At the outset of the Swing era, Casa Loma Orchestra set the highest standards for superb musicianship, arranging, presentation, sweet ballads and hard-driving dance rhythms. Feared by its competitors, it was a rich source of original tunes and reported to be one of the most danceable orchestras of all time. Before the rise of Benny Goodman, it was the premier Swing orchestra playing hot jazz, sweet tunes, riff-based head arrangements and fully written scores.
Casa Loma waxed more than 450 sides, cutting records for OKeh, Brunswick, Victor and Decca Record Companies or their subsidiaries and international affiliates. It was unusual for being an orchestra of white musicians who successfully competed with the black Jazz orchestras of Harlem for sheer drive and heat. Coleman Hawkins’ biographer John Chilton said that Hawk gave it serious attention, calling Casa Loma “my favorite band.” Yet it was popular with mainstream audiences for sweet and romantic music and toured coast-to-coast appearing dressed elegantly in tuxedos.
CASA LOMA Clip 1 - Introducing Casa Loma, Swing Low, Maniacs Ball, Limehouse Blues
Early days at the Steel Pier, Atlantic City, New Jersey, September 1931. Towards the center are trombone players Pee Wee Hunt, Billy Rauch and premier soloist, clarinet player Clarence Hutchenrider. To the fa