On March 1, 1904, one of the great heroes of American music was born: Glenn Miller. Miller worked with many great jazz men and future swing bandleaders as a studio sideman and member of the Dorsey Brothers Orchestra in the late 1920s and 1930s. After working as an organizer and arranger for Ray Noble’s American orchestra, Miller struck out on his own in 1935 with a Columbia engagement featuring a band put together to help get him started as a leader on his own. He organized his first “real” band in 1937 and cut a few sides for Decca and Brunswick, but broke that group up at the start of 1938 following an unsuccessful run. After that, Miller put together his most famous orchestra and signed with Bluebird, with whom he made some of the seminal records of the swing era, including “Moonlight Serenade”, “In the Mood”, and “Chattanooga Choo Choo”, among a great number of other classics. In 1942, Miller enlisted in the Army Air Force, where he would lead the band in the war years until his disappearance over the English Channel on December 15, 1944.
Brunswick 8062 was recorded November 29, 1937 in New York City. Miller’s band includes the talent of Pee Wee Erwin, Bob Price, and Ardell Garrett on trumpets, Glenn Miller, Jesse Ralph, and Bud Smith on trombone, Irving Fazola on clarinet and alto sax, Hal McIntyre and Tony Viola on alto sax, Jerry Jerome and Carl Biesacker on tenor sax, J.C. “Chummy” MacGregor on piano, Carmen Mastren on guitar, Rowland Bundock on string bass, and Doc Carney on drums.
On “Doin’ the Jive”, one of Miller’s more memorable Brunswick sides, Kathleen Lane sings, assisted by Miller, McGregor, and Jerome speaking. “Well tell me some more, my suck egg mule!”
Next up, we hear Miller’s swinging arrangement of Antonín Dvořák’s “Humoresque”. You can hear a bit of that signature “Miller” sound in this one.