You can count on the fingers of one hand the number of big bands formed in the 1930s that continue to perform today, long after the storied Big Band Era has faded from national craze to modest footnote in American musical history. Foremost among the survivors is the Glenn Miller Orchestra, the latest incarnation of which was established more than half a century ago in 1956, about a dozen years after Miller's disappearance on a presumably routine flight over the English Channel during World War II. Nick Hilscher, an admirable singer who first saw and heard the ...read more
One Of the Kings Of Swing
While many people argued whether Goodman or Shaw was the better musician, nobody during the Swing Era could ignore that Glenn Miller left both of them in his wake once he hit the scene. Sure, the bespectacled, tight-lipped bandleader seemed more like the leader of a choir than a swing band, but his keen arranging skills and ear for melody ensured that at least every other tune he recorded seemed like the anthem of the age. He was the most popular bandleader of his day, playing the Glen Island Casino during the summer, the ...read more
The idea of Glenn Miller being the godfather of bop at first sounds like the most outlandish of ideas. Yet this is just what he became. In 1939, Glenn Miller recorded the first evidence we have of what would become known as be-bop (later known as bop).
Webster's Ninth Collegiate Dictionary tells us that bop is jazz characterized by harmonic complexity, convoluted melodic lines, and constant shifting of accents and played at a very rapid tempo." The word be-bop comes from the Spanish word ariba," which means Go!" The Miller recording we are going to examine was a ...read more
Chapter 1 - in which the cat gets the cream. The Miller band at the height of their powers playing sixteen lapidary lyrical gems from Porter's equal, Johnny Mercer, recorded when both were flying. And although Mercer's albums with Benny Goodman are better celebrated, Miller's respect for the man he called the best matches Mercer smile for smile and innuendo for innuendo.His band's witty, stylish charts, cushioned by the insouciant confidence of a nation not at war, slink and slide like cats' tails through the singers' legs to mimic Mercer's phrasing. Yet because this is a movie Show ...read more