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Raised in New York, Maxwell won a scholarship to Juillard in the late 1930s. He performed as a classical harpist with the National Symphony Orchestra and gave recitals in a number of major cities prior to joining the Coast Guard in World War II.

In the Coast Guard, Maxwell played in a touring band led by Rudy Vallee, and Vallee encouraged him to write for the band and gave him featured spotlights in their performances. This whetted his appetite, and… read more

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