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Robert Dana

Robert W. Dana was the author of these reviews. Introduction and photos
 

BIG BAND NEWS 2006

Hours before hearing of Jane Wyatt's death at 96 on October 18th, I was listening to an internet broadcast of "Father knows Best" on AM 1710 ... I was going to seg between Jane Wyatt and the radio broadcast I heard .... but according to Wikipedia, which I just checked after I started writing this, the radio show began in 1949 and Jane Wyatt signed on for the TV version in 1954. Nevertheless, it was sort of mysterious ... AM 1710 has some great old time broadcasts, and they're constantly streaming. If you happen to be on Macintosh OSX, you can download an old time radio widget for your desktop that tunes directly into the station.

Remember Kitty Carlisle from "To Tell The Truth?" She appeared in "A Night at the Opera" in 1935 with the Marx Brothers. Now at 96, she'll be performing at Feinstein's at The Regency in New York from September 26th thru the 30th ... Here's a recent review of Jack Jones performing at The Algonquin in New York City ... Legendary composer Bernie Bierman celebrated his 98th birthday at The Metropolitan Room in NYC on August 26th with many friends and fans in attendance. Don Dellair writes all about the big event!

Here's some pics of "The Generations" big band performing in Delaware, I just happened to be there ... Also, some pics from The Mercer County Italian American Festival ... Shout! The Mod Musical, is a tribute to the swingin' British birds from the 60s and features their hit records as the soundtrack. This was a hit in London five years ago and has been recreated with an American cast for an Off-Broadway production (in New York) ... If you're in a 60's mood, this website about Carlo Little, "Confessions of a Sixties Drummer" makes for some interesting reading ... CarsHere's Carsone of the great remaining nostalgic kiddie parks in the USA, Carousel Village at Indian Walk, Bucks County Pennsylvania ... Just in case you've ever wondered what Muhammad Ali and Frank Sinatra would sound like talking about tooth decay.

Well, there's no mistaking this face! Even at seven years old, Little Sammy Davis Jr. looks pretty Sammymuch exactly the way he looked as an adult. You can catch a wisp of Sammy's phenom-like starpower on the PBS broadcast of "Sammy Davis Jr.: Singing Best." ... Here's a biography about "The Great One," Jackie Gleason's musical side ... There's a new energetic jazz CD available from Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band out of California called "The Phat Pack." GoodwinThis is a powerful wall-of-jazz that doesn't resemble many of the performers on this site, but the skill level is undeniable. There's a great "Al Jaffee-like" caricature of all 18 members of this large band on the accompanying interactive DVD, which in itself, is an accomplishment ... You can view Dean Martin's last (and Dinoonly) music dinovideo "Since I Met You Baby." Dean's decked out in his trademark tux and the shoot comes complete with Robert Palmer-esk 80's fembots dressed in black with wrap-around shades and Casio arrangement. Just click on "D" for Dean.

Paul McCartney is 64! Here's two interviews worth reading... "Paul was one of the most innovative bass players ever. And half the stuff that is going on now is directly ripped off from his Beatles period..."
–John Lennon-1980
I know that Paul was desperate to write with John again. And I know John was desperate to write. Desperate. People thought, Well, he's taking care of Sean, he's a househusband and all that, but he wasn't happy. He couldn't write and it drove him crazy. And Paul could have helped him... easily..."
– Linda McCartney-1984

Need transportation for your band? How about the Grey Goose, the 1968 tour bus for Spanky & Our Gang ... The famed New York restaurant, Luchow's, burned down Luchowsmany years ago but now you can purchase sections of the historic interior and have yourself one heck of a finished basement ... While you're at it, get yourself the same wall sculpture that hangs in Tony Soprano's house ... Remember Johnny Crawford... the kid from The Rifleman? He's a big band leader now, and his band is a throwback to the orchestras of the 20's and early 30's ... He sounds a bit like Eddie Stone, Isham Jones' lead singer ... I don't know why ClarkClark Clark Gable's publicist would ever have let this Ed Grimley-like publicity shot go public, but you can find this, and many other Hollywood publicity photos available to download for free by the nice folks at DoctorMacro ... Here's photos of Abbott and Costello's kids, together at the Radio Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony ... And you thought that French legends Edith Piaf and Charles Aznavour could never get together for a duet? Not if this futuristic Euro space-pod video-thing on "Google Video" has anything to say about it ... The Beatles finally work out their differences on this Beatles Celebrity Deathmatch on YouTube.com

Passings:
Singer Georgia Gibbs, on December 9th ... Benny Goodman's singer Marth Tilton, 91, December 8th ... Legendary Jazz vocalist Anita O'day, 87, November 23rd ... Willie Pep, the greatest defensive fighter ever, 84, November 23rd from Alzheimer's ...Oscar winner Jack Palance, 87, on November 10th ... Pianist Leonid Hambro, 86, who performed with Victor Borge on October 23rd ... Actress Jane Wyatt from "Father Knows Best" on October 18th ... Pat Kennedy who married Peter Lawford in 1954 died from pneumonia on September 17th ...Mickey Hargitay, 80, who was married to Jayne Mansfield on September 15th ... Talk show host Mike Douglas, 81 ... "One For My Baby" Pianist Bill Miller, 91, who played with Frank Sinatra, Tommy Dorsey, Red Norvo and Benny Goodman, on July 11th ... Comedian Red Buttons, 87, on July 13th from vascular disease ... Film actress June Allyson, 88, on July 9th ... Veteran comedian Jan Murray, 89, on July 2nd ... Jazz photographer William Gottlieb, 89, from a stoke on April 23rd ...Chicago DJ Mike Rapchak on March 27th of heart failure ... Buck Owens, 76, who had the best hair in the business on March 25th. Prolific actor Darren McGavin, 83, on February 25th. Television icon Don Knotts, TV's Barney Fife, on February 24th. He was 81... Yet another of The Cowsills is gone ... Fayard Nicholas of the tapping, twirling, flying Nicholas Brothers died Nicholas brothersin Los Angeles at the age of 91 ... Acadamy Award winning actress Shelly Winters, 85, from heart failure. Drummer and big bandleader Tony Corbiscello, 53, performed with John Pizzarelli and played on Sinatra's last tour, on January 15th after a long battle with cancer.

The last of the under-200 lbs. heavyweight champs, Floyd Patterson, 71, died on May 11th. Patterson's Patterson bobbing and weaving style, along with quick handspeed, brought him to the top of the division. He was later outmatched by bigger, stronger heavyweights like Liston and Ali who used their long left jabs to negate Patterson's crouching attack. Mohammad Ali once cited Patterson as the fastest heavyweight he ever faced ... Fifties boxing was often brought to you by Gillette ... "Look Sharp, Feel Sharp, Be Sharp."

There's some old-time entertainment going on in Tallahassee with Variety Show for America ... Here's groovy story about Dean Martin's Goldiggers ... A favorite site of mine is "Stories from Vegas" by Ed Walters, The Pit Boss. It's loads of fun to read, but the language is a bit "blue" ... and along those lines, some great on-the-road stories from the rock band band Simon Dupree including one about recently deceased Gene Pitney.

Jerry Lewis turned 80 on March 16th .... Here's a recent Eddie Fisher siting here and here! ... You can see what the hullabaloo was about back in the 30's and 40's by seeing these clips of Gene Krupa In Action. Gene held his sticks in the middle at times which gave him more bounce ... but less volume ... I guess? ... The original Poseidon Adventure Dolls (Stella Stevens!) ... Accordions have changed since I was a lad.Be sure to check out my Teenie Weenie book reviews! I keep 'em small so you can make a quick decision.

I was snooping around CDBaby.com... the home of today's standards singers ... and stumbled upon a CD called "I Get Around" that's out by a jazz singer named Sony Holland. It's her 3rd release, and I was told in an email by Sony HollandSony (I wrote her and asked for a copy), that this one was made "for the fans." That is to say ... there's no orchestra involved. Just a piano, bass and Sony's vocals. This isn't a bad thing ... the sparse orchestration makes you feel like you stumbled into a bar or cafe in this trio's hometown of San Francisco. Very intimate. There's a couple standards .... "Someone to Watch Over Me" and "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" but it's mostly original compositions by Sony's husband, songwriter, Jerry Holland. There's great emphasis on storytelling lyrics about spending time in cities like Hong Kong, San Francisco and New York City. The music is enjoyable and the lyrics are exceptionally well crafted but there's one song that stands out ... "This City is Mine" and it knocked me out! It sweeps... soars ... suspends and concludes in all the right places. The music and lyrics capture the thrill of a performer stepping from their cab ... looking up ... and seeing the sweeping skyscrapers of New York City... the exhilaration of having "arrived" in the Empire State. Sony's vocals are breathy and passionate and her delivery is fabulous. This song's a KILLER and deserves its place beside the great standards of the past.

Thanks to Andrea from Manheim, Germany for sending in an image of a Copa flyer featuring the German dance team, Harbers & Dale, to whom she was related!

THE REVIEWS
Andrews Sisters - Latin Quarter 1957
Desi Arnaz - w/Diosa Costello 1948
Count Basie - Lincoln 1943
Tony Bennett - Copacabana 1958
Milton Berle - Latin Quarter 1948
Joey Bishop - w/Andy Williams 1959
Ray Bolger - Wizard of Oz Scarecrow, Empire Room 1956
Cab Calloway - Greenwich Inn 1949
Diahann Carroll - Persian Room 1961
Betty Clooney - Waldorf Astoria 1954
Nat King Cole - Copacabana 1958
Perry Como - Versailles 1944
Copacabana - famous night club restaurant is reviewed 1953
Crosby Brothers - Latin Quarter 1961
Xavier Cugat - Waldorf Astoria 1951
Vic Damone - Riviera 1953
Billy Daniels - Copacabana 1952
Sammy Davis Jr. - Copacabana 1959
Phyllis Diller - w/Bobby Short 1958
Nancy Donovan - Copacabana 1952
Jimmy Durante - Copacabana 1951
Billy Eckstine - Copacabana 1951
Duke Ellington - Basin St. East 1961
Eddie Fisher - Empire Room 1959
Judy Garland -Town & Country 1958
Jackie Gleason - La Vie en Rose 1953
Benny Goodman - Empire Room 1956
Dolores Gray - Waldorf Astoria 1954
Buddy Hackett - Copacabana 1956
Connie Haines - Terrace Room 1951
Dick Haymes - Versailles 1956
Horace Heidt - 30th Anniversary 1954
Florence Henderson w/Bill Hayes 1958
Hildegarde - Pierre 1953
Celeste Holm - Plaza 1958
Eddy Howard - Roosevelt 1955
Burl Ives w/Wally Cox - Persian Room
Lisa Kirk - Persion Room 1958
Frankie Laine - Latin Quarter 1955
Julius La Rosa - Romanian 1958
Peggy Lee - Copacabana 1958
Jerry Lewis - Town & Country 1957
Joe E. Lewis - Copacabana 1945
Ted Lewis - Latin Quarter 1953
Liberace - Persian Room 1947
Guy Lombardo - Roosevelt 1957
Vincent Lopez - Grill Room 1954
Tony Martin - Riviera 1953
Martin and Lewis - Copacabana 1950
Ray McKinley - Glenn Miller Band 1957
Mills Brothers - Latin Quarter 1956
Vaughn Monroe - Astor 1955
Constance Moore - St. Regis 1958
Johnnie Ray - Copacabana 1953
Della Reese - Copacabana 1961
Sugar Ray Robinson - French Casino
Dorothy Shay - St. Regis 1961
Frank Sinatra - Wedgewood 1943
Danny Thomas - Copacabana 1949
Sophie Tucker - Latin Quarter 1950
Mae West - Latin Quarter 1956
Julie Wilson - Persian Room 1954
EDITORIALS
Dean Martin - thoughts on Mr. Sauve
Peter Lawford - retrospective
Rise & Fall of the big bands
INTERVIEWS
K Baggelaar- Copacabana author
Don Dellair - cabaret performer
Denny Farrell - big band disc jockey
Hal Turner - Performer/Conductor
B Zickafoose - played in WWII Europe
ASSORTED
Bernie Bierman bio
Sammy Kaye - Roosevelt 1957
Dinah Shore - press release and autograph from the 50's
A Letter about a WWII song
Harbers & Dale - Dance Team
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