Jack Sperling

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Jack Sperling (August 17, 1922 – February 26, 2004) was an American Big Band, television and studio drummer. He was a recording artist, versatile jazz combo and dynamic Dixieland musician.

Career[edit]

In 1941 he played with trumpeter Bunny Berigan. After the end of World War II Jack, along with a young pianist Henry Mancini, joined Tex Beneke when he took the popular Glenn Miller big band on the road (1946–1949), following Miller's death. Sperling first gained distinction with the Beneke recording of St. Louis Blues (1948), becoming known for his pioneering, propelling double bass drum solos, his trademark throughout his career. When he played a solo, the melody line remained part of his drum work. His styling, understated and restrained with tight snare drum rolls and tasty ride cymbals behind the big band sounds, set Sperling apart.

Jack soon became a mainstay with Les Brown and His Band of Renown, then regulars on the Bob Hope NBC radio program in 1949, which they followed with the recording "Over the Rainbow" (1951). Dave Pell, the tenor sax soloist with Brown's band formed his own octet in 1953 with musicians from Brown's big band and the combo was often featured during Les Brown concerts before it broke away on its own in 1955. The Dave Pell Octet in its prime included Sperling on drums, whose day gig then was playing with Bob Crosby's Bobcats (1954–57) appearing on his regular television series. The "Bobcats" at that time consisted of Ray Sherman, Eddie Miller, Jack Sperling, Morty Corb, Charlie Teagarden, Elmer Schneider and Al Hendrickson. Jack would go on to perform with Benny Goodman, Charlie Barnet, the Page Cavanaugh Septet and perhaps becoming most known to a new generation of jazz fans for his styling rhythms behind clarinetist Pete Fountain's Quartet. He recorded with the Dave Pell Octet on Plays Irving Berlin (1953), and on The Original Reunion of the Glenn Miller Orchestra (1954).

In 1958, Mancini became friends with producer Blake Edwards, who had an idea for a television show that eventually became the Peter Gunn series. Mancini wrote all the music for the show which became an immediate hit. The session musicians were John Williams on piano, Rolly Bundock on bass, Sperling on drums, and Bob Bain on guitar. The same lineup was featured on the "Mr. Lucky" TV series. Sperling recorded with Henry Mancini on the film soundtracks Peter Gunn (1959), Charade (1963) and Days of Wine and Roses (1962). He was featured along with other seven percussionists, including Shelly Manne, Milt Holland, Larry Bunker, playing African instruments on John Wayne's Hatari! (1962). Sperling can be heard on the pilot title tracks of the television series "Bewitched", and on "Hogan's Heroes" Jack was the featured solo percussionist.

In 1962 Sperling left the Peter Gunn series and joined The Tonight Show Band and was under contract from 1959-1972 with the NBC Orchestra playing variety shows as "Bob Hope", "Dean Martin", "Andy Williams" as well as "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In". He also recorded with Ella Fitzgerald on Get Happy! (1957), Elvis Presley on "Elvis (1968 TV program)" (1968), Lena Horne, Peggy Lee, Bobby Darin, The Four Freshmen, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Rosemary Clooney, Doris Day and Mel Torme.

Discography[edit]

Bunny Berigan

  • Bunny Berigan Orchestra 1938 - 1942 RCA
  • Sophisticated Swing (1947)

Tex Beneke & The Glenn Miller Orchestra

  • St. Louise Blues March (1948) RCA (Featured)
  • Cherokee Canyon (1948) RCA Victor
  • Palladium Patrol (1970)
  • Dancers Delight (1996)
  • Best Of Tex Beneke (1999)
  • Live At The Edgewater (2000)
  • Tex Beneke & His Orchestra 1946-1949
  • In Glenn Millers' Footsteps: Blues Serenades & Marches (2001)
  • Five Minutes More: A Tribute (2001)
  • It's Magic 1947-48 (2002)
  • Memories (2005)
  • Gary Steven's Sings (2005)
  • Midnight Serenade (2006)
  • Beyond The Sea (2007)

Les Brown & His Band of Renown

  • Connee Boswell and Les Brown (1950) Short Film (15 min.)
  • Connee Boswell I Don't Know (1950)
  • Connie Boswell Martha (1950)
  • Over the Rainbow (1951)
  • My Heart Belongs To Daddy (1952) Coral
  • Back In Your Own Backyard (1952) Coral
  • Palladium Concert (1953)
  • Live at the Hollywood Palladium (1954)
  • The Best of Big Bands: and His Great Vocalists (1941)
  • Les Brown & His Orchestra, Vol. 2 (1949)
  • Blue Moon, Vol. 1 Blue Moon
  • Blue Skies, Vol. 2 Blue Moon
  • Perdido, Vol. 3 Blue Moon
  • Radio Days Live(2001)
  • Les Brown & His Band Renown (1957) Coral
  • Swinging Song Book (1957) Coral
  • Live at Elitch Gardens 1959 (1959)
  • Bandland/ Revolution In Sound (1960)
  • Digital Swing (1986)
  • Anything Goes (1994)
  • America Swings (1995)
  • Sentimental Thing (with Bing Crosby & Billy Eckstine) (2003)
  • No Name Bop
  • A Good Man Is Hard to Find
  • Thank You for Your Fine Attention
  • The Les Brown All-Stars (2006)

Doris Day

  • From This Moment On (1950) Columbia
  • It's Magic (2002)

The Modernaires

  • St. Louise Blues March (1948) RCA Victor
  • Like Swung (1959) Mercury

Dave Pell Octet

  • Plays Irving Berlin (1953) Capitol
  • Burke and Van Heusen (1953) Capitol
  • I Had the Craziest Dream (1955) Capitol
  • Say It With Music (2004)
  • Jazz For Dancing And Listening

Tom Talbert Jazz Orchestra

  • The Warm Cafe (1955) (1991)
  • Duke's Domain (1955) (1993)

Scatman Crothers

  • Oh, Yeah! (1956) Tops
  • Rock and Roll with Scat Man (1956)

John Towner

Rosemary Clooney

  • Jazz Singer (1952)
  • Many a Wonderful Moment (1958) RCA

Ella Fitzgerald

Pete Fountain

  • Pete Fountain's New Orleans (1959) Coral
  • Pete Fountain Day (1960) Coral
  • Pete Fountain Salutes The Great Clarinetists (1960) Coral
  • Pete Fountain's French Quarter (1961) Coral
  • Live In Santa Monica (1961)
  • Jack Sperling and his Fascinatin' Rhythm (1961) Coral
  • Plenty Of Pete (1963) Coral
  • Mr. New Orleans (1963) MCA
  • The Best Of Pete Fountain (1970) Coral
  • The Best Of Pete Fountain (1972) MCA
  • The Best Of Dixieland:Pete Fountain (2001)

Henry Mancini

  • Fallout/ Music from Peter Gunn (1959) RCA
  • The Blues and the Beat (1960) RCA
  • Cheers (1962) RCA
  • Uniquely Mancini (1963) RCA
  • Mancini '67 (The Big Band Sound of Henry Mancini) (1967) RCA
  • Mancini Salutes Sousa (1972) RCA
  • Martinis With Mancini (1998) RCA

Frank Sinatra

  • Guys and Dolls (1963) Reprise (with Dean Martin)
  • We Open In Venice (1963) (with Dean Martin & Sammy Davis jr.)

Dean Martin

  • Bianca (1963) Reprise
  • If this Isn't Love (1963) Reprise
  • Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime (1964) Capitol

Bobby Darin

  • From Hello Dolly to Goodbye Charlie (1964) Capitol
  • Broadway Bag (1965) Atlantic
  • Magic of Bobby Darin (1965) Atlantic
  • The Shadow of Your Smile(1965) Atlantic
  • Breaking Point/Silver Dollar (1966) (singles) Atlantic
  • Swingin' the Standards (1999) CD Atlantic

Bud Freedman

Abe Most

  • Abe Most Live! (1994)
  • I Love Yo Much Too Much (2007)

Paul Cacia

  • Paul & His New Age Jazz Orchestra (2003)
  • Cacia: Portrait (2003) (Featuring Jack Sperling)

Various artists[edit]

Soundtracks[edit]

  • Days of Wine and Roses (1962) Warner Bros.
  • Hatari (1962) Paramount (African Drum)
  • Bonanza (1962) Paramount
  • Charade (1963) Universal
  • Bewitched (1964) Screen Gems (Pilot Title Track)
  • Hogan's Heroes (1965) Paramount (Soloist Pilot Title Track)
  • Elvis (1968 TV program) (1968) NBC Studios

Early musical short films[edit]

  • Les Brown (1948) (10 min) dir: Jack Scholl
  • Les Brown and His Band of Renown (1949) (15 min) dir: Will Cowan
  • Art Lund-Tex Beneke-Les Brown (1948) (10 min) dir: Jack Scholl
  • Connee Boswell and Les Brown's Orchestra (1950) (15 min) dir: Will Cowan
  • Crazy Frolic (1953) (19 min) dir: Will Cowan
  • Dance Demons (1957) (14 min) dir: Will Cowan
  • Rockabilly Baby (1957) (81 min) dir: William F.Claxton
  • Snarder Telescriptions: The Big Bands Vol.2 (1958) (47 min)

(Les Brown's Band featured on 4 dance band numbers, filmed 1951)

Television[edit]

  • Bob Hope Show (1949-1954) NBC Radio
  • Colgate Comedy Hour (1952) NBC
  • Bob Crosby Show (1954-57) CBS
  • Peter Gunn (1958-1961) MGM
  • Mr. Lucky (1959-1960) CBS
  • Rawhide (1959) Paramount
  • The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
  • Bob Hope Show (1959-1962) NBC
  • The Steve Allen Show (1959) NBC
  • Bobby Darin and Friends (1961) NBC
  • Andy Williams Show (1962-1967) NBC
  • Bonanza (1962–1966) Paramount
  • Star Time: The Swingin' Singin' Years (1960) NBC (Featured)
  • Bewitched (1964) Screen Gems (Pilot Title Track)
  • Bob Hope Thanksgiving Show (1964) NBC
  • Hogan's Heroes (1965) Paramount (Soloist Pilot Title Track)
  • Dean Martin Show (1965-1972) NBC
  • Dean Martin Summer Show (1966) NBC
  • Movin' With Nancy (1967) NBC
  • Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In (1968-1972) NBC
  • Rowan & Martin At The Movies (1968) NBC
  • Dean Martin and The Golddigger's (1968) NBC
  • Elvis (NBC-TV Special) (1968) NBC
  • NBC Staff Drummer (1959–1971) NBC Burbank

External links[edit]