Tex Beneke & His Orchestra - Concert in the Circle at the City of Orange (1995)

I have always had a soft spot for Tex Beneke. Back in 1995, as someone who had just turned off the radio and discovered big band & swing, I saw a newspaper insert for an upcoming concert in the circle featuring Tex Beneke and His Orchestra saluting Glenn Miller. After coincidentally having just seen Orchestra Wives and Sun Valley Serenade on AMC, I was kinda surprised that anyone from the band was still around...let alone still performing.

I got off work a little early that day and made the trip through the canyon to get there just in time. With my giant Magnavox VHS camera perched on my shoulder, I began to record the very first live big band music I had ever heard. No amount of 78s, lps or even cds of the same music could have prepared me for the sound of a live brass section...chills, I tell ya.

Although Mr. Beneke no longer played the sax, due to a stroke, he got out there for the better part of 2 hours and Chattanooga Choo Choo'd and Kalamazoo'd his heart out. In between a few songs here and there, he would exit backstage while the 'girl singer' gave it a whirl. During one of those spells, my mom took the lp cover I had brought for just such an occasion up to the door where he exited through. Someone from his entourage discreetly took it from her and soon emerged with the cover signed. (Apparently Tex didn't do much signing back then...again due to the stroke. It was asked to keep low key on the autograph while back in the crowd.) When mom made her way back, I slipped it into the camera case without even looking at it. I felt like I had captured lightning in a bottle.

The only regret that day was that the camera battery died about 1 minute before the closing song (In The Mood) had ended.

Here are several clips from that day.

Moonlight Serenade

Medley: At Last / Serenade In Blue

Pennsylvania 6-5000


Chattanooga Choo Choo

The Dixie Stompers - Harmony 88 (1925) & 166 (1926)

Fletcher Henderson p, dir / Russell Smith, Joe Smith t / Charlie Green tb / Buster Bailey cl, as / Don Redman  v, cl, as, gfs, (? 3rd t) / Coleman Hawkins cl, ts, bsx / Charlie Dixon bj / Kaiser Marshall d.

Recorded in New York on December 22, 1925.

Fletcher Henderson p, dir / Russell Smith, Joe Smith t / Charlie Green tb / Buster Bailey cl, as / Don Redman  cl, as, ss / Coleman Hawkins cl, ts / Charlie Dixon bj / Kaiser Marshall d.

Recorded in New York on March 22 & April 14 1926.

Sodarisa Miller with Jimmy Blythe - Paramount 12231 (1924)

This looks to be the debut recordings for Sodarisa Miller...for which information is very sparse.

Sodarisa Miller v / Jimmy Blythe p.

Recorded in Chicago in August, 1924.

Andy Kirk & His Twelve Clouds Of Joy - Brunswick 4653 (1929)

Here we have two sides...one from Andy Kirk's first recording session and the other from his second...the next day.

Not having any luck finding out if these are also from Mary Lou William's debut recording sessions or not.

Andy Kirk bsx, bb, dir / Gene Prince, Harry Lawson t / Allen Durham tb / John Harrington cl, as / John Williams as, bar / Lawrence 'Slim' Freeman ts / Claude Williams vn / Mary Lou Williams p, a / William Dirvin bj, g / Edward McNeil d.

Recorded in Kansas City on November 7 (Cloudy) and 8 (Casey Jones Special), 1929.

Guyon's Paradise Orchestra - Okeh 4862 (1923)

Although not part of this recording, a 14-year old Benny Goodman took up a steady gig at the Guyon's Paradise Ballroom. Check out the write-up of Goodman's involvement and a few pics of his paychecks during this tenure.

The only identified personnel identified on these recordings are Jules R. Herbuveaux dir / Del Symonds p.

Recorded in New York in May, 1923.