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Jerry Gray

A child prodigy on the violin, Jerry Gray (family name Graziano) took up the study of composing and arranging while still a boy in East Boston. His first important job in music was as an arranger for Artie Shaw in the mid-'30s, while he was still in his teens -- Gray was responsible for the hits "Any Old Time," "What Is This Thing Called Love," and, most notably, "Begin the Beguine." He joined Glenn Miller as an arranger in 1939, coinciding with the Miller band's sudden rise to national fame, and remained with Miller right up until the bandleader's death in late 1944.

Gray's successes with Miller included his arrangements of "String of Pearls" and "Pennsylvania 6-5000." When Miller joined the Air Force and recruited his legendary military band, Gray went along, earning the rank of sergeant in the process, and worked with the new ensemble. When Miller was reported missing on December 25, 1944 while flying across the English Channel on an official mission to France, Gray took over conducting the Army Air Forces Overseas Orchestra for its final year of performances. This was the beginning of the "ghost band" phenomenon that would keep Miller's music alive in concert for 50 years and counting after his death. Gray knew the sound of the band better than anybody available at the time, and the final performances of the AAF Overseas Orchestra are as musically worthwhile as anything they ever did with Miller.

A more charismatic leader was needed for the Miller band as the commercial possibilities surrounding the continued popularity of their music became apparent after the war. Gray relinquished the leader's spot and later made his career as a musician in Hollywood. He made recordings that effectively utilized the "Miller sound" (which, in fairness, was just as much Gray's sound) and worked for several of the Hollywood studios during the late '40s and throughout the '50s; one of his most important projects was as an arranger and consultant on Universal's production of The Glenn Miller Story, starring James Stewart. His radio band recorded a hit, "Sound Off," and in the '60s, Gray was the arranger of Vic Damone's hit "I Have But One Heart." ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

josephslane3 4
Old timer

I danced to the big band sound what a same tofays you g people wont have this pleasure
Wonderful music to listen to---and many, many years ago, to DANCE to! What memories for a great-grandm o t h e r to have!
Love love this music....... . . . . .
I love his music it' fun full of energy make you move and fill good all in one slm
Anyone else notice the photo for the bio says CRAY and not Gray...
The beauty of music is: each band, orchestra, musician brings something different to the listener.
charlessjogr e n
when music was really music !!
cveale3
Nice enough, but not the Miller classic. :-( I didn't do a thumbs-down, but I didn't do a thumbs-up either.
A nce rendition, gotta say, it sadly pales to Miller's classic, though.
Not the passion..... n i c e , easy listening though....mi s s the dynamic, classic horn riff which usually sends chills in my world!!!! I literally stop everything when the horns come in on Millers' classic recording. Whew! In any event, I am a total fan!!!! Cheers!
pjreutiii
timeless,eas y on the senses,happy memories growing up in Hamden, Conn. Sunday dinner in the air and family all around.
Fantastic arrangement!
Love this music, it brings me back to imagining my father's young adulthood when this music was the soundtrack. It's also musically lovely on its own.
fpvenditti
I danced to Glenn Millers music at tea dances at the University of Colorado from 1940 to 1943. He wrote the Boulder Buff for the University in 1942. Glenn ruined the big band sound for all other bands.
I love the big band sound. Reminds me of my grandmother. She and my grandfather used to dance to these tunes when they were young. This music always brings back fond memories for her. She tells me stories of "back in those days." They are great stories.
cturner077
I'm rediscoverin g this genre. My Dad played trumpet in college, listened to Big Bands as a young man and introduced them to me. What a wonderful change from what is being played today ( and I'm from the Jimi Hendrix generation :) ! ). Just love this music!
stepheninsan g e r
Oh, there's a few of us in the ether who knew what he did.
It's too bad this man is not better known and recognized for his contribution s to Jazz.

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