Georgie Auld

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Georgie Auld's sax playing can be heard on some of the greatest songs of The Swing Era.  Born in Toronto, Canada in 1919 , he later moved to Brooklyn, New York where he taught himself how to play saxophone.

It's surprising to me that Georgie Auld's name isn't more well known.  He was a featured player in many great bands including the orchestra's of: Artie Shaw, Bunny Berigan, Benny Goodman, Jan Savitt and many more.  Auld had the ability and talent to adapt his playing to blend into a variety of styles and moods.

He led his own band from 1944 to 1946.  They had a good sound and a promising future ahead of them.  Unfortunately, Auld began to face some medical issues that forced him to dissolve that first orchestra.  Georgie recovered from his illness and later started two other bands, one in 1948 and another in 1955. 

All of the bands Auld put together were very good.  They contained some big names, but he never really took that step to the next level as a bandleader. That may be reason his name isn't mentioned more.  But all of that being said, Georgie Auld recorded well into the 1960's under his own name and will always be remembered as one heck of a sideman.

Georgie Auld plays "In The Middle" - 1945

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Podcast: Episode 76 - Humming and Dancing With a Dolly

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The Big Band and Swing Podcast - Humming and Dancing With a Dolly - Episode 76 - 

Includes music by Benny Carter, Count Basie, Henry Busse and Ben Pollack. We also listen to a classic Soundie by the Modernaires.  Please remember to leave a review with your favorite podcast provider.

* All music in this podcast are Creative Commons.  Artists are credited within the podcast.

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King Sisters: Route 66

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This video is a fun little clip of The Four King Sisters performing "Route 66" with Alvino Rey and His Orchestra providing the music.  This was originally released as a Snader Telescription in the early 1950's.

The King Sisters included: Luise, Alyce, Vonnie and Marilyn.  Luise King was the wife of Alvino Rey.  

This is just a simple and fun little video and pairs up well with the feel of the song.  Enjoy!

Watch: The King Sisters in "Route 66"

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Podcast: Episode 75 - V-Discs and Some More V-Discs

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The Big Band and Swing Podcast - V-Discs and Some More V-Discs - Episode 75 - 

Features vintage V-Disc recordings from Tommy Dorsey, Hal McIntyre, Perry Como and Tony Pastor.  Ronnaldo takes a closer look at the historic V-Disc program of the 1940's and barely scratches the surface of this fascinating collection of music.

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"Smiles" and a Horrible Film Crew

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Today's Soundie features a pretty catchy song by Tommy Reynolds and His Orchestra called "Smiles".  It also contains the worst filming of a dance act, EVER!

Tommy Reynolds never managed to establish a big name for himself as a bandleader, but his orchestra was pretty good overall.  He recorded a handful of Soundies and I think you'll find his version of "Smiles" entertaining and fun to listen to.

The Soundie itself is filmed so badly, it makes it a classic.  It was released in 1942 and the female lead in this is an actress/dancer named Sunnie O'Dae.  For the record, Sunnie O'Dae is remembered as a very good dancer, but you would never know it by watching this film.  O'Dae's performance in this Soundie wasn't the problem.  It was the simple fact that the film crew recorded her dance routine so poorly.  The clip barely shows her from the knees down as she dances and we never see her feet.  Have you ever seen a tap dance performance where the dancer's feet aren't shown? 

Watch the Soundie: "Smiles" by Tommy Reynolds and His Orchestra

When I watched this Soundie for the first time I just figured they were covering up the limitations of a poor dancer.  But over time, as I learned more about Sunnie O'Dae and her dancing talent, it became quite clear that the film crew simply screwed up.  I would NOT be surprised if a few of the crew were fired that day. It's important to note that Soundies were made on a VERY tight budget. So a reshoot, most likely, was not a possibility. 

All that being said, I'm glad they released it because watching it always gives me a good laugh and I do like the song.  I've also included another clip of Sunnie O'Dae dancing.  Enjoy!

Watch: A clip of Sunnie O'Dae dancing in the movie "Sing Another Chorus"

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Podcast: Episode 74 - Melodies and a Lullaby

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The Big Band and Swing Podcast - Melodies and a Lullaby - Episode 74 - 

Includes music by The Andrews Sisters, Dick Stabile, Tony Pastor and Ralph Flanagan. We also learn what happens to a fish out of water. Spoiler Alert: It Dies!

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George T. Simon

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Today's post isn't about a Big Band artist or band.  It's about a writer/reporter named George T. Simon, who covered the scene and left behind volumes and volumes of information that helps fans, like myself, understand and appreciate the era.

The Big Band Era was filled with colorful personalities, constant drama and most of all, incredible music.  George Simon (1912–2001), covered all of it as the editor-in-chief of Metronome (the most influential magazine to cover the Swing scene) from 1939 to 1955.  The books he later wrote about the times are, in my opinion, the best books that cover the era.  His writing can also be found in the liner notes of so many old Big Band albums and collections. 

Simon was probably the most influential jazz commentator during the swing era. Thanks to his inside connections with the jazz world, he was able to report information about bands and their personnel with great accuracy.  Simon would honestly critique the bands of the time, sometimes upsetting bands and record labels, but he also had strong friendships and relationships throughout the Swing Scene.

He was also an early drummer in the Glenn Miller Orchestra. George later became known for being the most comprehensive writer and resource on Glenn Miller's career, his personal life and his bands.

George Simon's brother was Richard L. Simon, the co-founder of the American publishing house Simon & Schuster.  One of his nieces, Carly Simon, later became a singer-songwriter that topped the charts throughout the 1970's.

I highly recommend reading his books to get a true feel for the Big Band Years, it's music and it's drama.  Here are three of them that I have in my collection: "The Big Bands" (1968), "Simon Says: The Sights and Sounds of the Big Band Era" (1971) and "Glenn Miller and His Orchestra" (1974).  All of these books, in my humble opinion, are EXCELLENT!

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Podcast: Episode 73 - Shakes, Zigs and a Gentle Zag

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The Big Band and Swing Podcast - Shakes, Zigs and a Gentle Zag - 

Episode 73 contains some great vintage recordings by Gus Arnheim, Claude Hopkins, Louis Jordan and Jimmie Lunceford.  We also learn a little bit about Alvino Rey and Stringy the Talking Guitar.

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