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Tommy Dorsey: the Postwar Years with Bill Finegan and Sy Oliver

Marc Myers' mention of the late arranger Bill Finegan yesterday reminded me of a show I did about Tommy Dorsey's post-World War II orchestra for The Big Bands.

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Dorsey postwarJazzwax master blogger Marc Myers’ mention of the late arranger Bill Finegan yesterday reminded me that I did a show about Tommy Dorsey’s post-World War II orchestra a couple of years ago when I hosted WFIU’s The Big Bands. As Marc points out, Finegan crafted some fantastic arrangements for that particular Dorsey ensemble. In an e-mail followup exchange he asked if the program was still available for online listening, so I’m posting it here on the Night Lights site, along with the 2006 episode summary:

After the end of World War II, Tommy Dorsey’s commercial popularity began to wane, even as his band continued to include stellar musicians such as trumpeters Ziggy Elman and Charlie Shavers, clarinetist Buddy De Franco, and drummer Buddy Rich. The postwar Dorsey orchestra also featured arrangements by Bill Finegan, who had worked with Glenn Miller before the war and who would go on to form his own big band with Eddie Sauter in the 1950s, and by Sy Oliver, who had done so much to remake Dorsey’s sound from 1940 on. We’ll hear arrangements by both, as well as work from Sid Cooper, a saxophonist and the “bebop rebel” in Dorsey’s postwar band (Dorsey himself hated bebop).

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Music Heard On This Episode

Puddlewump
Tommy Dorsey — The Post-War Era (Bluebird, 1949)
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Puddlewump
Tommy Dorsey — The Post-War Era (Bluebird, 1949)

Notes: Charlie Shavers composition.

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Come Rain or Come Shine
Tommy Dorsey — The Post-War Era (Bluebird, 1946)

Notes: Sy Oliver arrangement, with Oliver on vocals.

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Then I'll Be Happy
Tommy Dorsey — The Post-War Era (Bluebird, 1946)

Notes: Sy Oliver arrangement.

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Bingo, Bango, Boffo
Tommy Dorsey — The Post-War Era (Bluebird, 1946)

Notes: Bill Finegan arrangement.

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At Sundown
Tommy Dorsey — The Post-War Era (Bluebird, 1946)

Notes: Bill Finegan arrangement.

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Pussy Willow
Tommy Dorsey — At the Fat Man's 1946-48 (Hep, 1948)

Notes: Broadcast of Bill Finegan arrangement.

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Rest Stop
Tommy Dorsey — The Post-War Era (Bluebird, 1946)

Notes: Unreleased until 1993. Sid Cooper arrangement.

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Trombonology
Tommy Dorsey — Sentimental Gentleman of Swing (Bluebird/Legacy, 1947)

Notes: Sid Cooper arrangement.

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Dawn On the Desert
Tommy Dorsey — At the Fat Man's 1946-48 (Hep, 1946)
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Feels So Good
Tommy Dorsey — At the Fat Man's 1946-48 (Hep, 1948)
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You Know What the Trouble Is
Tommy Dorsey — At the Fat Man's 1946-48 (Hep, 1948)

Notes: Lucy Ann Polk on vocals.

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Baby, Baby All the Time
Tommy Dorsey — It's D'Lovely 1947-50 (Hep, 1947)

Notes: Lucy Ann Polk on vocals.

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Why Shouldn't I?
Tommy Dorsey — It's D'Lovely 1947-50 (Hep, 1950)

Notes: Cole Porter composition.

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It's D'Lovely
Tommy Dorsey — It's D'Lovely 1947-50 (Hep, 1950)

Notes: Cole Porter composition.

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I Ought To Know More About You
Tommy Dorsey — It's D'Lovely 1947-50 (Hep, 1950)

Notes: Frances Irwin and Jack Duffy on vocals.

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Heartbreak Hotel
Dorsey Brothers/Elvis Presley — Sentimental Gentleman of Swing (Bluebird/Legacy, 1956)

Notes: From TV broadcast of

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David Brent Johnson

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, David Brent Johnson moved to Bloomington in 1991. He is an alumnus of Indiana University, and began working with WFIU in 2002. Currently, David serves as jazz producer and systems coordinator at the station. His interests include literature, history, music, writing, and movies.

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