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by Florence Wetzel
Peter J. LevinsonTommy Dorsey: Livin' in a Great Big WayDa Capo Press352 pagesISBN: 0306811111 Tommy Dorsey is certainly one of jazz' most picturesque characters, and this new biography does a marvelous job of bringing the trombonist to life. Dorsey (1905-1956) was in many ways an admirable man. Born to a poor family in a Pennsylvania mining community, he and his brother Jimmy were working musicians at ...read more
by David Rickert
It all started, or rather ended, with a tempo change. The Dorsey Brothers Orchestra broke up when Tommy Dorsey abruptly walked off the stage during an engagement at the Glen Island Casino after an argument over the tempo of a tune. However, the seeds of discord had been planted long ago. The Dorsey Brothers, Jimmy and Tommy, were legendary scrappers who, despite their love for one another, constantly found themselves in heated arguments. After this final blow-up, Jimmy ...read more
by Jack Bowers
Tommy Dorsey’s orchestra, which had gone into a mild decline in the late ’30s, was by 1940 making a strong comeback owing largely to the addition of several key ingredients — star trumpeter Bunny Berigan, whose alcoholism hadn’t as yet subverted his playing; drummer Buddy Rich, late of the Artie Shaw orchestra; the consummate swing arranger, Sy Oliver, lured away from the Jimmie Lunceford band; and a slender young vocalist from Hoboken, New Jersey, by way of the Harry James ...read more