Image of the Dorsey brothers.

The Dorsey Brothers

The Dorsey Brothers, jointly or singly, were two of the greatest virtuoso leader/soloists in the history of jazz. From the mid twenties till their untimely deaths in the mid fifties they advanced the technique on both their chosen instruments. As has often been retold they received a most rigorous early training from their father in the Pennsylvania mining town of Shenandoah where they were born.

They had formed a number of bands till 1927 when both secured positions with the famous Paul Whiteman concert orchestra where they stayed for a year. This brought them in contact with the best of New York's hot players and launched their recording careers in 1928. They played along with Red Nichols, Jean Goldkette and countless record sessions of that era.

The Dorsey Brothers Orchestra became a permanent touring entity in 1934 with vocalists Kay Weber and Bing Crosby's younger brother Bob. Another key member was trombonist Glenn Miller who contributed many of the best arrangements.

For the next six years or so Jimmy on clarinet and alto saxophone was regarded as a top stylist and even as late as 1955 Charlie Parker expressed an admiration for the elder Dorsey on alto sax. He is reputed to have been watching the Dorsey Brothers TV show when he died. Tommy would always defer to such as Jack Teagarden as a hot or blues jazz player but was without equal as an interpreter of the ballad where his tone remains the gold standard.

Following their spectacular fight in august 1935 they went their seperate ways and for the next eighteen years or so led two of the most successful swing and dance orchestras of all time. Typical of some of Tommy's alumni are Ziggy Elman, Buddy De Franco, Bud Freeman, Dave Tough, Buddy Rich, Charlie Shavers, Louie Bellson, Jo Stafford and Frank Sinatra. Jimmy had such stars as Ray McKinley, Bobby Byrne, Herb Ellis, Serge Chaloff, Bobby Dukoff, Karl Kiffe, Bob Eberley, Helen O Connel, and Kitty Kallen. Tommy, due to his generally more focused and aggressive approach, had the most successful career and a more durable body of work.

As with most bigbands the post wars marked a decline in their fortunes. Tommy maintained a regular recording contract and concentrated on entertaining stage and dance shows featuring not only his main solists and arrangements by Bill Finegan and Sy Oliver but also a corps of excellent singers. Jimmy ironically led a somewhat more adventurous band in the 1944-46 period and even featured arrangements by Dizzy Gillespie. His main writer was Sonny Burke. As the 40s drew to a close he began to feature his "Dorseyland" band which reflected a temporary resurgance of dixieland as a dance form.

By 1953 in recognition of the problems of maintaining touring orchestras Jimmy disbanded and joined Tommy's organization as featured soloist - not as co-leader. However he did bring into the band many of his famous hit arrangements.

Latterly they enjoyed regular residencies at New York's Statler Hotel. Tommy's last recordings seemed to close a circle as he heavily featured spiritual instrumentals composed and arranged by his old 1930s associate Deane Kincaide as well as by the Basie graduate Ernie Wilkins. On the night of November 26, 1956 it was announced to startled dancers that Tommy had choked in his sleep after eating a heavy meal earlier that evening. He was only 51. The band carried on with Jimmy as leader for another six months till he succumbed to cancer.

As long as there remains interest in the great swing/dance bands the names of Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey will be near the top of the list.

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"Casino Gardens"

Broadcast performances by the combined orchestras of Tommy and Jimmy from 1946.

Titles - Chloe / Tom Foolery / Ain't Misbehavin / I Don't Stand a Ghost of a Chance / Oh! What a Beautiful Morning / At The Fat Mans / If I'm Lucky / Brotherly Jump / Saturday Night / Remember Me / Ah Yes-There's Good Blues Tonight / Tico tico / plus seven.

Price includes postage & packaging per order: £8.99

Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey - "Brotherly Jump"

Image of Hep CD1005 - Dorsey Brothers - Mood Hollywood



"Mood Hollywood"

Classic performances from 1932-33 with Mildred Bailey, Bunny Berigan, The Boswell Sisters, Ella Logan and Red McKenzie.

Titles - Parkin' In The Moonlight / Someone Stole Gabriel's Horn / I'm Getting Sentimental Over You / I'm Getting Sentimental Over You / Sing (It's Good For You) / Dinah / It Don't Mean A Thing / Louisiana Hayride / Mood Hollywood / Mood Hollywood / Shim Sham Shimmy / Shim Sham Shimmy / Old Man Harlem / By Heck / By Heck / The Blue Room / Fidgety / (I Got A Woman, Crazy For Me) She's Funny That Way / (I Can Make Most Anything) But I Can't Make a Man / Dr. Heckle And Mr. Jibe / Blue River / It's The Talk Of The Town / This Time It's Love / Mean To Me.

Price includes postage & packaging per order: £8.99

Dorsey Brothers - "Mood Hollywood"

Image of Hep CD1006 - Dorsey Brothers - Harlem Lullaby


DORSEY BROTHERS with Crosby, Bailey, Wiley, West & Waters

"Harlem Lullaby"

20 classic sides from 1933 featuring the vocal talents of Mae West, Lee Wiley, Bing Crosby, Mildred Bailey and Ethel Waters.

Titles - Someone Stole Gabriel's Horn / Stay On The Right Side Of The Road / Stay On The Right Side Of The Road / Here Is My Heart / Stormy Weather / Love Is The Thing / Don't Blame Me / Shadows On The Swanee / I Like A Guy What Takes His Time / Easy Rider / You've Got Me Crying Again / I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues / Is That Religion ? / Harlem Lullaby / There's A Cabin In The Pines / Lazy Bones / Shoutin' In The Amen Corner / Snowball / Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Love / Doin' The Uptown Lowdown.

Price includes postage & packaging per order: £8.99

Dorsey Brothers / Mae West - "Easy Rider"

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