Bandleader Tommy Dorsey

Tommy Dorsey

Tommy Dorsey (November 19, 1905 –November 26, 1956) was an American jazz trombonist, composer, conductor, and bandleader who led one of the most popular big bands during the Swing Era. Known as the “Sentimental Gentleman of Swing,” Tommy Dorsey and his orchestra created a smooth and danceable sound that captivated audiences in the 1930s and 1940s.
  • Tommy Dorsey was born in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania.
  • He learned to play the trombone at a young age, receiving lessons from his father.
  • Before forming his orchestra, Tommy Dorsey performed with various bands, including the California Ramblers and the Paul Whiteman Orchestra.
  • In 1927, Tommy and his brother, Jimmy Dorsey, formed the Dorsey Brothers Orchestra.
  • Tommy left the Dorsey Brothers Orchestra in 1935 to form his own band, the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra.
  • One of the orchestra’s first hits was “I’m Getting Sentimental Over You,” which became the band’s theme song.
  • The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra was known for its smooth, melodic sound and precise, polished arrangements.
  • A warm, smooth tone and exceptional technical skill characterized Dorsey’s trombone playing.
  • The orchestra’s repertoire included jazz standards, ballads, and popular songs of the era.
  • Frank Sinatra was a vocalist for the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra from 1940 to 1942, which helped launch his successful solo career.
    Other notable vocalists who performed with the orchestra include Jo Stafford, Dick Haymes, and Connie Haines.
  • The orchestra’s success led to appearances in several Hollywood films, including “Las Vegas Nights,” “Ship Ahoy,” and “The Fabulous Dorseys.”
  • Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra recorded over 900 songs during their career.
  • Some of the orchestra’s biggest hits include “Marie,” “Song of India,” “Boogie Woogie,” and “Opus One.”
  • Tommy Dorsey was an influential bandleader who helped launch the careers of several prominent musicians, such as Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa, and Nelson Riddle.
  • The orchestra appeared on several radio programs, including the “RCA Victor Show” and the “Chesterfield Supper Club.”
  • In the 1940s, the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra collaborated with African American bandleader Sy Oliver, which led to a more rhythmically complex and energetic sound.
  • Tommy Dorsey disbanded the orchestra in 1946 but later reformed it in 1948.
  • Dorsey passed away in 1956 at 51, but his music and legacy continue to influence jazz and big band musicians.
  • After Tommy Dorsey’s death, his brother Jimmy Dorsey led the orchestra briefly before his own passing.
  • The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra continues to perform today under the direction of Terry Myers.