The life and musical career of harry james

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Because of them, we learn much about the man behind the horn. He also appeared in the June film release Best Foot Forward. James replaced Mr.

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In he went out on his own and spent the next two years struggling to find a distinctive ensemble voice. The tune that turned him toward ballads was ''You Made Me Love You,'' which he recorded in May , a little more than two years after he had started his own band. By now, he was deliberately trying to make his band sound like Count Basie 's. In addition to the Columbia recordings from his heyday, there are numerous other titles in his discography, notably many airchecks, though his recordings of the '50s are also worth seeking out. In he was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer , but continued to work. In September, when Miller went into the armed forces and gave up his radio show, Chesterfield Time, he handed it over to James , a symbolic transference of the title of top bandleader in the country. When he first formed a band, he organized a baseball team among his sidemen, and they played in Central Park whenever the band was in New York. Once again, James ranked as the second most successful recording artist of the year, just behind Bing Crosby. In addition, he was a talented composer and arranger, a more than competent drummer and dancer, and a physically attractive man whose piercing blue eyes and slender build made him catnip to women—and therefore born to be a bandleader. His low range had a warmth associated with the cornet and even the flugelhorn , but this sound was underrecorded in favor of James' brilliant high register.

Frank Sinatra had recently emerged as a solo star, and in the spring ofColumbia reissued "All or Nothing at All," a song he had recorded as James ' vocalist in ; the song reached the Top Five. James shot to fame during the two years from to when, as a member of Benny Goodman's orchestra, he played a hot, exciting trumpet on such tunes as ''Sing Sing Sing,'' ''One O'Clock Jump'' and ''Life Goes to a Party.

Once again, James ranked as the second most successful recording artist of the year, just behind Bing Crosby.

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By now, he was deliberately trying to make his band sound like Count Basie 's. He made his first major tour of Europe in October , and in ensuing years he alternated national and international tours with lengthy engagements at Las Vegas hotels. In he went out on his own and spent the next two years struggling to find a distinctive ensemble voice. Growing up in the South, James was also exposed to blues music , which had an additional influence on his style. Although undoubtedly sincere in his professed love for jazz, Levinson surprisingly says very little about the music itself. At each session he was given several pages to learn from the Arban's book and was not allowed to pursue any other pastime until he had learned them. The major labels stopped recording him in , the same year in which he made his last appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, and he soon came to be seen not as a still-vital soloist but as the leader of a nostalgia act. The singer was Frank Sinatra and it turned out that he was not the regular singer with the band but a master of ceremonies who also sang. That inspired him to turn professional and begin playing in local bands.

James ' first job with a national band came in when he was hired by Ben Pollack. James had another spear in his capacious quiver. James played regularly with Herman Waldman's band, and at one performance was noticed by nationally popular Ben Pollack.

Sinatra received an offer from Tommy Dorsey.

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Why, then, is James mostly forgotten? As a result, baby-boom jazz fans were largely unaware of his gifts as an improviser. She died in The tune that turned him toward ballads was ''You Made Me Love You,'' which he recorded in May , a little more than two years after he had started his own band. His low range had a warmth associated with the cornet and even the flugelhorn , but this sound was underrecorded in favor of James' brilliant high register. Harry kept his band working in Las Vegas and on the road to pay off his debts, but he had already lost the best meal ticket he was ever to have. He settled in Las Vegas and played much of the time in Nevada. But in January , his All Time Favorites collection was at the top of the album charts, indicating he was still broadly popular, and within months he had reorganized his band, reducing the number of strings and soon eliminating them entirely , and taking a more jazz-oriented approach.
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Trumpet Blues: The Life of Harry James by Peter J. Levinson