GLEN GRAY

 
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GLEN GRAY & the CASA LOMA ORCHESTRA

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Gepostet: 17.11.2021 - 13:40 Uhr  ·  #1
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Re: GLEN GRAY & the CASA LOMA ORCHESTRA

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Gepostet: 17.11.2021 - 13:41 Uhr  ·  #2
Glenn Gray Knoblauch (June 7, 1900 – August 23, 1963), known professionally as Glen Gray, was an accomplished jazz saxophonist of early 20th Century who achieved success with the Casa Loma Orchestra and as a solo artist.

Gray was born to Lurdie P. and Agnes (Gray) Knoblauch in Roanoka, IL. The whole Knoblauch family was musical, but never aspired to anything beyond amateur status until Glen came along. He took up the piccolo as a boy, and subsequently turned to the clarinet and the saxophone, and while still in his teens organized his first band, a quintet called Spike's Jazz Orchestra. Gray graduated from Roanoke High School, in 1917 where he played basketball and acquired his nickname, "Spike". He is said to have joined the army at seventeen and two years later he was living at home with his family. He was employed as a bill clerk for the railroad. He attended Illinois Wesleyan University but left to work for the Santa Fe Railroad.

Gray attended the American Conservatory of Music in 1921 but left during his first year to go to Peoria, Illinois, to play with George Haschert's orchestra. From 1924, he played with several orchestras in Detroit, Michigan. . Fate took a hand when he and his good friend, trombonist Pee Wee Hunt, were hired as part of a septet called Goldkette's Orange Blossoms, under trumpet man Hank Biagini, that was booked to play a new Toronto hotel called the Casa Loma. They played an eight-month gig there but the place was so huge that even the band's popularity couldn't pull in enough people to keep it from closing.

They returned to Detroit in time to find Goldkette rapidly approaching a state of insolvency. Luckily, the band had a few prospects, mostly thanks to Cork O'Keefe, the agent who'd booked them into the Casa Loma. He got them enough work to keep going, including an extended engagement at the Roseland Ballroom in New York City. And, as the Goldkette Orange Blossoms were history, they became the Casa Loma Orchestra. They did well enough at that Roseland gig to get heard and signed up by a scout for OKeh Records. All of this took place in the summer and early fall of 1929, just as the American economy was about to dive into the Great Depression. (Indeed, among the songs that Gray and company recorded at their first session -- which took place on the day of the stock market crash in October of 1929 -- was, rather ironically, "Happy Days Are Here Again.")

After cutting six sides for Okeh the group signed with Brunswick. They were so popular however that Victor also signed them, and the group ended up recording on both labels simultaneously. In the early 1930s, the Casa Loma Orchestra was one of the bands that helped pave the way for the rise in popularity of big band swing, gaining recognition especially with the college age crowd, and wowing audiences at Yale, Dartmouth and other Ivy League schools. It is said to have been the first white big band with a deliberate Jazz policy. Although they played in a rather stiff and precise style, The Casa Loma Orchestra helped spread the concept of big band jazz to a generation of young white kids who were, at that time, still largely unaware of the great black jazz orchestras.

The tune that eventually became the Casa Loma band’s theme song, “Smoke Rings,” was composed in early 1932, and first recorded by them for Brunswick on March 18, 1932. “Smoke Rings” fit perfectly as the haunting, evocative melody heralding the Casa Loma band’s comings and goings on The Camel Caravan, and became the band’s identifying calling card, opening and closing all of its appearances.

In 1933 and 1934 the group was featured on the Camel Caravan radio program, becoming the first swing band to appear on a commercial radio series. They played both summers at the Glen Island Casino, where frequent radio broadcasts helped boost their popularity across the country. The Casa Loma Orchestra began to be billed under leader Glen Gray’s name in 1935, recording for Decca until 1942, and later for Mercury until 1946.

While the early swing of Glen Gray’s Casa Lomans’ may sound outdated today, the band’s late 1930s and early 1940s recordings like Stompin’ Around, Come And Get It, Malady In F, Zig Zag, Swingtonic, and No Name Jive are still great listens today. Two of the bands biggest records were ballads; For You as sung by Kenny Sargent and the group's theme Smoke Rings.

They continued to remain popular, inaugurating the Paramount Theater's stage band policy and settling in to a booking at the swank Rainbow Room. By 1940, however, the Casa Loma Orchestra had begun to lose its popularity although Glen Gray was one of the winning bandleaders in Down Beat’s All American Musicians Poll. Major personnel changes followed. By 1947 the group's popularity had tanked, and the onset of diabetes forced Gray to retire from touring in 1950.

He was coaxed back into the studio to record some LPs for Capitol Records which recreated the sounds of the big band era in stereo. The reconstituted band made a limited number appearances live and on television and recorded fifteen LP albums for Capitol. Sadly his health was on the decline and his final LP, "Sounds of the Great Bands, Vol.7: Today's Best”, was released only two weeks before his death

Gray died 23 August 1963 in Plymouth, Massachusetts of lymphoma, aged 63. He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 1709 Vine Street in Hollywood, California.
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Re: GLEN GRAY & the CASA LOMA ORCHESTRA

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Gepostet: 17.11.2021 - 13:43 Uhr  ·  #3
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Re: GLEN GRAY & the CASA LOMA ORCHESTRA

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Gepostet: 17.11.2021 - 13:47 Uhr  ·  #4
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Gepostet: 17.11.2021 - 13:49 Uhr  ·  #5
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Gepostet: 17.11.2021 - 13:50 Uhr  ·  #6
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Re: GLEN GRAY & the CASA LOMA ORCHESTRA

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Gepostet: 17.11.2021 - 13:52 Uhr  ·  #7
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Gepostet: 17.11.2021 - 13:54 Uhr  ·  #8
01. Hungarian Dance No.5 (Brahms) (02:31)
02. Minuet (Paderewski) (02:35)
03. Finale G Minor Symphony (Mozart) (02:48)
04. Humoresque (Dvorak) (02:59)
05. Poet And Peasant Overture (Von Suppe) (05:10)
06. Melody In F (Rubenstein) (03:05)
07. D Minor Symphony (Cesar Franck) (06:24)
08. Minuet In G (Beethoven) (02:18)
09. Dance Of The Hour (Ponchielli) (04:30)
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Gepostet: 17.11.2021 - 13:57 Uhr  ·  #9
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Gepostet: 17.11.2021 - 13:58 Uhr  ·  #10
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Gepostet: 17.11.2021 - 14:01 Uhr  ·  #11
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Gepostet: 17.11.2021 - 14:08 Uhr  ·  #12
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