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Casa Loma Orchestra

When originally formed by saxophonist Glen Gray, the Casa Loma Orchestra was a cooperative orchestra. They made their recording debut in 1929, and during the next six years would be one of the top swing-oriented big bands in jazz (even though the term "swing" would not come into general usage until 1935). Although their ensembles were later criticized as sounding mechanical (thanks in part to the complexity of Gene Gifford's arrangements), the band did swing and had several fine soloists, including clarinetist Clarence Hutchenrider, the high-note trumpeter Sonny Dunham (whose display on "Memories of You" is still impressive), and trombonist/singer Pee Wee Hunt; Kenny Sargent offered smooth ballad vocals. After Benny Goodman's success in 1935 resulted in many new big bands being formed, the Casa Loma Orchestra was never again a pacesetter, but it continued into the 1940s with such players as Red Nichols, Bobby Hackett, and Herb Ellis. Glen Gray had top billing from the late '30s on, and after he stopped touring (around 1950), he started a commercially successful, if very predictable, series of recordings for Capitol. Those records found the Casa Loma Orchestra (by then mostly studio players) constantly revisiting (and often recreating) the hits of the swing era. But the band's early original recordings of tunes such as "San Sue Strut," "Case Loma Stomp," "No Name Jive," and "Smoke Rings" are well worth acquiring. ~ Scott Yanow
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

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linda.rae301
Great listening.
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appreciatin the notes of historical benefit..
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Out of sight! What a sound.
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drenoc
I love all the swing tunes you play. I listen as much as I can, thank you
Richard Morgan. Anaheim, ca.
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Wrightsr525@ g m a i l does anyone remember a radio station called the malevolence ballroom?
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Always liked Glen Gray's music...wond e r f u l !
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Excellent bio! I'm trying to remember if Ken Burns refers to him in his Jazz documentary. If not, he should have. Talk about a story of survival and success! I agree with Patricia Miller below!
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great stuff,good easy listening... w e l l remembered
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i like what i heard and your right they should make a movie of their story!
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I love these notes. They tell the back story to surviving as a band and in the Depression. Should be a movie!
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So far so good. love this 20's stuff.
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kenartis
I like it.
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Awesome I'm going to try that.
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I've had a thing for Glen Gray and the Casa Loma Orchestra sine I first heard the "No Name Jive" (Parts 1&2). Played back-to-back they will keep you jumping and jiving for 11 plus minutes. Find it and listen!
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Glenn Gray and his Casa Loma orchestra were one of the best of the most in demand during the era of the "Sweet Bands." In many ways they were the equiverlant of the Barbershop era of singing. With close harmony using standard chords peppered with Deminished sevenths and modulating to different keys for for emphasis the harmony was always front and center. Even the solo insturments stayed close the the basic melody. These bands were usually 12 to 15 players and on the road 3 or 4 months at a tim
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Way ahead of his time...great !
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danddmclean
My wife and I danced to the Casa Loma at Lake Pearl in Massachusett s in the 50s. I requested SLEEPY-TIME GAL. Mr. Gray,in an almost apologetic tone said that his trombone player was no longer with him. That would have been Murray McEachern. He recorded it on a 12-inch Decca...a beautiful rendition. Don McLean, Riverside, R.I.
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youtubeb
there is still the Casa Loma Ballroom in St. Louis--wonde r if they're connected to the band.
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music you will never find today in person. The best.
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What a hoot! I never heard of him before now, but I dig his jive!
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billbaugh193 9
It was the band I heard on the radio growing up in the 40s

Wm. R. Baugh, M.D.

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