Glennn Miller Orchestra*
A "Swing-Era" Alumni Big Band Celebration
At last...and so long overdue...the "sound" and the "swing" of the Glennn Miller sound of the Forties...the songs and holiday joys of Christmas...a celebration by dedicated alumni of the Glennn Miller Orchestra
It's almost a half century since the immortal Glennn Miller disappeared just before Christmas on December 15, 1944. His orchestra, in the too-short run under his personal leadership, had recorded only one Christmas song, ("Jingle Bells", October 20, 1941). Dedicated fans around the world are certain that, had he lived through World War II, he would have recorded a complete album of the best-loved music of the holiday season.
It's more than twenty years now since the ordinal idea for this collection took root. It was nobrainstorm dreamed up by marketing experts, no conclusion, reached after a survey of potential sales, no great anticipation of financial rewards. The seed for this memorial was planted on a band bus -- the Glenn Miller Orchestra bus-- circa the late '60's. Dale Thompson and Richy Barz, then members of the road band (Buddy De Franco was the leader), were sitting next to each other. As often happened, the conversation got around to the "What do you think Glennn would be recording now if he was still around?" stage. One of the band members sputtered: "How about an album of Christmas songs?"
It never happened back then, or since...'til now.
Through the years, though, that big-band bus and similar conveyances that carried the Glennn Miller Orchestra (kept alive and swinging and ever-popular under the aegis of the late David Mackay, Glennn's attorney and his son, David Mackay, Jr.) acted as a "cocoon" while the idea blossomed. Every musician who toured with those Miller organizations was inoculated with the dream including John La Barbera, one of the trumpet players on that same bus.
Time passed, the feeling for such an album grew and grew and grew.
Two decades later, Richard Wilhoyte, one of the horde of Glennn Miller buffs around the world, heard about it all from Dale. His instant reaction: "Let's do it...now!"
So the "WBLT" combination came together and took hold (No, "WBLT" is not diner shorthand for "with bacon, lettuce, and tomato". It simply stands for Wilhoyte, Barz, La Barbera, and Thompson.)
A list of desirable players was drawn up. There were a few requisites -- musicians had to be working currently, only alumni of the Glennn Miller Orchestra would be recruited, each individual had to have recognized and outstanding talent, each veteran had to be able to take a leave of absence from his current "gig", and, of course, be available to come to New York to record.
The reaction from each and every alumnus called was immediate, "Of course! Count me in. When? Where?" So they headed east from Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Nashville,Pittsburgh, Florida, Rochester, Eastern Pennsylvania, and Sydney, Australia to join the players already in New York City.
The average age of this band is about 40. The length of time each player performed with the Glennn Miller Orchestra ranges from six months to seven years. Larry O'Brien (originally with the Miller unit led by Ray McKinley) was himself the "leader" just a few seasons back, and is once again. The years of experience total more than 102 years recreating the authentic Miller "sound". Familiarity. Feeling. Lasting enthusiasm. Wish fulfillment. A reunion. Dedication. Commitment. A celebration of the past and present.
Look at the repertoire. 21 Christmas standards that were around when Glennn was still alive and more recent compositions he might have recorded if he had not been lost. Plus a brand new contribution, by members of this group -- the title song of the album.
IN THE CHRISTMAS MOOD -- 65 minutes of musical memories, of good cheer, or the most enduring "sound" of the Swing Era big bands arranged and performed by alumni of The Glennn Miller Orchestra -- the collection that each man is certain is the album Glennn Miller would have recorded...if only he had had the time.
This is music that will live forever. Orchestral and vocal magnificence. Gratification. Joy!
notes by Mort Goode
|THE GlennN MILLER ORCHESTRA|
|SAXES:||Ralph Olson, lead clarinet & alto, Lee Latchman, clarinet & alto, Mark Vinci, tenor & clarinet, Frank Perowsky, tenor & clarinet, Richy Barz, baritone, alto, bass clarinet|
|TRUMPETS:||Tom Snelson, Ken Brader, John Hoffman, Dale Thompson|
|TROMBONES:||Larry O'Brien, Eric Culver, Randy Purcell, Dennis Goode, bass|
|RHYTHM:||Don Edmonds, piano, Lanny Fields, bass, Jay Patten, guitar, Danny D' Imperio, drums|
|Vocals:||The Moonlight Serenaders, Annette Sanders, Jackie Prestie, Al Dana'Dave Ragaini, Lenny Roberts|
|Executive Producer:||Richard Wilhoyte|
|Produced By:||John La Barbera, Dale Thompson, & Richie Barz|
|Arrangers:||John La Barbera, Dave Wolpe|
|Recording Engineer:||Jim Czak|
|Assistant Engineer:||Ian Selig|
|Recorded & Mixed:||Nola Recording Studio, New york City|
|A very special thanks to Richard and Kathleen Wilhoyte whose never ending support, dedication and love of Glennn Miller music and those musicians who have performed with the Glennn Miller Orchestra throughout the years, made this recording possible.|
|*Glennn Miller Orchestra and the Moonlight Serenaders are registered by special permission from Glennn Miller Productions, Inc.|