The Other Side of 50

Let’s take a musical ‘sentimental journey’

By From page OSF2 | March 13, 2014

This column is strictly for the pre-baby boomers: the 1930s and 1940s crowd, which isn’t so crowded anymore – the white heads and “baldies.”

I saw the The Honeybee Trio performance at the Kroc Center. In addition to The Andrews Sisters and the Glenn Miller Orchestra, the era was one of Big Band instrumentals, bebop and ballads.

Big bands usually didn’t play concerts (except Stan Kenton). They played at big dance halls like the Palomar Ballroom in Los Angeles or the casino on Catalina Island.

Almost every band leader started out as a top jazz instrumentalist. Most songs the bands played included jazz instrumentals. Benny Goodman was a clarinetist. His rendition of “Sing, Sing, Sing” won him the title of the “King of Swing.”

In addition to the clarinet solos, drummer Gene Krupa dominated the piece. Krupa later became a bandleader on his own. Some of the other musician bandleaders were Tommy Dorsey and his trombone, Harry James and the trumpet, Artie Shaw and the clarinet, plus Coleman Hawkins and his saxophone.

Hawkins’ rendition of “Body and Soul” is one of the truly great jazz classics. People remember Nat King Cole as the great vocalist, but he first was a jazz piano player with his own trio. A great example of his piano abilities is heard in the recording “It’s Only a Paper Moon,” which also showcases his vocal talents.

I started out by saying this was for pre-baby boomers. I was wrong. Good music is for everyone. Young people today should know that there are instruments besides drums and guitars. I could write a book about great jazz musicians. One last great I want to mention is Dizzy Gillespie and his trumpet. Two songs stick in my memory: “How High the Moon” and “I Can’t Get Started (with You).” You can find every performance I have referred to on the Internet.

Vocalists of the 1940s era were also outstanding. It wasn’t a time of yelling and noise. Most ballads seemed to have genuine sentiments in them.

Here are a few of them with the music that they made popular:

One of my favorites was the ballad “At Last,” sung by Etta James. I love the lyrics. “At last, my love has come along. My lonely days are over and life is like a song.”

Billy Holiday’s “Lover Man (Oh, Where Can You Be?).”

There were a number of great male vocalists during the 1940s, such as Bing Crosby, Andy Williams and Perry Como, but it had to be known as the Frank Sinatra decade. The list of wonderful Sinatra recordings is long and impressive. I have favorites here, too, such as “September Song” or “Time After Time” and “Night and Day.”

My temptation is to find some way to write all the lyrics because they are real love songs. There isn’t enough room here. I’ve discovered that I am a hopeless romantic.

Researching and putting this column together has been a real “Sentimental Journey” (a Doris Day hit). I hope it has been for you, too.

Music was so much better then than now. We should introduce our young family members to it. I think I’ll do that. How about you?

Reach Murray Bass at 427-0744 or [email protected]

Murray Bass


Discussion | 4 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Please read our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy before commenting.

  • S KMarch 13, 2014 - 9:04 am

    I really enjoyed this column. I'm just a pup compared to Murray>>Soon 65, soon a Medicare recipient :-), but I love that music, big band jazz always having been my favorite. Would have and still would like to have been a drummer for such a band, even a jazz combo, but I only had the opportunity to play my drums for a couple of local rock bands, one a Classic Rock band, my latest an originals Trio. Everyone of those artists, numbers can be found in my CD or Vinyl collection. I grew up listening to that music, and so did our son, and so does my little Jack Russell terrier, as he sits on my lap, spinning some tunes :-). Murray, you may have seen me walk by the Suisun McDonalds, walking my Best buddy. Also a great article in this section about, Collin's Music in Suisun. I have been there, but of late, no longer plan hardly any more album additions. Already have so many, split between jazz, Rock & Pop, that I hardly listen to any anymore, being satisfied just tune my DishNet to, "Classic Jazz," channel 6067. I have my setup connected to where my TV does not have to be on, just to listen to Sirius XM's music.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • S KMarch 13, 2014 - 12:02 pm

    SCHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESH, let me try this AGAIN. My earlier this morning post has still not POSTED, probably because I mentioned a local business that was also brought up in another article in this very supplement>>>GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR. Mr. Bass, I really enjoyed your column about this music. I am just a Pup in comparison, 65 and Medicare eligible soon, but big band Jazz has always been my favorite. I grew up listening to it, as well as our son heard that type of music in the home growing up also, as does also my little Jack Russell best buddy that you may have seen me walk around Suisun's MckyD's with. He has enjoyed listening to the music I spin here on both CDs and Vinyl, a mix of Jazz (My first choice), along with Rock & Pop, while laying on my lap, him being 14 yrs. 7 months now, but still walking those 2>>3.5 mi. depending on the day of the weeks.. So just not those PRE- BABY boomers loving that music. Nearly all the artists and songs you mentioned can be found in my CD and or vinyl collection, which I hardly play that much anymore, enjoying the Jazzy sounds of our Satellite provider's Classic Jazz, on Sirius XM Channel 6067 of our Sat provider. I have my set up connected in a way that I can enjoy the music without the TV having to be on. Anyway keep enjoying that music as I do, as well as enjoying your column, memories :-)

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • S KMarch 13, 2014 - 12:04 pm

    By the way, it was Collins Music I mention>>LOL>>also written up about in this supplement. Great store, but I am hardly adding to my collection anymore, not even listening to much of what I have anymore :-)

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Rich GiddensMarch 13, 2014 - 1:25 pm

    Hoagy Carmichael...Stardust...the nearness of you......

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Recent Articles

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Special Publications »

    Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Service (updated 4/30/2015) and Privacy Policy (updated 4/7/2015).
    Copyright (c) 2016 McNaughton Newspapers, Inc., a family-owned local media company that proudly publishes the Daily Republic, Mountain Democrat, Davis Enterprise, Village Life and other community-driven publications.