Jimmy Dorsey & His Orchestra
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James "Jimmy" Dorsey (February 29, 1904 – June 12, 1957) was a prominent American jazz clarinetist, saxophonist, trumpeter, composer, and big band leader. He was known as "JD". He composed the jazz and pop standards "I'm Glad There Is You (In This World of Ordinary People)" and "It's The Dreamer In Me".Read More...
During his early days as a musician, Jimmy Dorsey performed with various other ensembles and artists including the Scranton Sirens, The California Ramblers, Red Nichols, Jean Goldkette, Ben Pollack, and Paul Whiteman. He and his younger brother Tommy formed several bands known as “The Dorsey Brothers Orchestra” during the late 1920s and early 1930s which suddenly ended in May, 1935, when Tommy stormed off the bandstand after an onstage argument.
For several months, Jimmy continued leading the band, keeping the Dorsey Brothers name, hoping that his younger brother would return, but he did not. In September, 1935, the Dorsey Brothers band legally became the "Jim Dorsey Orchestra", after Jimmy found out that Tommy Dorsey now had his own band, and had signed a recording contract with RCA Victor. Jimmy Dorsey remained with Decca Records as the two brothers were now competing with each other musically.
Jimmy Dorsey's first hit record was "You Let Me Down" in 1935. His early band was considered to be more jazz-oriented than his brother's, and recordings of some instrumental swing classics soon followed: Dorsey Stomp, Tap Dancer's Nightmare, Parade of the Milk Bottle Caps, John Silver, and Dusk in Upper Sandusky. The band was featured on Bing Crosby's Kraft Music Hall radio show, and did quite well commercially, although being overshadowed by Benny Goodman, (also a clarinetist), whose big band had grabbed center stage in the mid thirties.
Dorsey's main vocalist was Bob Eberly, considered to be the best in the music business, and in 1939, Helen O'Connell joined the band, and the idea to have them do duets together proved to be highly successful. Almost every record released during 1939-1943 were hits, but especially records made with a Latin American flavor like “Amapola”, "Maria Elena", and “Green Eyes”, which topped the charts in 1941.
Certainly vocalists Helen O’Connell and Bob Eberly, were two very important factors in Jimmy Dorsey’s rise in popularity. They continued singing with his band for future records and motion picture appearances. Despite personnel changes, Jimmy remained one of the top big band leaders after World War II and into the 1950s, always updating the sound of his band, but the big band business was beginning to decline.
Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey reunited on March 15, 1945 to record a V-Disc at Liederkranz Hall in New York City. Released in June, 1945, V-Disc 451 featured "More Than You Know" backed with "Brotherly Jump". The songs featured the combined orchestras of Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey.
In 1953, he and his brother reunited to form a (new) “Dorsey Brothers Orchestra.” Tommy was the leader of the group, making Jimmy the co-leader and featured soloist. In 1954, Jackie Gleason chose their band to star in a weekly television show that centered on their band. The show, called “Stage Show,” was a huge hit, and gave other big band leaders hope in a business that was steadily declining.
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