Magazine article IAJRC Journal

Who Played Piano with Barnet?

Magazine article IAJRC Journal

Who Played Piano with Barnet?

Article excerpt

"Don't take that so seriously", or "Who cares who played the third trumpet place or the eleventh violin" - some of my friends used to teased me. But to me, reading a discography is like reading a crime novel. It's so thrilling! Of course I know that discographies ever had been imperfect, at least when they are out on the market, then the smart alecks come out of their holes. But I certainly admit that some discographical problems are hard to solve, even if the author had worked as carefully as possible. These often are the personnels of live recordings!

Dave Tough (with Herman) often was ill and had to be replaced by another drummer. Who knows where or when? Other bands never had such a steady personnel like Glenn Miller or Tommy Dorsey. They took who was available - musicians went in and out during a short period and due to several reasons. Roy Eldridge was a trumpeter, but he also could play drams, and I was told that he did so on some air-checks at some time. Musicians failed to get on the bus, or the cab was lost in a traffic jam. There are lots of examples; you know them.

But the poor discographer sits in that mouse trap. He has the personnel of a last recording session, and until the next one (with slightly or complete new personnel) he had to list several live recordings by that particular band. What does he do? He carries on the last personnel until the next recording session! Who really knows exactly what day this or that musician joined the band during a cross-country tour? There are examples, but only a few.

Now I am at my point which deals with the 1944/45's Charlie Barnet pianists. Following I can offer some corrections, but have no solution for a remaining problem. So I will ask for proposals, suggestions, opinions and ideas from dedicated and open-eared IAJRC members.

With my good friend Fabian Grob of Tübingen, who has studied music and was able to tell the difference between two pianists, I have long worked on Dodo Marmarosa (our book will be published next year by Bear Manor Media, of Albany, Georgia).

Dodo was Barnet's piano player since September 1943 replacing Ralph Burns, who now concentrated on arranging. At least in early March 1944 Barnet disbanded. Dodo joined Tommy Dorsey in April 1944. During one radio remote (April 24, 1944) he played with a trio with Buddy DeFranco and Gene Krupa and was announced by name. Nevertheless the discographies used to carry on Dodo's name with Barnet during several months he already played with Tommy Dorsey.

After performing in a Hollywood movie (Music in Manhattan [RKO], using the studio orchestra of Mischa Bakaleinikoff), Barnet formed a new orchestra at the West Coast, and again started to play some engagements on late March 1944. …

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