Glen Gray Knoblaugh (Metamora, 7 June 1906 - Plymouth, August 23, 1963) was an American big band leader and saxophonist of the swingera. He was leader of theCasa Loma Orchestra, first swing Orchestra and one of the North-American bands in the early 1930s. The band was a pioneer of the big bandera.
Content[edit | edit source]
The beginning[Edit][edit | edit source]
He was the son of a musical railroad worker (violinist and piano tuner), who died when Glen was two years old. Gray at a young age already played musical instruments such as the clarinetand piccolo . When he was eleven followed the saxophone. In his teens he had his first group, Spike's Jazz Orchestra. After serving, he, like his father, with the railways work, as a clerk and Station Manager. In the mid- 1920s he joined as a saxophonist with the Orange Blossoms, a band that came from the Jean GoldketteOrchestra. The band played in and around Detroit, but in 1927 a fixed game site in a luxury hotel in Toronto, Casa Loma, where it played for more than half a year. In 1929, the group name was changed to the Casa Loma Orchestra and Glen Gray was chosen as the new band members by the group leader (or "president"); the band had become a cooperative company, whose members shared in the profits. Gray decided, however, to continue to play saxophone, violinist Mel Jenssen wielded the baton.
Success Years[Edit][edit | edit source]
In New York the orchestra played in Roseland Ballroom, but the Group was also active in Atlantic City. In 1933 it played a season in a casino in New Rochelle, from which also weekly national radio broadcasts took place. Meant that the band got a wider audience. Initially, the Orchestra especially popular with students who have not yet had heard ' black ' jazz orchestras , by their radio broadcasts, the band was now known throughout the country and, through their successful mix of swing numbers and sweet ballads, also very popular. You could both listen to it (ballads as "Smoke Rings", their identification number) as on dancing (on songs like "Alexander's Ragtime Band" and "Casa Loma Stomp"). Following this formula would soon find at other big bands and in the middle of the 1930s, when the swing machine on steam began to arrive, the band was overtaken by all sorts of swing orchestras with better vocalists, musicians and arrangements. But the band remained popular, with full houses and hits.
Recordings[Edit][edit | edit source]
The first recordings by Glen Gray and the Casa Loma Orchestra took place in 1929, for Okeh Records. One of the songs was "Happy Days Are Here Again". During this period they recorded for the first time on forBrunswick: for this tag would make the band until 1934 plates. In 1933 they took quickly for Victor (as ' Glen Gray and His Orchestra "). Late 1934, the band recorded for the first time on for Decca, for which the group years plates would make. For this label took the Orchestra "Blue Moon" on, that three weeks at number one in the US chart would stand. It was one of the first big hits for the then new label.
In 1936, guitarist Gene Gifford that the jazz arrangements kept, because of his alcohol problems from the band and quickly hooked up the jazz-lovers, although the band remained popular among the general public.Gifford was replaced by arranger Larry Clinton, formerly worked at Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey. The band was adopted by Paramount Theatre in New York and would that do several seasons: Casa Loma Orchestra was the first group that would do that here. In 1937 took Gray to the wand itself: the Group was called now Glen Gray and Casa Loma Orchestra. What followed arranger-swings, but the popularity of the band slowly took off. In the mid-forties was the original band dissolved and Gray was the sole owner of the Group and group name. He would until 1947 with hired musicians maintain a Casa Loma Orchestra. Health problems (diabetes) forced him however to put behind it a point. In 1950 he tried another comeback and he made with some veterans and new players some successful record for Capitol, which were especially nostalgic.
Musicians[Edit][edit | edit source]
At Orange Blossoms and Casa Loma Orchestra have worked several well-known jazz musicians. Gray played with trombonist Pee Wee Hunt in Orange Blossoms. Trumpeter Louis Armstrong played and sang in 1939 on two images, as well as Hoagy Carmichael. In the 1940s included Bobby Hackett, Herb Ellis and Red Nichols some time band member.
Discography (selection)[Edit][edit | edit source]
- Glen Gray Souvenirs (Casa Loma Orchestra), Coral, 1950
- Hoagy Carmichael Songs (ditto), Coral, 1950
- Musical Smoke Rings (ditto), Decca, 1950
- Casa Loma in Hi-Fi, (ditto), collectables, 1956
- Continental, (idem, unreleased radio recordings), Hindsight, 1995
- Boneyard Shuffle, Hep Records
- Stompin' Around, Hep Records
- Casa Loma in HiFi, Capitol T-747, 1956
- Casa Loma Caravan, Capitol T-856, 1957
- Sounds of the Great Bands, Capitol ST-1022, 1958
- Shall We Swing?, Capitol ST-1055, 1958
- Sounds of the Great Bands volume 2, Capitol ST-1067, 1959
- Solo Spotlight, Capitol ST-1147, Capitol ST-1147, 1959
- Swingin' Decade, Capitol ST-1289, 1960
- Sounds of the Great Bands in Latin, Capitol ST-1303, 1960
- Swingin' Southern Style, Capitol ST-1400, 1961
- Please, Mr. Gray, Capitol ST-1506, 1961
- Jonah Jones/Glen Gray, Capitol ST-1660, 1962
- They All Swung the Blues, Capitol ST-1739, 1962
- Themes of the Great Bands, Capitol ST-1812, 1963
- Today's Best, Capitol ST-1938, 1963
Filmography[Edit][edit | edit source]
- "Time Out For Rhythm" (1941)
- "Jam Session" (1944)