American Dance Orchestras of the 1920s #5

Ben Pollack & His Park Central Orchestra

Yep, that's Glenn Miller at the very left of frame, and Benny Goodman standing dead center. Goodman's efforts to make a royal pain in the ass out of himself in those days would soon reach fruition (as well as the status of instant legend in the Jazz community) the day he tried to book the Pollack Orchestra . . . without Ben Pollack.

By all accounts, Pollack's was one of the few White Dance Orchestras who could lay down seriously Hot Jazz when the occasion called for it, along with the Sweet stuff which was their bread and butter. Unfortunately, as was the case with a lot of such outfits (most notoriously Jean Goldkette's Orchestra when Bix Beiderbecke was ascendant), their recordings almost entirely reflected the commercial side of the coin. Nat Shilkret, now that I think of it, probably had the only White Dance Orchestra in America which made a good income from Hot dance sides; but he never had the players Pollack and Goldkette had. Sure, Paul Whiteman had . . . everybody, but he was less interested in straight Jazz than any other leader back then.

What, you were expecting more Velvet Underground crap?


Rob said...

My grandfather led a small band during this period, after his bronco riding days were over. Both of these aspects were hidden from us for years, until a cousin found some letters from Goodman and booking info he had stashed away. He promptly destroyed most of it, and we never heard another thing about it until his funeral, where representatives of some Cowboy association and two band members showed up. They had lots of good words about his music days, and I gather he was regularly employed, a good sign in itself.


sazzie said...

Don't forget Teagarden