1928), "On the Sunny Side of the Street" (1930), and "I'm in the Mood for Love" (1935). We will be taking a look at the career and listening to many of his hit songs on the program today. If you are a fan of...


They Passed Too Soon

The Bandleaders from the swing era led an exciting life or so I thought. Living their lives on the road was a perilous existence. Some died in car crashes while other developed illnesses while they were still young. Today's program focuses on bandleaders who passed from the scene much too soon. We'll be learning about Hal Kemp, Bennie Moten, Jan Savitt, Bunny Berigan, and others as we play a couple of numbers by each leader. Also, the Big Band Puzzler is back with another question to test...


Freddie and Russ

Freddy Martin was an American bandleader and tenor saxophonist. He led a band for many years in the 1930's but his real success came in 1941 with an arrangement from the first movement of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 in Bb Minor. Martin recorded the piece instrumentally, but soon lyrics were put in and it was re-cut as "Tonight We Love" with Clyde Rogers' vocal – becoming his biggest hit. Russ Morgan was an American big band leader and arranger during the 1930s and 1940s. He was one...


Randy and Ina Ray

Randy Brooks was a phenomenal musician. At the age of 12, he was the winner in a competition of 2000 young trumpet aspirants. Two years later, he was asked to join Rudy Vallee's popular radio show. There Randy dazzled audiences with his superb classical trumpet solos. His real fame began when he joined the world famous Les Brown orchestra. When he started his own band, he set a long-run record at New York's famous Roseland Ballroom. However tragedy struck in 1950 when he suffered a...


A Glenn Miller Birthday Salute Part 2

This is part-two of a birthday salute to the late Glenn Miller. I have done other programs on the Miller band highlighting his hit recordings. On this edition of Big Band Bash I turned to a 2 CD set that I have that featured some of the early radio remotes by the band. Last time we heard a few remotes from the Paradise Restaurant in New York City and today we'll hear some remotes from the Cafe Rouge of the Hotel Pennsylvania and a 15 minute remote done over WEAF radio station. There is...


A Glenn Miller Birthday Salute Part 1

March 1, 1904 is the birthday of the late bandleader Glenn Miller. I like to celebrate his birthday every year with some special music. This year I wanted to play some things that Glenn had not recorded. So while going through my collection of Miller discs I came across one called Glenn Miller the Sustaining Broadcasts. These are radio broadcasts from different locations. Sustaining means there was not a sponsor for the broadcast that the radio network picked up the costs. There are a lot...


A Look at Two Bandleaders Named Jan

Today's show is a look at two bandleaders from the swing era that were named Jan. Jan Garber was known as "The Idol of the Airwaves" in his heyday of the 1920s and 1930s, playing jazz in the vein of his contemporaries. Jan Savitt was known as "The Stokowski of Swing", from having played violin in Stokowski's orchestra, was an American bandleader, musical arranger, and violinist. He was one of the first bandleaders to have an African-American vocalist in his band. Jan Garber had a sweet...


Fran Warren - A Rememberance

This week I am going to pay a tribute to the late Fran Warren. She was born and passed away on the same day, March 4th. She was born as Frances Wolfe to a Jewish family in the borough of the Bronx, in New York City. After some time on a chorus line at New York's Roxy Theater, she auditioned with the big band of Duke Ellington at age 16; though she never made it onto Ellington's band, she soon became a singer with bands led by Randy Brooks, Art Mooney, Billy Eckstine, Charlie Barnet, and...


Louise Tobin - A 100th Birthday Celebration

My thanks go out to listener Karl Wingruber for his suggestion to do a show on Louise Tobin since she turned 100 years old back in November. I tracked down as many of her recordings as I could find and had fun doing it. She sang with Benny Goodman in 1939 and also with Will Bradley and various other bands. While married to Harry James she brought Frank Sinatra to his attention whom James eventually hired. I hope you enjoy the show as we have some recordings, interview segments and a couple...


Two Kays - Kay Kyser and Sammy Kaye

For the show today I have brought out a show I produced several years ago. I ran out of time this week but will have a new show for next week. This week's show is a little different from the type of show I usually do. I prefer the swing bands but I realize that lots of people enjoy bands other than the ones I like. So today we'll be hearing some music from the Ol' Professor, Kay Kyser. Kay led a very popular band and was featured on the radio and in the movies. Another band that was quite...


We Celebrate Black History Month Part 3

Black History Month was first proposed by black educators and the Black United Students at Kent State University in February 1969. The first celebration of Black History Month took place at Kent State one year later, from January 2, 1970 – February 28, 1970. We wind up our celebration of Black History Month with another program of assorted big bands and artists. We'll be hearing from bands like Benny Goodman with Charlie Christian, John Kirby, Louis Armstrong, The Ink Spots, Benny Moten and...


We Celebrate Black History Month Part 2

For Part 2 of our celebration of Black History Month, I have gone back into the Big Band Bash archives and brought out a show I did on Ella Fitzgerald with Her Famous Orchestra. Ella rose to fame as the vocalist with the Chick Webb Orchestra. Chick suffered from tuberculosis of the spine and died on June 16, 1939 and his band was renamed Ella and Her Famous Orchestra with Fitzgerald taking on the role of bandleader. She recorded nearly 150 songs with Webb's orchestra between 1935 and 1942....


We Celebrate Black History Month Part 1

Well, February has rolled around again and that means we start our celebration of Black History month. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a big fan of early jazz and big bands. So instead of featuring one band, I am going to present a sampler of many different African-American big bands. Some of the music we'll be hearing on the show today comes from Fletcher Henderson, Jimmie Lunceford, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Erskine Hawkins and others. This is a show that I put together in 2012 so I...