Showing posts with label Swing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Swing. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 20, 2017


This photo from a US Government website (http:...
 Glen Miller during his service in the US Army Air Corps. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Glenn Miller Museum at the Historic RAF Twinwood Airfield near the quaint town of Bedford, England, is the only permanent memorial to the popular Big Band era leader. No tribute to his influence on American culture exists in this country other than a stone plaque in Arlington National Cemetery, Section H, Number 464-A.

A native of Clarinda, Iowa, Miller topped the charts in the late 1930s and won the first-ever Gold record for his recording of "Chattanooga Choo-Choo." While devotees of American pop music regard him as an icon and his hometown has hosted a Glenn Miller Festival since 1965, the British hold him in even greater esteem.

In 1942, as Captain and Commander of the U.S. Army Air Force Band, he was attached to the Supreme Headquarters of the Allied Expeditionary Forces (SHAEF) and quartered at Milton Ernest near Bedford. For the next two years, he and his band entertained American and British servicemen.

On December 15, 1944, he flew from Twinwood to entertain the soldiers who had liberated Paris. He never arrived. Researchers believe that his plane was downed by friendly fire: unused bombs dumped in the English Channel by B-17 pilots before returning to their base.

British nostalgia for Big Band music continues unabated. Fans eager to experience their adoration of Miller firsthand board the Bedford train at London's Kings Cross Thameslink Station. After a short taxi ride from Bedford to nearby Clapham, they reach Twinwood Airfield and are quickly swept into the time warp that materializes every summer weekend.

It is 1944 once more. RAF pilots and women and children in vintage attire stroll along the now-crumbling airstrip. Between reenactments, camouflaged troops are encamped throughout the adjacent thick woods to protect the planes and armored vehicles. Many boil coffee over campfires and gnaw on K-rations. Miller's recordings reverberate everywhere over loudspeakers.

The Glenn Miller Museum sits at the top of a rise in the World War II Control Tower. Restored in 2002 to its original specification, it houses an audio and visual exhibition of Miller's instruments, his Air Force uniforms, a jukebox, records, sheet music, and movie posters, as well as a gallery of photos of his band performing throughout England during the war.

The annual spectacular, the family-oriented Glenn Miller Festival of Swing, Jazz, and Jive, is held the last weekend of August. Big bands and vocalists from around the world congregate to perform non-stop before adoring crowds. When audience members cannot resist the urge to leap to their feet and jitterbug, those needing instruction are invited to learn the popular World War II dance steps from teachers posted around the airfield complex. The Festival is sold out well in advance every year, proof that great music improves with age.

    By Emily Cary
    Emily Cary is a prize-winning teacher and novelist whose articles about entertainers appear regularly in the DC Examiner. She is a genealogist, an avid traveler, and a researcher who incorporates landscapes, cultures and the power of music in her books and articles.

    Article Source: EzineArticles

Thursday, September 21, 2017

SWING JAZZ Guitar Solos - George Barnes Had A Unique DIXIELAND Style!

George Barnes was born in Chicago, Illinois on July 17, 1921, and came from a household that was full of artists! He began to play the guitar at 9 with his father who was his very first teacher. Barnes was raised in Chicago, a city that had actually ended up being a major center of jazz music advancement. He stated that his primary musical influences were Jimmy Noone (in whose band he played at the age of 16), Benny Goodman, and Louis Armstrong.

One of several studio portraits of Broonzy.
One of several studio portraits of Broonzy.
(Photo credit: 
As a youth George Barnes was associated with the excellent blues guitarist Lonnie Johnson who obviously had a major influence on him. He also listened to numerous records by the French gypsy jazz guitar player Django Reinhardt. At 14 Barnes already had his own jazz quartet. He won a Tommy Dorsey Amateur Swing Contest when he was 16 and at 17 was working on the Chicago NBC personnel staff as a guitar player, conductor, and arranger which was a truly amazing accomplishment!

During the seven years that preceded 1942, George Barnes was regularly included in tape-recording sessions with lots of legendary folk and blues artists including Big Bill Broonzy, Washboard Sam, and Blind John Davis. Upon leaving the military after the war, Barnes returned to a life which ended up becoming one of the busiest in jazz history. In 1951 he moved from Chicago to New York City. Here his phenomenal musical talents won him a job with Decca Records as arranger, guitarist, and composer.

Because of his multiple skills, George Barnes was much in demand for many years as a backing guitar player for top vocalists and jazz artists consisting of Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, and Louis Armstrong. He made many historical jazz recordings with his own numerous quartets and quintets however his most important contribution to jazz guitar history was his creative guitar duets with Carl Kress (and later Bucky Pizzarelli after the death of Kress) in addition to the quintet he led collectively with cornetist Ruby Braff.

Always a strong individualist, George Barnes had a really distinct sound partly due to his personally developed archtop jazz guitar constructed without the typical "F" sound holes. This instrument was made specifically for him by the Guild Guitar Company. He likewise utilized an unwound 3rd string which was unusual for a guitarist of his generation. In 1975 Barnes transferred to Concord, California. There he devoted his time to playing in jazz clubs, recording, and teaching until his death following a cardiac arrest on September 5, 1977.