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Part 5: The Trombone Playing Bandleaders

This is the last part of my series on bandleaders who played the same instrument. Today we wind up with the trombonists and these were some of the most popular bands. We'll be hearing from Tommy Dorsey, Jack Teagarden, Glenn Miller, Buddy Morrow, Will Bradley and a few others. It is a good program with some toe-tapping music. I hope you enjoy this program especially if you are a fan of the trombone. Please visit this podcast at


Part 4: The Trumpet Playing Bandleaders

On Part Four of my series on band leaders who played the same instrument, I'll be looking at the trumpet playing band leaders. There were a lot of them so I'll be playing some recordings by some of the famous trumpeters in addition to the not so famous. Some of the band leaders will be hearing from include Harry James, Bunny Berigan, Charlie Spivak, Sunny Dunham, and Randy Brooks. If you are a fan of the trumpet then this is a show you won't want to miss it. Please visit this podcast at...


Part 2: The Saxophone Playing Bandleaders

This week on our program I am revisiting a series I did way back in 2011. I got the idea from a fellow big band broadcaster from North Carolina whose show I happened hear. His series was about a group of bandleaders who played the same instrument. Last time we heard some of the bandleaders who played the clarinet and today we will be exploring those leaders who played the saxophone. Some of the bands we'll be hearing today include Benny Carter, Charlie Barnet, Jimmy Dorsey, and Freddie...


Part 1: The Clarinet Playing Bandleaders

On our show this week, I am going back to the Big Band Bash vault to pull out a series of shows I did way back in 2011. Back then I produced a 5 part series grouping each show by the bandleader's instrument. Today we will be listening to the clarinet playing bandleaders. Then in the weeks to come, we'll be focusing on the trumpeters, the saxophonists, the pianists and finally the trombonists. There is a lot of exciting music in the show today as we listen to Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Woody...


Final Glenn Miller AAF Orchestra Shows

When Major Glenn Miller disappeared over the English Channel in December of 1944, his Army-Air Force Orchestra continued to perform. On the show today, I will be presenting the last two performances by that great orchestra. The first is the last program of "I Sustain The Wings" from October 1945 and the final performance is from November of 1945 before a live audience. Sgt. Jerry Gray is the conductor for these two performances. There is some fantastic music in the set done in the Miller...


Andy Kirk and His Twelve Clouds of Joy

This week I would like to focus on a bandleader and orchestra that was not as well known as others but still produced some great music. Andy Kirk led a fantastic band and his band was almost a twin of Jimmie Lunceford's band. Although he was the leader of the band, he did not solo but instead utilized the talent in his band for the spotlight instead. Featured on many of the recordings is the fantastic Mary Lou Williams. We'll also hear Floyd Smith featured on the guitar who was one of the...


The Vocalists Part 2

This week we continue with more of the Big Band vocalists. This will be a potpourri of many different vocalists from many different bands. I tried to limit each singer to one song so we could hear as many of the different styles as time permitted. Some of the vocalists on this show include Jack Leonard, Helen Ward, Dick Haymes, Louis Armstrong, Helen O'Connell and others. I hope I play some of your favorites as we listen to the great vocalists of the Big Band years. Please visit this podcast...


The Vocalists Part 1

Today's show is from the Big Band Bash archives and is one that I did on the popular vocalists who sang with the big bands. Most big bands had at least one singer and some had two. If you were a really popular band then you might have a vocal quartet. I've tried to present quite a few different vocalists and there were so many good ones that I had enough for two shows. So it's a singer potpourri for the next two weeks on Big Band Bash. Please visit this podcast at...


The Birth of Swing, Part 2

On Part 2 of the Birth of Swing, I would like to play some recordings by some of the other big bands that were recording and playing between 1934 and 1936. Some of the bands that were together during those years include The Casa Loma Orchestra, Jimmie Lunceford, Benny Carter, Duke Ellington, The Dorsey Brothers, and Andy Kirk. This is just a sample and if I have missed a certain band I will probably cover them in an upcoming show. There is a lot of variety on the show today and I hope that I...


The Birth of Swing, Part 1

August 21, 1935 is sometimes referred to as the birthday of Swing. It was on this date that the Benny Goodman orchestra, after traveling across the country, opened their engagement at the Palomar Ballroom in Los Angeles, California. They started the night playing it safe with stock arrangements but when they started playing their special arrangements, the kids went wild. These were the numbers they had been listening to on the Let's Dance radio program. On the show today I have a few of the...


My Man Benny, Benny Carter That Is

This week we celebrate the birthday of the multi-talented Benny Carter. He was a composer, arranger, saxophonist, and he played the trumpet too. He was also a great bandleader. He was born on August 8, 1907. My title comes from a cd that Benny recorded with fellow saxophonist Phil Woods. It was a double CD set and each musician wrote a song and dedicated it to the other. Benny's song was called My Man Phil and Phil's was called My Man Benny. I thought you might think this was a show about...


Spotlight on Sonny Dunham

Every week on Big Band Bash I try to present a variety of bands and formats. Sometimes the leaders are well known and sometimes they are not but I always try to present good music from the bands of that era. Today's show is on an excellent trumpet player who led a big band but who didn't quite achieve the fame of some of the other leaders. Today we are going to spotlight the band and trumpet of Sonny Dunham. Sonny played for a while with the Casa Loma Orchestra and then he led his own band....


Number Two in the Charts

During the swing era, many of the record companies and music publishers kept track of a song's weekly standings in the polls. Just as they do today, bandleaders hoped that their recordings would reach the number one spot in the lists. But, sadly, some only made it to the number two position and then no higher. On the show today, we are going to be listening to songs from the years of 1940 and 1941 that only made it to number two. There are some great songs in this set. I got the idea for...


Lyrics by Johnny Mercer

On this week's show, instead of focusing on bandleaders or musicians, I would like to take a look at the career of one of the greatest of the American lyricists Johnny Mercer. John Herndon Mercer was an American lyricist, songwriter and singer. He was also a record label executive, who co-founded Capitol Records. He is best known as a tin pan alley lyricist, but he also composed music. He was also a popular singer who recorded his own songs as well as those written by others. I have pulled...


Tommy Dorsey 1942 Warbond Broadcasts

This week we are going to be listening to some live broadcasts from Tommy Dorsey and his orchestra. These were recorded on a few different dates in July and October 1942. Vocals are by Frank Sinatra, Dick Haymes, Jo Stafford and the Pied Pipers. This is a great set and it features some live Sinatra before he went solo. There are some Dorsey favorites as well as some that he never recorded. So lets go back to the year of 1942 and pretend that you are in your living room with the radio turned...


Echoes of Harlem

On this week's show I am going to take a look at the area of New York City known as Harlem. There have been many songs written about that particular area so I thought it would be interesting to learn about it and explore some of the many songs that have Harlem in the title. Some of the bands we'll be hearing from include Duke Ellington, Mildred Bailey, Stan Kenton, Gene Krupa, Bunny Berigan, and Erskine Hawkins. I hope you enjoy this look at some of the many bands celebrating the spot of New...


"Into The 50's" Time Life - The Swing Era Part 2

This week I am going to continue with Part-two of "Into the 50's" from the Time Life series "The Swing Era". Today's show focuses on songs from the the late 1940's and early 1950's. There are only a couple more volumes in this set and the producers of the series stopped using individual years and lumped several years together. So today, we'll be hearing from the bands of Benny Goodman, Ralph Flanagan, Ted Heath, Count Basie and several others. There are some great songs in this set so lets...


"Into The 50's" Time Life - The Swing Era Part 1

This week I am going back to another set in the Time Life series "The Swing Era". Today's show focuses on songs from the the late 1940's and early 1950's. There are only a couple more volumes in this set and the producers of the series stopped using individual years and lumped several years together. So today, we'll be hearing from the bands of Tommy Dorsey, Stan Kenton, Glenn Miller, Harry James, Woody Herman, and Ted Heath and several others. There are some great songs in this set so lets...


Famous Ballrooms

Because we celebrated our nation's birthday this week, I went back to the Big Band Bash archives to pull out a show I recorded back in 2011. I think it is an interesting show and doesn't feature any one band. It was a show I did on some of the famous ballrooms that the big bands played at. Some of them were quite famous and a few are still around today. I have quite a few air checks in my collection so I tried to play selections from the ballrooms they were appearing at. We will learn about...


Count Basie - 1939

1939 was a great year for the Count Basie orchestra. This was the last year of their three year contract with Decca records where they would record many of their hits. He still had Lester Young, Buck Clayton, Jimmy Rushing and other original members in the band. He also had a great female vocalist in the band named Helen Humes. I have been listening to the Count Basie band since I was a teenage as my father had some Basie lps in his collection. I hope you enjoy this look at one recording...