We begin with Philadelphia-born trumpeter Ziggy Elman, one of the best and most popular star soloists of the Swing Era, a multi-instrumentalist who was also proficient on alto sax and trombone. Elman became known primarily through his association with Benny Goodman (he appeared at Goodman's landmark concert at Carnegie Hall in 1938) and Tommy Dorsey, with whom he worked off and on in the 1940s. After World War II, and just as the heyday of the big bands was coming to an end, he formed his own orchestra and made some outstanding recordings for MGM in New York and Los Angeles. All the sides that are known to have been released are compiled on The Issued Recordings 1947 & 1949 (Jazz Band, 2000). Though not commercially successful at the time, these are very appealing recordings superbly played by a band that at different times included great musicians such as Charlie Shavers, Babe Russin, Heinie Beau, Buddy DeFranco, Louis Bellson, Buddy Cole, and Perry Botkin, among others. Most of the charts were thoughtfully arranged by Sid Cooper, with highlights including "How High the Moon," "Body and Soul," and "I'll Get By," as well as tunes usually associated with Elman, such as "Zaggin' with Zig" and his own classic composition "And the Angels Sing." Vocals were provided by two fine, though now mostly forgotten singers: Virginia Maxey and Bob Manning. For more information on Ziggy Elman, you can find a very interesting article here.
|Glenn Miller and Dorothy Carless during a BBC radio broadcast|