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Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Hal Kemp Orchestra list.....(by request)

Hal Kemp

Hal Kemp (March 27, 1904 – December 21, 1940) was a jazz alto saxophonist, clarinetist, bandleader, composer, and arranger. He was born in Marion, Alabama and died in Madera, California following an auto accident. Art Jarrett took on leadership of Kemp's orchestra in 1941. His major recordings were "There's a Small Hotel", "Where or When", "This Year's Kisses", "When I'm With You", "Got a Date With an Angel" and "Three Little Fishies".

At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill he formed his own campus jazz group, the Carolina Club Orchestra. The band recorded for English Columbia and Perfect/Pathe records in 1924-5. This first group toured Europe in the summer of 1924 under the sponsorship of popular bandleader Paul Specht. Kemp returned to UNC in 1925 and put together a new edition of the Carolina Club Orchestra, featuring fellow classmates and future stars John Scott Trotter, Saxie Dowell, and Skinnay Ennis. In 1926, he was a member of the charter class of the Alpha Rho chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia music fraternity, installed on the Carolina campus in February of that year. In 1927 Kemp turned leadership of the Carolina Club Orchestra over to fellow UNC student Kay Kyser and turned professional. The band was based in New York City, and included Trotter, Dowell, and Ennis, and a few years later trumpeters Bunny Berigan and Jack Purvis joined the group. The sound was 1920s collegiate jazz. Kemp once again toured Europe in the summer of 1930. This band recorded regularly for Brunswick, English Duophone, Okeh and Melotone Records.

In 1932, during the height of the Depression, Kemp decided to lead the band in a new direction, changing the orchestra's style to a that of a dance band (often mistakenly referred to as "sweet"), using muted triple-tonguing trumpets, clarinets playing low sustained notes in unison through large megaphones (an early version of the echo chamber effect), and a double-octave piano.

One of the main reasons for the band's success was arranger John Scott Trotter. Singer Skinnay Ennis had difficulty sustaining notes, so Trotter came up with the idea of filling in these gaps with muted trumpets playing staccato triplets. This gave the band a unique sound, which Johnny Mercer jokingly referred to as sounding like a "typewriter." The saxes often played very complex extremely difficult passages which won them the praise of fellow musicians. Vocalists with the band at this time included Ennis, Dowell, Bob Allen, Deane Janis, Maxine Gray, Judy Starr, Nan Wynn, and Janet Blair. During the 1930s, Kemp recorded for Brunswick, Vocalion and (RCA) Victor records. Hal Kemp, Kay Kyser and Tal Henry were often having a Carolinian reunion in New York. All three were great musicians from North Carolina and enjoyed the olde' time get together, according to the newspaper from Chapel Hill, NC where Hal and Kay were in school.

On December 19, 1940, while driving from Los Angeles to a booking in San Francisco, his car hit another head on. Kemp suffered a broken leg and multiple broken ribs, one of which eventually punctured a lung. He developed pneumonia while in the hospital and two days later died.

Kemp's band introduced or promoted numerous popular songs, including "Got a Date With an Angel", "Lamplight", "Heart of Stone", "There's a Small Hotel" and "Three Little Fishies" (written by the band's saxophonist, Saxie Dowell).

In 1936, Hal Kemp was number one for two weeks with "There's a Small Hotel" and two weeks with "When I'm With You". In 1937, his number one hits were "This Year's Kisses", which was number one for four weeks, and "Where or When", which was number one for one week.

In 1992, Hal Kemp was inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame.

Info from :

Hal Kemp led the most popular and the most musical sweet band of the mid-1930s. With muted trumpets and full clarinet tones, its distinct sound earned it a large and dedicated following. Always the friendly, Southern gentleman, Kemp was well-liked by everyone and treated his musicians well. Bandmembers often referred to Kemp's orchestra as a ''fraternity.''

Kemp studied piano, trumpet, alto sax, and clarinet as a youth. He worked local movie theaters as a teen and formed his own orchestra in high school. In 1922 he entered the University of North Carolina, where he was highly involved in extracurricular activities, belonging to two fraternities, the drama club, the glee club, and the school band and orchestra. He also formed his own campus jazz group, the Carolina Club Orchestra. The band recorded for Okeh Records and toured Europe during summers. He also formed a smaller seven-man combo which featured future stars John Scott Trotter, Saxie Dowell, and Skinnay Ennis.

In 1927 Kemp turned leadership of the Carolina Club Orchestra over to fellow UNC student Kay Kyser and formed a professional jazz orchestra of his own, which included Trotter, Dowell, and Ennis. The early orchestra also featured, at various times, trumpeters Bunny Berigan and Jack Purvis. Based in New York, the group often toured Europe. Though it never achieved commercial success it did include among its fans Fred Waring, who gave the band financial and spiritual support, and Prince George of England, who would later become King George VI.

In 1932 Kemp's orchestra settled at the Blackhawk Restaurant in Chicago for an extended stay. Kemp fiddled with the group's sound, and it eventually emerged as a sweet orchestra. The new sound proved popular with the crowds, and Kemp was ready to take the band back on the road in 1934. Owing to his contract, however, he first had to find a replacement orchestra for the Blackhawk. He knew former college friend Kay Kyser was struggling with an orchestra of his own and recommended Kyser for the job. Kyser happily accepted the offer, which included radio time, and Kemp was free to leave. Travelling back to New York the band captured the ears of audiences everywhere with its new sound. No other band of the day played as smoothly and as sensuously as did Kemp's, and unlike other sweet orchestras it also featured interesting musical arrangements.

One of the main reasons for the band's success was arranger John Scott Trotter. The orchestra did not feature any outstanding musicians, and no one, save Trotter and Kemp, could read music particularly well. Kemp and Trotter often hummed their parts to the musicians. Trotter was brilliant in working around this limitation. None of the trumpeters could sustain notes and play legitimate tones, so Trotter muted the trumpets and introduced staccato triplets into the charts. This gave the band a unique sound, which Johnny Mercer jokingly referred to as like a ''typewriter.'' In contrast to the trumpets the clarinets played simple, sustained notes, often through megaphones. The musicians would place their fingers through holes in the sides of the megaphones and play softly. Out would come a rich, round tone.

Kemp was fit for vocalists too. Ennis was the orchestra's most popular singer. Also the drummer, he would step away from his kit and take the mike, leaving no one to cover for him on drums while he sang. His singing style was shy and breathless, and he quickly became popular with female audiences. Other male vocalists of the mid-1930s included Dowell, who sang novelty songs, and Bob Allen, who was a better singer, stylistically, than Ennis. Female vocalists were Deane Janis, Judy Starr, and Maxine Gray, who later became Lawrence Welk's first ''champagne lady.'' The band recorded for RCA Victor.

The orchestra's heyday ended when Trotter left in 1936. New arrangers Hal Mooney and Lou Busch took the group in a different direction, creating a more fuller big band sound. Lead trumpeter Earl Geiger also left that year. His unique, delicate trumpet playing was never replaced. Ennis and Dowell left in 1938, further deteriorating the band's unique sound.

The Kemp band of the late 1930s couldn't seem to make up its mind on whether it was going to be a swing band or a sweet band, and its popularity began to slip. Allen remained as lead male vocalist. Nan Wynn and, later, future actress Janet Blair were the female vocalists. By late 1940, however, Blair and two key musicians had departed the band, and Kemp, realizing the need for a change, decided to revamp the group's sound. Kemp never realized his goal, however. On December 19, while driving from Los Angeles to a booking in San Francisco, his car hit another head on. Kemp suffered multiple broken ribs and a punctured lung. He developed pneumonia while in the hospital and two days later passed away.

Ennis and Trotter returned to the band after hearing the news. Allen took over leadership and tried to keep it going, but without Kemp the band was lost and soon broke up. Original saxophonist Porky Dankers reassembled some of the orchestra members a few months later, and under the leadership of Art Jarrett tried to revive the group, with Gale Robbins as female vocalist. It lasted only a few months, however, before it broke up, and the Hal Kemp Orchestra passed into the history books forever.

Into the history books, yes...........but not here...........I offer you several varying quality and bit rate, of course (well, trust me, it wasn't easy to find THIS much on short from.....The Hall Kemp Orchestra!! (Oh, and this makes sense, that I'm posting this, I suppose....right on the heels of a Bunny Berigan list, considering that he was a part of this band at one point.....)

****I must add a note, here. I have always vastly preferred the earlier stuff from this orchestra, in spite of the vocalists from this band that I'm fond of (Alice Faye, Skinnay Ennis, and Nan Wynn). I do like some "Sweet" sounds, true.....but I have always liked the earlier, jazzier Kemp Band....****

Bo-bo-boHow I'll miss you 1929
I don't care 1928
If you can't sing, whistle (as Carolina Club Orch.) 1931
Between the Devil and the deep blue sea 1934
Blue shadows 1928
Boo hoo 1934
Chinatown 1931
Closing theme 1934
Dinner for one please, James 1936
Dodging a divorceeDon't worry 'bout me 1939
For all we know
Forty Second StreetGoodnight my love 1936
Hands across the table
Hot dogs and Sasparilla
I'd like to have you
In the middle of a kiss
Is you is or is you ain't (my baby)
It's a swinging little thing 1934
It's delightful
Lime House blues

Little Red Fox nya na ya can't catch me (one of the most annoying songs ever recorded, IMHO)
Lost 1936
Love for rent
Loves gonna get you if you don't watch out 1934
Lucky in love
Nuts about muts

The music goes round and round 1936
Afraid to dream 1931 w/ Alice Faye
Blossoms on Broadway `1937 w/ Alice Faye
'Cuz my baby says it's so w/ Alice Faye 1937
Cross patch 1937 w/ Alice
Don't play with fire w/ Alice 1937
Have you got any castles baby 1937 w/ Alice
It's a natural thing to do w/ Alice 1937
I wanna be in Winchell's column 1937 w/ Alice
The moon got in my eye 1937 w/ Alice
All is fair in love and war w/ Bob Allen
Am I in love w/ Bob Allen
It all comes back to me now w/ Bob
Let's fall in love w/ Bob 1936
Never in a Million years 1936 w/ bob
The moon got in my eyes 1937 w/ Bob
Everything I have is yours w/ Dean Janis
The boulevard of broken dreams 1934 w/ Dean Janis
I've got a pocket full of dreams w/ Judy Starr 1938
Melancholy lullaby w/ Nan Wynn
Did you ever see a dream walking w/ Skinnay Ennis
Got a date with an angel w/ Skinnay 1937
Ho hum w/ Skinnay
I guess I'll have to change my plan w/ Skinnay
Johnny One Note w/ Skinnay 1936
Lamplight w/ Skinnay
Love is the sweetest thing w/ Skinnay
My last years girl w/ Skinnay 1934
Oh baby what I couldn't do w/ Skinnay
Happy Birthday to love w/ The Smoothies
Before the rain 1929 w/ Irving Kaufman
Oh baby 1928 w/ Skinnay
Get out and get under the moon w/ Skinnay, Hal 1928
It's only a paper moon

She's a great great girl 1928
Shine on harvest moon 1929
When my dreams come true 1929
When the world is at rest 1929
That's you baby 1929 (as Southern Melody Artists)
Walking with Susie 1929 (w/ Saxie Dowell, as Southern Melody Artists)
PowerhousePuddin' head Jones 1934
Restless Shuffle off to Buffalo 1934
Them there eyes
There's a small hotel
This is romance
This years kisses

Uptown lowdown
When I'm with you

With all my heart 1936
Show closing 1937 w/ Alice
Show opening 1937 w/ Alice
Sing baby sing w/ Alice 1937
Smarty you know it all 1937 w/ Alice
So it's love 1937 w/ Alice
Sweet someone 1937 w/ Alice
That old feeling 1937 w/ Alice
There's a lull in my life 1937 w/ Alice
Where or when 1937 w/ Alice
Your Broadway and my Broadway 1937 w/ Alice
You're a sweetheart 1937 w/ Alice
Confucious say  w/ Babs and her Brothers/The Smoothies 1939
Where or when 1936 w/ Bob Allen
Remember my forgotten man 1933 w/ Dean Janis
Take a tip from the tulip 1938 w/ Jane Froman
Talking to my heart w/ Janet Blair
Walking by the river w/ Janet Blair
Paradise w/ Nan Wynn
Page Miss Glory w/ Skinnay
Remember me  w/ Skinnay
Scatterbrain  w/ Skinnay
The touch of your lips  w/ Skinnay
Too many tears 1934  w/ Skinnay
When summer is gone  w/ Skinnay
Your getting to be a habit with me  w/ Skinnay
You're the top  w/ Skinnay
You've caught me crying again  w/ Skinnay 1934
Three little fishes 1939 w/ The Smoothies
Taking a chance w/ The Three Kadets


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