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Out in the Cold Again

by Rich Conaty
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I wonder sometimes about the relationships behind the records I play. Tonight there are birthday salutes to Ella Fitzgerald, clarinetist Jimmie Noone and composer & pianist Rube Bloom. Ella started with the Chick Webb Orchestra, and the band gave Fitzgerald her signature hit, "A-Tisket, A-Tasket." When Webb passed in 1939, Ella fronted the band for a few years before going solo. Jimmie Noone was based at Chicago's Apex Club beginning in 1926. The personnel for his small band was comparatively stable, which suggests he treated his sidemen well...and had steady gigs. Songwriting teams bring up another type of relationship. I remembered asking Jonathan Schwartz if his father (composer Arthur Schwartz) liked his primary lyricist, Howard Dietz. He looked at me like I was a moron! But sometimes writers aren't teamed by choice. They could be signed to the same publisher or under contract to the same movie studio. Rube Bloom wrote with a variety of lyricists. His early songs, like "The Man from the South," were with Harry Woods. He wrote with Ted Koehler as early as 1932, when Koehler was otherwise teamed with Harold Arlen. Later, Arlen moved on to Yip Harburg and others, and Bloom was the composer's successor writing scores for Cotton Club Revues. Koehler and Bloom's successes from that tenure include "Truckin'" and "Don't Worry 'Bout Me," which will be heard on tonight's "Big Broadcast." Here's one of their pop tunes recorded by the Dorsey Brothers' Orchestra, a band that displays another set of relationships. The Dorseys had a history with Bing Crosby, but he was too big to be their "boy singer" by the time they took a band on the road. It's been said the orchestra's three trombones were meant to suggest Bing's baritone. And his 21 year old brother, Bob, does the same.

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