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Anyone who got into a position of power after being around Tommy acted like Tommy. He would leave and return to the band in the years ahead until the very end, and always had a complicated relationship with Dorsey.
His commentary on his musical selections, and the ease with which he spoke over the air, made the show a hit, and he would go on the road with his band and broadcast from whatever city they happened to be appearing in.
The level of skill a musician had to possess to be in the Dorsey band after the war was extreme. A new member was expected to know the book, over four hundred arrangements, within two weeks or he was fired.
He had eyes in the back of his head", remembers trombonist Karle DeKarske, who was hired in March of One might assume that with figures like these, a movie devoted to just the Dorsey Brothers' story would be big at the box office.
Unless you have a taste for off-beat humor, the result is best forgotten. He put this piece of junk up to his face and sounded exactly the same as he always did. This was an amazing thing to witness. Tommy Dorsey, mentor to so many young stars, was aging out as a bandleader at the same time his musical era was closing.
It was Jackie Gleason. Gleason was a small-time comedian with a lot of energy and talent who had the good fortune of being signed to Twentieth Century Fox, where he had played parts in movies with Harry James and Glenn Miller.
Gleason put those he felt had made it to the Big Time with their name in lights above all others. As a lonely, fatherless kid from Brooklyn, Gleason would cut school to go to Times Square and sit in the movie theaters to watch the big bands play between shows. He wanted to see his name in lights someday.
In late November of , Tommy quit the band business. Never had a musical style that had been so integral to a society collapsed so quickly after only eleven years. Tommy continued with his Mutual radio show on stations each day.
Bored and restless, by April of TD was ready to start over with a new band. He opened at his own Casino Garden ballroom, and using a series of gimmicks to get the kids to come back and dance, lowered himself to giving away slices of pizza on Thursday nights, as well as other prizes on other nights. On Sunday nights, he gave away six diamond rings each week. Even in this desperate time, he managed to gross fifteen thousand dollars a week. Tommy, like all musicians, slept by day. Tommy met his last wife, Janie New, at the Casino Gardens.
She was a 22 year old chorus girl. They married in Atlanta, Georgia in March of We did five months of one-nighters in one stretch with no days off, five hundred miles on the bus a day. That meant we played a gig from nine to one, but he always played nine to one-thirty. He wanted to impress the promoter by playing an extra half hour.
Now you worked three hours on the gig without stopping from nine to twelve midnight. Then you took about a twenty minute break and played until one-thirty. If he was mad at the guys- which he pretty often was- the cutoff would be the downbeat for the next tune.
I looked back at the trumpet section- Doc Severinsen was there, Charlie Shavers, and Ziggy Elman were on the band together for a while- and they were bleeding from their lips.
Dorsey would sometimes turn crimson, foam at the corners of his mouth, and then would suddenly cool off and laugh at himself. He wanted you to come on stage dressed right. And he wanted you to play your best every night. I had asthma in those days. He would tolerate my asthmatic seizures. I would go away for four or five days or go to the hospital…I never got fired for that…I once had a terrible strep throat.
He had his doctor flown down from New York…He was that kind of guy. In spite of his tremendous ego, he really was sensible and humble. Music professor and big band leader Loren Schoenberg disagrees. After all his investment in time, money and gimmicks, in Dorsey closed the doors on the Casino Gardens Ballroom.
Dorsey would be spending a lot more time on the road to make a living again. He had already met with Gene Krupa, who was about to hire him, when Dorsey heard about the good interview.
He immediately called Barzie up to try him out in the same job with his band. Dorsey wanted him to be in Canton, Ohio, the next day. First Dorsey explained the terms of the contracts of upcoming engagements. He plugged his electric shaver into the cigarette lighter with one hand and begins shaving. At the date in Akron, he asks me how I liked the band. I told him it was great.
Then he tells me to give notice to a trombonist, a saxophonist, and two trumpeters- and to get them out of there. I asked him if he had some replacements coming in. I got it done, and that impressed him.
At the end of two weeks, I showed him all the receipts. Tell Gene I owe him one. Since , he had recorded three hundred single records for them. Seventeen records reached 1. In all, he had sold 37 million records for RCA; thirteen million of them between and after the big band era was over.
Dorsey insisted that his own six steamer trunks for his wardrobe, be put on the plane or the tour was off. Tommy took his new wife, Janie, baby daughter Susan, and a nurse along with him. Late in the afternoon of the next day, the plane was so heavy that it had to take off on cruise power, which resulted in an altitude of only feet over the sand of Miami Beach. The plane reached an altitude of 10, feet, but then began a descent, leveling at feet over the open ocean. The pilot then announced to the passengers that after 8pm, any aircraft entering Venezuelan airspace would be shot down.
The plane landed first in Santo Domingo, where there was a jam session with local musicians until 5: The band first played in Recife in the North for an extended four week stay, also performing a daily radio broadcast. Three other weekdays they flew from Belem around the north of Brazil for dance engagements in other cities. Dorsey did not enjoy himself in Brazil. He could not communicate. No one in his band spoke Portuguese. His little daughter was constantly ill, his wife was extremely upset.
Worst of all, the band had received no payment for the next four weeks in advance, which was in the contract. Dorsey stayed one week longer, and then flew with his family to Miami. He abandoned all of his own musicians—who were stranded without pay. The hotel that the band had been booked into in Rio was generous enough to let the musicians sign for anything they needed to survive. Tino Barzie told the band that they would all be paid when they got back to New York.
The airline that sponsored the tour brought us back to New York. I had a dime left when I got there. Trying to analyze Tommy, in spite of the Brazilian disaster over money, clarinetist Sal Libero, who had been with Les Brown for nine years after playing in the Glenn Miller Air Force Band, put it this way: To him music was more of a business-type thing.
To Tommy the music was more important. By he had been leading his orchestra for 18 years. He was looking tired and had let his hair go gray, although he did have it crew cut, which was the fashion at that moment. He also did something very unusual in The year before the first medical articles in magazines that linked illness to tobacco, he quit smoking, putting out his last cigarette after smoking two packs a day for about 25 years.
Senate that just about everybody from General George Marshall on down the chain of command in the U. S military was a Communist. This in turn led to anxiety and confusion in the national culture, and a longing for an imaginary time that never existed before or during the Second World War.
They wanted the world as they thought they had understood it, back. The big bands were a part of that. Among the more mundane cultural woes that intruded into the quiet, anxious lives of people who had lived into their thirties: Much of popular music had moved from the melodic and lyrical big bands, into more simple and repetitive Rhythm and Blues, and on to Rock and Roll with electricity powering the instruments, not human breath.
Younger jazz vocalists such as Chris Connor and June Christy sold well too. Much attention and airplay was given to Bill Haley and his Comets when they hit the floundering Rhythm and Blues music market and converted it into a new form labeled Rock and Roll. Haley led the first white group to take black Rhythm and Blues to a large 45 RPM record market of white teenagers.
Jackie Gleason, now at the zenith of his popularity at CBS, kept the Dorsey brothers in the spotlight. For the first time Tommy was beginning to fully realize the changing culture of American music, and he was alarmed and slightly depressed.
Though great friends, Tommy was acutely aware that Gleason was involved more and more in the control and direction of Tommy's career. Soon after hearing rumors of a reunion band of the Dorsey brothers, Gleason planned a television program to showcase them. He had apparently given up on the band business, and could barely function, personally. Tommy had played U. They both played solos with Armstrong on the Louis program, and that episode and its ratings brought the show stature.
He could talk to people and charm them. When you walked into a restaurant with Tommy he knew so many people, and he knew all their names. When he walked into a room, you knew he was there—he had that kind of personality. People liked Tommy, and they should have. I never saw the mean side of him. I found him very humorous. Tommy was a good dancer.
He was also a gentleman. Tommy had an unerring sense for new talent. The Dorsey band still toured when not appearing at the Statler in New York. The television exposure Gleason provided had given Tommy a renewed vigor, and again he was a large contemporary name in entertainment. Trumpeter Lee Castle remembers arriving in a cab in front of the T. I noticed Tommy putting hundred-dollar bills in his fingers. Tommy would shake hands with each of one of them and give him one of his one-hundred dollar bills He did that all the time.
Sinatra did the same thing. It had rubbed off from Tommy. At Christmastime, I would go with him to send food and clothes to a lot of people. You keep your mouth shut! The contract called for the Dorseys to play at the hotel for six months each year until Tommy and Jimmy were also guaranteed seven thousand dollars a week and a large cut of the cover charge percentage. They had Jackie Gleason to thank for this. Their television appearances had convinced the hotel of the economic viability of their orchestra.
Somebody [Steve Yates], a country music agent turned me on to an act handled by [Colonel] Tom Parker. What kind of a name is that? He was thrilled to death. I booked Elvis for the following Saturday.
They laughed at him. They thought he needed a haircut and a bath. His first songs were Joe Turner originals: The William Morris Agency, which had negotiated the contract, wrote in an option for two more shows if the first four proved successful. Here is the one and only Elvis Presley! After the Dorsey shows, everybody wanted Elvis. Only after these three programs, beginning with the six original Dorsey shows, did he appear on the Ed Sullivan show, the man given credit for bringing him to the public.
Once again, just as he had done for Sinatra, Tommy had found, and was promoting, a vocalist who would become much larger than Tommy himself in popular music. Sinatra had the Number One selling album in the country while Elvis was appearing on the Dorsey Show. He knows exactly where to go and what to do.
How do you hold that phrase so long? But his drive and ego would not let him slow down. Besides the Statler gig, he was still sitting on a bus on the road for part of the year playing one-nighters. Frank was a mega-star, taking it easy, making movies, and working where and when he chose in only the finest clubs.
On the second night of the Paramount shows, Frank came down with a cold and was replaced with the entertainers Jackie Gleason, Red Skelton and Ed Sullivan, who must have brought along some of his variety show acts.
Despite his depression at age 51, Tommy had his wife, Janie, two small children, and an estate they called home located in Greenwich, Connecticut. But the marriage was not working. There was alleged infidelity on both sides. He still pursued money in the stock market, buying one day and selling the next. He put some money in a company that produced buttons for well-known clothes companies. He invested in E-Z Pop, a product that made popping corn easy for almost anyone. He invested in a company whose drinking straws were manufactured in different flavors.
He wanted to be a successful businessman. I also think he would have liked to be a producer of motion pictures. He liked talking about finances and making money. He was a fallen hero.
God, he was down. He discussed his upcoming divorce…[Janie] was the first woman in the world, I think, who ever told him that he was too old for her.
Janie New filed for divorce on October 24, The judge suggested that they sleep in separate locked bedrooms in the Greenwich house. Afterward, Tommy began the drive home to Greenwich, with his old friend, trumpeter Lee Castle. They all left the restaurant for their own homes at 5: Arising from bed the next afternoon, Tommy went outside and played with his children and then worked in the garden. Tommy had brought the food home from the Italian restaurant the previous night, as he often did for Janie, who enjoyed its cuisine.
He had two glasses of wine with dinner and then retired to his bedroom at 8: After she knocked on the door and asked if he was alright, she heard him reply that he was on the phone with Carbone. Janie tried calling Dorsey on his private house line once more. Tommy told her he was about to go to sleep. She could hear the Television and Tommy snoring.
She called Carbone at At 10am Monday morning Carbone arrived at his office in the basement of the Dorsey house for his booking work for the band. Janie said Tommy was still sleeping. Carbone looked through the keyhole; he could see Tommy lying on his bed. He called Tino Barzie, who told him to break in. Barzie got on a train from New York to Greenwich.
He found Tommy in his bed, fully dressed, with blankets pulled up to his chest. No sign of life. Carbone quickly called the Greenwich Hospital and the town police. It had a slide drawer with two compartments, which contained both neutral and greenish-colored pills.
Newspapers across the country headlined the death. The Campbell home was full with over people both on the main floor and in the gallery. Twenty three limousines drove to the Westchester County town of Valhalla where Tommy was interred surrounded by two stones. Arranged by Neil Hefti, and recorded only two weeks before Tommy died, it infuriated Tommy after he heard a test copy because of its Rock and Roll sound.
He threatened to buy and burn every disc. Together, the Dorsey brothers, in an age when mass-marketing was non-existent, had a total of top-forty Billboard Pop Chart hits. Combined they had sold million records. It made her some money in as it rose to 8 on the Billboard Chart.
She decided to support herself and her children by forming a new Tommy Dorsey Band with trombonist Warren Covington as its leader. The band, under many leaders since, continues to tour. She was always proud of what her sons had achieved and the happiness it had brought to so many people. Trumpeter Ziggy Elman passed away on June 26, He became a studio musician in Los Angeles, but always found it difficult to make the transition from being on the road, to random studio calls for recording sessions.
By , he was very ill and teaching occasional trumpet lessons. After a decade in the 's of freelancing, playing with the Harry James band, forming big and small groups of his own for recording, Buddy Rich re-joined Harry James in , and then in started his own popular big band.
The call of the road, which he had been on his entire life, being the highest paid child star in vaudeville, proved too strong, and he toured the world with his big band until his death from brain cancer on April 2 nd , He also assembled big bands for Carnegie Hall performances that played the hits from his Lunceford and Dorsey years. He was 77 when he passed away in New York on May 28 th , Frank Sinatra continued to sing concerts until Vince Carbone was his personal manager. Ultimately this was primarily a matter of repertory, for Dorsey…never understood the fundamental truth that jazz is first and foremost a creative music.
And although he could not make the transition to the modern era, his superb trombone playing, in itself an artistic statement, will be remembered for generations to come.
When Sy Oliver was told that Dorsey had died, he said. Da Capo Press, Cambridge, Mass. University of Mississippi Press. His main influence was Duke Ellington, who fired his imagination. Otsie worked for the United Shoe Machine Company. He went to factory floors and taught the workers how to use the shoe making machinery his company manufactured.
Erv, Ray, Dan and Joyce. Myrtle always longed to be closer to Lake Michigan. She loved to swim, and went to a pool twice a week. Woodrow was also a good swimmer. His childhood in Milwaukee was nothing extraordinary. He skated, rode horses at a farm out in Wales, WI.
His father changed jobs and joined the Nunn-Bush Shoe Company, where he remained for forty years, becoming an executive. We used to go for rides in that thing. He saw in me the possible fulfillment of his love for show business, and he worked with me, teaching me songs, from the time I first remember seeing him. He would have loved working on the stage, instead of as a shoemaker at the Nunn-Bush factory…We had a great collection of recordings at home, and he sang along with them.
He even bought a player piano and supplied it with all the available piano rolls. They were kind and beautiful. He is Woodrow Hermann, 9, son of Mr. Otto Hermann, Humboldt Ave. He is said to be the youngest juvenile actor in the state. He has also appeared on club programs and at other entertainments.
Woody studied piano with four different teachers as a child, and was also given a violin. Neither of these instruments appealed to him, especially the violin. No doubt this knowledge of true jazz artists accorded such acclaim by a jazz playing priest opened the door to the world of jazz for Woodrow. In , he bought his first E-Flat Alto silver sax with his traveling show savings. This was the answer to everything. Practice until you turn blue and your lip is numb and your teeth hurt and you may accomplish something.
But he was very good and I was fortunate in starting with someone like that. Woodrow also sat down for a few hours with the popular saxophonist Rudy Wiedoeft in Milwaukee, where Wiedoeft was touring. He was continuing dancing lessons at this time also, including tap. He was now a natural performer before audiences. In fifth grade, Woodrow was tired of the Milwaukee School Board interfering with his being allowed to be in show business.
They were always tracking his day, night, and out of town travels with an eye to putting him back in his school chair full time. So at age 10, he took it upon himself to get a transfer out of the public schools and into a Catholic school called St. The kiddie-revue days were over. I was able to play theaters as a single on a year-round basis, performing locally on school nights and sometimes traveling to other towns on weekends, often with my mother along.
I tried not to be too self-impressed, but it was a gas to walk by a theater and see my name in lights, and to collect as much as fifty dollars a week- a powerful income in the early Twenties. My parents held the salary for me in a bank account, and saw that I had spending money. Woody bought and listened to Duke Ellington and Red Nichols on records.
The rest of his life he credited Ellington as his musical inspiration. He was then playing a steady night gig with a group of older guys who picked him up from home and drove him back at 4am, even on school nights. At this time he also learned a lot more about jazz by listening to records performed by the Mound City Blue Blowers. Woody listened to the Hawkins solos almost endlessly, and memorized them. During his schooling, of all the Dominican Sisters who taught at St.
Her name was Sister Fabian Riley. She taught Woodrow science and math. Although Woody did not graduate from high school on time, Sister Fabian arranged for lessons to allow him to graduate late.
Without her defending me all the time and encouraging me in my music, who knows what would have become of me? It was so hot that Woody drank bottle after bottle of Dr. His roommate smoked marijuana. And this one morning was unbearable. But Lichter did show patience by not firing him. Woody heard and met a lot of influential bands while touring with the Lichter band. Gerun was known in San Francisco, and Woody was sitting in a saxophone section that included a musician named Al Morris, who later became the singer Tony Martin.
Woody was immediately attracted to her. Her name was Charlotte Neste. They married in The band stayed around San Francisco for about a year, then headed back to Chicago. I had a favorite uncle in Oakland. I bought a Chevrolet, a wonderful little car. Woody and I put our saxophones in the back and set off for Chicago. We drove to Reno, Nevada, and decided that instead of stopping overnight, we were going to make it all the way to Salt Lake City and save money. We got to Utah.
We were just outside of Salt Lake City. We turned over four times, broke the window, and did a total on the car. I was bleeding and so was Woody. Woody jumped out of the car and opened the back and took his saxophone out to see if it worked. Then he checked our liquor supply. After a few days we arrived in Chicago in another car. I was 20, Woody was I was even wearing my Homburg. I liked being dressed properly…We were in a semi-hilarious mood and Fuzzy [Knight- a comic in the floorshow] was waving his hand, a finger of which was decorated with a big diamond ring.
The trouble began while we were driving back to our hotel in my Pontiac Roadster…We stopped for a red light, and a big black sedan pulled up next to us. Three guys jumped out and started opening our doors and banging on the car. We scuffled with them from our seats and one guy decided the noise we were making might attract attention, so he slugged me on the head with his fist.
But the Homburg saved me. The hood got frustrated, pulled a pistol, and fired a bullet toward the floorboard of the car to scare us. My right leg unfortunately was in the way, and the bullet went straight through my calf and dropped to the floor.
I got out of the car, dragging my leg behind me, located a policeman a couple of blocks away, told him I had just been shot in the leg and that the hoods might still be back at the car with my buddies. You better go home. They found a doctor and put him in a Southside Hospital overnight. Isham Jones led one of the premier bands of the period from Jones studied the piano growing up in Saginaw, Michigan.
He was put out in front of the band by the hotel management because of the strange looking horn he played, the saxophone still being unfamiliar.
That is how he became a bandleader. His remarkable talent for composing came later, to list only a few of his compositions: Isham always understood what was happening in jazz, but never pretended to be doing it himself, despite the wonderful blues recordings he made.
Woody was brought to the attention of Jones by a Bass player he met in Lexington, Kentucky named Walt Yoder, who although still in high school, had already played in the bands of Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey and Isham Jones.
Woody was to meet up with the band in Denver to begin. When he got to the gig, Jones had forgotten he had hired him. But with Jones it was a different story.
Even an eighth note. Because this was death. He stood in front of the band with a complete score of every tune. We played those tunes night after night, seven days a week, and he still had the score out there. Jones featured Woody on a lot of novelty vocals, and let Woody record with a smaller group within the band. This would come in handy for him in the coming months. In Jones decided to retire. He was very simple and direct about it. Woody took it upon himself to arrange a contract with Decca for the band.
But who would lead it? One of the first things he did was call Charlotte in California and ask her to marry him, which they did on September 27 th , They rented an apartment on Bleeker Street in Greenwich Village- a fifth floor walk-up, and spent their honeymoon visiting all of the clubs on 52 nd Street. The band found a place to practice for free at the Capitol Hotel. Three weeks later they were moved to the other Roseland Ballroom in Manhattan.
They signed a booking contract with General Artists Corporation. Meanwhile, Isham Jones' poultry ranch failed, due to a disastrous storm, and he opened a general store and hamburger stand on a winding road outside of Denver.
He was a multimillionaire from composer royalties and shrewd savings. Jones stood there all day making hamburgers. Woody reported that people familiar with Jones passing through the area would recognize him and be amazed to see him.
He stayed there 3 years until moving to California, where he opened and sold at a profit two music stores. He moved to Florida after that, where he died in October of at age Woody enthusiastically agreed, having garnered a popular young following from the Philadelphia area that spent its weekends at the N.
Hunt made sure a Philadelphia radio station was getting all of this by wire remote. Hunt was a good businessman- he promoted his park through the band. They struck up a life-long friendship. Jack collected everything about Woody. And whenever Woody was playing in the Philadelphia region, he would stay with Jack and his family in a special room decorated with awards, posters and records- all of the collectibles Woody had no interest in, or time to think about.
Jack would pretty much tell Woody what to record, thus depriving the band of a recognizable style, or sound. I liked a lot of the guys in the band. Maybe we can make a buck. He had already blown a ton of money with three bands and he was full of sad stories.
The two brothers, who had excellent ethics and honor in the sometimes questionable popular music business, gave Glenn Miller the momentum he needed, by investing not only money in his band, but by their own legwork and phone calls.
They owned several dance venues in the New England area. In their stable sat one time or another were people like Artie Shaw and Glenn Miller. They helped Tommy Dorsey in the beginning, they helped us, and any new band that had any potential at all. They also helped Duke Ellington. In April of the Herman band recorded four tunes for Decca. One of them was a head arrangement, just a series of riffs based on a blues theme that soloists could work with.
The band had played it frequently at the Roseland Ballroom. He had recently attended a Sportsman show in the Boston Garden, and there had been a wood chopping contest. Then fortune struck when George Simon, editor of Metronome Magazine used the words "The Herman Herd" to describe the band in a review, and it stuck. The band's next important boost was playing at the Famous Door on 52nd St. The Famous Door which also had a radio wire was where everybody hip in music hung out, and a gig there was coveted.
Woody figured they had it made; they had shown they were top drawer stuff, but nothing big came out of the engagement. Although a bit better well known, a period of slogging through the country playing one-nighters for a year and a half followed. Charlotte gave birth to their one and only child, Ingrid, on September 3, , in Los Angeles.
Woody sang it, and it became another big hit. It featured the entire band singing backgrounds behind the vocal, "And we worked for hours on it. The band appeared in several motion pictures on the eve of WWII.
Because of Woody's chemistry with Bob Hope and the manager of the Paramount, Woody's band became a fixture. Whenever a "Road" picture played there, Woody and the band would be called back and stay with the film for up to 12 weeks, playing between showings.
Woody was working seven shows a day, seven days a week, from 9 a. He wasn't eating, and became malnourished. This, and severe anxiety, created a situation that received psychiatric attention. But the Paramount Management almost had heart failure the first few times I stepped into the theater and on to the stage, just as it was rising out of the orchestra pit". Tires and gas were rationed.
The draft, of course, had to call up all the able-bodied who could fight. The bands were primarily composed of young men between the ages of 18 to their mid's. Woody himself was 4-F because of two hernias. One of his Army examining physicians told him he'd be of far more value entertaining the troops to keep morale up than getting shot anyhow. Woody and the band spent the war entertaining troops on Army, Navy and Marine bases. They were heard over the Armed Forces Radio Network to troops too distant to be reached in person.
Until , Woody's band was a versatile group, musically speaking. They could play blues, as well as romantic tunes, exceptionally well. They could play as a swinging dance band, and then turn to novelty numbers and even Dixieland Jazz. All of this kept the band working through very hard times during the war.
Herman and his band followed the credo of Isham Jones, and played every kind of musical material to the highest level, and always treated each piece of music with respect. But by casting a wide net, and providing something for everyone, they failed as a group to create a "sound", as Basie, Goodman, Miller, Ellington, and Shaw had done.
Woody's ear seemed more general, and thus the band's individuality was watered down. A few Jazz scholars have argued that, as far back as , with the titles "Woodsheddin' With Woody'; "Ten Day Furlough"; and "Hot Chestnuts", the band had provided the great power and style it would project from onwards, with the series of "Herds". He also recorded three of Dizzy Gillespie's first big band compositions in Behind all of the frantic change in wartime musical taste, the American Federation of Musicians, led by Caesar Petrillo, voted to strike for more royalty payments for juke box and radio play.
One argument said it was costing jobs and therefore royalties should rise. This halted all instrumental recording, except vocalists accompanied by other voices for harmony. The recording ban lasted from July 13, , until November 11, BeBop had slid under the radar and into the public consciousness during the recording strike. New ideas born at the time were rarely captured in recording studios, with one exception, "Victory Discs", or V-Discs.
These were large acetate discs that could hold many more songs per side- almost a precursor of the Long Play Record. Shipped out in protective cans to fighting fronts and broadcast on shortwave frequencies over the Armed Forces Radio Network, they provided the sound of home. Woody made a lot of V-Discs to send out while playing military bases and radio shows. Soldiers were the first to hear BeBop unmasked on a large scale. Their initial reaction to what Louis Armstrong called at the time, "that Chinese music", we may not know, but by the time fighting ended, another two things were clear in Pop music.
Vocalists were in their ascendancy, and the big swing bands were running out of steam trying to keep up economically and culturally. BeBop claimed the middle ground. With the burgeoning vocalist's own styles playing endlessly on the radio and jukes, mile full-band bus trips on rationed fuel and bald tires wern't making much sense for a public that craved a more personal vocal to a loud bombastic Swing band.
The teens who had danced to Benny Goodman in were now grown up and tempered by war, their energy spent working and having families. Many female postwar vocalists followed the full-throated styling of Anita O'Day. She created the sound with Gene Krupa's band, and was the first female vocalist to insist on wearing a band jacket like everyone else on the stand. The drama of Sinatra's solo records backed by Axel Stordahl and strings lent a pleasant, intimate atmosphere to an evening at home, or live, in a club.
There were plenty of other popular singers waiting in the wings to take off soloing. Sinatra professionally feared Jimmy Dorsey's former vocalist Bob Eberly the most.
He was afraid that once Bob Eberly broke through, he'd leave Sinatra in the dust. These were only the vanguard of the vocal dominated decades that followed, founded globally by Elvis Presley.
They didn't sing for the band- the band stayed out of the way and played for them. Chubby Jackson remembers joining Woody in , at the height of the war: It was still the "Band That Plays The Blues", an adequate dance band but nothing terribly impressive.
Woody was absolutely the man who gave me the full range of all my little eccentricities. And we had a devotion to him that could easily be called love. He was a great coordinator of musicians, because of his personality. He understood not to tell a new guy how to play. But we discovered that Sonny was best at the little shouts, the eight-bar fill, or a little chorus. That was our reputation- 'Oh, look at that, right on the spur of the moment.
I was the first one to wear the beard, the different uniform. I got the blame for it as years went by. I was the eccentric- "He's out of it. For example, one of the numbers he had me doing was to put the bass across my knees while sitting down. Woody and I had a dialogue before we went into the music. I knew when to yell. Woody always said that I won the Downbeat Poll one year for just yelling. I just knew when to yell, and the band would respond.
We were all geared up to beat the Chicago Bears every night. We'd wait for his chorus to come and wonder, "What is he gonna play tonight? On Woody's temperament, Jackson had an amusing memory: It was in the Metropole in New York. They had hired me to be the relief band. I played the first set, and then I saw Woody down at the other end of the bar. I put down my bass, and yelled, "Hey, Wood," and we hugged. The boss of the Metropole was an unbelievable man. The bartenders and everyone were afraid of him.
Woody and I talked while he was putting a reed in his clarinet. And the boss comes over and says, "Hey, c'mon man, let's go to work, what are you doin' here?
Nobody talked to Woody that way. And the guy said, "Yeah, you're Woody Herman aren't you? Well I own this joint, so let's get on the bandstand. Talk to the guy later.
So Woody said, "I'll tell you, sir, you talk to my Business Manager Abe Turchen from now on if you want to say anything to me. If you say the same thing again in the same tone, two things are going to occur. Chubby also helped get pianist Ralph Burns, a genius of a writer Early Autumn in I have no idea how many pieces I did all together, but it was at least two or three a week during the first few years.
Although Tough read no music, Woody told them "This Tough guy is very special. Gene Lee's describes vividly parts of what made Dave Tough who he was: In his adolescence he became a member of the 'Austin High Gang' Even then, drinking was his curse.
He introduced the reading members of the Austin High Gang to the intellectuals of the time like H. Mencken, and later wrote a column for "Down Beat" By the age of 20 he was living in Paris He was also a wit.
He'd get fired for missing gigs- not the first time, like anyone else- but the second or third time. We played under difficult conditions in forward areas on South Pacific islands. I's also under ponchos. At times they were bombed almost nightly by Japanese aircraft. During one of these attacks, Shaw permanently lost the hearing of one ear. The band went home sick and exhausted, Shaw told Lees,"Davey Tough was just a ghost. In spite of all that, when Tough arrived on the Herman bandstand for the Old Gold Cigarette radio program, he was in top form, Chubby Jackson said.
Dave Tough was totally brilliant He didn't believe in metronomical time; he thought we should move. Flip [Phillips] was right down the middle, so we stayed with him.
Sonny Berman used to play behind the beat, so we'd go with him. But when it was ensemble it was Davey and myself. He insisted that I stand right next to him so I could watch his foot pedal and movement of his hands. I learned an awful lot from Dave. He's coming into this band? Dave made that band, The First Herd and he insisted I play on the same level with him Dave tuned his drums to C, E, and G. He had a cymbal for when the tenor sax played. The ensemble cymbal was one of those rivet cymbals, but he had taken out all the rivets but two, and then he had sliced a v-cut into it.
It looked like something that should have been thrown out. But instead, it had a sound that blended, a take-over sound. It had a human warmth to it. All of a sudden the band started to get that fury. He made all of us soloists. So sure of ourselves.
I started to find something I felt was my own sound, and it was due to Davey. He was always scared of having a seizure. Fear made him drink. By September of Dave was drinking heavily again and quit the Herman band. Gene Lee's quotes critic Whitney Balliet: He was losing his saturnine good looks.
He had a long, wandering, bony face, a high, domed forehead, and black hair with a widow's peak- it was a face perched on tiny shoulders, of a bigger man. He got drunk on the afternoon of December 8, , while heading to an apartment he shared with Chan, his wife, in Newark.
He fell and hit his head on the street curb. He had no I. The city took him to the morgue as an unidentified body. Chan located him at the morgue after three days of searching and waiting. Tough's death, and so many others, reminded me of Dizzy Gillespie's answer to a jazz critic who questioned how "serious" jazz was as a musical entity: You can't get more serious than that".
The First Herd was Woody Herman's best known and economically successful band. Charlotte, alone in their new terraced Hollywood home purchased from the Bogarts, was turning to pills and alcohol to beat her loneliness. Trumpeters Berman, Condoli and Rogers, quit for different reasons, some were health related , and the band was exhausted from the road tour one-nighters.
Woody went home to get Charlotte straightened out. Woody also took Charlotte to AA meetings "And the first time we arrived at one, I met a lot of my ex-band members and many friends. I remember seeing Billy May greeting me with open arms, and I told him, "I'm cool, you know. I'm just here with Charlotte. I enjoyed the meetings. It was nice to hear people bare their souls". I saw a lot of it, the connections.
I was well aware of it. I saw the guys out there trying to score. But I remained the biggest square in life. But I don't think the road had anything to do with it. They just wanted to get high, and the contacts were everywhere and still are. If a guy wants anything, he can get it anywhere, anytime of the day or night. In debt, with no real big band business in the offing, Woody disbanded the Second Herd in As a result of the constant recycling since the late 's of that genre of big band style by dozens of orchestras, we tend to take it for granted today.
We should not forget, however, that there has been very little substantively new in big-band styling since Woody's First Herd.. This was due in large measure to Ralph Burn's arrangements and compositions, and the fortuitous coming together of a young, dynamic, exceptionally talented group of players All the other white bands of the 's Their conversion and commitment to the idiom was not as deep as Herman's and his Herd.
Woody found a new record label, even owning it for a while, called Mars. Milt Jackson had been playing with Woody towards the end of the Second Herd and left the new band. On Christmas it rained and wiped us out in the outdoor nightclub. The owner went to the hospital with a heart attack. On New Year's Eve, the same thing happened. The biggest night of the year. I think it sent him back to the hospital.
He wasn't that well known there. People reacted very casually to him. Woody got sort of frustrated.
even stepped aside, to allow the girl's mother and some older ladies - aunts? at the girl's pew, as if somehow she might've reappeared there - and when he. Horny mature lady with huge natural tits playing with herself. 3 years agoDuration Inadequate mature slut doing her toy boy on chum around with annoy couch. So when Gloria Steinem, on the eve of her 80th birthday, boldly Pity the prejudices of a mature woman dating a (much) younger male!.