Big Bands

Frank Nelson played trumpet and cornet during the swing era, touring with Alvino Rey’s Orchestra among others. He arranged music for the bands, both small groups and the larger outfits and worked on a wide range of materials during his long career. In later years he worked in recording studios,...
Sammy Nestico has revolutionized the band and orchestra repertoire by composing and arranging top jazz charts for all levels of bands. As a result, this arranger of Count Basie’s band in the 1950s is known as well to music fans in their 80s as he is to beginning music students in elementary school...
Lee O’Connor was a noted trombone player in the golden era of the big bands. His experience on the radio, traveling from town to town for name and territory bands, reflected the struggles of the Great Depression and the amazing impact music had on people. Lee was hired by Harry James at the most...
Dave Pell had a long and remarkable life in music. As a saxophonist he played with many of the top dance bands in the later years of the Big Band Era, including Les Brown and his band of renown. As a photographer, he covered the long-playing albums for most of TOPS records during the 1950s,...
Robert Petteruti sat in the showroom of Twin City Music in Providence, RI, for his NAMM Oral History interview. The showroom is in the store his father opened in the 1930s and within the same building his grandfather owned since 1921. To say there was a lot of Petteruti history in that room is an...
Bucky Pizzarelli was a jazz guitarist who helped bring the sounds of the electric guitar into jazz and into popular music, beginning in the 1940s.  As a stage performer and later a studio musician, Bucky's guitar can be heard on countless recordings both by other artists as well as on his own.  He...
Jim Progris attended the Berklee School of Music back in 1956 and witnessed firsthand the development of the school’s courses and programs over the years. He returned to the school to teach in 1964 and became Associate Dean in charge of the entire curriculum, which he found very rewarding. Within...
This audio only interview was conducted for a radio program by Dan Del Fiorentino and donated to the NAMM Oral History program: Hal Pruden was a noted pianist (sometimes billed as the world’s fastest piano player) for a series of bandleaders during the Big Band Era. Hal performed with Chuck Foster...
Victor Quarterman began taking drum lessons as a kid at Leonard’s School of Music, which was established by the father of his longtime friend and mentor, Danny Leonard. Danny introduced Victor to music retail, which aside from gigging, has been his lifelong passion. While working for Fox Music...
Alvino Rey tinkered with putting a phonograph pickup in his banjo to increase the volume in 1927. His inventive mind also led to early guitar pickups and the design of a pedal-steel guitar. A life-long performer, he is also known to generations for his work during the swing era including his own...

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