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Sy Oliver

Born:

Melvin James (Sy) Oliver,was one of America's great jazz composers and arrangers of the big band era, and a musician who had a significant impact on American popular music. Sy Oliver was born in Battle Creek, Mich., on Dec. 10, 1910. His parents were music teachers, and his father was also a concert singer. As a trumpeter in high school, Oliver played with Cliff Barnett's Club Royal Serenaders. and at age 17, he moved up to the more prestigious territory bands, working with Zack Whyte and his Chocolate Beau Brummels, where he began to hone his arranging skills, and with Alphonso Trent's band, which was based in Cincinnati. Oliver joined the Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra in late 1933, and in the six years until he left, his composing and arranging made the group one of the most successful and individual big bands of the swing era

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News: Video / DVD

Sy Oliver's Arrangements in 10 Clips

Sy Oliver's Arrangements in 10 Clips

Yesterday's post on arranger, trumpeter and vocalist Sy Oliver generated many emails from readers who have long loved his work and those who weren't familiar with him. In yesterday's post, I shared some of Oliver's classic arrangements for Tommy Dorsey and Frank Sinatra. To drive home Oliver's importance and influence, here are 10 of my favorite ...

News: Video / DVD

Sy Oliver: Easy Walker and Sentimental Sy

Sy Oliver: Easy Walker and Sentimental Sy

Sy Oliver was one of the most important arrangers of the swing era. A trumpeter, singer and arranger in Jimmie Lunceford's orchestra in the 1930s, Oliver was hired by Tommy Dorsey in 1939 to give the band a more authentic Savoy Ballroom sound. Oliver's good fortune came the following January when Frank Sinatra joined Dorsey and ...

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Article: Radio & Podcasts

Birth of the Big Bands 1923 - 1936)

Read "Birth of the Big Bands 1923 - 1936)" reviewed by Russell Perry


In the last hour, we listened to the pioneering jazz orchestra of Duke Ellington. Large jazz ensembles, such as Ellington's, soon to be known as “Big Bands," evolved through the 1920s with significant innovations led by bandleaders Fletcher Henderson, Benny Carter, Jimmie Lunceford and Don Redman, and arrangers Carter, Redman, Edgar Sampson and Sy Oliver. By ...

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Article: Radio & Podcasts

Hanksgiving: Jazz Tributes to Hank Williams

Read "Hanksgiving: Jazz Tributes to Hank Williams" reviewed by Ludovico Granvassu


Do you sympathize with the plight of the turkeys? Do family reunions bring you anxiety? Then forget about Thanksgiving! Mondo Jazz is here to help you switch to Hanksgiving, with two hours of Jazz tributes to the great Hank Williams, the only singer who is more American than pumpkin pie! This week we have ...

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Article: Album Review

The Glenn Crytzer Orchestra: Ain't It Grand?

Read "Ain't It Grand?" reviewed by Jack Bowers


As Karen Carpenter once sang, it's “yesterday once more"--at least it is whenever and wherever the gregarious Glenn Crytzer Orchestra springs into action. Crytzer's ensemble not only revitalizes songs from the long-ago Swing Era of the 1920s, '30s and '40s, its high-stepping two-CD set, Ain't It Grand?, even sounds as though it were recorded in those ...

Article: Album Review

Catherine Russell: Harlem on My Mind

Read "Harlem on My Mind" reviewed by Angelo Leonardi


Dotata di brillanti doti vocali, ottimo gusto interpretativo e naturale esuberanza, Catherine Russell è giunta al successo tardivamente, dopo aver trascorso decenni a cantare come corista per rockstar di rilievo (David Bowie, Paul Simon, Cindy Lauper, Steely Dan). Dopo i cinquant'anni ha però bruciato le tappe e questo è il suo sesto disco da leader, dedicato ...

Article: Album Review

Ku-umba Frank Lacy & Mingus Big Band: Mingus Sings

Read "Mingus Sings" reviewed by Angelo Leonardi


L'arte di Charles Mingus nel comporre song d'intesa forza lirica è stata messa in ombra dalla sua prorompente e tumultuosa espressività, al punto che risulta sorprendente ricordarlo nel ruolo di songwriter. Il nuovo disco della Mingus Big Band con Frank Lacy protagonista in veste di cantante, esemplifica questa dimensione dell'arte mingusiana raccogliendo 13 composizioni (due delle ...

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Article: Interview

Glenn Zottola: A Jazz Life - On the Road and In Demand

Read "Glenn Zottola: A Jazz Life - On the Road and In Demand" reviewed by Nicholas F. Mondello


Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 World-renown trumpeter, saxophonist, musical director, producer and entrepreneur. These are but a mere handful of words that describe the vast talent in Glenn Zottola's bag of musical marvels. There are others: child prodigy, creative genius, “musical natural" and aural savant also percolate rapidly to mind. Now ...

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News: Obituary

Buddy De Franco (1923-2014)

Buddy De Franco (1923-2014)

Buddy De Franco, a highly accomplished and exquisite jazz clarinetist who began his career in several leading swing bands of the 1940s before pivoting to bebop in the late 1940s and early '50s and teaming with leading jazz artists throughout the LP era, died on Dec. 24. He was 91. Buddy's first recording in 1943 was ...


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