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Friday, October 29, 2010

A Ben Pollack list..........(AKA >>sings<< "To list...the impossible list"<< LOL!!!)

Ben Pollack

Ben Pollack (June 22, 1903 – June 7, 1971) was a drummer and bandleader from the mid 1920s through the swing era. His eye for talent led him to either discover or employ, at one time or another, musicians such as Benny Goodman, Jack Teagarden, Glenn Miller, Jimmy McPartland and Harry James. This ability earned him the nickname "Father of Swing".

Born in Chicago, Illinois to a well-to-do family, Pollack was largely self taught as a drummer, and was afforded the opportunity to become the drummer for the New Orleans Rhythm Kings, a top jazz outfit, in the early '20s. In 1924 he played for several outfits, including some on the west coast, which ultimately led to his forming a band there in 1925. One of the earliest members of his band was Gil Rodin, a saxophonist whose sharp business acumen served him well later as an executive for the Music Corporation of America (MCA). Rodin also served as the "straw boss' for Pollack along with the young arranger-trombonist Glenn Miller. Already recognized as immensely talented on the clarinet, sixteen-year-old Benny Goodman began working with Pollack in 1925 as well.

In 1926, Pollack recorded for Victor. Many of his records were good sellers. From about 1928, with involvement with Irving Mills, members of Pollack's band moonlighted at Plaza-ARC and recorded a vast quantity of hot dance and out-and-out jazz for their dime store labels (Banner, Perfect, Domino, Cameo, Lincoln, Romeo, and others using colorful names like Mills' Merry Makers, Goody's Good Timers, Kentucky Grasshoppers, Mills' Musical Clowns, The Lumberjacks, Dixie Daises, The Caroliners, The Whoopee Makers, The Hotsy Totsy Gang, Dixie Jazz Band, Jimmy Bracken's Toe Ticklers, and many others). Most of these records are usually listed in discographical books (like Brian Rust's Jazz Records as by Irving Mills. The rare Jack Teagarden's Music book lists them properly as being a "Ben Pollack Unit". Combining Pollack's regular recordings with these side groups made Pollack one of the more prolific bands of the 1920s and 1930s.

The band played in Chicago, mainly, and moved to New York City around the fall of 1928, having obtained McPartland and Teagarden around that time. This outfit enjoyed immense success, playing for Broadway shows, and having an exclusive engagement at the Park Central Hotel. Pollack's band also was involved in extensive recording activity at that time, using a variety of pseudonyms in the studios. The orchestra also made a Vitaphone short subject sound film (which has been recently restored). Pollack, in the meantime, had fancied himself as more of a bandleader-singer type instead of a drummer. To this end, he signed Ray Bauduc to handle the drumming chores.

Soon afterward, things began to become difficult for Ben Pollack. The Stock Market Crash of 1929, and subsequent effects on the music industry as a whole, had a negative effect on all bands at that time, and Pollack's was no exception. Work was scarce, and the band had several periods of inactivity, in spite of Pollack's best efforts in obtaining work. Changes in personnel were also inevitable. Benny Goodman and Jimmy McPartland left the band in the summer of 1929, either fired or quit, depending on whose story is to be believed. They were replaced by Matty Matlock on clarinet and Jack Teagarden's brother, Charlie, on trumpet. Eddie Miller was also signed as a tenor saxophonist in 1930.

Pollack left Victor in late 1929 and subsequently recorded for Hit of the Week (1930), the above listed dime store labels (1930–1931), Victor (1933), Columbia (1933–1934), Brunswick, Vocalion and Variety (1936) and Decca (1937–1938).

Pollack made several forays into the U.S. Midwest in the early 1930s, and also made some trips to Canada. During this time, he became involved with the singing career of his girl vocalist, Doris Robbins. As he was also involved with her romantically, he began to de-emphasize his involvement with band matters, much to the consternation of the musicians. Eventually, Ben Pollack and Doris Robbins married.

More changes came for the band in the spring of 1933 when trombone star Jack Teagarden gave his notice during an engagement in Chicago. It was not long after that, possibly a year, when the rest of the musicians decided to leave Pollack, They re-formed soon after as a co-operative band, fronted by Bing Crosby's brother, Bob.

Pollack re-formed his band eventually, and had some top-flight talent, including Harry James and Irving Fazola in it, but never really achieved any of the success of his earlier bands. These two stars, also, found greater success after they left Pollack. In the early 1940s, Pollack was the organizer for a band led by comedian Chico Marx. He tried his hand organizing a record label, Jewel Records (not the Plaza-ARC or the Shreveport labels), and at other venues, including restaurants on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood and in Palm Springs, California. He also appeared, as himself, in the motion picture The Benny Goodman Story and made a cameo appearance in The Glenn Miller Story.

All through this troubled period, Pollack managed to record excellent records and had an occasional hit, like the 1937 "Peckin'", which Pollack co-wrote with Harry James, originally issued on Variety VA-556. Ben Pollack also wrote "Deep Jungle", "Tin Roof Blues" with the New Orleans Rhythm Kings, and "Swing Out" with Wingy Manone.

In later years, Pollack grew despondent and committed suicide by hanging in Palm Springs in 1971.

Ben Pollack co-wrote the jazz standard "Tin Roof Blues" in 1923 when he was a member of the New Orleans Rhythm Kings: the band's trombonist George Brunies is also generally credited as a co-composer. In 1954, Jo Stafford recorded "Make Love to Me", which used Pollack's music from "Tin Roof Blues". "Make Love to Me" was no. 1 for three weeks on Billboard and no. 2 on Cashbox. The song was also recorded by Anne Murray and B. B. King.

In 1992, Ben Pollack was inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame.

From: :

by Music Librarian CHRISTOPHER POPA
July 2009

    In 1924, he took over an orchestra in California, which would go on to be known as his "Californians."
    At least one observer considered him "The Father of Swing," since in 1925 Pollack, who played drums, hired some developing youngsters, including clarinetist Benny Goodman and trombonist Glenn Miller, to be in the band.
    In 1928, while appearing at the Park Central Hotel in New York City, the group was re-christened as Pollack's "Park Central Orchestra."
    Trombonist Jack Teagarden (a better player than Miller, which Miller agreed) had joined that year, and Miller decided to concentrate on writing arrangements for the ensemble.      

"None of us who were there can ever forget the great nights in New York," one of the band's saxophonists, Gil Rodin, later reminisced.  "He'd ride this cymbal attached to the bass drum, and Benny Goodman would blow fantastic clarinet for about 20 minutes-just the two of them, the rest of us looking on speechless, and Ben almost bursting with excitement.  That's the Ben Pollack I want to remember."    

    Pollack and his orchestra recorded for Banner in 1930-31; returned to Victor for a single session on March 19, 1933; and then were heard on Columbia in 1933-34 (another future bandleader, trumpeter Charlie Spivak, played with them during the latter period).
    By that time, Pollack had fallen in love with his band's vocalist, Doris Robbins, and he seemed more interested in furthering her career (they would get married in 1935), so his orchestra quit en masse (a number of them stayed together and became the nucleus of the first Bob Crosby big band).
    Pollack formed his own new band, which in 1936 recorded for Brunswick and again included some promising newcomers, trumpeter Harry James and pianist Freddie Slack.
    Yet another group, with cornetist Muggsy Spanier, was organized by Pollack in 1937 and was signed to Decca Records for about a year.
    In the decades which followed, Pollack played drums less and less frequently, choosing the role of a businessman.   
    For example, in 1942 he served as personal manager to Chico Marx, when Marx fronted a band for a series of theatre dates.
    In 1945-46, Pollack ran a small, independent record company, Jewel, whose first releases were by Kay Starr, a former big band vocalist.
    Pollack did make small guest appearances as himself in two mid-1950s movies, "The Glenn Miller Story" and "The Benny Goodman Story."
    "I wore [ actor ] William Powell's old toupee," he managed to joke about the latter to writer-critic Leonard Feather, but he was disgruntled about how both films garbled and omitted facts.
    For 10 years, starting in the '50s, Pollack operated the "Pick-a-Rib," a restaurant at 8250 Sunset Blvd., on the "Sunset Strip," in Hollywood, where he played drums with a hand-picked Dixieland combo.  Often having a tough time making a financial go of it, he eventually sold out to a group which re-opened the room as the "Body Shop," a strip joint.
    In 1963, Pollack led a Dixieland sextet at the Knickerbocker Hotel at 1714 N. Ivar Ave. in Hollywood.
    By 1965, he had completely given up music and became a partner with his sister, Esther, in "Easy Street North," a bar located at 2777 N. Palm Canyon Dr. in Palm Springs.
    Meanwhile, Pollack evidently had remained quite troubled in his personal life.  His wife had first sued for divorce in 1936, but later dismissed her suit.  In 1940, she proceeded and was granted a divorce, and since then, she and Pollack had made attempts to patch things up.
    "Back and forth.  Back and forth," he commented to a judge in 1957.  "We'd tell our friends we were back together and they'd say, 'What?  Again?'"
     Ultimately, though, they failed to work out a lasting reconciliation.
    "I'd be better off six feet under," he reportedly told a former colleague who visited him, not long before Pollack committed suicide in 1971.
    Sadly, Pollack hanged himself in his bathroom at home, leaving "[ at ] least two notes referring to despondency over financial and marital problems."
    "Nonetheless," historian Joe Showler wrote in 2004, "his importance as a mentor of the illustrious jazz musicians who passed through the ranks of his bands cannot be exaggerated."
    Remember him that way.
And so.....without further ado (and there was MUCH ado)..........Ben Pollack

Memphis blues 12-7-1927 (B P and his Californians)
Deed I do 12-17-1926 (B P and his Californians)
Bashful baby 7-25-1929 (B P and his Park Central Orch.)
Everybody's Doin' It 4-18-1938 (B P and his Orch)
Keep your undershirt on 11-29-1929 (B P and his Park Central Orch.)
Let's sit and talk about it you 1-24-1929 (B P and his Park Central Orch.)
Louise (from Paramount picture "Innocents of Paris") Vocal refrain by Charles Roberts 3-1-1929
Sally of my dreams 1-24-1929 (B P and his Park Central Orch.)
Sweet Sue,  just you 4-26-1928 (B P and his Californians)
True blue Lou (from Paramount picture "The Dance of Life")  8-15-1929 (B P and his Park Central Orch.)
Two tickets to Georgia 3-19-1933 (B P and his Orch)
(Eyes of blue) You're my Waterloo 1932 (B P and his Park Central Orch.)
Makin' friends Dixie Jazz Band (Irving Mills/Ben Pollack) (v: Jack Teagarden) 1929
My kinda love (one way to paradise) 3-5-1929 (B P and his Park Central Orch.)
Remember I love you Ben Pollack (As Jimmy McHugh's bostonians) 1927
On with the dance 3-5-1929 (B P and his Park Central Orch.)
You're the one for me 12-17-1926  (B P and his Californians)
Buy buy for baby (or baby will bye bye you) 10-15-1928
She's one sweet showgirl 10-15-1928 (B P and his Park Central Orch.)
Alone in my dreams 10-27-1929 (B P and his Park Central Orch.)
Can't you hear me calling Caroline? 9-11-1937 (B P and his Pick-a-rib Boys)
If I could be with you one hour tonight 6-23-1930  (B P and his Orch)
Jimtown blues 9-16-1936 (B P and his Orch)
Linger a little longer in the twilight 3-19-1933 (B P and his Orch)
Sing song girl     1-21-1931 (B P and his Orch)
Sweetheart we need each other (From the RADIO picture, "Rio Rita" Vocal refrain by Burt Lorin 8-22-1929 (B P and his Park Central Orch.)
Waiting for Katie12-7-1927 (B P and his Californians)
Yellow dog blues 1-22-1929 (Ben's Bad Boys)
Whoopee stomp As Jimmie McHugh's Bostonians
I've got Five Dollars v=Chick Bullock 2-12-1931 (B P and his Orch)
Sweet 'n hot v-Chick Bullock 3-2-1931 (B P and his Orch)
Radio remote WBS Summer of 1930 (B P and his Orch)

Geesh, this list was a pain in the ass. I thought I had a LOT of Pollack. I had received a ton of tunes from a friend a few years ago, listed as Ben Pollack. I started listening through it this morning, and suddenly realized that about 50% of it was other bands. It was funny, none of the titles were familiar, different sidemen, vocalists, arrangements....I thought I was losing my mind. Well, suffice it to say, THAT took all day to straighten's what I do have..... ;)

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