The Mystery Artist was born in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, the son of a coal miner turned music educator, and older brother of Tommy who also became a prominent musician. He played trumpet in his youth, appearing on stage with J. Carson McGee’s King Trumpeters in 1913.He switched to alto saxophone in 1915, and then learned to double on clarinet. He played on a clarinet outfitted with the Albert system of fingering, as opposed to the more common Boehm system used by most of his contemporaries including Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw.
You are perfection, you’re my idea of angels singing the Ave Maria
With his brother Tommy playing trombone, he formed one of the first jazz bands to broadcast. In 1924 he joined the California Ramblers (who were based in New York City). He did much free lance radio and recording work throughout the 1920s. In 1924 he married Jane Porter. The brothers also appeared as session musicians on many jazz recordings. He joined Ted Lewis’s band in 1930, with whom he toured Europe.
With Bob Eberly and Helen O’Connell doing the vocals he had a string of hits in the 1940s.
He was a prominent member of the Big Band Era who, remarkably, found his way to the Hit Parade in the 1957, reaching Number 2 on the charts in April with the Mystery Song. He died of cancer two months later at age 53.
Jimmy Dorsey – So Rare was presented by Hil on October 28th 2014
Pics: By CBS Television (eBay itemfrontback) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons