Monthly Archives: January 2012

The Mellifluous Mr. Brown

More than any other big band, the Duke Ellington Orchestra was a collection of unique and diverse musical personalities. In choosing the men for his band, Ellington picked players with distinctive sounds and approaches to their instruments. Like a great … Continue reading

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Woody Herman and the Band That Plays the Blues

Woody Herman led big bands for a half-century, but in the beginning it seemed unlikely he would last more than a year or so. Herman spent his first years as a bandleader struggling to find both an audience and a … Continue reading

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Benny Goodman and Harry James

The group dynamics of a big band were such that one musician could have an oversize impact on a group’s sound and spirit. Benny Goodman was already leading the hottest band in the country when Harry James joined, but the … Continue reading

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The Singing Bandleaders

The common images of the great Swing Era bandleaders include dazzling trumpeters with gleaming horns; handsome young clarinet virtuosos; and elegant pianists conducting from the keyboard. Singers were an important part of every orchestra’s success, but few of them were … Continue reading

Posted in Billy Eckstine, Bob Crosby, Cab Calloway, Jack Teagarden, Singers, Skinnay Ennis, Tony Pastor, Woody Herman | Leave a comment