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Tommy Dorsey

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Thomas Francis “Tommy” Dorsey, Jr. (November 19, 1905 - November 26, 1956) was an American jazz trombonist, trumpeter, composer, and bandleader of the Big Band era. He was known as “The Sentimental Gentleman of Swing”, because of his smooth-toned trombone playing. Although he was not known for being a notable soloist, his technical skill on the trombone gave him renown amongst other musicians. He was the younger brother of bandleader Jimmy Dorsey. After Dorsey broke with his brother in the mid-1930s, he led an extremely popular and highly successful band from the late 1930s into the 1950s, the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra.

Thomas Francis Dorsey, Jr., was born in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, the second of four children born to Thomas Francis Dorsey, Sr., and Theresa (née Langton) Dorsey. He and Jimmy, his older brother by slightly less than two years, would become famous as the “Dorsey Brothers”. The two younger siblings were Mary and Edward (who died young). Tommy Dorsey initially studied the trumpet with his father, only to later switch to the trombone.
His Father, Thomas F. Dorsey, Sr. died July 13, 1942. Thomas Sr was born in Shenandoah, PA and was a bandleader himself.
At age 15, Jimmy recommended Tommy as the replacement for Russ Morgan in the 1920s territory band “The Scranton Sirens.” Tommy and Jimmy worked in several bands, including those of Tal Henry, Rudy Vallee, Vincent Lopez, Nathaniel Shilkret. In 1923, Dorsey followed his brother Jimmy to Detroit to play in Jean Goldkette’s band and later returned to New York in 1925 to play with the California Ramblers. In 1927 he joined Paul Whiteman. In 1929, the Dorsey Brothers had their first hit with “Coquette” for OKeh records.

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