Friday, January 25, 2013

Bob Chester & His Orchestra (1940)

Here's a rare film featuring the Bob Chester Orchestra from 1940. For those who aren't familiar with him, Chester began his career as a sideman for Irving Aaaronson, Ben Bernie and Ben Pollack.  He formed his own group in Detroit  in 1939 in the style of Glenn Miller, but it wasn't very successful. I can't vouch for the accuracy of this story, but I've read somewhere that Chester was taken under the wing of Tommy Dorsey who wanted to dilute the popularity of Glenn Miller. Dorsey hired David Rose to write new arrangements for Chester's band and succeeded in getting him a contract with Bluebird for recordings.  His "Octave Jump" is included on this film. Chester's group, was billed as "The New Sensation of the Nation."  Chester's orchestra included trumpet player Alec Fila, Nick Travis and the legendary Conrad Gozzo. Peanuts Hucko and Ted Nash were in the sax section and Bill Harris played one of the trombone books. I believe Jasmine has released a disc of a dozen or more Chester recordings for Bluebird. I don't have it, but I presume it's still available.

Also on this YouTube upload are a number of other "soundies" featuring some bands and musicians you'll find fun to see. Remember, the soundies are reversed because they were rear projected.

PS: I'm working on the 2nd half of the Artie Shaw "Time is All We've Got" and hope to post that in the next few days as time allows.


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