Jerry Gray

Jerry Gray

Jerry Gray (July 3, 1915 – August 10, 1976) was an American violinist, arranger, composer, and leader of swing dance orchestras (big bands) bearing his name. He is widely known for his work with popular music during the Swing era. His name is inextricably linked to two of the most famous bandleaders of the time, Artie Shaw and Glenn Miller. Gray, along with Bill Finegan, wrote many of Miller's arrangements during the late 1930s and early 1940s. In the latter part of Gray's career, his orchestra served as the house band at the Venetian Room of the Fairmont Hotel, Dallas.

In 1936 Gray joined Artie Shaw, who was calling himself Art Shaw, and his "New Music" orchestra as lead violinist. He studied musical arrangement under Shaw and became a staff arranger a year later. During the next two years he penned some of the band's most popular arrangements, including "Carioca", "Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise", "Any Old Time", and the classic "Begin the Beguine."

In November 1939, Shaw suddenly broke up his band and moved to Mexico. On the next day, Glenn Miller called Gray and offered him a job arranging for his band. It was a difficult move because Shaw had allowed his arrangers great musical latitude, while Miller's commercial orientation often led him to second-guess his staff. Gray gradually found himself more in line with Miller's less–mercurial personality and was allowed more of the freedom that he appreciated.

Gray's time with the Glenn Miller Orchestra produced many of the most recognizable and memorable recordings of the era. He arranged "Elmer's Tune", "Moonlight Cocktail", "Perfidia", and "Chattanooga Choo-Choo" among others, while his compositions included "Sun Valley Jump", "The Man in the Moon", "Caribbean Clipper", "Pennsylvania 6-5000", "I Dreamt I Dwelt in Harlem", "Introduction to a Waltz" with Glenn Miller and Harold Dickinson, "Flagwaver", "Solid As a Stonewall Jackson" with Chummy MacGregor, "Oh So Good", "Jeep Jockey Jump", "Enlisted Men's Mess", "Keep 'Em Flying", "V Hop" or "V For Victory Hop", "Passage Interdit", "Snafu Jump", "A Love Song Hasn't Been Sung" with Bill Conway and Harold Dickinson, "Are You Rusty, Gate?", "Here We Go Again", "The Spirit is Willing" and his most famous song, "A String of Pearls". So many of Gray's pieces became best-sellers that he has been described as more responsible for the band's success than Miller himself, although publicly, Gray always described the relationship as mutually beneficial.

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Listen to Jerry Gray 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 Jerry Gray - Listen to our station and hear the songs:
Blue Rain
Pale Moon
Caribbean Clipper
That Lucky Old Sun
Night & Day
Lady Be Good
Desert Serenade
Crazy, She Calls Me
Re-Stringing the Pearls
Crew Cut

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