Saturday, April 10, 2010

Charlie Spivak- aka: Cheery, Chubby Charlie.

Charlie Spivak, trumpeter and bandleader, best known for his big band in the 1940s. He began to play trumpet when he was ten years old, and played in his high school band, performing with local bands before joining Don Cavallaros orchestra. He played with Paul Specht's band for most of 1924 to 1930, then performed with Ben Pollack (1931–1934), the Dorsey brothers (1934–1935), and Ray Noble (1935– 1936). He spent 1936 and 1937 working as a studio musician with Gus Arnheim, Glenn Miller, Raymond Scott's radio orchestra, followed by Bob Crosby (1938), Tommy Dorsey (1938–1939), and Jack Teagarden (1939. With encouragement and financial support of Glenn Miller, he formed his own band in November 1939. Though it failed in the first year, he tried again, this time taking over an existing band (Bill Downer's) and making a success of it. Spivak's band was one of the most successful in the 1940s-1959. He found top trumpeter Paul Fredricks (formerly of Alvino Rey's Orchestra). Spivak's experience playing with jazz musicians had little effect on his own band's style, which was straight dance music, made up of ballads and popular tunes. Spivak himself (known as "Cheery, Chubby Charlie"). A number of the band's musicians were to make names for themselves, such as drummer Davey Tough, bassist Jimmy Middleton, trumpeter Les Elgart, trombonist Nelson Riddle, and singers Garry Stevens, June Hutton, Tommy Mercer, Jimmy Saunders, and Irene Daye (who had sung with Gene Krupa, and whom Spivak married in 1950). Riddle was also responsible for many of the band's arrangements, together with Sonny Burke. When the Spivak orchestra broke up, he went to live in Florida, where he continued to lead a band until illness led to his temporary retirement in 1963. When he recovered, he continued to lead large and small bands, first in Las Vegas, then in South Carolina; in Greenville, South Carolina in 1967 he led a small group featuring his wife as vocalist. Spivak performed and recorded until his death.

Charlie plays a great trumpet, Stardusters sing. Clip from "Pinup Girl"

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