Big Bands

This audio only interview was conducted for a radio program by Dan Del Fiorentino and donated to the NAMM Oral History program: Manny Albam was taught how to arrange jazz for a big band while working with Georgie Auld's Orchestra. Georgie's arranger at the time was Budd Johnson who took Manny under...
Van Alexander co-wrote “A-Tisket, A-Tasket” with Ella Fitzgerald while both worked in the Chick Webb Orchestra back in 1938. The success of that song led to a job as arranger for Webb as well as Benny Goodman and Paul Whiteman and super stardom for Ella. Van formed his own band during the wonderful...
Jon Andersen has enjoyed playing music nearly his entire life.  A jazz saxophonist, Jon played in a number of small and large bands over the years and found work with several noted musicians in and around his neighborhood, Santa Barbara.  When he was approached by his longtime friend Nick Rail, to...
Ray Anthony has only endorsed two products during his long and successful career-- only two because he doesn't give use of his name lightly. As a teenager he played trumpet for the famed Glenn Miller Orchestra during the swing era. A decade later he formed his own band and recorded a number of his...
Bob Bain played with a number of the big bands during the golden era of swing before he became the iconic studio session player in Los Angeles.  His session playing is well known for a wide range of famous gigs, such as playing for Audrey Hepburn as she sang "Moon River" in the movie "Breakfast at...
Betty Bennett was inspired to pursue a career in music when she was brought along to gigs by her mother and was allowed to sing with her. After Betty’s first paying gig, making 50 cents for singing a song, she would continue singing throughout her high school and college years, hitting it big when...
This audio only interview was conducted for a radio program by Dan Del Fiorentino and donated to the NAMM Oral History program: Memo Bernabei led a popular society orchestra during the great Big Band Era. As a saxophonist, Memo cut his teeth within such bands as those lead by Jan Garber and Ray...
This audio only interview was conducted for a radio program by Dan Del Fiorentino and donated to the NAMM Oral History program: Johnny Best started off learning the piano but switched to trumpet when he was 13. During his impressive career as a sideman in the big bands, Johnny played with several...
Lyle Bird grew up in a musical family with his mother playing the piano daily. As a teenager he played trumpet in several swing bands during the big band era including with such leaders as Henry Busse. He played in a band during his navy service during World War II and again played in several small...
Bugs Bower is one of the great characters of music publishing that helped re-direct the industry following World War II. Before and during the war, Bugs was a musician and arranger who played with dance bands on stage and on radio. After the war he continued arranging and was given a job at the...

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