Famous Big Band Musicians in History

Birthdays in Music

  • 1895-02-07 Irving Aaronson, American jazz pianist and big band leader, born in New York City (d. 1963)
  • 1898-12-30 Vincent Lopez, American jazz pianist and big-band leader ("Nola"), born in Brooklyn, New York (d. 1975) [1]
  • 1901-03-15 Theo Uden Masman Dutch big band leader (The Ramblers), born in Cheribon, Dutch East Indies (d. 1965)
  • 1902-03-30 Ted Heath, British jazz trombonist, composer, and big band leader, born in Wandsworth, London, England (d. 1969)
  • 1905-02-10 William "Chick" Webb, American jazz drummer and big band leader (introduced Ella Fitzgerald), born in Baltimore, Maryland (d. 1939)

Person of interestTommy Dorsey

1905-11-19 Tommy Dorsey, American trombonist and big band leader (Opus No. 1; I'll Never Smile Again), born in Mahanoy Plane, Pennsylvania (d. 1956)

Jazz Trombonist and Big Band Leader Tommy Dorsey
Jazz Trombonist and Big Band Leader
Tommy Dorsey
  • 1909-01-15 Gene Krupa, American jazz and big band drummer (Benny Goodman, "Sing, Sing, Sing"), born in Chicago, Illinois (d. 1973)
  • 1912-02-13 Arthur "Schneeze" Rollini, American big band jazz tenor saxophonist, born in New York City (d. 1993)
  • 1912-03-14 Les Brown, American big band leader (His Band of Renown - "Sentimental Journey"), born in Reinerton, Pennsylvania (d. 2001)
  • 1913-04-29 Jack Bently, English big band trombonist (Ted Heath), and journalist (Sunday Mirror), born in Manchester (d. 1994)
  • 1915-06-15 Allan Reuss, American jazz, big band, and session guitarist (Benny Goodman; Glenn Miller; Mildred Bailey), born in New York City (d. 1988)
  • 1917-04-12 Helen Forrest [Fogel], American big band pop and swing singer (Artie Shaw; Benny Goodman; Harry James), born in Atlantic City, New Jersey (d. 1999)
  • 1917-06-13 Simon "Si" Zentner, American jazz, session, and pop trombonist and big-band leader, born in New York City (d. 2000)
  • 1918-04-07 Michael "Peanuts" Hucko, American big band jazz and session clarinetist (Glenn Miller's Army-Air Force Band; Lawrence Welk Show), born in Syracuse, New York (d. 2003)
  • 1919-04-06 Paula Kelly, Grove City, Pennsylvania, American big band singer
  • 1919-05-04 Mary Ann McCall, American big band singer, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (d. 1994)
  • 1920-05-23 Helen O'Connell, American big-band singer (Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra - "Green Eyes"; "Anapola"), and TV host (Today Show, 1956-58), born in Lima, Ohio (d. 1993)
  • 1920-06-05 Kurt Edelhagen, German jazz pianist and big band leader, born in Herne, Germany (d. 1982)
  • 1921-01-20 Connie Haines [Yvonne Jasme], American big-band vocalist (Harry James; Tommy Dorsey), born in Savannah, Georgia, (d. 2008)
  • 1922-03-02 Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, American jazz saxophonist (Kenny Clarke/Francy Boland Big Band), born in Culver City, California (d. 1986)
  • 1922-03-20 Larry Elgart, American big band jazz alto saxophonist, and bandleader ("Bandstand Boogie"; "Hooked On Swing"), born in New London, Connecticut (d. 2017)
  • 1923-01-26 Talib Dawud [Alfonso Rainey], Antiguan-American jazz trumpeter (Dizzy Gillespie Big Band), born in Antigua (d. 1999)
  • 1923-03-07 Mahlon Clark, American big band jazz and session clarinetist, born in Portsmouth, Virginia (d. 2007)
  • 1925-02-26 David Pell, American big band jazz saxophonist, bandleader (Dave Pell Octet), and record producer, born in Brooklyn, New York (d. 2017)
  • 1925-06-05 Dorothy Claire [Marietta Wright], American big band singer (Bobby Byrne; Winchell & Mahoney Show), born in Laporte, Indiana (d. 1982)
  • 1926-07-02 Billy Usselton, American big band jazz saxophonist (Les Brown and His Band of Renown), born in New Castle, Pennsylvania (d. 1994)
  • 1929-04-17 James Last, German-born composer and big band leader, born in Bremen, Germany (d. 2015)
  • 1930-10-08 (Park Frederick) "Pepper" Adams, American jazz saxophonist (Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Big Band), born in Highland Park, Michigan
  • 1932-02-25 Åke Persson, Swedish bebop jazz trombonist (Kenny Clarke-Francy Boland Big Band, 1963–71), born in Hässleholm Sweden (d. 1975)
  • 1936-04-13 Henryk Majewski, Polish big band jazz trumpeter (Old Timers), born in Warsaw, Poland (d. 2005)
  • 1951-08-08 Laurie Ann Frink, American big band jazz trumpeter and educator, born in Pender, Nebraska (d. 2013) [1]
  • 1953-01-27 Bob Mintzer, American jazz saxophonist, composer, arranger, and big band leader (Yellowjackets), born in New Rochelle, New York
  • 1953-05-10 Alex Foster, American jazz and session saxophonist (SNL Band; Mingus Big Band), born in Oakland, California
  • 1960-05-24 Ken Schaphorst, American jazz composer, performer, big band leader and educator (New England Conservatory), born in Abington, Pennsylvania
  • 1965-09-07 Ron Blake, American jazz saxophonist, (SNL band; Christian McBride Big Band; Art Farmer), band leader, composer, and music educator (Juilliard), born in the Virgin Islands

Weddings in Music


LoveWedding of Interest

1943-07-05 Actress Betty Grable (26) weds big band leader Harry James (27)

Film actress Betty Grable
Film actress
Betty Grable

Deaths in Music

  • 1939-06-16 Chick Webb, American jazz drummer and big band leader (introduced Ella Fitzgerald), dies of Pott's disease (tuberculosis of the spine), at 34

Person of interestTommy Dorsey

1956-11-26 Tommy Dorsey, American trombonist and big band leader (Opus No. 1; I'll Never Smile Again), dies at 51

Jazz Trombonist and Big Band Leader Tommy Dorsey
Jazz Trombonist and Big Band Leader
Tommy Dorsey
  • 1963-03-10 Irving Aaronson, American jazz pianist and big band leader, dies of a heart attack at 68
  • 1965-01-27 Theo Uden Masman Dutch big band leader (The Ramblers), dies at 64
  • 1975-02-05 Åke Persson, Swedish bebop jazz trombonist (Kenny Clarke-Francy Boland Big Band, 1963–71), dies at 42
  • 1978-10-10 Ralph Marterie, American big band leader (b. 1914)
  • 1982-02-08 Kurt Edelhagen, German jazz pianist and big band leader, dies at 61
  • 1986-11-03 Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis [Edward F. Davis], American jazz saxophonist (Kenny Clarke/Francy Boland Big Band), dies of cancer at 65

Person of interestBuddy Rich

1987-04-02 Buddy Rich, American big band drummer, and orchestra leader (Away We Go), dies at 69

Jazz Drummer/Band Leader Buddy Rich
Jazz Drummer/Band Leader
Buddy Rich
  • 1988-06-04 Allan Reuss, American jazz, big band, and session guitarist (Benny Goodman; Glenn Miller; Mildred Bailey), dies at 72
  • 1992-04-02 Paula Kelly, American big band singer, dies at 72
  • 1992-04-05 Anthony "Tony" Papa, big band leader, dies at 65
  • 1993-09-09 Helen O'Connell, American big-band singer (Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra - "Green Eyes"; "Anapola"), and TV host (Today Show, 1956-58), dies of cancer at 74
  • 1993-12-30 Arthur "Schneeze" Rollini, American big band jazz tenor saxophonist, dies at 81
  • 1994-09-05 Billy Usselton, American big band jazz saxophonist (Les Brown and His Band of Renown), dies at 68
  • 1999-07-09 Talib Dawud [Alfonso Rainey], Antiguan-American jazz trumpeter (Dizzy Gillespie Big Band), dies at 76
  • 2000-01-31 Simon "Si" Zentner, American jazz, session, and pop trombonist and big-band leader, dies of leukemia at 82
  • 2001-01-04 Les Brown, American big band leader (His Band of Renown - "Sentimental Journey"), dies at 88
  • 2003-06-19 Michael "Peanuts" Hucko, American big band jazz and session clarinetist (Glenn Miller's Army-Air Force Band; Lawrence Welk Show), dies at 85
  • 2005-06-17 Henryk Majewski, Polish big band jazz trumpeter (Old Timers), dies at 69
  • 2008-09-22 Connie Haines [Yvonne Jasme], American big-band vocalist (Harry James; Tommy Dorsey), dies of myasthenia gravis at 87
  • 2009-06-03 Sam Butera, American big band and R&B saxophonist, songwriter, and singer (Louis Prima and the Witnesses), dies of pneumonia at 81
  • 2013-07-13 Laurie Ann Frink, American big band jazz trumpeter and educator, dies of cancer at 61 [1]
  • 2015-06-09 James Last, German-born composer and big band leader, dies at 86
  • 2017-05-07 David Pell, American big band jazz saxophonist, bandleader (Dave Pell Octet), and record producer, dies at 92
  • 2017-08-29 Larry Elgart, American big band jazz alto saxophonist, and bandleader ("Bandstand Boogie"; "Hooked On Swing"), dies at 95

Famous Jazz Musicians