Ozzie Nelson and His Orchestra

Band leader Ozzie Nelson recorded extensively for Brunswick, Vocalion, and Bluebird in the 30s and early 40s. He later had a career in radio and television. Tom Lord's Jazz Discography stops the selective listing of his recorded work in 1941, dryly noting that "the above selection is of definite jazz interest; other recordings by Ozzie Nelson not included." Both Ozzie and his wife Harriet Hillard occasionally sang with the band, which played both swing and lighter pop numbers. There are a couple of decent compilation CDs of Ozzie's work out there, including some interesting transcription recordings that are not included in the discography.

Here am I featuring two swinging, instrumental tracks from 1937, taken from a Big Band Archives LP. (The entire LP is also available online in digital form on e.g. Spotify, but that dub unfortunately sounds quite bad.) 'Peckin' was first recorded in December 1936 by Ben Pollack and was soon followed by versions by Bing Crosby, Cab Calloway, Johnny Hodges, and Benny Goodman. 'The Goblin Band' was a recorded as a Gene Gifford arrangement for The Casa Loma Orchestra earlier in the same year. Ozzie's version is less frantic. Both songs feature some nice baritone saxophone playing (unless I am mistaken), even though that instrument is absent from the personnel listing.

Discographical data from The Jazz Discography by Tom Lord:

Ozzie Nelson and His Orchestra: Harry Johnson, Holly Humphreys, Bo Ashford (tp) Elmer Smithers (tb) Charlie Bubeck, Bill Stone (cl,as) Bill Nelson (cl,ts) Buddy Rice (ts) Sid Brokaw (vln) Harry Murphy, Irving Gellers (p) Sandy Wolf (g) Fred Whiteside (b) Joe Bohan (d) Ozzie Nelson (dir)

New York, May 3, 1937
010112-1    Peckin'                       Bluebird B6974

Hollywood, CA, November 10, 1937  
09815         The Goblin Band      Bluebird B7268

LP source: 'Ozzie Nelson And His Orchestra – Riff Interlude' (Big Band Archives LP-1212)

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