The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra
In Big Band history, the TOMMY DORSEY ORCHESTRA is recognized as one of the best all-around big bands. It could swing with the best of them, and no other band could come close to Tommy’s when it came to playing ballads. Tommy Dorsey, “The Sentimental Gentleman of Swing”, was a master at creating warm, sentimental, and always musical moods… at superb dancing and listening tempos.
Frank Sinatra’s career blossomed with Dorsey, and, with Sinatra’s vocals, the band became more successful than ever. Frank had often admitted that listening to Tommy helped him develop his phrasing and breathing, along with his musical taste and knowledge.
In the summer of 1941, the band outranked every other band to finish first in one of the most indicative of all popularity polls, Martin Block’s Make Believe Ballroom contest.
By late 1946, the band business was having problems. In December 1946, eight top bandleaders announced they were calling it quits … Woody Herman, Benny Goodman, Harry James, Les Brown, Jack Teagarden, Benny Carter, Ina Ray Hutton and Tommy Dorsey. Essentially, this was the official end of the Big Band Era. However, it was Tommy Dorsey who, in the years immediately following, fought the case of the big bands with words and action. Less than two years later, he was fronting a formidable new group.
“It’s about time somebody got things going again”, Tommy said at the time. “You can’t expect to have any real interest in dance bands if the bands don’t go around the country and play for the kids.”
And so it continues. The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra is still traveling throughout the country playing “for the kids” (of all ages).
The late Buddy Morrow became conductor of The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra in the 1970’s and continued for decades. Now heading up the TDO is Terry Myers, a world-renowned clarinet and saxophone player whose leadership qualities and talent Buddy long admired.
The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra can play a college prom, a country club, a scholastic clinic or a policeman’s ball, all with expertise. But their classic reputation still stands upon their onstage appearances performing for big band audiences in performing arts centers throughout the world.
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