The Best of the Big Bands
"Once again, from out of the west - the beauty spot of California - the world famous Garden Room of the Hotel Claremont, high atop the Oakland/Berkeley hills, overlooking San Francisco Bay, just a few minutes drive from the city by the Golden Gate and around the nation, the music of Dick Jurgens and his Orchestra!"
The music of a generation, preserved for generations yet to come. It's the Big Bands at their best, live and on the air -- presented in this exciting collection from Radio Archives.
Dance music remotes from restaurants, ballrooms, hotels, and nightspots were one of radio's most enduring formats. First heard in the early 1920s, band remotes lingered on until the early 1970s as a feature of late-night programming. The remotes were usually unsullied by commercial sponsorship, and above all, they were live -- preserving the music with a fresh spontaneity that explodes past the confines of the more familiar - and often abridged - studio recordings.
Some of the broadcasts in this collection come from original network transcriptions; of particular interest is a series of previously unknown broadcasts from 1951, unearthed from a private collection and heard here for the first time in over fifty years. Others are taken from the Armed Forces Radio Service "One Night Stand" series which, from 1943 through the mid-1960s, preserved a vast cross-section of dance-band broadcasts using edited linechecks of original network broadcasts, pressed on vinyl for distribution to the troops overseas. Still other recordings are special transcriptions distributed by various government agencies to stations around the US as a way of meeting their public service obligations. But what all these recordings share is the fun and excitement of a uniquely American form of popular music. Enjoy them all in this tuneful ten hour collection.
Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra
a rare example of "That Sentimental Gentleman's" weekly musical variety
series for the Brown and Williamson Tobacco Company, on behalf of
Raleigh and Kool cigarettes. It's an edited Special
Services Division recording for the troops overseas, so you won't hear
about Raleigh coupons or Willie the Penguin, but you will hear a prime
example of the Dorsey band from its swinging mid-forties era.
The Tommy Dorsey Show (#25)
A Special Services Division rebroadcast of "The Raleigh-Kool Cigarette
Program," with vocals by Skip Nelson, The Dorsey Sentimentalists, and
announcer Truman Bradley.
Wednesday, June 23, 1943 - 30:00 - NBC/Special Services rebroadcast
Dorsey's postwar summer replacement series in Fred Allen's time slot,
sponsored by Standard Brands, took a more variety-oriented format than
his Brown and Williamson broadcasts -- with glamorous Hollywood
personality Claire Trevor, a name not usually associated with jazz or
swing, filling the guest slot on this AFRS rebroadcast.
Tommy Dorsey and Company, with guest Claire Trevor (#42)
Featuring drummer Buddy Rich, Charlie Shavers on trumpet, and vocals by the Dorsey Sentimentalists and Stuart Foster.
Sunday, July 8, 1945 - 30:00 - NBC, AFRS rebroadcast
Woody Herman and his Orchestra
the remains of the famous Isham Jones Orchestra in the mid-1930s, Woody
Herman was well known for decades for his adaptability and his musical
curiosity. His first major band overtly emphasized African-American
musical traditions at a time when the blues were rarely heard by white
audiences. Later on, in the mid-forties, Herman's interest shifted to
more contemporary forms of jazz -- and the 1944 broadcast is an
opportunity to hear the famous Thundering Herd in its first incarnation.
"The Band That Plays the Blues" broadcasts from the Famous Door, New
York City, with announcer Jack Costello and vocals by Woody and Carol
Sunday, January 7, 1940 - 30:00 - NBC, sustaining
The famous "First Herd" in their opening night broadcast from the Cafe Rouge of the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City.
Monday, August 21, 1944 - 30:00 - CBS, sustaining
Count Basie and his Orchestra
isn't much you can say about the Count that hasn't already been said by
anyone who loves big-band jazz at its best. From the thirties to the
eighties, the Basie band was a joyous, swinging part of the big band
scene. An added attraction in these two broadcasts is Basie alumnus
Lester Young, returning to help out his old boss with his usual
spine-tingling tenor sax work.
Two live NBC network broadcasts from the "Stars in Jazz" series,
broadcast from Birdland in New York City with announcer Fred Collins.
Thursday, January 1, 1953 - 24:36 - NBC, sustaining
Tuesday, January 6, 1953 - 24:20 - NBC, sustaining
Charlie Barnet and his Orchestra
its start as one of the bright young bands of the thirties, the Charlie
Barnet Orchestra swung its way into the late fifties with a continuing
emphasis on solid musicianship that kept the group feeling up-to-date.
The Barnet organization is heard here in two 1957 broadcasts from "The
Charlie Barnet Show" produced by the United States Marine Corps with
announcer Jimmy Wallington. Program #11 features Stan Kenton's popular
vocalist June Christy and #12 features guest vocalist Lynn Franklyn.
1957 - 15:00 - sponsored by US Marine Corps Recruiting
Next, a live remote broadcast from the Hollywood Palladium, as rebroadcast by the AFRTS as One Night Stand #4966
November, 1959 - 30:00 - AFRTS
Bobby Sherwood and his Orchestra
Bobby Sherwood began his career as a highly valued studio musician, but
moved on in the postwar era to front a short-lived band of his own --
an organization designed to showcase his many talents.Jan Savitt and his Orchestra
The Sherwood band is heard here in two live ABC broadcasts, originating
from Tommy Dorsey's Casino Gardens in Ocean Park, California with
announcer Vince Williams -- as rebroadcast by the AFRS as One Night
Stand #1289 & #1296
Both January 1947 - 30:00 each - AFRS
Rhythm" carried this always-swinging aggregation out of Philadelphia in
the mid-1930s and into the national spotlight. A former child prodigy
and musical polymath who was equally at home in the classical and
popular sectors, Savitt - often referred to as "The King of Sweet
Swing" - featured distinctive, fast-paced arrangements of up-tempo
tunes, along with a surprisingly expressive approach to ballads.
The Savitt band is heard here in two live 1944 broadcasts from Horace
Heidt's Trianon Ballroom in Southgate, California, as rebroadcast by
the AFRS as One Night Stand (Fill) #27 and #402.
Sunday, July 23, 1944 - 30:00 - AFRS
Thursday, July 27, 1944 - 30:00 - AFRS
Vaughn Monroe and his Orchestra
of the major vocal personalities of the postwar era, Vaughn Monroe's
trademark was his full-throated manner of singing romantic ballads --
and he parlayed his popularity into a long running second career as a
commercial spokesman for RCA Victor products. The deep voiced
bandleader and vocalist is featured in two broadcasts:
An uncirculated live ABC network remote broadcast originating from the
Marine Ballroom, Steel Pier, Atlantic City, New Jersey with vocals by
Vaughn Monroe, The Moon Maids, and The Moon Men.
Summer 1951 - 29:00 - ABC, sustaining
A live broadcast originating from the Hollywood Palladium with
announcer Bill Ewing, originally broadcast on the CBS network and
rebroadcast by the AFRS as One Night Stand #649. (NOTE: The AFRS
announcer incorrectly announces the broadcast as originating from the
Blackhawk Restaurant in Chicago.)
Tuesday, February 6, 1945 - 30:00 - CBS/AFRS rebroadcast
Dick Jurgens and his Orchestra
excellent middle-of-the-road band, the Dick Jurgens orchestra was
perfectly at home with comfortable dance arrangements -- but given the
opportunity, it could also turn out a respectable bit of swing. "Here's
That Band Again" in two live broadcasts featuring this popular musical
A Mutual remote - unheard since its original broadcast - originating
from the Trocadero Ballroom, Elitch's Gardens, Denver, Colorado, and a
1946 remote from the Garden Room of the Hotel Claremont in Berkley,
California featuring vocals by Jimmy Castle, as rebroadcast by the AFRS
as One Night Stand #1001.
Summer 1951 - 25:00 - Mutual, sustaining
Wednesday, May 15, 1946 - 30:00 - AFRS
Les Brown and his Orchestra
associated with Bob Hope, Les Brown's orchestra kept the big-band
tradition swinging for decades -- adapting to new musical trends
without ever losing its essential identity. The band's most famous
graduate is longtime vocalist Doris Day, but boy singer Butch Stone is
still associated with the Brown organization past the age of ninety, now singing with the band fronted by Les Brown Jr.
The swinging "Band of Renown" is heard in three unique broadcasts spanning the years 1944-1957:
The Victory Parade of Spotlight Bands (AFRS #371/Coke Program
#526), features Les and his Band of Renown broadcasting from Woodrow
Wilson General Hospital in Virginia, with vocalists Doris Day, Gordon
Drake and Butch Stone.
Thursday, May 25, 1944 - 15:00 - Blue Network/AFRS rebroadcast
Part two of an uncirculated live broadcast from the Palladium,
Hollywood, California, heard at the height of the bop craze - with song
titles including "My Baby Likes to Bebop" and "Boptize." (Crazy, man,
Sunday, July 4, 1948 - 15:00 - CBS, sustaining
Here's two for the price of one: Les Brown and his Band of Renown
broadcasting from Hershey Park, Hershey Pennsylvania, followed by
Johnny Richards and his Orchestra from Birdland in New York City, as
rebroadcast by the AFRTS as One Night Stand #4413. Known primarily an
arranger, Johnny Richards led a band which emphasized a modern approach
to the big-band format, presenting intricately progressive music in a
fully orchestrated form. It's not a mainstream big band by any means --
but an interesting look at how the music tried to adapt to changing
1957 - 30:00 - AFRTS
Orrin Tucker and his Orchestra
Tucker's greatest claim to fame remains his early-1940s recordings with
squeaky-voiced vocalist Wee Bonnie Baker. But the band endured for
decades beyond those landmark sides, and offers an interesting approach
to sweet-but-not-too-sweet music for dining and dancing. This collection concludes with two uncirculated live network broadcasts,
featuring "The Danciest Band in the Land" with vocals by Orrin Tucker,
Scottee Marsh, and the Bodyguards.
The first, a Mutual remote from 1951, comes from the Trocadero
Ballroom, Elitch's Gardens, Denver, Colorado, and the second is an ABC
network broadcast from the Boulevard Room of the Stevens Hotel, Chicago.
Summer 1951 - 29:00 - Mutual, sustaining
1951 - 30:00 - ABC, sustaining