Paradise for Glenn Miller & Goodbye to Brunswick

Brunswick Studios, New York – May 23, 1938

Johnny “Zulu” Austin, Bob Price, Gasparre Rebito (tp); Glenn Miller, Brad Jenney, Al Mastren (tb); Hal McIntyre, Wilbur Schwartz, Sol Kane (cl,as), Stanley “Moose” Aronson (ts,cl), Gordon “Tex” Beneke (ts); Chummy MacGregor (p); Rollie Bundock (b); Bob Spangler (d). Gail Reese, Ray Eberle (vcl)

22972-1         Don’t Wake Up My Heart (RE vcl) Brunswick 8152

22972-2         Don’t Wake Up My Heart (RE vcl)  first issued on CD

22973-1         Why’d Ya Make Me Fall in Love? (GR vcl) Brunswick 8152

22973-2         Why’d Ya Make Me Fall in Love? (GR vcl)  first issued on CD

22974-1         Sold American (GM arr)       Brunswick 8173

22974-2         Sold American (GM arr)       first issued on CD

22975-1         Dippermouth Blues (GM arr)          Brunswick 8173

22975-2         Dippermouth Blues (GM arr)          first issued on CD

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Breakup, then reformation. The first Glenn Miller band disbanded just after New Year’s 1938. For the next few months, Glenn freelanced with Ozzie Nelson and Tommy Dorsey, and also wrote several arrangements for Bob Crosby. By March, he was hard at work assembling a new group.   From the previous band, Bob Price, Hal McIntyre, Chummy MacGregor and Rollie Bundock were invited back. The new men included several who would contribute important voices, both instrumental and vocal, to the organization.

Willie Schwartz’s warmly rich clarinet technique would become the integral element of the Miller Sound, which Glenn decided to emphasize as the new band’s signature.   Saxophonist Tex Beneke was quickly built into a star, on tenor sax and with his pleasant down-home vocals.   Young Ray Eberle, brother of Jimmy Dorsey’s popular vocalist, Bob Eberly, had never sung professionally, but Glenn was determined to create another luminary from that family.

1933.04-ParadiseCabaret-a

By the time of this next and last Brunswick recording session, Glenn and the band were about to begin their first New York City gig, a two-week run at the Paradise Restaurant, on the corner of Broadway and 49th Streets. Next door to the Brill Building, the Paradise was the brainchild of Nils T. Granlund, a Broadway and nightclub impresario who favored half-naked showgirls and raucous comics in his shows. The bands featured at the Paradise were usually an afterthought, but big names like Paul Whiteman and Bunny Berigan had played there, receiving much welcome radio airtime.

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The Paradise décor was created by prestigious interior designer Joseph Urban, who in the 1920s, helped to popularize the Art Deco style. The nightclub named after Urban in Chicago’s Congress Hotel was one of the springboards to success for Benny Goodman in 1936. The postcard reproduced here shows the Paradise’s stylish look. So even if the entertainment was on the sleazy side, the setting most certainly wasn’t!

This record date is the only occasion in the Miller discography where alternate takes of the entire session have been issued.   Typically with Glenn’s carefully-rehearsed recordings, there is not much variation on the second takes.

The Miller Sound is unfurled in full bloom right from the opening notes of DON’T WAKE UP MY HEART, in what would be soon recognized as classic Miller ballad style. Ray Eberle doesn’t pop his “P” on the line, “Long ago I p-p-p-p-romised not to kiss again” on the alternate, but this take was likely rejected due to a reed flub during Willie Schwartz’s clarinet passage.

Beneke’s alternate solo on WHY’D YA MAKE ME FALL IN LOVE is noticeably different. He tended not to stick to set solos, as evidenced by many airchecks. Gail Reese makes her only appearance on wax with Miller; fortunately, there are a number of live performances from the Paradise to document her brief tenure with the band. These two pop tunes are mainly known through their Miller recordings, though Benny Goodman also happened to record them both.

Glenn’s original, SOLD AMERICAN, was developed from the catchy intro riff he used in his 1933-34 arrangements for the Boswell Sisters’ I HATE MYSELF and the Dorsey Brothers’ YOU’RE OKAY.  He apparently liked it enough to redo a year later on Bluebird. Glenn plays a crisply swinging solo, Tex is backed by some pretty corny drumming from Spangler and Johnny Austin tears into the kind of typically raucous trumpet solo that earned him the nickname, “Zulu.” The remake benefits from a much better rhythm section, but neither recording caught the attention of Lucky Strike Cigarettes, whose then-familiar musical ad chant was adapted here. Once Glenn came under the sponsorship of Chesterfield Cigarettes, the arrangement was surely dropped from the band’s book!

Glenn had written this arrangement of DIPPERMOUTH BLUES for the Dorsey Brothers band in 1934 and apparently was fond of it, as it remained in his band’s book until the end of 1940. It sticks close to the King Oliver original, with Schwartz handling Johnny Dodds’ original clarinet part and Miller recreating Oliver’s trumpet choruses. Trumpeter George Thow played the solo on the Dorsey Brothers record; it’s surprising that Glenn, always reluctant to feature his jazz trombone, would do so with his own band, but that’s how he performed it on every extant version.

Aside from the poky rhythm section, this record date is the first one that fully sounds like the Glenn Miller band of popular memory.   But four more months would pass before his next session and several more seasons would unfurl before Glenn tasted the first fruit of success.

 

 

 

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