Jimmy Dorsey, Buddy Hughes, Buddy, Claude Thornhill, Lawrence Welk, Johnny Mercer, Chicago, Hughes, Gene Krupa, Stan Kenton, George Simon, Lynda Dillon Darien, Illinois ABC Stardust music, Laurie Wright, playing piano, Oscar Peterson, Tom Chamales, Jazz Records, Rob McConnell, jazz greats, Big Tiny Little, Fats Waller, Woody Herman, C. Herbie Kay, Moe Koffman, Norma Zimmer, A. Abe Lyman, Rosemary Clooney, Larry Hooper, Buddy Merrill, Joe Feeney, View Ted, King Oliver, B. Andrews Sisters, editor and publisher, Bob Knack, Jelly Roll Morton, Samuel Zarnocay Jr., Oakland Public Schools, Midge Williams, Carl Saunders, Mike Vax Jazz Orchestra, Phil Holdman, Ada Leonard, Edgewater Beach, Stan Kenton Orchestra, Mike Vax, Stan Kenton Orchestras, Edgewater Beach Hotel, Joe Carlton, Patrice Hughes, Peanuts Hucko, Steve Allen, Sammy Kaye, Thelma Terry, Helen O'Connell, Stan Kenton Alumni Band, Buddy Greco, Perry Huntoon Thanks, Fran Allison, Buddy Robbins, Thornhill Hughes, Bob Eberly
THE GREAT ESCAPE!*
*"Anything that is good jazz is a great escape. When you're involved in playing or listening to great jazz, no one can get to you." -Woody Herman Issue No.19 May/June 2010 Presented by: www.dixieswing.com
Buddy Hughes: Big Band Singer By Patrice Hughes with Bob Knack
There was never any doubt that Buddy Hughes would be a vocalist. He began singing professionally while he was still in high school in Waterloo, Iowa with the Kay Curly band and in 1938, he joined the Minnesota based Bennett-Greten orchestra at $35.00 a week. He "fronted" the band as singer and broadcast announcer while playing many Midwest ballrooms including the "far-famed Aragon" in Chicago. After military service in WWII, his career really took off as he spent time on three of the biggest bands of the day, Jimmy Dorsey, Claude Thornhill and Gene Krupa. Buddy Hughes was born June 18th, 1919. he first sang on radio station WNT in Waterloo, Iowa, his birthplace, with Les Hartman's band along with a gal singer named Fran Allison, who later became the well known, "Fran" of Kukla, Fran and Ollie fame.
broadcast some time and he surprised me by sitting down at the piano and auditioning me on the spot. After a few bars, he said, `Okay, you are on the air at 5PM every day for a half hour with your own "Buddy Hughes Show.'" He was then introduced to his accompanist, Eddy Bigham, who was also Martha Raye's accompanist overseas and announcer (Lt.) Harold Stark. After three years overseas (20 months in Algiers, the rest in Italy) Buddy didn't sing again until reaching a replacement depot in France. A GI came up to the bandstand and introduced himself as Buddy Robbins of the old-line music publishing firm of Robbins, Feist & Miller, New York. He also had a talent bureau and wanted to book Hughes after they both got out of the service. When his tour of duty was over, Buddy worked to resume his career in New York City
. He was about to give up and go home thinking the big apple was too big for him when he received a call from his Army pal Robbins, and in five days, says Hughes, "I was singing for all the people I couldn't get near before."
Buddy sang and traveled the upper Midwest
with Bennett-Greten, this popular territory band until he was drafted into the army in 1941 and sent overseas with the 102nd Cavalry. He sang a bit with the Royal Air Force dance band during a brief stay in England before being shipped to Algiers, Africa. Listening to what radio was available in Algiers, he learned that the station was only 20 miles away from his camp. "I found a one-star general in charge of the station-Andre Baruch, husband of singer Bea Wain of Larry Clinton fame-and I asked if I could sing on a
Jimmy Dorsey needed a singer. An audition was arranged by Robbins and Hughes went to Dorsey's hotel room wearing his only suit, a cotton one, a size too small with the sleeves riding up. He was taken aback to find J.D. sitting there enjoying cocktails with Mayor Kelly of Chicago. He sang two songs for Dorsey, "Everybody Knew But Me" and "I've Got The Sun in the Morning and the Moon at Night". Dorsey hired him on the spot and told him to get ready to sing two songs the next night at a remote broadcast at the 400 Club...and to go get a suit with long sleeves! (See page 2...)
2 Hughes toured with Dorsey for six months doing lots of broadcasts. "Decca wouldn't record me because I didn't sound like Bob Eberly." he recalls, "We were playing stadiums in front of 19,000 people and I was signing autographs. One fan thought I was Eberly, I asked him if he wanted me to take it (the autograph) back." Although he never made a record for the band, he did make a demo, "Here Comes Heaven Again" and "Let It Snow." Buddy has been searching for years to find one of those Dorsey "air checks" without success. Following Dorsey, Hughes joined the newly reformed Claude Thornhill orchestra (Claude having served in the Navy). Hughes says the 1946 Thornhill band was organized by Claude, his manager Leonard Vannerson (Martha Tilton's husband), and his pre-war arrangers Gil Evans and Bill Borden. They were in the process of determining which arrangements from the earlier band would be kept in the book and what new arrangements might be used. "They spent months auditioning and hiring musicians and singers, so this was expected to be the most exciting band ever," remembers Hughes. An October 5, 1946 Downbeat Magazine article proclaims "In Buddy Hughes, Thornhill has a singer who blends nicely with the arrangers ideas. Hughes, who sings with excellent feeling and fine phrasing, has a genial delivery and a good enough appearance on the stand to believe that he may soon become a new threat for bobby sox-idolatry." On Columbia records with Thornhill Hughes recorded tunes such as "Under The Willow Tree," and "I Knew You When." "I, as others associated with him, haven't a handle on Claude Thornhill", reflects Buddy, "many have written about him". One thing I'm sure, he had a sound and style for his band embedded, any arrangement that didn't blend with his wants was politely but firmly rejected. I never heard him raise his voice, but he got respect from his band. To me he was gentle, kind, vague, distant, brilliant, simplistic, yet in control...aloof maybe, but not full of ego. In all, a great guy to work with and for". After leaving Thornhill around May of 1947, Buddy stayed in N.Y. (Staten Island) until a call came from Joe Dale, Gene Krupa's manager. A vocalist was needed immediately at Frank Daily's Meadowbrook in New Jersey. Buddy took the job and in a week or so was on his way, via one-nighters to The Hollywood Palladium and other coast ballrooms. With Krupa he recorded "I'll Never Make The Same Mistake Again", "Fun and Fancy Free", and "Please Don't Play Number Six Tonight," in Hollywood on June 19, 1947 and "It's Whatcha Do With Whatcha Got," on December 29. Columbia records called him "a refined Johnny Mercer" who could sing a ballad that Mercer couldn't do and a jump tune that he could. Hughes preferred to "sing with a beat, even on ballads. Anything, as long as it moves a little." A December, 1947 article in Metronome Magazine proclaimed Buddy Hughes "the number one band singer" based on his service with three top bands of the day, Jimmy Dorsey, Claude Thornhill and Gene Krupa. He achieved the title "by the ease with which he sings, his clean phrasing, his ability to sing either a ballad or a semi-jump tune" and...a distinctive, slightly nasal quality. Hughes was offered a job in the Ina Rae Hutton band but turned it down. He was in line to join Benny Goodman after Gene Krupa downsized, but the always
frugal Benny decided that he wanted someone who could double on an instrument as well as sing, so he ended up hiring Buddy Greco, who played piano. This led to Hughes learning how to play the upright bass. Early on, he briefly formed a duo with young pianist Louis Weertz who later on became Roger Williams of "Autumn Leaves" fame. By the end of the 1940s, orchestras were breaking up into smaller groups and the last of the great swinging big bands were passing from the scene. Buddy went back to Minnesota, where he became co-owner of the post-war Bennett-Greten band, toured the Midwest with his own trio for a time, and in the early 1950s settled in Chicago. There he sang and played bass with many notable Chicago musicians including his old friend Johnny Frigo, who along with Herb Ellis and Lou Carter, comprised the rhythm section during the time Buddy was Jimmy Dorsey's vocalist. At the age of 86, he retired his music career to care for his beloved wife of 67 years, Minerva (Monnie). Soon turning 91, Buddy Hughes is a walking encyclopedia of the 20th century
's American songbook and he still loves to sing. ### Land of Linkin'...When you're done here, some other good places to visit. Illiana Jazz Club http://www.illianajazz.com For concert info: 708-672-3561 -or- 708-425-4596 -or- 219-923-6775 Held at the Glendora Ballroom 10225 S. Harlem Ave., Chicago Ridge, IL. The St. Louis
Jazz Club: www.stlouisJazzclub.org Jazzlives : Michael Steinman's outstanding Jazz blog. Friends of Big Band Jazz Mike Vax and the swingin bands of today. www.bigbandlibrary.com Christopher Popa's up-to-date and informative band site. Celebrating fives years on the web. Email the Browsers at: [email protected]
Back Issues All back issues of "The Great Escape" are available for viewing at www.dixieswing.com. Dial us up now. Those long evenings will fly by as you catch up on all those interesting articles.
3 Letters, E-mails, Errata Etc...
Hi Bob, Great fun hearing those old snippets from the radio shows. Brings back fun memories. Thanks for alerting me as to their availability on the website. -Perry Huntoon Thanks, Perry. It was a pleasure doing those shows with you and the other guys. I hope to have some more up soon. I invite everyone to go to www.dixieswing.com and give them a listen. Dear Bob, Another very interesting issue! As usual, Joe Carlton came up with a very challenging quiz again this month. He asked for the names of some other "All Girl orchestras" & I have a few more names for him. The first one that came to mind was the contemporary roaring big band called Diva, but back in the early days there were the Prarie View Co-eds, Sharon Roger's All Girl Band & The Hormel Girls. I know that Ada Leonard led a band, but whether it was "all-girl" or not I cannot say, but since Dolly Dawn took over the George Hall band, her Dawn Patrol was definitely male. Other female leaders of note were Thelma Terry & her Playboys, Midge Williams & her Jesters, Ann Dupont "The Female Artie Shaw" & her 12 men of music, Rita Rio & the brilliant arranger, Maria Schneider. Ina Rae Hutton also provided the perfect lead into the answer to Joe's 3rd question which was about crooner's theme songs since her pianist, Ruth Lowe wrote Sinatra's second "theme" (which skipped his mind), Put Your Dreams Away (For Another Day). She had previously written what had become a big hit for him while he was still with TD, I'll Never Smile Again. I'd also like to comment on what I consider to be Phil Holdman's over-reaction to Karen Hick's form letter from Steve Allen. Rather than being "vitriolic", "in very poor taste" and a form of "censorship", I found it to be a politelyworded simple statement of fact. I interviewed him shortly before he died & he was still a dynamo of energy & activity. I asked for an hour of his time & that's exactly what I got. Usually, once my subjects get into their personal reminiscences of their early careers, they go on for hours without further encouragement, but there were other people waiting to speak to him about other projects that were certainly more lucrative for him than chatting about the "good old days" when Terry Gibbs led his TV show house band. I also don't think that Steve "considered himself an expert on practically everything" but he certainly was an erudite man with a tremendous range of interests. I doubt if you could name another TV host who was as creative in so many areas while being hysterically funny while ad-libbing. His office could have just used their "circular file" when The
Browser arrived, but instead he chose to explain why he was unable to keep up with all of the material he received each month. As far as the buy-back of some of his books is concerned, there may have been a perfectly valid reason for that. It might have been necessary to correct an error of fact, a misprint, new information, etc. Books are recalled all the time for many reasons. To blame Steve for "wasting trees" is unfair without knowing all the facts.
Keep up the good work!
Thanks for your comments, Bill. Phil was understandably extremely proud of The Browsers Notes and although I know he was very disturbed at the dismissal from Allen, I did write the article primarily as a humorous piece.
Bob: Many, many thanks for the recent edition of the Great Escape. I especially could relate to the article on the Edgewater Beach Hotel. One of my fondest memories of this historic and beautiful place goes back to July 1941. It was my first visit there and we-I can't remember who my date was-came to see the Horace Height band. Frankie Carle played piano in the band, blind whistler Fred Lowery was a great attraction and Gordon McCrea was the band singer and possibly Art Carney was playing in the band at that time. I was delivering telegrams for Postal telegraph$12.00 a week-so obviously with that weekly windfall I as able to attend this glamorous setting. Some years later, Gordon was appearing in a musical in the tent theatre in Hillside, Illinois and I talked to him briefly about that night at the Edgewater Beach. If I remember correctly, he told me that he and Sheila were married a week or so before that July evening. It was an evening that obviously 58 plus years later I shall never forget. -Jack Hogan Hi Bob: Your article on the Edgewater Beach Hotel brought back a particular recollection. My favorite Chicago Cub was a first baseman-Eddie Waitkus. In December 1948 their general manager, Jim Gallagher, traded Waitkus to the Philadelphia Phillies. (Not a good move, sez I.) Anyway, during the following season of '49 the Phils came to town for a series with the Cubs. Their lodging was in the Edgewater Beach. In a fateful night, Waitkus got a note saying that a young gal would like to meet him if he would come up to her room. Well, he apparently thought this could be good for some ribald revelry so he went but in a matter of minutes got shot in the gut. He survived, but his career was never the same. The looney star-struck groupie was one Ruth Stein-Hagen-who I later found out had worked for my old company-Continental Car Company. As you know, this shooting was part of the plot in the movie "The Natural" with Robert Redford. -Dick Parker
4 The Stan Kenton Alumni Band Submitted by Mike Vax Alumni from the 1956 1978 Stan Kenton Orchestras come together to perform for festivals, clinics, concerts, cruises and dances. The band makes tours around the United States every year, and does jazz cruises and festivals. The band performs some of the well-known music of the Stan Kenton Orchestra but says leader Mike Vax, "The Alumni Band is anything but a ghost band, over half of our material is new music written in the Kenton Style. We don't just play nostalgia music, because he (Kenton) hated that and that is why he didn't want a ghost band." Vax is a product of the City of Oakland, CA, and the Oakland public school
s, having graduated from Oakland High School in 1960. He has led a big band off and on since his days at College of the Pacific over 45 years ago. A few of his credits include being first trumpet, soloist and road manager of the Stan Kenton Orchestra, as well as being co-leader while Mr. Kenton was recovering from surgery; leading the Dukes of Dixieland in New Orleans; producing and/or music directing for over 30 jazz festivals; and performing workshops for more than 2500 high schools, colleges and universities
all over the world. He is an International Artist for the Getzen Company. Friends Of Big Band Jazz is the support group for The Mike Vax Jazz Orchestra and the Stan Kenton Alumni Band. This nonprofit corporation sends students to summer jazz camps on scholarships, donates funds to high school music program
s and youth orchestras, and raises money for many good causes that have to do with music and education. The Stan Kenton Alumni Band's new CD, recorded live during the 2008 tour, "Sounds from the Road" sends up 14 first-class big band selections. "Alex's Tune" kicks off the CD swinging hard and heavy. Other selections showcase the talents of big band stars such as trumpeters Carl Saunders (on a beautifully Don Fagerquist-tinged "Autumn in New York") and Steve Huffsteter (who also offers up two terrific arrangements, the Oliver Nelson-esque "Mr. Natural" and trombone showcase, "Boney."). Songbook classics such as "Pennies from Heaven;" Kenton's own wonderfully arranged "I'm Glad There Is You;" the slickly arranged vocal "On a Slow Boat to China;" "All the Things You Are" and "Baubles, Bangles and Beads" are impeccably played with a balance and respect for subtle dynamics and shading. "Malaguena," "Variations on a Brazilian Folk Song" and "La Virgen de la Macarena" add the spicy Latin flair the Stan Kenton band delivered. Possible Tour Roster for 2011 Tour Saxes: Kim Richmond*, Joel Kaye*, Pete Gallio, Alex Murzyn, Scott Petersen Trombones: Roy Wiegand*, Scott Whitfield, Dale DeVoe*, Kenny Shroyer*, Mike Suter* Trumpets: Mike Vax*, Dennis Noday*, Carl Saunders*, Don Rader*, Steve Huffsteter* Drums: Gary Hobbs* Bass: Kristin Korb Piano: Brian O'Rourke Latin Percussion: Dee Huffsteter Vocals: Scott Whitfield and Ginger Berglund
* Kenton Alumni Many of the rest have played with Maynard Ferguson, Woody Herman, Bill Holman, Bob Florence, Buddy Rich, and others. "Stan the Man" Met Tex Ritter Mike Vax recently commented on an LP recorded by the Kenton Orchestra with Tex Ritter, one of the bestknown singing cowboys in western movies on vocals. You may remember his hits on "Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darling' and "High Noon" "It came about with them having a drink one night and Tex saying that he would love to record with a big band," recalls Vax. "Since they were two of the biggest at Capitol Records at that time, the deal was struck. Once it came out, they both knew it wasn't a good idea, and it was shelved very quickly. I am lucky enough to have a copy a real collector's item. Not for the music, but for the cover art and just the fact that it was even done!" "Stan was always impeccably dressed and was one of the classiest people I have ever met. He was also one of the nicest bandleaders to his sidemen and anyone who worked with him, loved him," concludes Vax. Swing Band for Rent... Ted Butterman's Neo-Passй Swing Band Pictured from left: Russ Phillips, Ted Butterman, Scott Black and Eric Schneider Specializing in swing music of the 30s and 40s, ala Benny Goodman the group is versatile and their repertoire reaches back to the 20s and onward to the 50s, 60s, and some later, excluding rock. The band performs at any kind of function limited only by your imagination. This includes picnics, Bar-B-Qs, pool parties, Mardi Gras, conventions and wedding receptions. The band consists of piano, bass, drums, rhythm guitar and features a variety of horn players on different occasions including reed players, trumpets, trombones, vibes, and other instrumentalists from time to time. Expect Guest artist
s to sit in occasionally! Check out the Ted's song list here! They know 'em all! To book the Neo-Passй contact Ted at [email protected]
xxx Don't You Believe it! As the story goes, Yamaha has recalled 20,000 pianos due to a problem with the pedal sticking, causing pianists to play faster than they normally would, resulting in a dangerous number of accidentals. The sticky pedal also makes it harder for pianists to come to a full stop at the end of a piece making it extremely risky for audiences. Phil's Big Band Multiple Choice Quiz
5 Direct From Phil Holdman's Browser's Scripts Editor's Note: When I was in school, I was always relieved to learn the next test would be multiple choice. I figured I had a one-in-four chance of getting one right in the likelihood I didn't study too hard. There was this thing called an "idiot score." That is, if you just picked answers without even reading the question, those you might get right just by accident. I think I may have even done worse than the "idiot score" a few times. But then again, I am a product of the Chicago Public School System. Good Luck: 1. The real name of Jan Savitt's vocalist, Bon Bon was: A. Jim Cave B. George Tunnel C. Harry Ravine D. Tom Stalactite 2. The great solo on Benny Goodman's recording of "The Jersey Bounce" was played by: A. Lester Young B. Vido Musso C. Tex Beneke D. Georgie Auld 3. That popular rotund orchestra leader, Tiny Hill, weighed in at: A. 230 lbs B. 299 lbs C. 330 lbs. D. 400 lbs. 4. Which famous band leader did not play the violin? A. Abe Lyman B. Paul Whiteman C. Guy Lombardo D. Johnny Long 5. "Wee Bonnie" Baker sang so cute when she recorded "Oh Johnny" with Orrin Tucker in 1939, but the song was written in: A. 1933 B. 1927 C. 1917 D. 1910 6. Benny Goodman's famous record "The Earl" was missing: A. A piano player B. A bass player C. A drummer D. A guitarist 7. The first female singing group to have a million selling record were the: A. Boswell sisters B. Andrews Sisters C. Dinning Sisters D. Duncan Sisters 8. Actress and songstress Dorothy Lamour
was once married to: A. Artie Shaw
B. Charlie Barnett C. Herbie Kay D. Sammy Kaye 9. The words to "Moonlight Serenade," "Deep Purple," "Stardust," and "Sophisticated Lady," were written by: A. Mitchell Parish B. Hoagy Carmichael C. Irving Berlin D. Cole Porter 10. Singer Dick Haymes was born in: A. Ireland B. Canada C. Argentina D. Mexico Recommended Chicagoland Happenings... "The Browsers", experts in the big band era, meet the last Friday of every month @ 6:30 PM "for pizza, beer and good conversation". Dues are six dollars and include a share of the pizza. Details subject to change. E-mail the Browsers for location and details at [email protected]
Disc Jockey "Rowdy" Ron Richter plays big band and jazz the first Sunday of every month at Gusto Italiano Ristorante, 1470 Waukegan Road, Glenview, IL 60025 Tel: (847) 729-5444 Fax: (847) 729-5447 4:00 PM - ? Attendees are invited to bring a favorite CD to play and comment on. Call ahead. Details subject to change. Also, Ron is now back as a regular Friday and Saturday night feature at that restaurant, spinning your favorites. A Must for Your Collection! Ted Butterman's Neo-Passй Band Live At The Village Tavern Pictured L to R: Russ Phillips, Scott Black, Dave Elias, Ronnie Baron, Ted Butterman © 2001 dixieswing.com CD Baby Price: $15.00 Order now, supplies are limited! Four rhythm; piano, bass, guitar and drums, and one of four different world-class horn players on each track . The over 73 minutes of music includes: 1 When You're Smilin', 2 The One I Love, 3 Sweet Georgia Brown, 4 China Boy, 5 On The Alamo, 6 I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me, 7 After You've Gone, 8 These Foolish Things, 9 Rosetta, 10 Undecided, 11 Let Yourself Go, 12 Three Little Words, 13 It All Depends On You, 14 Some Of These Days, 15 Lester Leaps In www.cdbaby.com for ordering info or Click to See the Neo Passй Band in Action Greasy Sack News Songwriter and arranger Johnny Mandel, 84, will be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame this year in
6 an awards ceremony and dinner to be held on Thursday, June 17, 2010 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City. Mandel has had a long career in the music business, starting back in the 1940's when he worked as a teenaged trumpeter with Joe Venuti's orchestra. That was followed by stints as a player (on trumpet and trombone) and/or arranger with the bands of Buddy Rich, Jimmy Dorsey, Woody Herman and Artie Shaw. Eventually he moved to the world of commercial television, all the while maintaining his connection to jazz, mainly as an arranger for Count Basie and a host of notable singers, such as Frank Sinatra
, Peggy Lee, Mel Torme, Jo Stafford, Tony Bennett and Chet Baker. Among the popular songs he composed, are: "The Shadow of Your Smile," "Emily," "Suicide is Painless," and "Close Enough for Love." The Woody Herman Orchestra directed by Frank Tiberi played a tribute set during their appearance at the Catalina Bar & Grill Los Angeles
, CA 90028 which included some tunes recently deceased Jake Hanna performed or recorded with the band in the 1960's. Passing: Jazz guitarist Herb Ellis, 88, died at his home in Los Angeles. A Texan and a disciple of Charlie Christian, he was a member during the 1950s of the Oscar Peterson trio, which served as the house recording band for Verve Records and accompanied jazz greats, including Louis Armstrong, Roy Eldridge, Harry "Sweets" Edison and Ben Webster. In his youth, Mr. Ellis played with big bands such as Glen Gray's Casa Loma Orchestra and the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra. In the late 1940s, he started the Soft Winds trio with pianist Lou Carter and bassist Johnny Frigo. He settled in southern California
, where he worked in movie and television studios before launching his own small jazz groups. Jazz saxophonist Tony Campise, who was nominated for a Grammy in 1992 for his "Once In a Blue Moon" LP, died at 67 He never recovered from an October fall outside a Corpus Christi hotel, where he hit the back of his head. A Houston native, Campise settled in Austin in 1984 after several years on the road with the Stan Kenton Orchestra. He also backed such legends as Frank Sinatra and Sarah Vaughan. Aunty Dulcie Pitt, aka Georgia Lee, who was Australia's first indigenous jazz singer and won acclaim in London in the 1950s, has died, aged 89. As a teenager, Ms Lee formed the Harmony Sisters with two sisters and brother Wally on guitar. When war broke out, she packed parachutes for the US forces and performed for them. The US troops enthusiasm for jazz and blues, led her to take up this new idiom. After the war, she moved to Sydney to perform in clubs and changed her name. In London in the 1950s, she was the celebrated singer with the Geraldo Dance Band. Back home, she toured with Nat King Cole and his trio in the late '50s. Mike Zwerin, a jazz trombonist who became a prominent jazz critic and author, died in Paris. He was 79. He played with the big bands of Maynard Ferguson and Claude Thornhill. But it was as a critic and author that he made his mark on jazz. Mr. Zwerin was the jazz columnist
for The Village Voice in New York from 1964 until 1969. He also wrote for Rolling Stone and other magazines. Laurie Wright, editor and publisher of Storyville magazine from 1965 to 1995, died in London. He was also author of the bio-discographies of Jelly Roll Morton, King Oliver, and Fats Waller, publisher of several editions of both Jazz Records 1897-1942 and Blues & Gospel Records 1902-1943 and many other serious contributions to scholarship. Gene Lees, a jazz historian and critic known for his essays and biographies of such jazz greats as Oscar Peterson, Woody Herman and Johnny Mercer, died at his home in Ojai, Calif. He was 82. Big Tiny Little, 79, The son of a prominent musician and bandleader, Big Tiny Little first took up playing piano at the age of five; becoming both a pianist and playing other instruments such as the organ, bass horn and bass fiddle. After playing in his father Tiny Little's band for a while, he struck out on his own playing as either a soloist or with other bands before joining the Lawrence Welk orchestra in 1955. One critic said he plays "like the piano is on fire." Rob McConnell, has died of cancer in a Toronto hospital on Saturday May 1. Known primarily as the leader and arranger of the Boss Brass, McConnell collaborated with many jazz greats over the years including Mel Torme and The Singers Unlimited and the list of musicians who played in the band reads like a who's who of Canadian jazz luminaries: Moe Koffman, Ed Bickert, Don Thompson, and Guido Basso are just a few. LOVE LISTENING TO THESE TREASURES! PLEASE EXTEND THE HOURS FOR THIS MUSICAL ENJOYMENT. I've been recommending your station to others but every time they turn in to your station, there is a talk show. Please let me know the actual hours you play music. Thank you. -Lynda Dillon Darien, Illinois ABC Stardust music runs approx. 5pm-8pm in May. The format is big band/MOR oldies. Note: All new for the 2010 year with 3 times the amount of music over last year. Sunday afternoons features the music after 4pm. ABC Kool Gold music airs Saturdays only 5pm-8pm in May. The format is 50s and 60s oldies. Because the programming is live, onair requests are featured. Click here to Listen to the Mike's Forgotten 45's and the "Stardust Style' Email the Browsers at: [email protected]
7 Helen O'Connell - Her Music Lingers on By Browser Joe Carlton
Whenever the dimple-cheeked Helen O'Connell stepped in front of the Jimmy Dorsey band to sing, every teen-aged boy fell in love with her all over again. She was not only very pretty but knew how to put over her songs, unlike just about any other vocalist. Helen is gone, a victim of cancer September 9, 1993, less than a month after she had left her last big band touring show. She had hit the big band trail at the age of sixteen, and was discovered by Jimmy Dorsey's manager, Billy Burton, while singing with Larry Funk and his Band of a Thousand Melodies, according to George Simon in his book "The Big Bands." By 1939, the song "Green Eyes" had launched her into stardom. At first, she sang only solos with Dorsey, ranging from novelties and lighthearted songs such as, "Six lessons From Madame La Zonga" to "When The Sun Comes Out." But with "Green Eyes," Bob Eberly sang the first part of the song as a ballad; then Jimmy and his orchestra changed the rhythm to upbeat. Finally, Helen got her turn and she soloed in the same manner. "Green Eyes" was actually the third song sung in that contrasting style with Bob. The first two were "Amapola" and "Yours". Later came "Tangerine." Although the tempo-changing style that Dorsey used was hard to dance to, audiences loved the fresh faced youngsters. Helen's limited range actually forced her to bend the notes as she couldn't reach some of them as written. She won the Metronome poll in1940 as best band vocalist. The war broke up the Eberly-O'Connell partnership but in the 1950's, she appeared on her own TV show, sang with the Russ Morgan band and was a sidekick of Dave Garroway on NBC's "Today Show." She continued on radio and TV into the sixties on such programs as "The Miss Universe Pageant." Later she was in an act called "Four Girls Four" with Rosemary Clooney, Margaret Whiting and Kay Starr and toured the country extensively. Helen was married four times, the last in 1991 to Frank DeVol, noted composer and conductor. While she was married to her third husband, Tom Chamales, this writer had a business client who was Tom's uncle. I asked him one day what Helen was like in real life. Was she as cute, friendly and bubbly as she appeared onstage? Tom's uncle said that her personalities in person and on stage were identical and that she lit up the room whenever she entered. Helen is gone now, but not forgotten.
Phil's Multiple Choice Answers
1.B. George Tunnel
6. C. A drummer
2 B. Vido Musso
7. B. Andrews Sisters
3. D. 400 lbs.
8. C. Herbie Kay
4. A. Abe Lyman
9. A. Mitchell Parish
5. C. 1917
10. C. Argentina
What other Jazz band plays to over 40,000 adoring fans at every gig? Now Available For Your Wedding Reception! Their 29th Season Pictured: T. Bartlett E. Wilkinson T. Butterman J. Kuncl J. Blegen The Cubs Dixieland Band has been playing to packed houses at the `friendly confines' of Wrigley Field for over a quarter of a century, the major league's longest-running baseball band. Our foot-tapping aggregation consists of trumpet, trombone (or tenor sax), clarinet, banjo, and tuba. We have appeared on TV hundreds of times over the years on many local and nationally broadcast programs. Now Chicago's most listened to Jazz band can light-up your next happening! The band performs at any kind of function, limited only by your imagination, including picnics, Bar-B-Qs, pool parties, Mardi Gras, conventions and wedding receptions. We have even performed at five funerals. We appear in Cubs uniform unless otherwise specified. Book the band for your next event! Bring the excitement of Wrigley Field musically to your event. NEWS: Ted reports that the Cubs band is now in great demand for wedding receptions. Just think, the bride can now throw out her bouquet and the first pitch at the same time! To see Ted's listing in Brides.com. click here To book the Cubs band contact Ted at [email protected]
or call 847-255-6448 for details. Ted and the Cubs Dixieland Band are featured prominently in this ABC News Ben Bradley Cub's playoffs interview: View Ted and the band on TV
8 Uh-One, and Uh-Two, It's Uh-Fifty-Five. (Lift your Teaspoons in Tribute) ©By Bob Knack
I really didn't start out to write a story about Lawrence Welk. I was just curious to find out if they still made Geritol. Some of you may remember that this wellknown tonic was Welk's TV sponsor back in the day. Now that I'm well past fifty, I thought I might try a bottle, just to help with my "iron poor blood". What I also found out was that in 2010, the Lawrence Welk show celebrates fifty-five years on the air. It all began for the accordion playing Welk, and his stable of performers, eventually including JoAnn Castle, Joe Feeney, Bob Ralston, Buddy Merrill, Myron Floren, Larry Hooper, The Lennon Sisters and even jazz man Pete Fountain in July of 1955 on a show originally called the Dodge Dancing Party. In 1960, Norma Zimmer replaced Alice Lon, who Welk thought was showing too much knee on camera, as the Champagne Lady, and Geritol became the shows' sponsor. The label "champagne music" reportedly stuck after listeners compared his music to sipping the bubbly. Of course, Welk's long-time theme song was "Bubbles In The Wine." In 1971, however, the ABC network cancelled the show, saying his audience was too old. The savvy Welk simply went back to many of those same stations and offered this wholesome, family-oriented program in syndication, allowing the "champagne music" to go on for another eleven years. The last of 1,542 original Lawrence Welk Show broadcasts occurred when Welk retired in 1982, but PBS picked it up where it airs today on an amazing 279 stations boasting 3 million viewers. A quick internet browse took me to the website of drug maker GlaxoSmithKline where, yes indeed, I can still buy Geritol at my local pharmacy. A check of the ingredient list convinced me that it is a rich source of iron. I recall the old ads used to boast that each dose contained "twice the iron of a pound of calves liver." It also contains 12% alcohol, so you would be correct in taking your dose from a shot glass if you prefer. Coincidentally, at about the same time, another elixir with a 12% alcohol content, Hadacol, was being joked about on many radio programs. In particular, Jack Benny's bandleader, Phil Harris, who was kidded often about his drinking prowess, would say, "Jackson, meet me in my room. If you bring the Hadacol, I'll bring the ice." Hadacol was promoted by a Louisiana state senator named Dudley J. LeBlanc. The name was a contraction of his Happy Day Company plus the "L" for the senator's initial. Born in a sod farmhouse near Strasburg, North Dakota in 1903 of Alsatian decent and one of eight children, part of Welk's charm was his thick accent and stiff delivery, for which he was often kidded. At the height of his popularity in 1957, in the sincerest form of flattery, song parodist Stan Freberg recorded Wun'erful, Wun'erful/SideUh-One and Side-Uh-Two. The spoof was complete with the "Lemon Sisters", "Larry Looper", Stoney "Stonedwell", and bad accordion music. Freberg mimicked the exaggerated Welk inflection with the song intro "Thank You, For All Those Cards and Letters From Out There in Television Lant(Land)" The finale was a bubble machine run amok, creating so much foam, their whole ballroom floats out to sea. It was said that Welk didn't think the record was funny. In fact, Ed Sullivan sued to keep a similar
Freberg spoof about him, "The Worst of the Town" (The Toast of the Town) from being released. Fellow bandleader Sammy Kaye, born Samuel Zarnocay Jr. in 1910 and of Czechoslovakian descent, took copious elocution lessons to rid himself of a similar accent. When he was finished, he sounded pretty much like all the other bandleaders. Welk rode his attention grabbing intonation all the way to the bank. About Welk's music, big band author George Simon said "It does satisfy those who are looking for good, clean Rotarian entertainment." Woody Herman added, "It was great music for watching a ballgame to." The accent, along with his wooden stage presence resulted in some memorable "Welkisms" over the years. Once, on the program Lawrence introduced the next tune"Now the band will play a medley of tunes from World War Eye [World War I]." Once, just before airtime, Welk coached his orchestra, "Boys, look like you're having fun, but don't have any." On another occasion, he interrupted his piano player during rehearsal, "Why do you do that? You play too many notes already." And during an audience warm-up, "I just wrote a book, but don't go out and buy it yet, because I don't think it's finished." Welk's opinion of rock music
: "That's not my cup of dish." The most famous Welk gaffe of all, of course, is the night he introduced that famous Duke Ellington tune, "Take A Train". Peanuts Hucko, who followed Pete Fountain as the "hot clarinetist" in the band was asked how he liked working for Lawrence. He smiled and said, "Oh, I don't know, but I got a little tired of Mr. Welk introducing me as `Penis' Hucko." Lawrence Welk outlived most of his critics. His music and shrewd real estate
investments made him millions. He died May 17, 1992 at 89. His gravestone at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City California reads-"Keep a song in your heart". By the way, I've been taking Geritol for about a week, and I feel better, but now I have this inexplicable urge to dance a Polka. MISSION STATEMENT
This newsletter, created by Bob Knack and friends, remembers The **Browsers on the ABC network and contains articles for all aficionados of big band, swing and traditional Jazz worldwide. It is an attempt to fill the void left when periodicals such as the **Browser's Notes ceased to publish. We will concentrate on, but will not be limited to, fun-to-read articles on the music from "back in the day". Letters, articles, suggestions or any help whatsoever is appreciated. Send inquiries to [email protected]
or PO Box 642012, Chicago, IL
linois 60664. B&W printed copies of past and this current issue are also available in booklet form for $2.00 each from the above PO Box. Click here to subscribe to the newsletter **A Browser is a dedicated devotee of the truly American art form known as the Big Band. Some years ago, Phil Holdman, founder, often visited record shops seeking rare examples of LP's and 78's to add to his extensive collection. Here, he also met other collectors who sought similar discs or tapes. Phil's wife, Alberta, named the group "The Browsers" because "they are always browsing in record shops." "I don't know anything about running a newspaper; I just try everything I can think of -Charles Foster Kane
A HUGHES, S YOUNG