Bunny Berigan

Bunny Berigan

Bunny Berigan (November 2, 1908 – June 2, 1942) was an American jazz trumpeter and bandleader who rose to fame during the swing era, but whose career and influence were shortened by alcoholism and ended with his early death at age 33 from cirrhosis. Although he composed some jazz instrumentals such as "Chicken and Waffles" and "Blues", Berigan was best known for his virtuoso jazz trumpeting. His 1937 classic recording "I Can't Get Started" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1975.

After first trying out for the Hal Kemp Orchestra and being rejected he joined the band in late 1929. His first recorded trumpet solos were with the orchestra, which toured England and a few other European countries in 1930. He also appeared as featured soloist with bands fronted by Rudy Vallee, Tommy Dorsey, Abe Lyman, Paul Whiteman and Benny Goodman.

Shortly after the Kemp orchestra returned to the U.S. in late 1930, Berigan, like fellow trumpeter Manny Klein, the Dorsey Brothers and Artie Shaw, became a sought-after studio musician in New York. Fred Rich, Freddy Martin and Ben Selvin sought his services for record dates. He joined the staff of CBS radio network musicians in early 1931. Berigan recorded his first vocal, "At Your Command", with Rich that year. From late 1932 through early 1934, Berigan was a member of Paul Whiteman's orchestra, before playing with Abe Lyman's band briefly in 1934.

He returned to freelancing in the New York recording studios and working on staff at CBS radio in 1934. He recorded as a sideman on hundreds of commercial records, most notably with the Dorsey Brothers and on Glenn Miller's earliest recording as a leader in 1935, playing on "Solo Hop". At the same time, Berigan joined Benny Goodman's Swing band. Jazz talent scout and producer John H. Hammond, who also became Goodman's brother-in-law, later wrote that he helped persuade Gene Krupa to re-join Goodman, with whom he had had an earlier falling-out, by mentioning that Berigan, whom Krupa admired, was already committed to the new ensemble. With Berigan and Krupa both on board, the Goodman band made the tour that ended at the Palomar Ballroom in Los Angeles, the performance often credited with the launch of the swing era. Berigan recorded a number of solos while with Goodman, including "King Porter Stomp", "Sometimes I'm Happy", and "Blue Skies".

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Listen to Bunny Berigan on Swing City Radio.  We are a Big Band Radio Station playing a wide selection of Big Band and Swing music.

Swing City Radio plays Bunny Berigan - Listen to our station and hear the songs:
The Pied Piper
Ain't She Sweet
Sing You Sinners
The First Time I Saw You
I Cried for You
A Study in Brown

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