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Tommy Dorsey and His Clambake Seven

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Biography

Tommy Dorsey (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”, due to his smooth-toned trombone playing. 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.

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).
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, and especially Paul Whiteman. In 1929, the Dorsey Brothers had their first hit with “Coquette” for OKeh records.
In 1934 the Dorsey Brothers band signed with Decca records, having a hit with “I Believe In Miracles”. Future bandleader Glenn Miller was a member of the Dorsey Brothers Orchestra in 1934 and 1935, composing “Annie’s Cousin Fanny” and “Dese Dem Dose” both recorded for Decca for the band.

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