Big Bands

Johnny Mandel brought his unique talents as a composer and arranger from jazz clubs to the big screen during a brilliant career that spanned over 60 years! As a songwriter, he spent several years in the 1940s and 50s plugging his songs in the Brill Building in New York which was the hotspot for...
Billy May was a fun loving trumpeter who arranged some of the best-loved music of the Big Band Era! His humor and musical talents provided hit recordings for Glenn Miller, Charlie Barnet and Frank Sinatra, to name but three. His enormous output included radio, TV and movie work as well as thousands...
This audio only interview was conducted for a radio program by Dan Del Fiorentino and donated to the NAMM Oral History program: Ray McKinley provided a swinging and consistent rhythm behind several big bands during the 1930s and 40s. He worked with the Dorsey Brothers, Will Bradley and Glenn Miller...
H. C. McMurtry sure knew a lot about the Wurlitzer Company!   Not only did he work for the company for nearly 20 years, he traveled throughout the country, selling the company’s product line to hundreds of music dealers. H. C., known by his nickname, Harmon, served as the national sales rep for the...
Jay McShann ​was one of the last great original stride pianists, one of the last Big Band Era leaders and one of the few musicians to work with such an amazing list of jazz icons. During our interview with him he told some of the most memorable McShann classic stories such as when he was the first...
Buddy Merrill played the pedal steel guitar on the Lawrence Welk TV program from its start in 1954 until he left the show in 1974. Buddy played Fender products while on the Welk Show, which was an exciting time as several key instrument innovations were released during this time, including the...
 Cam Miller established himself as a respected music critic and journalist who was a long-time supporter of countless jazz festivals and concerts for over five decades. Cam began his professional writing career with the Blade Tribune in Northern San Diego in 1954 as a freelance jazz writer before...
This audio only interview was conducted for a radio program by Dan Del Fiorentino and donated to the NAMM Oral History program: Eddie Miller was asked to take a break from his road travels with the big bands to visit Elkhart, Indiana.  The Selmer Band Instrument Company made the special request and...
Jackie Mills as a drummer put down the beat for jazz and big band stars such as Tommy Dorsey, Charlie Barnet, Dizzy Gillespie and Billie Holiday. As a record producer, he played a critical role in the careers of Janis Joplin, Irene Kral and Bobby Sherman. As the co-founder of Choreo Records (later...
Lou Mitchell was a product of the big band era and cut his teeth on swinging trumpet solos, such as those of his musical heroes of the 1930s. After meeting Rafael Mendez (his life-long friend), Lou moved to Hollywood and worked for the movie studios on countless soundtracks. He worked beside Rafael...

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