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Bregman c. 1959
July 9, 1930|
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
|Occupation(s)||Composer, arranger, producer, conductor|
|Associated acts||Ella Fitzgerald, Eddie Fisher|
Buddy Bregman (born July 9, 1930) is an American arranger, producer, and composer. He has worked with many of the greatest musical artists of 20th Century popular music, including: Ella Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby, Judy Garland, Fred Astaire, Louis Armstrong, Sammy Davis Jr., Peggy Lee, Bobby Darin, Anita O'Day, Frank Sinatra, Count Basie, Oscar Peterson, Jerry Lewis, Paul Anka, Buddy Rich, Eddie Fisher, Annie Ross, and Carmen McRae. He became Ethel Merman's personal arranger.
A nephew of British-born American songwriter Jule Styne, Bregman was born in Chicago. He studied at UCLA and during his sophomore year arranged and conducted Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller's "Bazoom (I Need Your Lovin')" for the Cheers – which subsequently became his first hit record – and in 1955 he was appointed orchestra leader for the Gary Crosby Show on CBS radio.
Aged just 25, Bregman became head of A&R at Norman Granz's newly established Verve Records, following a chance meeting with Granz at the home of Rosemary Clooney and José Ferrer. He arranged and conducted their first single ("I'm With You" / "The Rock and Roll Waltz") and their first album, Anita, both featuring vocals by Anita O'Day. He scored and orchestrated several motion pictures: The Pajama Game (including scoring all Bob Fosse dance numbers), Crime in the Streets, Five Guns West, The Wild Party, The Delicate Delinquent, Born Reckless, Secret of the Purple Reef, and The Cat Burglar.
In 1956 Bregman arranged and conducted three Verve Records albums which subsequently all went platinum. Two of the albums in Ella Fitzgerald's Songbooks project – were arranged by Bregman. He also arranged several of Fitzgerald's early Verve Records singles.
Learning that Bing Crosby was out of his exclusive contract at Decca Records, in 1956 Bregman conceived, arranged and conducted Bing Sings Whilst Bregman Swings, which went platinum. That same year, he was the arranger and conductor on Verve Record's The Greatest!! Count Basie Plays, Joe Williams Sings Standards.
Bregman arranged and conducted on albums for Toni Harper, Jane Powell, and Ricky Nelson, plus various tracks for his friend Fred Astaire – including several of Astaire's own songs. Bregman arranged and conducted tracks such as Let There Be Love (Trend Records) for Bobby Shaw, and The Wayward Wind (Era Records) for Gogi Grant.
In addition, he produced a selection of his own instrumental albums, such as The Gershwin Anniversary Album, Funny Face & Other Gershwin Tunes, Swinging Kicks, Swingin' Standards, Dig Buddy in Hi-Fi, Symphony of the Golden West, Anita O'Day – Rules of the Road, and That Swing.
Following his tenure at Verve Records he became the musical director on NBC's The Eddie Fisher Show, before featuring in his own show, Buddy Bregman's Music Shop.
In the early 1960s Bregman became a television producer and director. After producing several TV specials in Europe, he was hired by David Attenborough for BBC 2 in 1964. In 1966, he was appointed head of light entertainment for the weekday ITV company Rediffusion London.
Bregman wrote Jump Jim Crow – a musical for the Royal Shakespeare Company – and moved into London-based independent TV and film production. He produced and directed The New-Fangled Wandering Minstrel Show, a film starring Olivia Newton-John and Georgie Fame.
Upon returning to the United States, Bregman worked as a producer and director on numerous television productions, both series and specials.
Fresh Sound produced a compilation album featuring examples of Bregman's early orchestrations titled Buddy Bregman – A Jazz Portrait of the Hollywood Arranger.
In late 2004, Bregman was tasked with arranging and conducting a 16-track vocal album of old and newer pop/jazz standards. It features an 18-piece big band of West Coast sidemen Hubert Laws, Ricky Woodard, Charles Owens, George Bohannon, Bobby Rodriguez, Patrice Rushen, Roberto Miranda, and others. These sessions were recorded over two days in May 2006 at the Quincy Jones / Michael Jackson designed signature studio, 'D', at Westlake Recording Studios, with the UCLA's and CJO's Charley Harrison serving as MD. The album was conceived and self-produced by Tomsk Rahma, a British art producer and semi-professional baritone. Vocals were recorded by Tomsk Rahma at Westlake Recording Studios in May and November 2006. Bregman also recorded 'scratch' vocals against each and every one of his own session-tracks during studio downtime at Westlake.