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Music Appreciation 101: Chapter 4, Tommy Dorsey

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This chapter discusses a low brass icon that we should all know: Tommy Dorsey. He was one of the most popular big band leaders in the 40's (and earlier and later), called the sentimental gentleman. His sound was very nice, especially given the small horn/mouthpiece he used, but he was especially famous for his breath control and phrasing. I have heard him play beautifully up to around a high F or F#, and he always seemed to know just how to use his vibrato.

Frank Sinatra came to fame as Dorsey's vocalist. Sinatra said that he learned about breath control and phrasing just from listening to Dorsey play. Below are a few examples. You should be prepared to allow for iffy sound quality due to the age of the original recordings and the compression necessary for YouTube. Also see the selection of recordings on Amazon's Music Appreciation Store (matches this site):

Music Appreciation - Tommy Dorsey Store

This is one of Dorsey's biggest hits: Marie




This clip is from the movie Girl Crazy, which had the Dorsey Band along with Judy Garland and Mickie Roonie.







Stardust, featuring Frank Sinatra







Polka Dots and Moonbeams, Sinatra vocal, Dorsey using a Solotone mute







It's Always You, Sinatra and Dorsey




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