Glen Gray

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Glen Gray
Glen Gray Billboard.jpg
Background information
Born(1900-06-07)June 7, 1900
Roanoke, Illinois, United States
DiedAugust 23, 1963(1963-08-23) (aged 63)
Plymouth, Massachusetts
GenresJazz, swing
Occupation(s)Bandleader
InstrumentsSaxophone
Years active1915–1963
LabelsBrunswick, Decca, Capitol
Associated actsCasa Loma Orchestra

Glenn Gray Knoblauch (June 7, 1900 – August 23, 1963), known professionally as Glen Gray, was a jazz saxophonist and leader of the Casa Loma Orchestra.[1]

Early years[edit]

Gray was born to Lurdie P. and Agnes (Gray) Knoblauch in Metamora, Illinois. His father was a saloon keeper and railroad worker who died when Glen was two years of age.[2] He had an older sister. His widowed mother married George H. DeWilde, a coal miner, and moved her family to Roanoke. Gray graduated from Roanoke High School, in 1917 where he played basketball and acquired his nickname, "Spike".[3] He is said to have joined the Army at seventeen, and two years later he was living at home with his family. He attended Illinois Wesleyan University, where he joined Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, but left to work for the Santa Fe Railroad.[citation needed]

Career[edit]

Gray attended the American Conservatory of Music in 1921 but left during his first year to go to Peoria, Illinois, to play with George Haschert's orchestra. From 1924 to 1929, he played with several orchestras in Detroit, Michigan.[3]

In 1927, Gray's Orange Blossoms Band was renamed the Casa Loma Orchestra, after Casa Loma in Toronto, where the band played for eight months. Gray collaborated with the jazz musician Jean Goldkette, and with trumpeter/arranger Salvador Camarata. He gave Betty George her first job as a soloist. Ill health forced Gray to retire from touring in 1950.[citation needed]

In 1956, he went back into the studio to record the first of what became a series of LPs for Capitol Records, which recreated the sounds of the big band era in stereo.[4] Casa Loma in Hi-Fi was the result, with 14 high-fidelity recordings.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Gray and his wife had one son.[3]

In 1963 Gray died in Plymouth, Massachusetts of lymphoma, aged 63.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Mississippi Rag, "Glen Gray and the Casa Loma Orchestra," George A. Borgman, October 2006, page 1
  2. ^ Borgman, George A. (October 2006). "Glen Gray and the Casa Loma Orchestra". The Mississippi Rag. p. 1.
  3. ^ a b c d Holloway, Tony (February 3, 1957). "Glen Gray Top Band Leader for 20 Years". The Pantagraph. Illinois, Bloomington. p. 6. Retrieved May 7, 2016 – via Newspapers.com. open access publication – free to read
  4. ^ Eder, Bruce. "Glen Gray Biography". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved October 28, 2012.
  5. ^ DeLong, Thomas A. (1996). Radio Stars: An Illustrated Biographical Dictionary of 953 Performers, 1920 through 1960. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-2834-2, pg. 114.

External links[edit]