This long-anticipated volume has finally arrived, and
it was well worth the wait.
been called, The Bible of the Big Bands, and rightfully so.
Author Grudens, after years of painstaking
research, has come up with a masterpiece of writing. I don't believe any
of the big bands, and vocalists, both here in the United States and abroad,
have been overlooked. Not only is Richard Grudens the ideal craftsman
to envision and create such a project, this review believes, he's the
only one. This collection of personal profiles featuring the twentieth
century's greatest musical stars, is just what the music doctor ordered.
A discussion of forty of our biggest bands, including; Glenn Miller, Benny
Goodman, Artie Shaw,Les Brown, Stan Kenton, Tommy Dorsey, Jimmy Dorsey,
Duke Ellington, Woody Herman, Buddy
Rich, Harry James, Lionel Hampton, plus many of its most prominent musicians,
and vocalists are profiled in this
volume. A centerpiece on Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, their associates
and arrangers, together with their
predecessors, followers, and European counterparts, demands
a scope which no other writer could presume to possess.
For easy reference, Stardust is divided into
seven different sections:
Part One: Great Moments in Big Band history,
discusses The Big Bands, and if they will ever return and Art Hickman's
Big Band Moments. Also, Hoagy Carmichael, the composer of Stardust,
is covered with a brief history of the tune, and how lyrics were added
by Mitchell Parish two years after its inception. In addition, other topics
in this chapter include, Themes of the Big Bands, and The
First Gold Record, among other items of interest.
Part Two: Remembering the early Innovators,
digs back in the musical files, and comes up with such legends as, Paul
Whiteman, Coon-Sanders Nighthawks, Isham Jones, and Ben Pollack, and a
host of others from that era. Part Three: The Musicians and Vocalists-Person to Person
is just as advertised, in-depth interviews with a quartet of Big Band
Giants, Budd Johnson, Johnny Mince, Greatest Male Vocalists, beginning
with Crosby, Sinatra, Haymes, and others too numerous to list. Of course,
the author doesn't ignore the females and the groups.
Part Four: Big Band Associates,
lists those writers who cover the various big bands and vocalists in various
publications throughout the world. This chapter also covers the The
who day-after-day spin the recordings of those artists that have become
popular through their efforts. It is this gallant group that are also
responsible for millions of record sales.
Part Five: The Song Writers Of course
we wouldn't have all those memorable tunes without this group. The arrangers
are equally important when it comes to the presentation of their songs
to the public.
Part Six: Big Bands of Today Yes, these
New kids on the musical block, who are continuing the tradition
that began with the early innovators, and there are many, such as, Ben
Grisafi, Pat Longo, and Vince Giordano & The Nighthawks. Part Seven: The Lists The final chapter lists various
Big Band Publications, Birth names of a group of musical artists, Best
available books of the Big Bands, and a profile of the author, Richard
Grudens. Kathryn Crosby, widow of Bing, wrote the introduction, and the
late Frankie Laine, contributes the foreword.
This scribe calls this volume, the quintessential volume that answers,
any questions that you may have regarding yesteryear's and today's musical
artists, but never asked.
CONTACT: Stardust is available directly from the author, Richard
Grudens, Celebrities Profiles Publishing, Box 344 Main St., Stonybrook,
NY 11790, (631) 862-8555, Email: email@example.com, Website:
Celebrity Profiles Publishing. 704 pp. $39.35
The above article was published in the September issue