Si Zentner

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Simon Hugh "Si" Zentner (June 13, 1917 in New York City – January 31, 2000 in Las Vegas, Nevada) was an American trombonist and jazz big-band leader.

Zentner played violin from age four and picked up trombone a few years later. As a teenager, he was awarded the Guggenheim Foundation Philharmonic Scholarship. He attended college for music and had intended to pursue a career in classical music, but became more interested in pop music after recording with Andre Kostelanetz. Zentner played in the bands of Les Brown, Harry James, and Jimmy Dorsey in the 1940s, then moved to Los Angeles, where he worked as a studio musician. He also landed a job with MGM from 1949 to the mid-50s, and was involved in the music for films such as Singin' in the Rain and A Star Is Born.[1]

In the late 1950s Zentner put together his own studio big band and signed with Bel Canto Records. The Zentner band began recording for Liberty Records in 1959 releasing numerous successful pop/jazz albums during the 1960s and touring steadily with a large well-rehearsed outfit. He also briefly recorded for RCA Victor. Zentner was a tireless promoter and claimed to have played 178 consecutive one-night performances when the band was at its peak. His ensemble was voted "Best Big Band" for 13 straight years by Down Beat, and Zentner himself was voted Best Trombonist in Playboy Jazz Readers' Poll.[1] Zentner was known for his bold, brash and bright playing with great breath control and distinctive vibrato. In 1962, his album Up a Lazy River (Big Band Plays the Big Hits, Vol. 2) (arranged by Bob Florence) won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance.[2]

Zentner's success was thoroughly unusual; he had a thriving big band going at a time when big band music was, for the most part, on the wane. The general downturn in interest eventually caught up to him, and by mid-decade the orchestra performed only on a limited basis despite recording through the late 1960s. He then moved to Las Vegas and accompanied Mel Tormé at the Blue Room of the Tropicana Hotel. In 1968 he became musical director of the long-running Vegas show Folies Bergere. It wasn't until the 1990s that Zentner returned to big band performance, assembling a new group and releasing several more albums. He suffered from leukemia late in life, though he continued performing into 1999; he died of the disease in early 2000.[1]

Discography[edit]

L.P. albums[edit]

  • Introducing Si Zentner, (1958) Bel Canto SR-1007
  • High Noon, (1959) Bel Canto SR-1011
  • Swing Fever, (1959) Bel Canto SR-1014
  • A Thinking Man's Band, (1959) Liberty LST-7133
  • Suddenly It's Swing, (1960) Liberty LST-7139
  • The Swingin' Eye!!!!!!!!, (1960) Liberty LST-7166
  • Great Band with Great Voices, (1961) Liberty LSS-14009 (with The Johnny Mann Singers)
  • Big Band Plays the Big Hits, (1961) Liberty LST-7197 U.S. #65[3]
  • Up a Lazy River (Big Band Plays the Hits, Vol. 2), (1962) Liberty LST-7216 "U.S. #107[3]
  • Great Voices of the Great Bands, (1962) Liberty LSS-14017 (with The Johnny Mann Singers)
  • The Stripper and Other Big Band Hits, (1962) Liberty LST-7247 U.S. #108'[3]
  • Desafinado, (1962) Liberty LST-7273 U.S. #139[3]
  • Presenting Si Zentner (1962) SMASH MGS 27007
  • Music That's Going Places, (1963) Liberty RC-1 (Royal Crown Cola promotional release)
  • Waltz in Jazz Time, (1963) Liberty LST-7284
  • Rhythm Plus Blues, (1963) Liberty LST-7290
  • More (aka: The Wonderful World of Si Zentner), (1963) Liberty LST-7326
  • BIG Big-Band Hits, (1964) Liberty LST-7350
  • From Russia With Love, (1964), Liberty LST-7353
  • Si Zentner In Full Swing, (1965) Liberty LST-7397
  • The Best of Si Zentner, (1965) Liberty LST-7427 (compilation release)
  • My Cup of Tea, (1965) RCA Victor LSP-2992
  • It's Nice to Go Trav'ling, (1965) RCA Victor LSP-3388
  • Put Your Head On My Shoulder, (1966) RCA Victor LSP-3484
  • Big Band Brilliance, (1966) Sunset SUS-5110 (compilation release)
  • The Best of Si Zentner, Vol. 2 (1966) Liberty LST-7457 (compilation release)
  • Swingin' Country, (1966) Liberty LST-7481
  • A Perfect Blend, (1966) Liberty LST-7483 (compilation release with The Johnny Mann Singers)
  • Warning Shot, (1967) Liberty LST-7498
  • Right Here, Right Now! The Big Mod Sound, (1967) Liberty LST-7531

With Georgie Auld

CDs[edit]

  • Si Zentner & His Orchestra, Alive in Las Vegas (1991) Klavier KD-77002
  • Best of The Liberty Years, (1992) EMI-Liberty 7987132 (compilation)
  • Swing Fever, (1993) Fresh Sounds FSCD-2007
  • Country Blues, (1995) Klavier KA-55001 (compilation of LST-7290 & LST-7481)
  • The Road Band, (1996) Kalvier KA-55003 (abridged compilation of LST-7326 & LSP-3388; does not contain "More" or "Come Back To Sorrento")
  • Blue Eyes Plays Ol' Blue Eyes, (1998) Klavier KD-77021 (the music of Sinatra)
  • Big Band Plays the Big Hits / Up A Lazy River, (2000) 2 for CD, Capitol Collectables COL-CD-2768
  • Great Band With Great Voices / Great Voices of the Great Bands, (2002) 2 for CD, Taragon TARCD-1097
  • Suddenly It's Swing / The Swingin' Eye!!!!, (2003) 2 for CD, EMI-Capitol 581357-2
  • A Thinking Man's Band / Waltz in Jazz Time, (2005) 2 for CD, EMI-Capitol 873850-2
  • Club 15, (2005) Request 3-8003 (with Mel Torme')
  • Swing & Latin, (2008) 2 for CD, Montpellier CD-052 (compilation of SR-1007 & SR-1011)
  • Desafinado / Swingin' Country, (2011) 2 for CD, Vocalion CDLK-4463
  • From Russia With Love / Warning Shot, (2012) 2 for CD, Vocalion CDLK-4470

45rpm singles[edit]

  • High Noon / Como No, (195?) Bel Canto BC726
  • Up A Lazy River / Autumn Leaves, (196?) Liberty "All-Time Hit" Series 54530
  • Sock Hop / Two Guitars, (1959) Liberty 55204
  • The Swingin' Eye / Armen's Theme, (1959) Liberty 55240
  • Shufflin' Blues / Up A Lazy River, (1961) Liberty 55374
  • Nice 'n' Easy / The Hollywood Twist, (1962) Liberty 55408
  • Mississippi Mud / Chattanooga Choo Choo, (1962) Liberty 55437 (with Johnny Mann Singers)
  • Shadrack / Boogie Woogie Maxixe, (1962)Liberty 55476
  • Desafinado / The Elephant's Tango, (1962) Liberty 55499
  • Waltz in Jazz Time / A La Mode, (1963) Liberty 55538
  • The Fink / Broken Date, (1963) Liberty 55609
  • Clases De Cha Cha / James Bond Theme, (1963) Liberty 55648
  • Sentimental Journey / I'm Getting Sentimental Over You, (1964) Liberty 55675
  • The James Bond Theme / From Russia With Love, (1964) Liberty 55683
  • Spanish Rice / The Theme from "Max", (1965) RCA Victor 47-8454
  • In A Little Spanish Town / Dear Heart, (1965) RCA Victor 47-8550
  • The Fat Cat / My Devotion, (1966) RCA Victor 47-8634
  • Mr. Nashville / Baby, Take Another Bow, (1966) RCA Victor 47-8779
  • Warning Shot / Mona Lisa, (1967) Liberty 55941
  • Dear John / Haven't Been to Church, (1967) Liberty 55955

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Si Zentner at Allmusic
  2. ^ Grammy Awards, Allmusic.com
  3. ^ a b c d Billboard, Allmusic.com