Getting a lot done in a short time
Glenn Miller was around from the beginning, playing trombone and writing songs and arrangements for the top names in Jazz and Pop music for years before he ever tried starting his own Big Band. Look through the personnel of many of the landmark recordings of the early years of the Big Bands, and Glenn is there. He blew lots of trombone solos on lots of famous recordings, but you have to dig to find out it was him. Many early recordings of the Big Bands feature Glenn Miller arrangements, but again, his work went uncredited most of the time in those days, so you have to dig to find out just how vital Glenn's role was. But he was there, and he was working his butt off.
Glenn Miller had to try and try again to have a successful Big Band of his own; but when he hit, he hit big. And in just under five years, from 1939-1944, Glenn's band spanked the Hit Parade with 128 hit singles and made two successful Hollywood movies. It was almost as if he knew his time was short. He was barely 40 years old when his plane disappeared over the English Channel.
We will offer a nice selection of familiar Miller hits on this week's In the Mood, including A String of Pearls, Tuxedo Junction, and the seldom-heard 8-minute Movie version of Chattanooga Choo Choo from the film Sun Valley Serenade. But, awesome as it is, that's just the beginning of what's in store on this week's In the Mood.
We kick off Hour #2 with just over 20 minutes of bombastic beauty from Stan Kenton and his Orchestra. This was a band with a loud, forceful sound powered by (usually) four or even five trumpets, four trombones, and five or six saxophones.
Stan was a talented and prolific arranger and pianist who personally wrote most of the band's arrangements with occasional contributions from band members. His band had a distinctly modern sound, opting for big, solid ensemble passages rather than a lot of back-and-forth riffing between the sections.
We'll hear a couple of selections that feature vocals by Anita O'Day (the band's first vocalist), and a couple more with June Christy, who actually enjoyed greater chart success with Kenton than Anita had. And of course we will include some of the band's most famous instrumental pieces like Unison Riff and Early Autumn, a gorgeous piano solo by Stan from the late 1950s.
Other highlights on this week's show include Flashes, a Bix Beiderbecke composition performed by Bunny Berigan and his Orchestra, right off the original 1938 Victor 78, some big chart hits from Harry James and Tommy Dorsey, Shep Fields blowing through a straw, a little Billie Holiday, and even the amazing live version of Sing, Sing, Sing from the Benny Goodman 1938 Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert. As I write this, I'm getting excited just thinking about hearing all of this wonderful stuff on the air this week!
Now look...if you enjoy In the Mood, don't keep it a secret! Tell your friends and family and invite them to listen. Especially if you know a young musician in one of our high school or college bands, let them know about In the Mood. They need to hear this music!
Thanks for reading this week's Show Blog! I hope you enjoy hearing this show as much as I enjoy putting it together. As always, you can comment here or on our Facebook page.
And don't forget to Keep Swingin', my friends!