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Glen Gray - JPop.com
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Glen Gray

Glen Gray

Glen Gray


Glen Gray Knoblauch, better known as Glen Gray, (7 June 1900 – 23 August 1963) was a well-known jazz saxophonist and leader of the Casa Loma Orchestra. When he was 13 years old, Gray organized a group known as Spike's Jazz Band. A graduate of Roanoke High School, he later attended Illinois Wesleyan University but left to work as a bill clerk for the Santa Fe Railroad. In the late 1920s Gray was playing saxophone in the Orange Blossoms Band. After performing at the Casa Loma Hotel in Toronto for eight months Read more on Last.fm
Glen Gray Knoblauch, better known as Glen Gray, (7 June 1900 – 23 August 1963) was a well-known jazz saxophonist and leader of the Casa Loma Orchestra. When he was 13 years old, Gray organized a group known as Spike's Jazz Band. A graduate of Roanoke High School, he later attended Illinois Wesleyan University but left to work as a bill clerk for the Santa Fe Railroad. In the late 1920s Gray was playing saxophone in the Orange Blossoms Band. After performing at the Casa Loma Hotel in Toronto for eight months, the group incorporated in 1929 as a co-op in NYC as The Casa Loma Orchestra and began recording. In the early 1930s, the Casa Loma Orchestra was one of the bands that paved the way for the rise in popularity of Big Band swing, becoming well-known with the college-age crowd and wowing audiences at schools in the Ivy League and the mid-west.

The Casa Loma Band is credited as the first white big band with a deliberate jazz policy and sound. Although they played in a rather stiff and precise style, the Casa Loma Orchestra helped popularize the sound of Big Band jazz with a generation of white kids who were largely unaware of the great black jazz orchestras. The Casa Loma Orchestra began to be billed under leader Glen Gray’s name in 1935. Two of the bands biggest-sellers were ballads; For You, as sung by Kenny Sargent, and the group's theme song, Smoke Rings. The band’s late 1930s and early 1940s recordings, such as Stompin’ Around, Come And Get It, Malady In F, Zig Zag, Swingtonic, and No Name Jive, still have great appeal.

In 1940 Glen Gray was one of the winning bandleaders in Down Beat's All American Musicians Poll. Gray stopped touring in 1950 due to ill health, but returned to the studio in 1956 to record a series of commercially-successful albums recreating the Big Band sound. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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