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Glenn Miller Orchestra

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Alton Glenn Miller (March 1, 1904–presumably December 15, 1944), was an American jazz musician, arranger, composer, and band leader in the swing era. He was one of the best-selling recording artists from 1939 to 1942, leading one of the best known “Big Bands”. Miller’s signature recordings include: “In the Mood”, “Tuxedo Junction”, “Chattanooga Choo Choo”, “Moonlight Serenade”, “Little Brown Jug”, and “Pennsylvania 6-5000”. He’s notable as well for playing numerous times for the U.S. military. While travelling to entertain U.S. troops in France during World War II, Miller’s plane disappeared in bad weather. His body was never found.

The Glenn Miller Orchestra was originally formed in 1937 by Glenn Miller. It’s unique, tight and popular sound was produced by arranging for a clarinet and tenor saxophone playing melody, while three other saxophones played the harmony. Miller had already formed one band before this in 1936, but he dissolved it as he considered it too similar to other bands of the era.

After the disappearance (and presumed death) of Miller in 1944, the band was reconstituted under the direction of Tex Beneke, its lead tenor saxophonist, singer, and one of Miller’s longtime close friends. A few years later, the Miller estate, having parted ways with Beneke, hired Ray McKinley, principal drummer in Miller’s Army Air Force band, to organize a new “ghost band” in 1956. The group went on, playing as a tribute to Miller’s memory.

The Glenn Miller Orchestra continued to record and perform under various leaders starting in 1956. It is still touring today. Currently, trombonist Larry O’Brien leads the band.

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