Glaser was the son of a Chicago family of Russian Jewish origins. After a series of irregular jobs (fight promoter, club manager), with the help of his alleged mob connections he started managing Louis Armstrong in May 1935. The success of their association caused other jazz musicians to join Glaser and his agency known as the Associated Booking Corporation which "was formed in 1940 by Joe Glaser and Louis Armstrong". The relation of Glaser and Armstrong has been represented as a prominent element in Terry Teachout's theater play "Satchmo at the Waldorf."
Although his clients had a high opinion of him, Glaser was a feared person in the business industry. Associated Booking Corporation or "ABC" as it is also known as, has at various times represented Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Woody Herman, Dave Brubeck, Barbra Streisand, B.B. King, The Allman Brothers Band, T. Rex, and many others.
Glaser died on June 6, 1969 at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital in New York City after suffering a stroke. He was 72.
His agency - Associated Booking Corporation - was incorporated on June 26, 1943 and is still in existence today.
After his death in 1969, Joe Glaser's FBI file - CR 166-1672 - was shipped over to the H.R. Select Committee On Assassinations sometime in 1976-1979. While the file was sent to the committee in the belief that Glaser had known Jack 'Sparky' Rubenstein, better known as Jack Ruby, from his Chicago days, that file revealed that Glaser was still doing some boxing promotion as late as 1966, representing Ernie Terrell in his 1966 boxing match against the then Cassius Clay.
- Obituary, New York Times, May 17, 1969, p. 33; "Joseph G. Glaser Is Dead at 72; Booking Agent For Many Stars," New York Times, June 8, 1969, p. 92
- "Satchmo Remembers the Big Magaffa," Los Angeles Times, June 22, 1969, p. G44.
- Bergreen, Laurence, "Louis Armstrong: An Extravagant Life", page 374
- Bergreen, Laurence, "Louis Armstrong: An Extravagant Life". 1997 ISBN 0-553-06768-0
- Holiday, Billie and Dufty, William, "Lady sings the blues". 1956 ISBN 978-0-14-006762-0
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