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Friday, March 24, 2023

The Fabulous Jimmy Dorsey


Mambo En Sax

The Fabulous Jimmy Dorsey
Fraternity Records - Cincinnati, Ohio

Trumpets - Lee Castle, John Frost, Art Tancredi, Bill Spano
Trombones - Vinnie Forrest, Earl Swope, Jack Rains, Will Bradley
Saxes - Skippy Galluccio, Danny Trimboli (altos); Buzz Brauner, Frank Maynes, (tenors); George Perry, (baritone)
Rhythm - Joe Massamino (piano); Steve Jordan (guitar); Tommy Widdicomb, (drums); Bill Cronk (bass)

So Rare, Sophisticated Swing, Mambo EnSax and It's The Dreamer In Me were recorded at Capitol Studios in New York with Jimmy Dorsey November 11, 1956. The eight sides made after jimmy's death were recorded at Webster Hall in New York June 17.

The band was under the direction of Lee Castle. Dick Stabile is featured on Jone Night, Now One Ever Lost More, Contrasts and Just Swinging'. The Arthur Melvin singers were used on six sides. Tommy Mercer does the vocal on Marie Elena. Tommy Mercer and Dottie Reid do the oral on Amapola (Dottie records for Roulette Records).

From the back cover: Jimmy Dorsey was... and I'm leveling... "So Rare."

He was the quiet, the meek, the non-shouting, the supposedly "colorless," Dorsey.

Jimmy and "T.D." quarreled their whole lives through.

Still, even when Jimmy had made his last recording, just before Tommy died, he respected, and was a little fearful of, the opinion of "The Brother," as he always called him, in the Irish way.

"I guess The Brother won't like it," he said.

And Tommy, younger by a couple of years, but always more the personality, ever did lose his head over "So Rare."

But the nation did.

So it was that Jimmy died knowing he had accomplished a rather unbelievable comeback in the recording field.

"It's the first band hit in 15 years," his friends informed him, even in the hospital room where he passed away.

"That record will bring back the band business!" prophesied Guy Lombardo, at the funeral in St. Patrick's as the honorary pall-bearers stood huddle around.

With his characteristic meekness, Jimmy hadn't wanted to cut the record. He was underselling himself.

"I just don't want you to get hurt," he told Harry Carlson of Fraternity Records. "Why fool around with a has-been?"

Thus a whole new generation became smitten with "the has-been."

The big, powerful tone of his sax became familiar to sons and daughters of the Jimmy Dorsey fans of another era – those who remembered him with Red Nichols, Gene Glodkette, Paul Whiteman and "The Original Memphis Five."

And Jimmy'd had a monumental band of his own, which had brought along Helen O'Connell, Ray McKinley and Bob Eberle.

Jimmy was always doing things for the people in his band.

"Like carrying bags for Helen O'Connell," somebidy said, (Well, I don't suppose that was too hard to take).

Jimmy liked to remember that he and Benny Goodman were once roommates – and rivals.
They were playing the studios then and it was a living.

"We used to sleep together and whoever answered the phone got the job clarinetist that day," Jimmy said.

And so he went through life, unhurried and as relaxed as a maestro who plays both the sax and clarinet can be.

He would be a quiet, unostentatious customer in the bright spot after a job was played.

"My Jimmy," is what "Mom" Dorsey called him. And she never hesitated to confess that "My Jimmy" and "My Tommy" were happiest when battling – through she's add, "My Jimmy and My Tommy never fought about anything but music."

"My Jimmy is so poorly," she told me not long before his death.

"My Jimmy never got over my Tommy," she said.

And eventually came the time when Jimmy died at the peak of his new fame.
"Proving," said somebody, "that the Bible is right – the meek shall inherit the royalties."

Jimmy wouldn't have been offended by that. He had a quiet sense of humor which some people never discovered.

On a one-nighter tour in Texas, he was stopped by some state officers in uniform who were trying to stamp out Japanese beetles.

"You got any bugs in the car?" one officer asked Jimmy.

"Yeah, I guess we got a couple," said Jimmy.

"A couple!" exclaimed the investigator. "What kind of bugs have  you got?"
"Jitterbugs," confessed Jimmy.

Getting back to this album it has in it not only "So Rare" and "Sophisticated Swing." but tow other songs recorded the same day last November when Jimmy was doing a session that he felt would prove positively that he was a has-been.

So there are four sides of pure Jimmy Dorsey being featured.

The other eight sides were cut the Monday after Jimmy's funeral, which was on a Saturday.

Dick Stabile told me at the funeral that he was going to play the sax for the session.

Jimmy had grasped the truth in his last days. He had known that there would be another recording session – and that he wouldn't be there.

"Get Dick Stabile," he'd said.

And Dick Stabile flew in. After the funeral, and on Saturday night when I happened to  be with him, Stabile spoke a little but the honor of being tapped by Jimmy to play the asx parts he couldn't play because he couldn't wait.

Webster Hall, that day, felt Jimmy's presence.

Jimmy's lovely daughter, Julie, "was on the date," as the musicians pu it, just listening and giving support. And a story goes with Julie... we must back up a moth or two.

A married lady now, she'd known the facts of life – her father was going to die.

She had flown in from Hollywood to be with ice throughout the last days.

But, of course, she didn't want him to know she knew.

"I'm doing a part here in a movie," she told him. You yourself have seen her in several so it wasn't hard for time to believe.

Wanting to see him every day, she was afraid that might tip it off. She therefore went only town or three times a week.

"We were shooting yesterday," she' yawn.

Her physical presence at the waxing session perhaps inspired the musicians somewhat – I"m told, though, that this day, everybody played with the feeling that not only Jimmy but Tommy was there.

"This is the greatest  recording date of MY lifetime," Dick Stabile said – and it's wondered if a finer, truer sax was ever played  by anyone.

Of course, Lee Castle played and directed the eight sides.

Even when he had a little time left, Jimmy would take to Lee Castle about the tremendous enthusiasm for the record... the phone calls from all over... about the request for "So Rare" at the Statler... and Jimmy would even all from the hospital to discuss with Lee whether he had the tempo just right.

There've been a lot of tributes to Jimmy and there'll be many more but "Mom" Dorsey gave an eloquent one once when they were all talking about a so-called competitor.

The question came up: did this so-called competitor have the lip, the wind, th blow a sax"

"Him!" snapped "Mom" – "why he hasn't got the wind to dust a fiddle!"

Goodness! I notice I've written several pages here about Jimmy Dorsey. I must have liked him. – Earl Wilson

Jay-Dee's Boogie Woogie
Mambo En Sax
Maria Elena
Speak Low
It's The Dreamer In Me
June Night
Just Swingin'
Sophisticated Swing
No One Ever Lost Mre
So Rare

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