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BIG BAND JAZZ MUSIC HISTORY  
Swing Music Net Biography
Glen Gray
Glen Gray leads the Casa Loma Orchestra
Glen Gray (Casa Loma Orchestra)
Rigid, concise style of big band jazz in early 1930s helped blaze a trail for other big bands
Glen Gray's Casa Loma Orchestra never broke completely out of the drill type style but waxed some decent sides in the late 1930s and early 1940s
Glen Gray
Knoblaugh, Glen Gray (Spike)
leader
Born; Roanoke, Ill., 6-7-1906
Died; 8-23-1963
JAZZ RADIO & JAZZ HISTORY
Jazz Radio Audio
The live feed of our Tuesday jazz music radio show streaming online at 4:00 PM Pacific with a focus on the history of jazz music and jazz music that swings from the 1930s to today.

Our Jazz Radio Show Info Page
The sordid history of our jazz music radio show, est. 1985. Lends credence to the theory that FCC radio deregulation survival may be linked to narcissistically twisted disorders.

History Of Jazz Part 1
Early hot jazz bands, the hotel dance bands and the history of jazz music leading up to the Big Band era.

History Of Jazz Part II
The role of economics, early recording technology, and radio relative to jazz history and the Big Band era.

The Recording Ban Of 1942
Scans of a 1942 Down Beat magazine article detailing a dramatic event in jazz history during the Big Band era; the James Petrillo / AFM recording ban.

Webb Cuts Basie At The Savoy
Another of the many jazz magazine articles on the site detailing big events in jazz history. This piece recounts the Count Basie vs. Chick Webb big band music Battle Of Swing held at Harlem's Savoy Ballroom in January of 1938.

Glen Gray played saxophone in a group that performed at the Casa Loma Hotel in Toronto in 1928. The group was incorporated as a co-op in NYC in 1929 as The Casa Loma Orchestra and began recording for Okeh.

In the early 1930s, the Casa Loma Orchestra was one of the bands that helped pave the way for the rise in popularity of big band swing, gaining recognition especially with the college age crowd, and wowing audiences at Yale, Dartmouth and other Ivy League schools. It is said to have been the first white big band with a deliberate Jazz policy. Although they played in a rather stiff and precise style, The Casa Loma Orchestra helped spread the concept of big band jazz to a generation of young white kids who were, at that time, still largely unaware of the great black jazz orchestras.

The Casa Loma Orchestra began to be billed under leader Glen Grayís name in 1935, recording for Decca until 1942, and later for Mercury until 1946. While the early swing of Glen Grayís Casa Lomansí may sound outdated today, the bandís late 1930s and early 1940s recordings like Stompiní Around, Come And Get It, Malady In F, Zig Zag, Swingtonic, and No Name Jive are still great listens today. Two of the bands biggest records were ballads; For You as sung by Kenny Sargent and the group's theme Smoke Rings. In 1940 Glen Gray was one of the winners, as a bandleader, in Down Beat's All American Musicians Poll.

After he stopped touring, around 1950, Gray began a series of recordings for Capitol mainly recreating hits of the big band era. Although the albums were commercially successful at the time, they left little room for improvisation, and held few surprises.

Glen Gray (r) accepts an award from Down Beat magazine in 1940. Click to enlarge.
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