The Casa Loma Orchestra was an American swing band active from 1927 to 1963. It did not tour after 1950 but continued to record as a studio group.

It began its existence in 1927 as the Orange Blossoms, one of several Detroit-area groups that came out of the Jean Goldkette office. It was a co-operative organization, fronted for the first few years by violinist Hank Biagini, although the eventual leader, saxophonist Glen Gray (1900-1963) was from the very beginning “first among equals.” The band had adopted the Casa Loma name by the time of its first recordings in 1929, shortly after it played an eight month engagement at Casa Loma in Toronto, which was then operating as a hotel. Ironically, as lead trombonist Billy Rauch noted, the band never actually played the Casa Loma{[( under its name, as it appeared there under its original name of the Orange Blossoms)]}.

From 1929 until the rapid multiplication in the number of swing bands from 1935 on, the Casa Loma Orchestra was one of the top North American dance bands, featuring trombonist Pee Wee Hunt, trumpeter Frank L. Ryerson, trumpeter Sonny Dunham, clarinettist Clarence Hutchenrider, drummer Tony Briglia and singer Kenny Sargent. Arrangements were by Gene Gifford, who also composed much of the band’s book, Spud Murphy, Larry Wagner, Salvador “Tutti” Camarata and Horace Henderson. Their mid-1930s appearances on the long run radio comedy-variety program,The Camel Caravan (introduced with their theme, “Smoke Rings”) increased their popularity.

Hits included “Casa Loma Stomp,” “No Name Jive” and “Maniac’s Ball”. Part of the reason for the band’s decline is that other big bands included in their books hard-swinging numbers emulating the hot Casa Loma style. In the late 1930s Gray took top billing, and by the mid-1940s (as the other original players left) Gray would come to own the band and the Casa Loma name. For a time, during this period, the band featured guitarist Herb Ellis, trumpeter Bobby Hackett, pianist Nick Denucci and cornetist Red Nichols. By 1950, the Casa Loma band had ceased touring, Gray retired to Massachusetts, and the later recordings on Capitol (the Sounds of the Great Bands series) were done by studio musicians in Hollywood.

Edited by TheCats on 15 Jul 2009, 09:25

All user-contributed text on this page is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.
Text may also be available under the GNU Free Documentation License.

Factbox

Generated from facts marked up in the wiki.

No facts about this artist

You're viewing version 1. View older versions, or discuss this wiki.

You can also view a list of all recent wiki changes.

More Information

From other sources.

Links
Labels