Dan Terry

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Dan Terry
Born Daniel Kostraba
(1924-12-22)December 22, 1924
Kingston, Pennsylvania, United States
Died December 27, 2011(2011-12-27) (aged 87)
Danville, Illinois, United States
Nationality American
Known for Big band leader and musician

Dan Terry (December 22, 1924 – December 27, 2011) was an American big band leader, arranger, and trumpet and flugelhorn player, who appeared in Birdland with Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughan, Chris Connor, Johnny Smith, and other jazz luminaries. He also made half a dozen LP recordings, including 20 sides on Columbia Records in 1954, and wrote music for and performed in the films The Hustler and The Manchurian Candidate.


The son of a choirmaster, he was born Daniel Kostraba in Kingston, Pennsylvania, United States. After working with George Summerson's territory band in high school, he went to New York City and worked with Muggsy Spanier before entering the United States Marine Corps. After leaving the service, he moved to Los Angeles to lead the Hollywood Teenagers Band before returning to New York in 1948 to play with Sonny Dunham for eight months. Terry then studied theory at the College of the Pacific on the GI Bill from 1948-49.[1]

Terry then formed his own band and went out on the road. Engagements included the Totem Pole Ballroom in Boston, the Aragon and Trianon Ballrooms in Chicago, Glen Island Casino,[2] Tahoe Village, Chase Hotel in St. Louis,[3] Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans, and the Statler Hotel in New York, as well as appearing at college proms and concerts from coast to coast. He also recorded four sides arranged by Marty Paich[4] for Vita Records in 1952, including "Autumn in New York" and "Terry Cloth."

Terry's band went into Birdland in 1954, playing there with Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington, and others. Also in 1954, Terry was signed by Columbia Records along with Pete Rugolo and Les Elgart,[5] and recorded 20 sides included on the records Teen Age Dance Session (Columbia) and Teen Age Dance Party (Harmony). That same year, he was also featured in the Universal film short, Birth of a Band, with Connie Haines and Don Gordon.[6]

Terry appeared in Carnegie Hall with his band for the Charlie Parker Memorial Concert along with Dinah Washington and a host of other jazz celebrities. He also toured with the “Birdland All Stars” in concerts at Boston Arena and Carnegie Hall as a featured artist with the Count Basie Band. The September 25, 1954, Carnegie Hall performance was featured in a live album called Birdland All-Stars at Carnegie Hall with Count Basie and Lester Young on Roulette Records.[7] In 1958, he and his “Band with the Hi-Fi Sound” recorded “Coca-Cola Rock” and “Bull Fiddle Walk” on Devere Records with the Freddie Martel Singers.[8]

In the 1960s, Terry wrote music for and performed in the films The Hustler[9] and The Manchurian Candidate. He also served on the music staff for Dean Martin and Hollywood Palace shows, six television specials with Jackie Gleason, Gleason’s recordings on Capitol Records, and twelve albums with George “The Fox” Williams for CBS. Terry owned and operated Big Daddy’s Nightclub at the Travel and Transportation Building at the 1964 New York World’s Fair, and served as Musical Director at Basin Street East from 1962 to 1965. He also served as Musical Conductor for Sammy Davis with the Will Mastin Trio, Frances Langford, Noonan and Marshall, and Yma Sumac.

After returning to the West Coast, Terry recorded the album Lonely Place, which was released as HT-1005 on Happy Tiger Records in 1969.[10] He then moved to Las Vegas, where he was prominent in the city's music community in the 1970s and early 1980s. He played trumpet and led his big band in performances at the Pussycat A-Go-Go Club,[11] the Tropicana, Mint, Thunderbird, and Sahara Hotels, and in 1979, a four-week engagement at the Dunes Hotel with weekly radio broadcasts on KDWN-AM. While there, he served as president of Copyrite Music, Inc., a complete music service which included composing, conducting, arranging, and music preparation.

From 1976-1977, Terry lived in Toronto, where he formed the Horns of Toronto. He and the band appeared at various venues, including the Savarin Nightclub, The Forum at Ontario Place,[12] the Canadian National Exhibition Bandshell, Sheraton Grand Hotel, and the Leisure Lodge in Cambridge, Ontario.

In the 1990s, Terry settled in San Diego, where he formed the Horns of San Diego and an offshoot, the San Diego Youth Swing Band,[13] a group designed to give high school musicians an opportunity to perform his library of big band arrangements. Musicians in the band included trumpeter Igmar Thomas and drummer Mikey Cannon. He produced the band's album Bein' Green on the Metronome label in 1999.[14]

In addition to his recordings and touring, Terry worked as a jazz radio announcer for 40 years at radio stations in Stockton, California, Las Vegas, Middletown, Orange County, New York, and Phoenix, Arizona.

Dan Terry died in Danville, Illinois in December 2011, aged 87.


  • Vita Records: Hollywood, CA - 1952[15] – Produced and recorded "Autumn in New York" and the minor hit "Terry Cloth"
  • Teen-Age Dance Session (Columbia Records: New York, 1954)
  • Teen Age Dance Party (Harmony Records: New York, 1957)
  • "Coca-Cola Rock" and "Bull Fiddle Walk" (Devere Records: New York, 1958) - 45 rpm single featuring Dan Terry and His Band with the Hi-Fi Sound
  • Good Feeling Blues (Cinema Records: New York, 1962) – A&R Director. Produced and recorded live album in concert at Virginia Polytechnic Institute
  • Reedtime (Metromome Records: New York, 1962) – Produced and recorded experimental orchestra featuring soprano saxophones
  • Lonely Place (Metronome Records: Hollywood, 1969) – Produced and recorded album, released by Happy Tiger Records
  • Dan Terry Big Big Band (Metronome Records: Las Vegas, 1981) – Produced and recorded album
  • Bein' Green (Metronome Records: San Diego, 1999) – Produced and recorded San Diego Youth Swing Band album


  • Birth of a Band, Universal Pictures & Will Cowan Productions, Inc. Starred in the musical short with his band and Connie Haines.
  • The Manchurian Candidate, Composed and arranged the music for the rally sequence of the film and appeared directing the marching band he contracted.
  • The Hustler, 20th Century Fox, Robert Rossen, director. Appeared in the picture with his Dixieland Band. Composed and arranged the music for the party sequence with Paul Newman and Jackie Gleason, receiving screen credits.


  1. ^ Terry's early career is summarized in Leonard Feather, The New edition of The Encyclopedia of Jazz: Completely revised, enlarged and brought up to date (Horizon Press, New York: 1960), p. 439, as quoted in http://danterrybigbigband.wordpress.com/press/the-encyclopedia-of-jazz/
  2. ^ "July 20, 1963 (Billboard Magazine, p. 4) | danterrybigbigband". Danterrybigbigband.wordpress.com. 1963-07-20. Retrieved 2011-11-26. 
  3. ^ a review of Terry's performance at the Chase Hotel with the Andrews Sisters was in the December 2, 1950 edition of Billboard magazine, p. 39. Books.google.com. 1950-12-02. Retrieved 2011-11-26. 
  4. ^ "Marty Paich : Biography". Vervemusicgroup.com. Retrieved 2011-11-26. 
  5. ^ "Columbia, Back On Band Kick, Signs 3 Orks" (Billboard Magazine, January 30, 1954 issue, p. 21)
  6. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0360427/
  7. ^ ": The Birdland All Stars Live At Carnegie Hall - record/CD database". .big.or.jp. 2011-06-18. Retrieved 2011-11-26. 
  8. ^ "Devere (N.Y.) (RCS Label Listing)". Rcs-discography.com. Retrieved 2011-11-26. 
  9. ^ "The Life and Music of Kenny Davern: Just Four Bars" by Edward N. Meyer (Scarecrow Press, 2010), p. 49, https://books.google.com/books?id=6jwjBc-QTD0C&pg=PA49 " target="_blank
  10. ^ "Happy Tiger Album Discography". Bsnpubs.com. Retrieved 2011-11-26. 
  11. ^ Billboard - Google Books. Books.google.com. 1972-02-19. Retrieved 2011-11-26. 
  12. ^ Billboard - Google Books. Books.google.com. 1977-11-19. Retrieved 2011-11-26. 
  13. ^ "How to Build a Big, Big Band - San Diego Magazine - May 1999 - San Diego, California". San Diego Magazine. Retrieved 2011-11-26. [permanent dead link]
  14. ^ All About Jazz (2000-03-01). "The San Diego Youth Swing Band | Bein' Green". Allaboutjazz.com. Retrieved 2011-11-26. 
  15. ^ https://archive.org/details/DanTerryVita

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