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Casa Loma Orchestra

When originally formed by saxophonist Glen Gray, the Casa Loma Orchestra was a cooperative orchestra. They made their recording debut in 1929, and during the next six years would be one of the top swing-oriented big bands in jazz (even though the term "swing" would not come into general usage until 1935). Although their ensembles were later criticized as sounding mechanical (thanks in part to the complexity of Gene Gifford's arrangements), the band did swing and had several fine soloists, including clarinetist Clarence Hutchenrider, the high-note trumpeter Sonny Dunham (whose display on "Memories of You" is still impressive), and trombonist/singer Pee Wee Hunt; Kenny Sargent offered smooth ballad vocals. After Benny Goodman's success in 1935 resulted in many new big bands being formed, the Casa Loma Orchestra was never again a pacesetter, but it continued into the 1940s with such players as Red Nichols, Bobby Hackett, and Herb Ellis. Glen Gray had top billing from the late '30s on, and after he stopped touring (around 1950), he started a commercially successful, if very predictable, series of recordings for Capitol. Those records found the Casa Loma Orchestra (by then mostly studio players) constantly revisiting (and often recreating) the hits of the swing era. But the band's early original recordings of tunes such as "San Sue Strut," "Case Loma Stomp," "No Name Jive," and "Smoke Rings" are well worth acquiring. ~ Scott Yanow
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Boneyard Shuffle

1. Chant Of The Jungle

2. Whoa Babe

3. The Goblin Band

4. Zig Zag

5. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

6. Smoke Rings

7. Casa Loma Stomp

8. Song Of India

9. Malady In F

10. Riverboat Shuffle

11. Boneyard Shuffle

12. Rockin' Chair

13. Lazy Bones

14. Washboard Blues

15. Little Old Lady

16. Lazy River

17. Moon Country

18. Stardust

19. One Morning In May

20. In The Still Of The Night

21. Georgia On My Mind

22. No Name Jive

23. Swingtonic

x

Track List: Casa Loma Stomp [hep #1010, 1997]

1. Love Is A Dreamer

2. Lucky Me, Lovable You

3. Happy Days Are Here Again

4. Sweeping The Clouds Away

5. Sweeping The Clouds Away

6. Anytime's The Time To Fall In Love

7. Anytime's The Time To Fall In Love

8. China Girl

9. San Sue Strut

10. When The Little Red Roses (Get The Blues For You)

11. When The Little Red Roses (Get The Blues For You)

12. Thank You Faber

13. Exactly Like You

14. Exactly Like You

15. Dust

16. Leave It That Way

17. On The Sunny Side Of The Street

18. Alexander's Ragtime Band

19. Casa Loma Stomp

20. Overnight

21. Put On Your Old Grey Bonnet

22. Little Did I Know

23. Royal Garden Blues

x

Track List: 1930-1934

1. China Girl

2. Casa Loma Stomp

3. White Jazz

4. Smoke Rings

5. Blue Prelude

6. Wild Goose Chase

7. That's How Rhythm Was Born

9. Limehouse Blues

10. Dallas Blues

11. Sophisticated Lady

12. Lazy Bones

13. Indiana

15. Buji

16. The Dance Of The Lame Duck

17. New Orleans

18. I Got Rhythm

x

Track List: Maniac's Ball

1. Alexander's Ragtime Band

2. Put On Your Old Grey Bonnet

3. I Wanna Be Around My Baby All The Time

4. I'm Crazy 'bout My Baby (And My Baby's Crazy 'bout Me)

5. White Jazz

6. Black Jazz

7. Maniac's Ball

8. Clarinet Marmalade

9. I Never Knew

10. Indiana

11. Blue Jazz

12. Thanksgivin'

13. The Lady From St. Paul

14. The Dance Of The Lame Duck

15. Rhythm Man

16. New Orleans

17. Wild Goose Chase

18. Moon Country

19. Milenberg Joys

20. Out Of Space

21. Copenhagen

22. Royal Garden Blues

23. Rose Of The Rio Grande

24. Jungle Jitters

25. Bugle Call Rag

26. A Study In Brown

Comments

Report as inappropriate
loneoakranch o
Too bad our younger folks have not heard this fine music. THANKS TO YOU All. Keep going,,,,,
Report as inappropriate
1930-34. Al Bowlly is so great!!
Report as inappropriate
Great...circ a 19??
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You claim that there were some drummers more innovative than Buddy Rich. Please name a few so I may listen to their claims. In my estimation and many others there never have been nor there never will be a drummer that could hold a candle to the greatest drummer of all drummers. Buddy Rich

Ken Gulliford
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linda.rae301
Great listening.
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appreciatin the notes of historical benefit..
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Out of sight! What a sound.
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drenoc
I love all the swing tunes you play. I listen as much as I can, thank you
Richard Morgan. Anaheim, ca.
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Wrightsr525@ g m a i l does anyone remember a radio station called the malevolence ballroom?
Report as inappropriate
Always liked Glen Gray's music...wond e r f u l !
Report as inappropriate
Excellent bio! I'm trying to remember if Ken Burns refers to him in his Jazz documentary. If not, he should have. Talk about a story of survival and success! I agree with Patricia Miller below!
Report as inappropriate
great stuff,good easy listening... w e l l remembered
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i like what i heard and your right they should make a movie of their story!
Report as inappropriate
I love these notes. They tell the back story to surviving as a band and in the Depression. Should be a movie!
Report as inappropriate
So far so good. love this 20's stuff.
Report as inappropriate
kenartis
I like it.
Report as inappropriate
Awesome I'm going to try that.
Report as inappropriate
I've had a thing for Glen Gray and the Casa Loma Orchestra sine I first heard the "No Name Jive" (Parts 1&2). Played back-to-back they will keep you jumping and jiving for 11 plus minutes. Find it and listen!
Report as inappropriate
Glenn Gray and his Casa Loma orchestra were one of the best of the most in demand during the era of the "Sweet Bands." In many ways they were the equiverlant of the Barbershop era of singing. With close harmony using standard chords peppered with Deminished sevenths and modulating to different keys for for emphasis the harmony was always front and center. Even the solo insturments stayed close the the basic melody. These bands were usually 12 to 15 players and on the road 3 or 4 months at a tim
Report as inappropriate
Way ahead of his time...great !
Report as inappropriate
danddmclean
My wife and I danced to the Casa Loma at Lake Pearl in Massachusett s in the 50s. I requested SLEEPY-TIME GAL. Mr. Gray,in an almost apologetic tone said that his trombone player was no longer with him. That would have been Murray McEachern. He recorded it on a 12-inch Decca...a beautiful rendition. Don McLean, Riverside, R.I.
Report as inappropriate
youtubeb
there is still the Casa Loma Ballroom in St. Louis--wonde r if they're connected to the band.
Report as inappropriate
music you will never find today in person. The best.
Report as inappropriate
What a hoot! I never heard of him before now, but I dig his jive!
Report as inappropriate
billbaugh193 9
It was the band I heard on the radio growing up in the 40s

Wm. R. Baugh, M.D.

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