Tommy Dorsey

Tommy Dorsey

Tommy Dorsey (November 19, 1905 – November 26, 1956) was an American jazz trombonist, composer, conductor and bandleader of the big band era. He was known as the "Sentimental Gentleman of Swing" because of his smooth-toned trombone playing. His theme song was I'm Getting Sentimental Over You. His technical skill on the trombone gave him renown among other musicians. He was the younger brother of bandleader Jimmy Dorsey. After Dorsey broke with his brother in the mid-1930s, he led an extremely popular and highly successful band from the late 1930s into the 1950s. He is best remembered for standards such as "Opus One", "Song of India", "Marie", "On Treasure Island", and his biggest hit single, "I'll Never Smile Again".

Born in Mahanoy Plane, Pennsylvania, he and Jimmy, his older brother by slightly less than two years, became famous as the Dorsey Brothers. Tommy Dorsey studied the trumpet with his father but later switched to trombone.

At age 15, Jimmy recommended Tommy to replace Russ Morgan in The Scranton Sirens, a territory band in the 1920s. Tommy and Jimmy worked in bands led by Tal Henry, Rudy Vallee, Vincent Lopez, and Nathaniel Shilkret. In 1923, Dorsey followed Jimmy to Detroit to play in Jean Goldkette's band and returned to New York in 1925 to play with the California Ramblers. In 1927 he joined Paul Whiteman. In 1929, the Dorsey Brothers had their first hit with "Coquette" for OKeh Records.

In 1934, the Dorsey Brothers band signed with Decca, having a hit with "I Believe in Miracles". Glenn Miller was a member of the Dorsey Brothers Orchestra in 1934 and 1935, composing "Annie's Cousin Fanny", "Tomorrow's Another Day", "Harlem Chapel Chimes", and "Dese Dem Dose", all recorded for Decca, for the band. Acrimony between the brothers led to Tommy Dorsey walking out to form his own band in 1935 as the orchestra was having a hit with "Every Little Moment". Dorsey's orchestra was known primarily for its renderings of ballads at dance tempos, frequently with singers such as Jack Leonard and Frank Sinatra.

Tommy Dorsey's first band was formed out of the remains of the Joe Haymes band, and so began Dorsey's long-running practice of raiding other bands for talent. If he admired a vocalist, musician or arranger, he would think nothing of taking over their contracts and careers. Dorsey had a reputation for being a perfectionist. He was volatile and known to hire and fire and sometimes rehire musicians based on his mood. The new band was popular almost from the moment it signed with RCA Victor with "On Treasure Island", the first of four hits in 1935. After his 1935 recording, however, Dorsey's manager dropped the "hot jazz" that Dorsey had mixed with his own lyrical style and instead had Dorsey play pop and vocal tunes. Dorsey kept his Clambake Seven as a Dixieland group that played during performances, too. The Dorsey band had a national radio presence in 1936, first from Dallas and then from Los Angeles. Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra took over comedian Jack Pearl's radio show in 1937.

The band featured a number of instrumentalists, singers, and arrangers in the 1930s and '40s, including trumpeters Zeke Zarchy, Bunny Berigan, Ziggy Elman, Doc Severinsen, and Charlie Shavers, pianists Milt Raskin, Jess Stacy, clarinetists Buddy DeFranco, Johnny Mince, and Peanuts Hucko. Others who played with Dorsey were drummers Buddy Rich, Louie Bellson, Dave Tough saxophonist Tommy Reed, and singers Sinatra, Jack Leonard, Edythe Wright, Jo Stafford with The Pied Pipers, Dick Haymes, and Connie Haines.


Listen to Tommy Dorsey 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 Tommy Dorsey - Listen to our station and hear the songs:
Opus 1
You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby
The Music Goes Round and Round
Hawaiian War Chant
Marie
Have You Got Any Castles, Baby?
Yes Indeed!
Oh! Look At Me Now
There Are Such Things
It’s Always You
In The Blue Of Evening
Indian Summer
I’ll Never Smile Again
Blue Orchids
Blue in the Night
Dipsy Doodle
Fools Rush In (Where Angles Fear to Tread)
Dolores
Heaven Can Wait
I Dream of You
I'm Gettin' Sentimental Over You
I'll Be Seeing You
Imagination
Manhattan Serenade
Music, Maestro, Please
On The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe
Once in A While
Sleepy Lagoon
Our Love
You and I
Support Our Station: Affiliate Disclosure

Connect with Swing City Radio

Support Our Station

Support Our Station: Affiliate Disclosure

List of Artists We Play

Your Thoughts

Name

Email *

Message *