Bob Chester

Picture of Bob Chester

Bob Chester led a band that was billed as "The New Sensation of the Nation" from the mid-1930's to the mid-1940's.  They had a Glenn Miller-influenced sound to them, but in later years, managed to create a style of their own.

Like most bandleaders, Chester began his career as a sideman.  He gained a lot of experience playing tenor sax in the orchestras of Irving Aaronson, Ben Bernie, and Ben Pollack.  In 1935, Bob Chester put together his first band based in the Detroit area but it proved unsuccessful.  About a year or so later he tried again, this time based on the East Coast, and that band did quite well. 

By 1939, Bob Chester and His Orchestra had already signed with Bluebird Records and briefly had it's own radio show during the fall of that year. His band also managed to land some minor hits with songs like "From Maine to California", "Wait Till the Sun Shines, Nellie", "Madeliaine", and "A Nickel to My Name".  Also, his recording of "With the Wind and the Rain in Your Hair" became a hit on a national level.

His band included some talented musicians over the years.  Names like Peanuts Hucko and Alec Fila immediately come to mind. Chester also featured some very good vocalists as well. His female singers included Dolores O'Neill, Kathleen Lane, and Betty Bradley. His male singers were Gene Howard, Peter Marshall, Bob Haymes, and Al Stuart.  Not bad at all.

In the mid-1940's, Chester dissolved his Orchestra because he was losing key bandmembers to the armed forces and the overall decline of the Big Bands was starting to take effect. Chester assembled another band for a short time in the early 1950s, but after it failed he retired from music and returned to Detroit.

Listen to: "Practice Makes Perfect" by Bob Chester and His Orchestra

You can listen to the music of Bob Chester and His Orchestra right here on Swing City Radio.

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