Al Bowlly

Josephine Baker

Russ Columbo

Lee Morse

November 1, 2007


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Ethel Waters
~From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Background information:
Born October 31, 1896(1896-10-31) Chester, Pennsylvania, USA
Died September 1, 1977 (aged 80)
Chatsworth, California, USA
Genre(s): Jazz
Occupation(s): Actress, singer
Instrument(s): Vocals
Years active: 1925-1977
: Bessie Smith
Alberta Hunter
Josephine Baker

Ethel Waters (October 31, 1896 – September 1, 1977) was an Oscar-nominated American blues vocalist and actress. She was the second African American to ever be nominated for an Academy Award.

Waters frequently performed jazz, big band, gospel, and popular music, on the Broadway stage and in concerts. Her best-known recording was her version of the spiritual, "His Eye is on the Sparrow."


Early life:

Waters was born in Chester, Pennsylvania, to a thirteen-year-old mother who had been raped. She was raised in a violent, impoverished Philadelphia ward. Even though she was eventually adopted by her grandmother, she never lived in the same place for more than 15 months. She said of her difficult childhood, "I never was a child. I never was coddled, or liked, or understood by my family." Despite this unpromising start, Waters demonstrated early the love of language that so distinguishes her work. Moreover, according to her biographer Rosetta Reitz, Waters' birth in the North and her peripatetic life exposed her to many cultures. For the rest of her life, this lent to her interpretation of southern blues a unique sensibility that pulled in eclectic influences from across American music.

Waters married at the age of 13, but soon left her abusive husband, and became a maid in a Philadelphia hotel, working for US$4.75 per week.[1] On her 17th birthday, on Halloween night in 1917, she attended a party in costume at a nightclub on Juniper Street. She was persuaded to sing two songs, and wowed the audience so much that she was offered professional work at the Lincoln Theatre in Baltimore, Maryland. She later recalled that she earned the rich sum of ten dollars a week, but her managers cheated her out of the tips her admirers threw on the stage.

Waters was very talented and had many achievements. After her start in Baltimore, she toured honkytonks in the South. As she described it later, "I used to work from nine until unconscious."[2] Despite her early success, Waters fell on hard times and joined up with a carnival which traveled in freight cars to Chicago, Illinois. She enjoyed her time with the carnival, and recalled, "The roustabouts and the concessionaires were the kind of people I'd grown up with, rough, tough, full of larceny towards strangers, but sentimental, and loyal to their friends and co-workers." She did not last long with them, though, and soon headed south to Atlanta, Georgia. There, she worked in the same club with Bessie Smith. Smith demanded that she not compete in singing the blues opposite her, and Waters conceded to the older woman and instead sang ballads and popular songs and danced. Though perhaps best known for her blues singing today, Waters was to go on to star in musicals, plays and TV and return to the blues only periodically.

She fell in love with a drug addict in this early period, but their stormy relationship ended with World War I. She moved to Harlem and became part of the Harlem Renaissance around 1919.

Waters obtained her first job around at Edmond's Cellar, a club that had a black patronage. She specialized in popular ballads, and became an actress in a blackface comedy called Hello 1919. Her biographer Rosetta Reitz points out that by the time Waters returned to Harlem in 1921, women blues singers were among the most powerful entertainers in the country, and that year Ethel became the fifth black woman to make a record. She later joined Black Swan Records, where Fletcher Henderson was her accompanist. Waters later commented that Henderson tended to perform in a more classical style than she would prefer, often lacking "the damn-it-to-hell bass." According to Waters, she influenced Henderson to practice in a "real jazz" style. She first recorded for Columbia Records in 1925; this recording was given a Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1998. Soon after, Waters started working with Pearl Wright, and together they toured in the South. In 1924 Waters played at the Plantation Club on Broadway. She also toured with the Black Swan Dance Masters. With Earl Dancer, she joined what was called the "white time" Keith Circuit. They received rave reviews in Chicago, and earned the unheard of salary of US$1,250 in 1928. In 1929, Harry Akst helped Pearl and Ethel compose a version of "Am I Blue?," her signature tune.

During the 1920s, Waters performed and/or was recorded with the ensembles of Will Marion Cook and Lovie Austin. As her career continued, she evolved toward being a blues and Broadway singer performing with artists such as Duke Ellington.

In 1933, Waters made a satirical all-black film entitled Rufus Jones for President. She went on to star at the Cotton Club, where, according to her autobiography, she "sang "Stormy Weather" from the depths of the private hell in which I was being crushed and suffocated." She took a role in the Broadway musical revue As Thousands Cheer in 1933, where she was the first black woman in an otherwise white show. She had three gigs at this point; in addition to the show, she starred in a national radio program and continued to work in nightclubs. She was the highest paid performer on Broadway, but she was starting to age. MGM hired Lena Horne as the ingenue in the all-Black musical Cabin in the Sky, and Waters starred as Petunia in 1942 reprising her stage role of 1940. The film, directed by Vincente Minnelli, was a success, but Waters, offended by the adulation accorded Horne and feeling her age, went into something of a decline.

She began to work with Fletcher Henderson again in the late 1940s. She was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award in 1949 for the film Pinky. In 1950, she won the New York Drama Critics Award for her performance opposite Julie Harris in the play The Member of the Wedding. Waters and Harris repeated their roles in the 1952 film version of Member of the Wedding.

In 1950, Waters starred in the television series Beulah but quit after complaining that the scripts were portraying African-Americans as "degrading." Despite these successes, her brilliant career was fading. She lost tens of thousands in jewelry and cash in a robbery, and the IRS hounded her. Her health suffered, and Waters worked only sporadically in following years.`In 1950-51 she wrote her biography "His Eye is on the Sparrow" with Charles Samuels. In it, she talks candidly about her life. She also explains why her age was confused, saying that her mama had to sign a paper saying she was 4 years older that she was. She states she was born in 1900.

Said her biographer Rosetta Reitz, Waters was a natural. Her "songs are enriching, nourishing. You will want to play them over and over again, idling in their warmth and swing. Though many of them are more than 50 years old, the music and the feeling are still there."
photo by Carl Van Vechten, 1938
Private life:

Waters is the great-aunt of Dance music singer and songwriter Crystal Waters. In the period before her death at age 76 in Los Angeles, California, she toured with The Reverend Billy Graham, despite the fact that she was a Catholic and he was a Protestant. Waters died in 1977 at the age of 76 from heart disease. She had been staying in a Chatsworth, California, home of a young couple caring for her, and died at their home.
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* On with the Show! (1929)
* Rufus Jones for President (1933)
* Bubbling Over (1934)
* Gift of Gab (1934)
* Tales of Manhattan (1942)
* Cairo (1942)
* Cabin in the Sky (1943)
* Stage Door Canteen (1943)
* Pinky (1949]])
* The Member of the Wedding (1952)
* Carib Gold (1957)
* The Heart Is a Rebel (1958)
* The Sound and the Fury (1959)
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Awards and recognitions:

* 1949 Academy Award, Best Supporting Actress nomination
* 1984 Gospel Music Association Gospel Music Hall of Fame
* 1984 Gospel Music Hall of Fame
* 1998 Grammy Hall of Fame Award
* 2007 Inducted into the Christian Music Hall of Fame
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1. ^ Current Biography 1941, pp 899-901
2. ^ Current Biography 1941, p 900

* Bourne, Stephen (2007). Ethel Waters: Stormy weather. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0810859025.
* Southern, Eileen (1997). The Music of Black Americans: A History. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0393971414.
* Waters, Ethel (1972). To Me It's Wonderful. New York: Harper & Row. OCLC 329566.
* Waters, Ethel; Samuels, Charles T. (1992). His Eye on the Sparrow: An Autobiography. New York: Da Capo Press. ISBN 0306804778.

External links:

* Ethel Waters at the African American Registry
* Ethel Waters at All Music Guide:
* Ethel Waters at the Internet Movie Database:
* Ethel Waters video with Sammmy Davis, Jr. in Rufus Jones for President (1933):
* Ethel Waters discography:

October 31, 2007


Entry for October 30, 2007 magnify


1912 Lee Gillette
producer/music publisher
b. Indianapolis, IN, USA.
Worked with Leadbelly.
As a Capitol Records producer, it was Lee Gillette who teamed Jimmy Wakely (then called "the Bing Croshy of Country Music) up with Pop songstress Margaret Whiting (composer Richard Whiting's daughter) in what proved to be a very successful partnership.

1897 Augustin Lara, composer
b. Mexico City, Mexico, d. Nov. 6, 1970. (Heart Attack).
As a child, Lara studied the piano, but when at age 13, his father discovered him playing the piano in a Bordello, he was sent to a military school. By 1927, he was out of the school and playing piano around Mexico City. 1928 saw the first recording of one of his tunes, "Imposible", by Adelaido Castelleda's Orchestra. He excelled in a very large variety of song styles composing rancheras, boleros, tropical songs, even an occasional Tango and brought a cosmopolitan flair to Mexican film music with such songs as "Granada," "Solamente una Vez," "Maria Bonita," "Farolito," and "Palabras de Mujer." The 1930s were his most active years, touring South America, performing on Radio and contributing to the Mexican Film industry. During the 1950s and '60s, he toured Europe, after which his popularity wained somewhat. The many artists who have performed his works include Desi Arnaz, Celia Cruz, Lola Beltran, Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, and Xavier Cugat. Famed singer Placido Domingo recorded a full album of Lara compositions, "Por Amor" during the centenary of Lara's birth.

1925 Attilio Joseph "Teo" Macero
composer/saxes, b. Glens Falls, NY, USA.

1908 Patsy Montana, C&W vocals
b. Hope, AR, USA. née: Ruby Rose Blevins
The Official Patsy Montana Website:
Patsy Montana

1925 Errol Parker
Jazz piano/drums

b. Oran, Algeria, d. June 2, 1998.
né: Raphael Schecroun

Notable Events on this date include:

Chu Berry, tenor sax
died in Conneaut, OH, USA.
Age: 33 Worked with Count Basie, and others

Billy Berg, club owner/producer
died in Hollywood, CA, USA.
Age: 52. Owner: 'Billy Berg's' club in Los Angeles, CA. USA

Alan Roth died. Age 68.
Best recalled as the orchestra leader on the Milton Berle Show.

Rudy Powell, alto sax
died in New York, NY, USA.
Age: 69.

Lewis Allan, composer
died in Longmeadow, MA, USA.
Age: 83.
Perhaps best recalled for his song "Strange Fruit Growing On Southern Trees",-Billie Holiday's huge hit. Louis Armstrong's release of "Black and Blue," with lyrics written in 1929 by Andy Razaf, was the first Black protest song aimed at a largely White audience. White songwriters rarely ever touched on the subject of race prejudice. Famed songwriter Irving Berlin was one of the bravest writers. His "Supper Time" (a song Ethel Waters made famous), referred to a lynching. Still, before Meeropol and Holiday came along, no one had ever confronted the subject so directly. No one ever tampered with Meeropol's music and words (he wrote both for this song), but composer Arthur Herzog, who wrote another famous song (and another Billie Holiday hit) "God Bless the Child" - claimed that arranger Danny Mendelsohn was really responsible for the final sound.
"One of the first numbers we put on was called: "Strange Fruit Grows on Southern Trees," the tragic story of lynching. Imagine putting that on in a night club! " --Barney Josephson, in 1942.
"I wrote "Strange Fruit" because I hate lynching, and I hate injustice, and I hate the people who perpetuate it." -Abel Meeropol (a.k.a. Lewis Allan in 1971).

Songs Recorded/Released
on this date include:

1923 “I Promised Not To Holler, But Hey! Hey!”
- Johnny Dunn and his Jazz Band

1923 “Jazzin' Babies Blues”
- Johnny Dunn and his Jazz Band

1923 “Raggedy Ann”
- Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra

1923 “Swanee River Blues” (from "Ziegfeld Follies")
- Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra

1924 “Copenhagen”
- Fletcher Henderson Orchestra

1924 “Words”
- Fletcher Henderson Orchestra

1928 “I Can't Give You Anything But Love”
- Duke Ellington and his Cotton Club Orchestra

1928 “No Papa No”
- Duke Ellington and his Cotton Club Orchestra

1928 “The Mooche”
- Duke Ellington and his Cotton Club Orchestra

1928 “I'm Sorry I Made You Cry”
- Eddie Condon and his Footwarmers

1928 “Makin' Friends”
- Eddie Condon and his Footwarmers

1928 “Cross Roads”
- The California Ramblers

1928 “Me And The Man In The Moon”
- The California Ramblers

1930 “Mood Indigo (Dreamy Blues)”
- The Harlem Footwarmers

1930 “Sweet Chariot”
- The Harlem Footwarmers

1930 “New Moten Stomp”
- Bennie Moten's Kansas City Orchestra

1930 “The Little White House (At The End Of Honeymoon Lane)”
- Waring's Pennsylvanians

1939 "El Rancho Grande", Eddie Duchin Orch.

1961 "Heartaches ", - Marcels

1965 "Let's Hang On", - Four Seasons

1965 "I Hear A Symphony", - Supremes

1971 "Have You Seen Her", - Chi-Lites


I Can't Give You Anything But Love

Gee but it's tough to be broke kid
It's not a joke kid,
It's a curse,
My luck is changing it's gotten from simply rotten
To something worst
Who knows someday i will win too
I'll begin to reach my pride
Now that i see what our end is
All can spend is just my time

I can't give you anything but love, baby.
That's the only thing I've plenty of, baby.
Dream a while. Scheme a while.
We're sure to find,
Happiness, and I guess
all those things you've always pined for.

Gee I'd like to see you looking swell,
My little baby
Diamond bracelets Woolworth's doesn't sell, baby.
till that lucky day you know darn well, baby.
I can't give you anything but love.
Check out my lens

October 29, 2007


Entry for October 29, 2007
Entry for October 29, 2007 magnify

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1916 Hadda Hopgood Brooks
b: Los Angeles, CA, USA. d. Nov. 21, 2002
She was born Hadda Hopgood in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles, California.
A versatile performer whose career spanned almost six decades and whose repertoire included boogiefied classics, blues ,ballads and torch songs , Brooks became known as "the Queen of Boogie Woogie " right after the release, in 1945 , of her first single, "Swingin' the Boogie".

Born into a prominent African American family from Georgia , she was taught to play the piano from the age of four and later studied classical music. In the course of her career, Brooks also appeared in films, mainly as a pianist and/or lounge singer ( Out of the Blue ,1947 ;In a Lonely Place ,1950 , performing "I Hadn't Anyone 'Til You"). In the 1950s , she was one of the first African American women to host her own television show ( The Hadda Brooks Show ). After an early retirement, which she spent in Hawaii and Australia , she returned to Los Angeles to be rediscovered in 1986 .
She died of heart failure in Los Angeles at the age of 86.
Her most famous songs include:
"Swingin' the Boogie"
"That's My Desire"
"Romance in the Dark"
"Don't Take Your Love From Me"
"Say It with a Kiss"
~Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Official Site:

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Fanny Brice

Actress/singer d. 1951.
Starred in the Ziegfeld Follies and on Radio and Films.
née: Frances Borach.
The fame of vaudeville legend Fanny Brice has been largely carried on in a biographical adaptation of her life that has almost nothing to do with the facts of the case, the musical Funny Girl, a star vehicle designed for Barbra Streisand. The real Fanny Brice was, in her time, a tremendously popular comedienne who first established herself in vaudeville and later in radio, portraying her trademark character, Baby Snooks. Her skill at Yiddish/English dialect, penchant for wacky facial expressions, and loud, perfectly timed comic singing voice endeared her to American audiences for more than four decades.
Fanny Brice was born Fania Borach in New York's Lower East Side and dropped out of school in the eighth grade to become a chorus girl. While some sources place the beginning of Brice's career in Yiddish vaudeville, she did not speak Yiddish and seems to have bypassed that step in favor of regular vaudeville. In 1909, she scored her first success singing an Irving Berlin song, "Sadie Salome, Go Home," in a musical called The College Girls while performing a parody on "The Dance of the Seven Veils" from Richard Strauss' opera Salome. This attracted the attention of impresario Florenz Ziegfeld, and though Brice, it seems, would've made an unlikely "Follies Girl," she appeared in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1910; Brice was 18 years old.
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Fanny Brice & Billy Rose
Brice continued through 1923 to star in several editions of the Ziegfeld Follies as a top-billed performer alongside acts such as W.C. Fields, Raymond Hitchcock, Van & Schenck, Moran & Mack, and Ted Lewis. She was also a featured attraction in shows produced by Irving Berlin and Billy Rose, whom she married in 1929 (Brice divorced him in 1938). Brice popularized the classic torch song "My Man" and was indelibly associated with such comic songs as "Second-Hand Rose" and "I'm an Indian." At the height of her popularity as a stage star, Brice attempted to take on roles in serious plays, but her efforts to this end proved unsuccessful.
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In 1918, Brice married Nicky Arnstein, a second-tier racketeer and con man who by 1920 had become implicated in a Wall Street bond robbery. Although in retrospect it seems likely that Arnstein was not guilty in the matter, he was convicted and sent to Leavenworth in 1924. Upon his release three years later, Arnstein disappeared and was never heard from again. This sad tale ultimately became the seed for Funny Girl; Brice's later marriage to Billy Rose provided the inspiration for the film musical Funny Lady. While neither of these fictionalized projects reflects the true life story of Fanny Brice, one film that does is Rose of Washington Square (1939), starring Alice Faye. The resemblance was so close, in fact, that Brice sued the film's producer, 20th Century Fox, for defamation of character; Brice and the studio settled out of court.
Brice as "Baby Snooks" with Bob Hope.
With arrival of talking pictures, Brice went to Hollywood and starred in a Vitaphone feature, My Man (1928), and Be Yourself (1930) for United Artists. Both of these films were failures, and Brice soon returned to Broadway. At some point during the early '30s, while appearing in some of the posthumous stage editions of the Ziegfeld Follies, Brice developed the persona of the bratty widdle kid Baby Snooks. Brice revived this character on an episode of a radio program entitled The Ziegfeld Follies of the Air, which aired February 29, 1936. The public response was immediate, and throughout the late '30s Brice carried Baby Snooks through an assortment of variety programs until settling in with Maxwell House Coffee Time in 1940. By 1944, her spot on the radio schedule was finally named The Baby Snooks Show in earnest. Brice often performed the part of Baby Snooks in an adult-sized baby outfit, departing from the usual standard of radio actors in that relatively few of them dressed the part when playing a character. As popular as she had been on Broadway in the early '20s, it was nothing compared to her success portraying Baby Snooks, and through this character Fanny Brice became a national institution. Brice suffered a stroke on May 24, 1951, and died five days later at the age of 50. She had long suffered from nervous disorders, and in the past had been known to cancel out of stage productions on the advice of physicians. An entire subplot was developed on The Baby Snooks Show in 1945 in which Baby Snooks had been kidnapped -- this was in order to cover an illness that Brice suffered, taking her out of the cast for several weeks.
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Interested persons hoping to grasp something of Brice's early stage career are in for a disappointment; although she began recording in 1916 for Columbia, she only did so sporadically through 1930, and cut just 26 titles -- six of these were rejected, and four of the issued recordings are versions of "My Man." The Vitaphone film musical bearing that title has disappeared; though all but one of the soundtrack discs have been recovered, these are long on spoken dialogue and short on music. Brice appeared in only 11 films, usually in guest cameos, and three of these are shorts; she apparently never appeared on television. In an attempt to get at the appeal of Fanny Brice, you would have to weigh this tiny amount of film clips and recordings against the veritable mountain of Baby Snooks broadcasts that survive, and under the circumstances there is no way to get a balanced picture of her talents -- several critics who have seen Brice on film have commented that they can't understand why she was so popular. Nonetheless, Fanny Brice was considered to be the greatest Jewish female comedienne of her day. It's a pity that her greatest moments were sustained on the Broadway stage, as more than 50 years after she died, posterity is barely able to grasp what Fanny Brice's celebrity was about, based on the legacy that has survived.
~ Uncle Dave Lewis, All Music Guide
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Jewish Women in Comedy Bio:
Fanny Brice Slide Show!!!:

1916 "Ramblin' Jimmie Dolan
(Cowboy) vocals/guitar
b. Gardena, CA, USA. d: July 31, 1994.
Tag: "America's Cowboy Troubador".
MM Bio:

Daniel Decatur Emmett

b: Mt. Vernon, OH, USA. d: June 28, 1904, Mt.Vernon, OH, USA.
Daniel Decatur Emmett is remembered today chiefly for a song he wrote in 1859 . . . Dixie. He is also known for his role in the Virginia Minstrels.

“I wish I was in de land ob cotton,
Old times dar am not forgotten;
Look away! Look away! Look away! Dixie Land!”
(Dixie's Land, 1-3)

1922 Neal Hefti
b. Hastings, NE. trumpet/arranger with Woody Herman's Silver Award orch later with Joe Marsala.
SpaceAgePop Bio:

1911 Narciso Martinez
(Tejano Conjunto) accordion
b. Reynosa, Mexico

1925 John Haley "Zoot" Sims
Tenor Sax
b. Inglewood, CA, USA. d: Mar. 23, 1985, New York, NY, USA.
Zoot worked with Bob Astor; Harry Biss(p); Art Blakey(dm); Sid Catlett; Al Cohn; Sonny Dunham; Benny Goodman; Bill Harris; Woody Herman; Don Lamond(dm); John Lewis(p); Clyde Lombardi(b); Gerry Mulligan Buddy Rich; Curley Russell(b); Artie Shaw and Bobby Sherwood.

1943 Dan Scanlan
b. Los Angeles, CA, USA. aka: 'Cool Hand Uke'
Dan Scanlan Presents Cool Hand Uke's LAVA TUBE:

Notable Events
on this date include:

Bandleader/clarinetist Woody Herman
died in Los Angeles, CA, USA.
Age: 74.

Joe Comfort, bassist
died in Los Angeles, CA, USA.
Age: 71
Played with Lionel Hampton and with Nat "King" Cole.

Percy Randolph, harmonica
died in New Orleans, LA, USA.
Age: 77 Often appeared with guitarist "Snooks" Eaglin

Fred Maddox, C&W vocals/bass
died. Age: 73.
Member: "Maddox Brothers & Rose"

Louis Acorn, drums
died in Shreveport, LA, USA.

Songs Recorded/Released
on this date include:

1921 “I've Got My Habits On”,
(Jimmy Durante )
- Joseph Samuels' Jazz Band

1923 “Barney Google”
(Billy Rose / Con Conrad)
- Original Capitol Orchestra

1923 “Why Worry Blues”
- Original Capitol Orchestra

1923 “In Love With Love”
(from the Musical Comedy "The Stepping Stones"), (Jerome Kern)
- Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra

1923 “Mama Loves Papa (Papa Loves Mama)”
(Cliff Friend / Abel Baer) - Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra

1923 “Shake Your Feet”, (from "Ziegfeld Follies")
- Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra

1924 “Eccentric”
- Johnny De Droit and his New Orleans Orchestra

1926 “The Little White House (At The End Of Honeymoon Lane)”
Vocal refrain by Tom Waring - Waring's Pennsylvanians

1929 "Goin' Nuts"
Six Jolly Jesters

1929 "Oklahoma Stomp"
Six Jolly Jesters (Duke Ellington pseudonym on Vocalion - Teddy Bunn quitar.)

1929 “Beale Street Blues” (W.C. Handy)
- Boyd Senter and his Senterpedes

1929 “Sweetheart Blues”
- Boyd Senter and his Senterpedes

1942 "Daybreak "
- Tommy Dorsey Orch