Wilbur Schwartz

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Wilbur Schwartz (17 March 1918 Newark, New Jersey – 3 August 1990 Los Angeles) was an American clarinetist, alto saxophonist, and dance band arranger who was widely known as a member of the Glenn Miller Orchestra.[1][2]

He is a Native American, and his "German-sounding name" was described as a simple coincidence by himself.


Schwartz joined Miller in 1937, remaining with his orchestra until 1942. He was featured on all the ballad numbers. With the addition of Schwartz’s characteristic tone in the Miller reed section, the sound of the Miller band became one that none of the imitators could ever reproduce. Prior to joining Miller, Schwartz had played with the New York City-based Julie Wintz’s band.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Schwartz performed as a session musician on several Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra albums, and as a clarinetist in the Nelson Riddle Orchestra. He also performed on the 1963 Verve album, Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Jerome Kern Songbook.


Schwartz was the father of Grammy-winning composer-arranger Nan Schwartz.[3]

Wilbur Schwartz in the movies[edit]

Wilbur Schwartz appeared in four movies between 1936 and 1962:

Dubbed Clarinet playing for his namesake character in “The Glenn Miller Story” (1954)


  1. ^ The Complete Encyclopedia of Popular Music and Jazz, 1900-1950, Vol. 3 (of three volumes), by Roger D. Kinkle (1916–2000), New Rochelle, New York: Arlington House Publishers (1974) OCLC 0870002295
  2. ^ Who's Who in Hollywood: The largest cast of international film personalities ever assembled, Vol. 2, (of 2 volumes), by David Ragan, New York: Facts on File (1992) OCLC 21197884
  3. ^ When swing was the thing: personality profiles of the big band era, John R. Tumpak, Marquette University Press (2008) OCLC 435630845