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MILLER, Glenn: Oh, So Good


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GLENN MILLER \Oh So Good"

Rarities, 1939-1943

Glenn Miller formed his first orchestra in 1937 but it was not successful. He formed a new orchestra in 1938 but it was not until the Glen Island Casino engagement in the summer of 1939 that this orchestra was brought to public attention through its many radio broadcasts. In December 1939 Miller signed to do a radio series sponsored by Chesterfield Cigarettes. Beginning in January 1940, the band was heard live for fifteen minutes over the CBS network every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evening at 7:15 p.m. These broadcasts, along with his many recordings on RCA Victor’s Bluebird label, made Miller a household name, and number one with the teenagers.

In September 1942 he disbanded and joined the Army. In 1943 he formed a large radio orchestra for the Army Air Forces which he eventually took overseas. He was lost on a flight from England to France on December 15, 1944.

Most of the performances featured on this CD have never been issued before.

Anchors Aweigh opens this Chesterfield broadcast. This is the first of many times that the Miller band broadcast this tune. It begins with a short Moe Purtill drum solo, followed by Ernie Caceres on clarinet and then muted trumpet by Clyde Hurley. Near the end of Hurley’s solo you can hear Glenn say, "Ah, take it away." After the solo, Miller employs a device that he borrowed from his favourite band, Count Basie – the "ooh-wahs" of the brass section fanned by their hats. From the same broadcast we hear the program’s closing tune, Tuxedo Junction. Arranged by Jerry Gray, it became a major hit for the Miller band. This version gets a nice beat with solos by Mickey McMickle on muted trumpet, Hurley on open trumpet, McMickle again and Chummy MacGregor on piano.

Next is a tune made popular by Ella Fitzgerald in 1938 with the Chick Webb Orchestra (see Naxos Jazz Legends 8.120540) – A-Tisket, A-Tasket. This is the only time the band broadcast this tune on the Chesterfield show. After the introduction by Glenn, Marion Hutton sings with some help by the band. Tex Beneke interjects a little humour when he says, "Well, landsakes honey, I wouldn’t cry about that!" Tex also solos on tenor sax.

It’s announcer Larry Bruff who asks, "What’s up Glenn?" at the start of By The Waters of Minnetonka. This Glenn Miller arrangement was originally recorded on September 27, 1938 for Bluebird as a two-sided 10" 78. Shortened for broadcast, it really jumps. The band is heard chanting at the beginning, featuring solos by Beneke, Caceres, Miller, Hurley and Purtill.

Trade Winds is a pretty tune that was never recorded by the band. Glenn announces it as "a new tune that’s really coming on", but it was only played twice on the Chesterfield show. Tex takes a short tenor solo before the vocal by Ray Eberle.

Oh So Good provides the title for this CD. This riff tune was written and arranged by Jerry Gray. Johnny Best starts it off , and then Chummy MacGregor follows with the band chanting the title, then solos by Beneke, May, Purtill and Caceres.

My Isle of Golden Dreams is from a Glen Island Casino broadcast. Bill Finegan arranged this beautiful Gus Kahn song which features a lovely tenor saxophone solo by Beneke. Note the tempo change in the middle of the tune.

Glenn is heard introducing the next tune: "Marion Hutton echoes Rochester’s famous words, My! My!" He is referring to Eddie "Rochester" Anderson, who portrayed Jack Benny’s valet on Benny’s radio show. This tune is from the Paramount film Buck Benny Rides Again. Alto sax solo is by Caceres.

Farewell Blues is a Miller flag-waver. The brass section starts the tune off with their "oohwahs" with fine section work by the saxophones and trombones. Beneke takes a tenor solo followed by a trumpet solo (probably by Charlie Frankhauser).

Glenn introduces Marion who sings a swingy novelty song, Wanna Hat With Cherries. Originally recorded back on June 27, 1939, this was the last time it was broadcast on the Chesterfield show.

Another tune from the August 28 show, Little Brown Jug was another one of Glenn’s big hits and is a Bill Finegan arrangement. The band starts off the tune by chanting the title, which is not on the original recording. Solos are by Beneke, Frankhauser (someone in the band shouts, "Oh come on Charlie") and Miller.

Miller liked to begin some of his Chesterfield shows with an old tune and I’ll Take You Home Again, Kathleen fits the bill. It was written in 1876! Glenn introduces the tune, followed by the clarinet lead, which eventually moves into some nice muted trombone work.

Paul Douglas, later to become a movie star, introduces this next tune as "Buck Benny Rides Again" but it is actually called Cowboy From Brooklyn, from the Warner Bros. Film of the same name. This is one of those cute Tex Beneke and Marion Hutton duets which begins with "Hello Texas, what you say?" Tex takes the tenor solo.

Another swing arrangement by Jerry Gray, Solid As A Stonewall, Jackson. Caceres is heard on alto sax followed by Beneke on tenor sax. A typical Miller device is employed after the solos – fading and then building up to a crescendo.

This broadcast of Five O’Clock Whistle was performed one day before the band went into the studios to record it for Bluebird. Glenn introduces the tune, which is another Marion Hutton novelty, and the band sings as well. Once again,Tex takes the tenor solo.

Pennsylvania 6-5000 was arranged by Jerry Gray. It became another huge hit for the Miller band. The title was the telephone number of the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City where the Miller band was playing at the time. Solos are by Best and Beneke.

The last two tunes are by Miller’s Army Air Force Band from their first recording session for VDiscs. To introduce these two selections there is a recorded announcement by Captain Glenn Miller. Miller’s huge Army Air Forces Orchestra was quite a change from his civilian band as it featured a 20-piece string section, which is heard to good advantage on Stardust. Addison Collins, Jr. is featured on French Horn along with Mel Powell on piano and the muted trumpet is probably by Zeke Zarchy.

Arranged by Sgt. Jerry Gray, the St. Louis Blues March is also from the same recording session. Miller augmented his radio orchestra on this session with members from the marching band. It features the drumming of Ray McKinley and Frank Ippolito, with Bobby Nichols on trumpet, Vince Carbone on tenor sax and Hank Freeman on alto sax. Arranging W.C. Handy’s famous composition as a march was quite an innovation in 1943. Miller discovered that the troops marched more enthusiastically to "swinging marches". Miller’s version of St. Louis Blues March continues to be played at football games to this day. John Flower, author of "Moonlight Serenade

Transfers and Production: David Lennick

Digital Noise Reduction: Graham Newton

Photo of Glenn Miller, c. 1940, © Hulton/Archive

1 . ANCHORS AWEIGH (Miles–Lovell–Zimmermann)

From The Chesterfield Show, 18th April, 1940; Wardman Park Hotel, Washington DC 2:09

2 . TUXEDO JUNCTION (Johnson–Dash–Hawkins–Feyne, arr. Jerry Gray)

From The Chesterfield Show, 18th April, 1940; Wardman Par
Disc: 1
St. Louis Blues March
1 Anchor Aweigh
2 Tuxedo Junction
3 A-Tisket A-Tasket
4 By the Waters of Minnetonka
5 Trade Winds
6 Oh So Good
7 My Isle of Golden Dreams
8 My! My!
9 Farewell Blues
10 Wanna Hat with Cherries
11 Little Brown Jug
12 I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen
13 Cowboy from Brooklyn
14 Solid As a Stonewall Jackson
15 The Five O'Clock Whistle
16 Pennsylvania 6-5000
17 Stardust
18 St. Louis Blues March
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