Jan Savitt

Jan Savitt

Jan Savitt (September 4, 1907 – October 4, 1948), known as "The Stokowski of Swing", from having played violin in Leopold Stokowski's orchestra, was an American bandleader, musical arranger, and violinist.

In 1938, Jan Savitt & His Top Hatters broadcast from 5–5:30 pm every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday as the KYW staff orchestra at KYW/NBC in Philadelphia. Saturday's weekly broadcast was one hour, coast-to-coast. The group also played at the Earl Theatre and performed with The Andrews Sisters and The Three Stooges.

He got his start in popular music some time later as music director of KYW, Philadelphia, where he evolved the unique "shuffle rhythm" which remained his trademark. Numerous sustaining programs created such a demand for the "shuffle rhythm" that Savitt left KYW to form his own dance crew.

Savitt's band was notable for including George "Bon Bon" Tunnell, one of the first African American singers to perform with a white band. Tunnell's recording with Savitt included Vol Vistu Gaily Star (co-composed by Slim Gaillard) and Rose of the Rio Grande. Helen Englert Blaum, known at the time as Helen Warren, also sang with Savitt during the war years.

Savitt recorded short pieces for the National Broadcasting System's Thesaurus series, probably in the 1940s. These were pieces radio stations used as 'fillers' just prior to network programs, which would begin precisely on the hour or half-hour. Disc 1143 in the Thesaurus catalogue features four selections by the Jan Savitt Orchestra on one side of the 33 1/3 transcription: "I'm Afraid the Masquerade is Over "; "If I Didn't Care"; "Ring Dem Bells", and "Romance Runs in the Family".

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Listen to Jan Savitt 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 Jan Savitt - Listen to our station and hear the songs:
Vol Vistu Gaily Star
Indian Summer
My Heart At Thy Sweet Voice
720 In The Books
Moonlight Serenade
Make-Believe Island
Hi-Yo Silver
You Go to My Head

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