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Glen Gray

Glen Knobloch
Glen Knoblauch

Bandleader, Saxophonist

(1906 - 1963)

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Films at imdb.com
In 1929 saxophonist Glen Gray became the leader of the Casa Loma Orchestra, the first cooperative band in which the players owned stock. Formed in Detroit in the early ‘20s, the band was first known as the Orange Blossoms. It took its new name from a Toronto club which never opened but into which it was booked. Their first recordings caught the ears of college kids who liked to dance to the music, and by 1930 their popularity was set. The band was the first to be featured as a “swing” band on radio, and the “Camel Caravan” further spread its fame. In 1935 Glen Gray and the Casa Loma Orchestra, as they came to be known, had a big hit with “Blue Moon.” By the late ‘30s the band had earned recognition from jazz magazines and polls and had appeared in two films.

As other swing bands were forming at this time, Gray’s unit became more noted for its sweet music and ballads, sung by trombonist Pee Wee Hunt and vocalists Kenny Sargent and Lee Wiley. It had paved the way for the swing bands led by Benny Goodman and the Dorsey Brothers, but its sound was now old-fashioned even though the band featured top musicians. By 1945 the group disbanded and Gray turned to commercially successful studio work in the ‘50s.

- Sandra Burlingame

Big Bands: Best of the Male Singers

Various Artists Includes Kenny Sargent singing "Blue Moon" with the band

Swinging Sounds of Great Bands

Glen Gray & the Casa Loma Orchestra

Essence of Swing

Glen Gray & the Casa Loma Orchestra

Best of the Big Bands

Glen Gray & the Casa Loma Orchestra

The Complete Okeh and Brunswick Hits

Glen Gray & the Casa Loma Orchestra


Casa Loma Orchestra
Reading and Viewing

At Amazon.com you can often buy used for a fraction of the new price

George Thomas Simon

The Big Bands

Schirmer Books

(Includes a chapter on Glen Gray and the Casa Loma Orchestra)

Charles Garrod

Glen Gray and the Casa Loma Orchestra

Joyce Record Club Publication

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