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Hal Kemp

James Hal Kemp (March 27, 1904 – December 21, 1940) was a jazz alto saxophonist, clarinetist, bandleader, composer, and arranger. He was born in Marion, Alabama, and died in Madera, California, following an auto accident. His major recordings were "Got A Date With An Angel", "Heart Of Stone", "Lamplight", "The Music Goes 'Round And Around", "You're The Top", "Bolero", "Gloomy Sunday", "Lullaby Of Broadway", and many others.

In 1932, during the height of the Depression, Kemp decided to lead the band in a new direction, changing the orchestra's style to that of a dance band (often mistakenly referred to as "sweet"), using muted triple-tonguing trumpets, clarinets playing low sustained notes in unison through large megaphones (an early version of the echo chamber effect), and a double-octave piano.

One of the main reasons for the band's success was arranger John Scott Trotter. Singer Skinnay Ennis had difficulty sustaining notes, so Trotter came up with the idea of filling in these gaps with muted trumpets playing staccato triplets. This gave the band a unique sound, which Johnny Mercer jokingly referred to as sounding like a "typewriter". The saxes often played very complex extremely difficult passages, which won them the praise of fellow musicians. Vocalists with the band during the 1930s included Ennis, Dowell, Bob Allen, Deane Janis, Maxine Gray, Judy Starr, Nan Wynn, and Janet Blair. During the 1930s, Kemp recorded for Brunswick, Vocalion and RCA Victor Records. Hal's band was one of the most popular bands in the 1930s, and was often featured performing on the radio.

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Listen to Hal Kemp 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 Hal Kemp - Listen to our station and hear the songs:
Where Or When
This Year’s Kisses
With Plenty Of Money And You
In The Middle Of A Kiss
So You’re The One
It All Comes Back To Me Now
The Moon Got in my Eyes
It All Comes Back to Me Now
Sunrise Serenade
I've Got a Pocketful of Dreams

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