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Benny Goodman, The King of Swing, on Park Avenue  <br />(Stage Magazine, 1938)Benny Goodman, The King of Swing, on Park Avenue
(Stage Magazine, 1938)
To mark the momentous occasion of Benny Goodman and his Band performing for the 'corsage clique' on Park Avenue in 1938, 'the King of Swing' wrote this short essay concerning all his good work and the enjoyment that it brought to the Jitterbuggers of the world:

"Swing is violent, at least so they tell me. But I'm willing to bet that Society is going to toss aside its toppers and tippers and really cut loose. They'll all come slumming and stay for dancing."

Irving Berlin <br />(Stage Magazine, 1938)Irving Berlin
(Stage Magazine, 1938)
Here is an article that discusses the surprising relevance that the music of Irving Berlin (1888 1989) was playing in the American music world of the 1930s.

Click here to read about Irving Berlin's theatrical production during W.W. I...

The Saucy Ada Leonard and Her All-American Girl Orchestra <br />(Yank Magazine, 1943)The Saucy Ada Leonard and Her All-American Girl Orchestra
(Yank Magazine, 1943)
One of the most popular women's group of the 1940s was Ada Leonard and Her All-American Girl Orchestra; few were surprised to hear that they were first girl band to be signed by the USO when America entered W.W. II. Sired by two vaudevillians, Ada Leonard (1915 - 1997) briefly toiled as a stripper in Chicago nightclubs before embarking on her career in music.

This interview displays for the readers her salty, fully-armored personality and her disgust concerning the total lack of glamor that accompanies USO shows, topped-off by a photo of her pretty face.

Reading and listening from Amazon
Take-Off: American All-Girl Bands
During World War II

The Big Band Scene <br />(Yank Magazine, 1945)The Big Band Scene
(Yank Magazine, 1945)
In this article,YANK MAGAZINE correspondent Al Hine summed-up all the assorted happenings on the 1945 Big Band landscape:

"The leading big bands now are Woody Herman's, Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton's. Benny Goodman, who broke up his own band for the umpteenth time, is a featured performer in Billy Rose's super revue, 'The Seven Lively Arts', but the maestro is said to be thinking of turning over his Rose job to Raymond Scott and making another stab at the band business."

George Gershwin: Tin Pan Alley  and Beyond <br />(Magazine of Art, 1937)George Gershwin: Tin Pan Alley and Beyond
(Magazine of Art, 1937)
An interesting two page article about George Gershwin (1898 - 1937), written within days of his death and filled with fascinating bits about his career, education and his instant popularity:

"The Gershwin invasion of Tin Pan Alley came at a time when history was being made. The Broadway-Negro tradition that stemmed from Stephen Foster and the anonymous tune-smiths who wrote old minstrel shows, was being carried on by bards like Paul Dresser, Harry von Tilzer, and the amazing Witmark family. Jerome Kern and Irving Berlin labored in the Alley cubicles. Something called ragtime was in the air and jazz was about to be born."

What is Boogie-Woogie? <br />(The Clipper, 1941)What is Boogie-Woogie?
(The Clipper, 1941)
A 1941 article by the screenwriting, piano playing novelist Eliot Paul (1891-1958) who put-forth a sincere effort to define that popular 1940s music known as "Boogie-Woogie".

Paul went to great lengths explaining the roots of Boogie-Woogie, the origin of the term and the finest performers and composers of the music:

"First, one can say that Boogie-Woogie is an authentic, soul-satisfying genre of piano music, native to America and for which America is indebted to the Negro people...If you ask Al Ammons (1907 1949), one of the foremost exponets of boogie-woogie, what boogie-woogie is, he would smile, his eyes would light up, and probably he would say:

'Man! It scares you'

-and it does. There are deep reasons why it tugs at our memories and slumbering instincts."

Duke Ellington: Twenty Years in the Spotlight <br />(Click Magazine, 1943)Duke Ellington: Twenty Years in the Spotlight
(Click Magazine, 1943)
"The top man in Negro music climbed on the bandwagon when he and his band played a hot spot called the Kentucky Club. That was twenty years ago, in New York City's Harlem. This year, Duke Ellington (1899 1974) made another debut, at Carnegie Hall, goal of the great in music...Piano lessons bored Ellington when he was six years old. He never learned to play conventionally, but he was only a youngster when his flare for improvisation reaped attention and landed him a job in a Washington theater...one by one, his compositions hit the jackpot: 'Mood Indigo', 'Sophisticated Lady', 'Ebony Rhapsody', 'Solitude', 'Caravan'".

"Ellington calls his work Negro Music, avoids the terms 'jazz' or 'swing'.

Lena Horne <br />(Collier's Magazine, 1943)Lena Horne
(Collier's Magazine, 1943)
Widely seen mid-way through the year 1943 was this COLLIER'S MAGAZINE profile of singer Lena Horne (1917 2010) who impressed the the West-coast press corps in the same way she did the ink-stained wretches of the East:

"When she was sixteen she was in the chorus at the Cotton Club in Harlem, getting that job through her mother who was then playing in-stock at the old Lafayette Theater on Lenox Avenue... Her name up to then was Helena Horne, but Barney [Josephson] ruthlessly dropped the added letters. He also taught her a great deal about using her personality in her songs."

Big Band Happenings in 1944 <br />(Yank Magazine, 1944)Big Band Happenings in 1944
(Yank Magazine, 1944)
One of the most popular portions of YANK MAGAZINE was a that small corner devoted to the happenings within the Big Band world titled "Band Beat". Attached herein is the Big Band news from that department for the Spring of 1944 which kept the far-flung Americans up to date as to what was going on with Vaughan Monroe, Lina Romay, Duke Ellington, Charlie Powell, Jon Arthur, Jimmy Cook, Red Norvo and Bob Strong's orchestra.
The Musicians Duke Ellington Admired <br />(Coronet Magazine, 1951)The Musicians Duke Ellington Admired
(Coronet Magazine, 1951)
"Of all the jazz musicians who link yesterday's ragtime with today's dance music, Duke Ellington is the dean. In his 27 years as a pianist and composer, the Duke has played alongside every great brass, reed, and rhythm man of his day. Now he picks those music makers who, 'on the basis of their over-all contribution, their all-time record, consistently good performance, and love of music,' constitute 1951's All-American jazz band."

Duke Ellington made a list of his favorite eleven musicians; some of the names may surprise you.

Glenn Miller <br />(Coronet Magazine, 1954)Glenn Miller
(Coronet Magazine, 1954)
Ten years after the death of Big Band legend Glenn Miller (1904 1944), it was found that his record sales were going through the roof at 16,000,000 per annum, and Hollywood had attempted to cash-in on his memory by releasing a (bland) Technicolor bio-pic, appropriately titled, The Glenn Miller Story(Universal) - with Jimmy Stewart starring in the title roll. The band leader's popularity was obvious to everyone in 1944, when he was killed in the war, but no one could have predicted this.

Miller had been called the "Cinderella of the Music World", the "Horatio Alger with a Trombone" and this five page account of his life was written so that his followers would know that it wasn't all mink for this musician:

"It wasn't luck or anything else. I have worked hard."

Big Bandleader Cab Calloway <br />(Coronet Magazine, 1941)Big Bandleader Cab Calloway
(Coronet Magazine, 1941)
The attached six page article about Cab Calloway (1907 1994) makes no mention whatever of the three movies he had appeared in prior to 1941, but it answers many other questions you might have had about the musician's first thirty-one years.
The Feuding Dorsey Brothers <br />(Coronet Magazine, 1947)The Feuding Dorsey Brothers
(Coronet Magazine, 1947)
Brought up in Pennsylvania, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey had a harsh taskmaster in the form of their father:

"Thomas Dorsey was a self-taught musician who earned $10 a week in the coal mines and a few dollars extra by giving music lessons. When Thomas Francis Dorsey [his second son] was born in 1905, the father made up his mind that his sons would be musicians, or else!"

"While still in knee-pants, both learned all the wind instruments before specializing in the saxophone and trombone, respectively... The boys mother, Tess Langton Dorsey, often was distressed by her husband's rigid disciplining of her sons. To miss a day's practice meant a licking."

Inasmuch as the Dorsey brothers may have been united in their efforts to please their father, their union ended there. Much of the article pertains to their opposing temperaments and the skyrocketing career that both enjoyed as a result of their mutual desires to out-do the other. It wasn't until the old man's death in 1942 that their competition subsided.