Well, it’s been a while since our last Big Band posting, so let’s try another one…but maybe we’ll do a sort of combo thing, at least on the first of our two tunes.
Tommy Dorsey was a virtuoso on the trombone, but was probably better known as one of the biggest of the big band leaders. His theme song, I’m Gettin’ Sentimental Over You, also became the origin of his nickname, The Sentimental Gentleman Of Swing.
Tommy and his brother Jimmy Dorsey were a successful team in the early days of swing music, but their tempestuous relationship inevitably led to their breakup, and the forming of separate competing bands. Both were successful for many years.
Tommy was intense, temperamental, driven, and demanding about the band and the music, but he was also one of the best at developing singers. Probably his most famous vocalist was Frank Sinatra, who was happy to leave Harry James‘ band for Dorsey’s because it was a step up at the time.
Sinatra had a few disagreements with Tommy himself and eventually left the band under suspicious circumstances (supposedly the basis for the story in The Godfather about how to get someone out of their contract) but he always gave Tommy proper credit. In fact, he said that studying Dorsey’s breath control and phrasing on the trombone taught him more about singing than any voice teacher ever could have.
Our posted songs are both from the Bluebird album The Best Of Tommy Dorsey, and first up is an old standard that I never tire of hearing, even though it’s the most-recorded pop song in musical history. (It’s been estimated at something like 900 different recordings.)
This version is especially enjoyable because it showcases a very young Sinatra’s clear voice as he soars above The Pied Pipers. Later in the song, Dorsey takes over and gives us some smooth tones on the trombone. It was recorded in 1940 (when Sinatra was in his first year with the band) and you just might recognize the name: Star Dust.
We follow that with an instrumental that Dorsey recorded with his full band in 1936, and it has a slightly earlier sound than you might be used to with Dorsey. It’s a tune introduced in the movie The Great Ziegfeld, and features an uncredited vocal. The song is simply called You.