Famous Big Band Musicians in History

Events in Music

  • 1965-01-23 Musical variety program "King Family Show", featuring big band vocal group The King Sisters, premieres on ABC TV

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]
  • 1900-03-14 Bernie Cummins, American jazz drummer and big band leader ("Dark Eyes"), born in Akron, Ohio (d. 1986)
  • 1901-03-15 Theo Uden Masman, Dutch big band orchestra leader (The Ramblers), born in Cirebon, Dutch East Indies (d. 1965)
  • 1901-09-26 Ted Weems [Wemyes], American jazz trombonist, violin player and big band leader (Somebody Stole My Girl; Heartache), born in Pitcairn, Pennsylvania (d. 1963)
  • 1902-03-30 Ted Heath, British jazz trombonist, composer, and big band leader, born in Wandsworth, London, England (d. 1969)
  • 1902-04-08 Elmer Feldcamp, American big band baritone vocalist, saxophone, and clarinet player (Freddy Martin Orchestra), born in Newark, New Jersey (d. 1938)
  • 1903-08-15 Joe Garland, American big band jazz saxophonist, arranger, and composer (In the Mood; Serenade To A Savage), born in Norfolk, Virginia (d. 1977)
  • 1904-04-12 Frankie Masters [Masterman], American banjo player, guitarist, vocalist and big band leader ("Scatter-Brain"), born in St. Marys, West Virginia (d. 1990)
  • 1904-08-08 (William) Elmo Tanner, American big band singer, whistler (Ted Weems Orchestra - "Heartaches"), bandleader, and DJ, born in Nashville, Tennessee (d. 1990)
  • 1905-02-10 (William) "Chick" Webb, American jazz drummer and big band leader (introduced Ella Fitzgerald), born in Baltimore, Maryland (d. 1939)

Tommy 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)

  • 1908-03-07 Nat Gonella, British big band jazz trumpeter, mellophonist, singer, and bandleader (The Georgians; Oh, Monah), born in Islington, London, England (d. 1998)
  • 1908-04-16 Ray Ventura, French jazz pianist and big band leader ("Tout va très bien, Madame la Marquise"), born in Paris, France (d. 1979)
  • 1908-11-02 (Roland) "Bunny" Berigan, American session and big band jazz trumpeter (Paul Whiteman; Benny Goodman - "King Porter Stomp"; Tommy Dorsey - "Marie"), vocalist, and bandleader ("I Can't Get Started"), born in Hilbert, Wisconsin (d. 1942)
  • 1909-01-15 Gene Krupa, American jazz and big band drummer (Benny Goodman, "Sing, Sing, Sing"), born in Chicago, Illinois (d. 1973)
  • 1909-05-31 Sammy Spear, American big band trumpet player and orchestra leader (The Jackie Gleason Show), born in Brooklyn, NYC (d. 1975)
  • 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)
  • 1912-06-19 Jerry Jerome, American jazz and big band tenor saxophonist (Words & Music), born in Brooklyn, New York (d. 2001)
  • 1912-08-24 Fritz "Freddie" Brocksieper, German big band jazz drummer, and bandleader, born in Constantinople, Turkey (now Istanbul) (d. 1990)
  • 1912-12-25 Leighton Noble [Faye Leighton Jepson], American big band singer, bandleader, and TV host (d. 1994)
  • 1913-04-29 Jack Bently, English big band trombonist (Ted Heath), and journalist (Sunday Mirror), born in Manchester (d. 1994)
  • 1914-08-16 Edythe Wright, American big band era singer (Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, 1935-39), born in Bayonne, New Jersey (d. 1965) [1]
  • 1914-12-24 Ralph Marterie, Italian-American trumpeter and big band leader ("Skokiaan"; "Shish-Kebab"; "Dry Marterie"), born in Acerra, Italy (d. 1978)
  • 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)
  • 1915-11-17 (Clarence) "Shorty" Cherock, American swing jazz and big band trumpeter (Jimmy Dorsey; Gene Krupa; Nelson Riddle), born in Minneapolis, Minnesota (d. 1980)
  • 1916-09-03 Clyde Hurley, American session and big band jazz trumpeter (Glenn Miller - "Tuxedo Junction"; "In The Mood"), born in Fort Worth, Texas (d. 1963)
  • 1916-10-02 George Siravo, American big band and session saxophonist, composer, arranger and conductor (Columbia Records), born in Staten Island, New York (d. 2000)
  • 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)
  • 1918-05-08 Nan Wynn [Masha Vatz], American radio and big-band singer (Rudy Vallée; Teddy Wilson), actress, and singing voice for Rita Hayworth, born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania (d. 1971) [1]
  • 1918-10-25 (Greig) "Chubby" Jackson, American big band jazz double-bassist, bandleader, and TV host, born in New York City (d. 2003)
  • 1919-02-08 Buddy Morrow [Muni Zudekoff], American big band jazz and session trombonist and orchestra leader ("Night Train"), born in New Haven, Connecticut (d. 2010)
  • 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)
  • 1919-07-09 Earle Hagen, American big band trombonist (Isham Jones; Tommy Dorsey; Benny Goodman), and Emmy Award-winning television composer (The Dick Van Dyke Show; The Andy Griffith Show; I Spy; The Mod Squad; "Harlem Nocturne"), born in Chicago, Illinois (d. 2008)born in Chicago, Illinois (d. 2008)
  • 1919-07-15 Jack Hunter {John Averona], American big band vocalist (Elliot Lawrence Orchestra - "Apple Blossom Time"), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (d. 1991)
  • 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) [1]
  • 1920-06-05 Kurt Edelhagen, German jazz pianist and big band leader, born in Herne, Germany (d. 1982)
  • 1920-08-11 Mike Douglas [Dowd], American big band singer (Kay Kyser), and TV talk show host (The Mike Douglas Show, 1961-81), born in Chicago, Illinois (d. 2006)
  • 1921-01-20 Connie Haines [Yvonne Jasme], American pop and big-band singer (Harry James; Abbott and Costello Show; Tommy Dorsey), born in Savannah, Georgia (d. 2008)
  • 1921-07-09 Irv Kluger, American big band jazz and session drummer (Artie Shaw; Gramercy Five), born in New York City (d. 2006)
  • 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)
  • 1923-06-28 (Walter) "Pete" Candoli, American jazz, big band, and session trumpeter (Woody Herman; Stan Kenton; Henry Mancini; The Brothers Candoli), born in Mishawaka, Indiana (d. 2008)
  • 1925-02-26 Dave Pell, American big band jazz saxophonist (Les Brown), 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)
  • 1926-03-04 Fran Warren [Wolff], American big band and pop singer ("A Sunday Kind of Love"; "I Said My Pajamas (and Put On My Pray'rs)"), born in The Bronx, NYC (d. 2013)
  • 1926-07-02 Billy Usselton, American big band jazz saxophonist (Les Brown and His Band of Renown), born in New Castle, Pennsylvania (d. 1994)
  • 1927-02-02 Stan Getz [Stanley Gayetski], American big band, bebop, cool jazz, and bossa nova tenor saxophonist (Woody Herman; Getz/Gilberto), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (d. 1991)
  • 1927-07-12 (Secondo) "Conte" Candoli, American jazz, big band, and session trumpeter (Woody Herman; Stan Kenton; The Brothers Candoli; The Tonight Show, 1967-92), born in Mishawaka, Indiana (d. 2001)
  • 1928-04-04 Monty Norman [Noserovitch], British big band singer, songwriter (False Hearted Lover), and film composer (James Bond Theme), born in Stepney, England (d. 2022)
  • 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)
  • 1935-10-21 Don Rader, American big band jazz trumpeter and arranger (Woody Herman; Maynard Ferguson; Count Basie; Les Brown), born in Rochester, Pennsylvania
  • 1936-04-13 Henryk Majewski, Polish big band jazz trumpeter (Old Timers), born in Warsaw, Poland (d. 2005)
  • 1943-05-03 Gregory Bowen, Welsh big band jazz and session trumpet player (James Bond films), born in Llangennech, South Wales
  • 1945-02-04 John Stubblefield, American jazz saxophonist, flute and oboe player (Mingus Big Band), born in Little Rock, Arkansas (d. 2005)
  • 1951-07-29 Nancie Banks (née Manzuk), American jazz singer (Charlie Byrd; Lionel Hampton) and big band leader, born in Morgantown, West Virginia (d. 2002)
  • 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

Betty Grable

1943-07-05 American actress Betty Grable (26) weds American big band leader Harry James (27); divorce in 1965

Deaths in Music

  • 1938-09-27 Elmer Feldcamp, American big band baritone vocalist, saxophone, and clarinet player (Freddy Martin Orchestra), dies of heart failure at 36
  • 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
  • 1942-06-02 (Roland) "Bunny" Berigan, American session and big band jazz trumpeter (Paul Whiteman; Benny Goodman - "King Porter Stomp"; Tommy Dorsey - "Marie"), vocalist, and bandleader ("I Can't Get Started"), dies from cirrhosis of the liver at 33
  • 1952-12-28 Fletcher Henderson, American big band pianist, arranger (Benny Goodman), and bandleader, dies at 55

Tommy Dorsey

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

  • 1957-06-12 Jimmy Dorsey, American big band jazz saxophonist, clarinetist, composer, and bandleader (Green Eyes; Tangerine; Pennies From Heaven), dies of throat cancer at 53
  • 1963-03-10 Irving Aaronson, American jazz pianist and big band leader, dies of a heart attack at 68
  • 1963-05-06 Ted Weems [Wemyes], American jazz trombonist, violin player and big band leader (Somebody Stole My Girl; Heartache), dies of emphysema at 61
  • 1963-08-14 Clyde Hurley, American session and big band jazz trumpeter (Glenn Miller - "Tuxedo Junction"; "In The Mood"), dies of heart failure at 46
  • 1965-01-27 Theo Uden Masman, Dutch big band orchestra leader (The Ramblers), dies at 63
  • 1965-10-27 Edythe Wright, American big band era singer (Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, 1935-39), dies of pancreatic cancer at 51
  • 1971-03-21 Nan Wynn [Masha Vatz], American radio and big-band singer (Rudy Vallée; Teddy Wilson), actress (Pardon My Sarong), and singing voice for Rita Hayworth, dies of cancer at 55 [1]
  • 1975-02-05 Åke Persson, Swedish bebop jazz trombonist (Kenny Clarke-Francy Boland Big Band, 1963–71), dies at 42
  • 1975-03-11 Sammy Spear, American big band trumpet player and orchestra leader (The Jackie Gleason Show), dies of a heart attack at 65
  • 1975-09-20 Vincent Lopez, American pianist and big band leader ("Nola"), dies at 79
  • 1977-04-27 Joe Garland, American big band jazz saxophonist, arranger, and composer (In the Mood; Serenade To A Savage), dies at 73
  • 1978-10-10 Ralph Marterie, American big band leader (b. 1914)
  • 1979-03-29 Ray Ventura, French jazz pianist and big band leader ("Tout va très bien, Madame la Marquise"), dies at 69
  • 1980-02-19 (Clarence) "Shorty" Cherock, American swing jazz and big band trumpeter (Jimmy Dorsey; Gene Krupa; Nelson Riddle), dies at 64
  • 1982-02-08 Kurt Edelhagen, German jazz pianist and big bandleader, dies at 61
  • 1986-09-22 Bernie Cummins, American jazz drummer and big band leader ("Dark Eyes"), dies at 86
  • 1986-11-03 Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis [Edward F. Davis], American jazz saxophonist (Kenny Clarke/Francy Boland Big Band), dies of cancer at 65

Buddy Rich

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

  • 1988-06-04 Allan Reuss, American jazz, big band, and session guitarist (Benny Goodman; Glenn Miller; Mildred Bailey), dies at 72
  • 1990-01-17 Fritz "Freddie" Brocksieper, German big band jazz drummer, and bandleader, dies at 77
  • 1990-10-28 Frankie Masters [Masterman], American banjo player, guitarist, vocalist, and big band leader ("Scatter-Brain"), dies at 86
  • 1990-12-20 (William) Elmo Tanner, American big band singer, whistler (Ted Weems Orchestra - "Heartaches"), bandleader, and DJ, dies at 86
  • 1991-06-06 Stan Getz [Stanley Gayetski], American big band, bebop, cool jazz, and bossa nova tenor saxophonist (Woody Herman; Getz/Gilberto), dies of liver cancer at 64
  • 1991-12-06 Jack Hunter {John Averona], American big band vocalist (Elliot Lawrence Orchestra - "Apple Blossom Time"), 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
  • 1994-03-06 Leighton Noble [Faye Leighton Jepson], American big band singer, bandleader, and TV host, dies at 81
  • 1994-09-05 Billy Usselton, American big band jazz saxophonist (Les Brown and His Band of Renown), dies at 68
  • 1994-12-23 Charles Shirley, American big band jazz arranger (Stan Kenton; Les Elgart), and alcoholism counselor, dies of a heart attack at 74
  • 1998-08-06 Nat Gonella, British big band jazz trumpeter, mellophonist, singer, and bandleader (The Georgians; Oh, Monah), dies at 90
  • 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
  • 2000-02-28 George Siravo, American big band and session saxophonist, composer, arranger and conductor (Columbia Records), dies at 83
  • 2001-01-04 Les Brown, American big band leader (His Band of Renown - "Sentimental Journey"), dies at 88
  • 2001-12-14 (Secondo) "Conte" Candoli, American jazz, big band, and session trumpeter (Woody Herman; Stan Kenton; The Brothers Candoli; The Tonight Show, 1967-92), dies of prostate cancer at 74
  • 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
  • 2003-10-01 (Greig) "Chubby" Jackson, American big band jazz double-bassist, bandleader, and TV host, dies at 84
  • 2005-06-17 Henryk Majewski, Polish big band jazz trumpeter (Old Timers), dies at 69
  • 2005-07-04 John Stubblefield, American jazz saxophonist, flute and oboe player (Mingus Big Band), dies at 60
  • 2006-02-28 Irv Kluger, American big band jazz and session drummer (Artie Shaw; Gramercy Five), dies at 84
  • 2006-08-11 Mike Douglas [Dowd], American big band singer (Kay Kyser), and TV talk show host (The Mike Douglas Show, 1961-81),, dies on his 86th birthday
  • 2008-01-10 (Walter) "Pete" Candoli, American jazz, big band, and session trumpeter (Woody Herman; Stan Kenton; Henry Mancini; The Brothers Candoli), dies of prostate cancer at 84
  • 2008-05-26 Earle Hagen, American big band trombonist (Isham Jones; Tommy Dorsey; Benny Goodman), and Emmy Award-winning television composer (The Dick Van Dyke Show; The Andy Griffith Show; I Spy; The Mod Squad; "Harlem Nocturne"), dies at 88
  • 2008-09-22 Connie Haines [Yvonne Jasme], American pop and big-band singer (Harry James; Abbott and Costello Show; 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
  • 2013-03-04 Fran Warren [Wolff], American big band and pop singer ("A Sunday Kind of Love"; "I Said My Pajamas (and Put On My Pray'rs)"), dies on her 87th birthday
  • 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
  • 2022-07-11 Monty Norman [Noserovitch], British big band singer, songwriter (False Hearted Lover), and film composer (James Bond Theme), dies at 94