© -Steven Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved.
“Popular music can evoke a sense of time and place as powerfully as a home movie or an old newspaper. It is the soundtrack to our lives and echoes our emotions. Perhaps no music evokes time and place more precisely than Glenn Miller's. Experts will argue that Miller recorded for more than fifteen years as a jazz musician, arranger and leader, formed two orchestras and led service bands. To most of us, though, Glenn Miller is tied to those few years when the big bands ruled and the world went to war. He invented a sound that combined the excitement of jazz with the lushness of the big orchestras, and bore a trademark musical palette that will forever be known simply as the Glenn Miller Sound.”
- Colin Escott
The Glenn Miller Years III
“Glenn had already recorded with pick-up groups led by Tommy Dorsey and his brother Jimmy, which contained the best of New York City's jazz musicians. They backed Mildred Bailey, using Miller arrangements, and early in 1934 made some instrumental records. Then they talked about forming a permanent band and taking it on the road, under their joint leadership, a doubtful idea at best, since they had never since childhood been able to agree on anything.
In the last days of the Smith Ballew band, Ray McKinley and Glenn went to hear a band at the Broadhurst Hotel led by Vic Schilling. They approached a bassist and guitarist named Roc Hillman about joining them with the Dorseys, which indicates that Tommy and Jimmy had assigned him the same authority he had held with his Ballew and Pollack. He also picked up saxophonist Skeets Herfurt, trombonist Don Matteson, and singer Kay Weber, all with Schilling's gracious encouragement. Hillman and his three friends moved to New York.
"Glenn was just great to all four of us," Hillman said. "He felt responsible for us and he did everything he could to make life easy for us. On the second night we were there, he took us to meet Benny Goodman in his hotel room. Then a few nights later he had Tommy Dorsey come up to our room in the Manhattan Towers Hotel, and he had me play my tune Long May We Love for Tommy. Tommy liked it and he recorded it. Glenn also took us to the Onyx Club to hear Six Spirits of Rhythm, and he introduced us to Artie Shaw there."
Ray McKinley got a call from Glenn to say that the Dorseys were finally going to take a band on the road, and inviting him to go with them along with the musicians from Denver. McKinley said, "Sure."
"The band had a different sound," he said. "That was Glenn's idea. Bing Crosby was the big thing then, and Glenn decided to pitch down to his register. So instead of the usual couple of trumpets and just one trombone, we featured three trombones, Tommy and Glenn and Don, and just one trumpet. Bunny Berigan was there at first.
"The saxes had a different sound — two tenors and one alto instead of the usual two altos and one tenor. Skeets and a fellow named Jack Stacey and Jimmy played alto and clarinet. In the rhythm section we had Kaplan on bass, Bobby Van Eps on piano, Roc on guitar, and me. Kay Weber was the girl singer and later on Bob Crosby became the boy singer.
"The band used to rehearse in that little rehearsal room up in the office of Rockwell-O'Keefe in Radio City. The second rehearsal ran true to form — the Dorseys were screaming at each other. Jimmy yelled, ‘I suppose you think that means you're the boss,' and Tommy said, 'You know damn well I'm the boss, because I can talk louder than you.'"
The band played a series of one-nighters in New England then played for the summer of 1934 at the Sands Point Casino on Long Island, no doubt because it had a radio wire which gave the band exposure across the country. McKinley found Glenn a little standoffish with the other musicians.
The British musician, critic, author and BBC broadcaster Alyn Shipton, wrote in his A New History of Jazz:
“In the spring of 1934, following several jointly led record dates, Jimmy and Tommy put together a regular big band of their own to work outside the studios as the Dorsey Brothers' Orchestra. It lasted for eighteen months, until a more than usually violent altercation between them over the speed at which they should play various pieces dissolved their partnership. Jimmy became the leader of the band that survived from the rift, leaving Tommy to form his own orchestra, which he eventually did by taking over a band that had been led by pianist Joe Haymes.
However, in its short life, the Dorsey Brothers' Orchestra made some interesting attempts to vary the mold of how a swing band should sound, although more often than not this veered toward the kinds of compromise familiar from Ben Pollack. This is hardly surprising, because the brothers' chief arranger was the ex-Pollack trombonist Glenn Miller, who was already trying his hand at achieving a unique and distinctive sound…. With the Dorsey Brothers' Orchestra, Miller
achieved his unorthodox sound by trying a nonstandard instrumentation, and instead of the usual lineup of three trumpets, two trombones, and three saxophones, his charts were written for a topsy-turvy lineup of one trumpet, three trombones, and three saxes. Because the majority of the instruments were pitched in a similar range, it lacked the clear distinction among the sections of a more conventional jazz orchestra, but it allowed Miller to write some convincing attempts at "big band Dixieland" of which the February 1935 Weary Blues is a good example, despite the occasionally overwhelming sound of the massed trombones.
The commercial appeal of this kind of chart was not lost on the band's singer, Bob Crosby (who was continually criticized by Tommy Dorsey for not being as good as his brother Bing). When Bob took over the remnants of Ben Pollack's band in 1935, such arranged Dixieland was already a major element of its style and continued to be under his leadership.”
The quarrels between the Dorseys took their toll on everyone, especially Glenn, who was caught in the cross-fire. Finally he gave his notice.
The partners at the Rockwell-O'Keefe agency were looking for new bands. They wanted to import from England the band of Ray Noble, which was making some exceptional recordings. The American Federation of Musicians, in a protracted quarrel with the British musicians union, would not permit the band to come. Given the yeoman work Glenn had done for Smith Ballew and the Dorseys, the agency approached him about organizing a band to be led by Noble.
He agreed, and put together a remarkable organization that included Bud Freeman on tenor and Johnny Mince on clarinet, and a rhythm section comprising Claude Thornhill, piano; Delmar Kaplan, bass; George Van Eps, guitar; and a drummer Noble brought from England. The trombones included Glenn and Wilbur Schwichtenburg, whom Glenn always cited among the trombonists he most admired. Schwichtenburg changed his name to Will Bradley and later in that decade formed a band with Ray McKinley, which they co-led. They had hits on Beat Me, Daddy, Eight to the Bar and Celery Stalks at Midnight. It was an excellent band.
Unable to work until he had his union card, Noble went to California to write songs for a movie called The Big Broadcast of 1936. A former staff arranger for the BBC, he already had a catalogue of songs, including The Touch of Your Lips, The Very Thought of You, Love Is the Sweetest Thing, I Hadn 't Anyone Till You, Good Night Sweetheart, and Cherokee, which, in an arrangement by Billy May, became a huge hit for Charlie Barnet. While Noble was in California, working on a film that achieved the obscurity it deserved, he let Glenn write for the band and rehearse it. All the musicians were paid well for rehearsing, which was rare if not unprecedented, and Glenn got $804 for nine weeks work, good money for that period.
He continued to record on the side, often with alumni of Ben Pollack, and then on April 25, 1935, he made his first record under his own name, A Blues Serenade (with a vocal by Smith Ballew) and Moonlight on the Ganges. He also recorded In a Little Spanish Town and Pagan Love Song. It was a period of American fascination with the ersatz exotic, manifest in such songs as The Sheik of Araby, Constantinople, and Hindustan, and movies to go with them. His arrangement of Pagan Love Song, retitled Solo Hop, had solos by Bunny Berigan on trumpet, Eddie Miller on tenor, and Johnny Mince on clarinet. Glenn took no solo.
The musicians in the Noble band liked the job. They worked until 3 a.m. seven nights a week, but they were very well paid and they took great interest in the playing of their best jazz soloists, particularly Bud Freeman. Miller's pay rose to $175 a week with additional fees for recording. But he was restless, and finally at a dinner at the home where George Simon still lived with his parents and brothers (including Dick Simon who had founded the publishing house of Simon and Schuster in 1924), Glenn told George that he was going to start a band. Glenn asked Simon to help him do so.
There is an old (and cruel) joke among jazz musicians. What do you call people who want to hang around with jazz musicians? Answer: drummers.
George Simon was a would-be drummer who was mocking of his own limited abilities. Wanting to be close to jazz and jazz musicians, he became a writer for Metronome magazine, which certainly could not have paid him much. No jazz magazine, including Down Beat, has ever paid well. But his family was wealthy and influential, and Glenn seems to have had an instinct for power and the people who held it. George was a hero-worshiper, with characteristics that inspired in a later generation the term groupy. Such people are very useful as gofers, and Glenn was skillful at using people. George wrote in the Introduction to his biography, "As I look back, I realize there may have even been an element of worship in my admiration. Later, I also learned to resent him."
In 1936, Ray Noble went back to England on vacation. When he returned and after he took the band on a theater tour and back into the Rainbow Room, he asked the musicians to take a pay cut. They refused, Glenn among them. He not only left, he led the walkout. The band went downhill and eventually collapsed.
Howie Richmond, later a prominent music publisher, knew Glenn from the early days and at one period was his publicist. Rockwell-O'Keefe was the agency that put together the booking with Ray Noble and Glenn. At his home in Palm Desert, Howie told me in 1997:
"He was like a little kid in his enthusiasm for what he did for Ray Noble. Cork O'Keefe said, 'Glenn did the best possible job that could be done.'
"Cork was the narrator of wonderful stories, but he never lied. He said Ray Noble became ensconced in the Rainbow Room. Ray Noble could stay as long as he wanted, and he wasn't going back to England — the war had started. So he just stayed in America.
"The big thing they wanted at Rockwell-O'Keefe was to get other bands into the Rainbow Room. Noble didn't want to go on the road or do any of those things. He was happy sitting there doing radio.
"He said that Ray Noble had a room or an apartment up in the tower that he could go to between shows. But he had a habit of relieving himself by peeing out over the parapet. It was just a thing he did occasionally, when he was too lazy to go to the can. At some point, some way, it hit some people below. They went to the management of the Rainbow Room. To quiet things, they broke the contract and he was let out. That came right to me from Cork's lips. He never made a story up in his life."
Glenn played radio jobs with Freddy Rich's orchestra at CBS. Such work is exacting, and his abilities as a player must have been more than adequate. There was no recording tape in those days. Radio work was "live" playing that brooked no uncertainty. Glenn and Helen were living in Jackson Heights, and he could have relaxed into the life of a studio musician, playing a lot of vapid music. A number of his friends and acquaintances had started their own bands, among them Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, and the Dorsey brothers, and had hired a lot of the better white jazz players with whom he had worked in the Pollack and Ray Noble bands.
He did not want to go back to life as a sideman, and so after working for Noble in 1935 and '36, he decided to take the risk of starting his own band.
And he had unique qualifications to lead a band. After all he'd done it before: he had assembled and rehearsed or managed bands led or ostensibly led by Ben Pollack, Smith Ballew, the Dorseys, and Ray Noble. He told George Simon that he did not intend to play with his projected band. He said, "I can't play as well as Tommy Dorsey, so why should I come out second best?"
He began to look around for musicians. On the recommendation of Benny Goodman and record producer John Hammond (eventually Goodman's brother-in-law), he hired an altoist and clarinetist named Hal Mclntyre who, Simon says, "was warm and friendly and direct — typical of the all-American type of boy with whom Glenn hoped to stock his band." Simon, in his capacity as a reviewer for Metronome, traveled around New York listening to bands, and he would recommend some of their musicians to Glenn. Once, when a waiter asked them to order drinks, he and Simon said they wanted only coffee. The head waiter gave orders for them to leave. Glenn laughed and said: "That was the first time that I've ever been thrown out of a joint for not drinking." Simon wrote:
In the past, Glenn had had his drinking bouts, and they hadn't been pleasant ones. Various people who have seen him in his cups have proclaimed him "a mean drunk" and "a monster when he drinks," and one person described him as "a drunk right out of central casting. He used foul language."
David Mackay, for years his attorney, reports that once, in the early days of his marriage, Glenn went on a toot that lasted a couple of days. It cost him more than he had on him, and, to pay off, he had withdrawn a bundle from a checking account which he and Helen shared. This infuriated Helen, who apparently had to put up with such a routine before, and so she decided to go on a binge of her own. According to Mackay, "She went to the bank and drew out all the rest of the money from the account. She then went into Manhattan and bought all the clothes she'd always wanted to buy. It taught Glenn a lesson."
Glenn, whose father apparently had also lost some bouts to the bottle, was acutely aware of his own problem and what it might lead to. He had told me that as long as he would remain a leader he intended to stay strictly on the wagon; that he couldn't afford to take any chances, because, he intimated, after a few drinks he could easily turn into a pretty rough and unattractive character. I must say that until he went into the army, I never saw him touch a drop, though various band members have reported that every once in awhile when the band was traveling by train, Glenn would bust loose with a few — sometimes even more — and depending on his mood, he might have a great time with a few friends. More often, though, he'd be apt to lash out angrily at somebody or other or some situation that had been bugging him.
But there was the other side of him, including the patient and meticulous way he would rehearse the younger musicians he had hired. When they couldn't grasp how he wanted something phrased, he would pick up his trombone and show them. Jazz arrangers commonly sing the phrasing of passages on record dates, because the Western musical system of notation is notoriously awkward and imprecise. Miller knew what he wanted and knew how to get it.
Glenn's first band under his own name had in its lineup Charlie Spivak, Manny Klein, and Sterling Bose, trumpets; Jesse Ralph and Harry Rodgers, trombones, George Seravo, Jerry Jerome, Carl Biesecker, and Hal Mclntyre, saxophones; Howard Smith, who had played piano for Tommy Dorsey; Dick McDonough, guitar, Ted Kotsoftis, bass, and George Simon, drums. Though the norm was four tunes per three-hour recording session, Miller got six out of this group, all but one of them vocals by band members and one by an unknown singer named Doris Kerr. No one, according to Simon, could fathom why she had been hired, but they learned in time that she was the daughter of an important NBC executive.
Some years ago I met an elderly woman who had known Glenn in school in Fort Morgan. She told me that even then, he looked up to the wealthy. In this he was not unlike novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald. As for his cynicism in hiring the daughter of an NBC executive, this was not unlike the tactic of Johnny Mercer in the founding days of Capitol records when he recorded a young man who had a fairly bad band in San Diego. Japan controlled the world's sources of shellac, from which the old 78-rpm records were made, and Mercer found out that the young man's father had a warehouse full of it. Johnny wanted — and got — it: he recorded the young man's band. Johnny told me the story himself. And Johnny, incidentally, was a drinker very much in Miller's pattern.
Glenn had put tremendous pressure on George Simon on the record date, reducing him to a nervous jelly. Miller offered him a job, saying, "Look, I think you'd better decide what you want to do. Do you want to go with the band or do you want to stick to writing for that magazine of yours?"
Even in writing about it, Simon does not seem to have understood what Miller was doing. Simon was useful, not only for publicity and gofer work, but possibly for the use of his family in some as-yet-unforeseen situation. Dropping him would therefore be a mistake. And so the clever thing was to squeeze him to the point where he'd quit.
Simon seemed to perceive no conflict of interests in working as a "journalist" and as a publicist for Miller. But then he had no professional background in journalism and seemed oblivious of its ethics.
On May 7, 1937, the band played one night at the Hotel New Yorker. The band got union scale, $397.50, with Glenn clearing $48. It made four sides, all of them instrumental, for Brunswick, with several changes of personnel. Then it went up to Boston for two weeks at the Raymoor Ballroom. It then played several one-nighters for $200 each, after which it opened on June 17 at the Blue Room of the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans.
Although Glenn was making little money, not as much as his musicians, the band was a success there, and its engagement was extended to August 25. The owner of a number of New Orleans bars came in, bringing a song he had written. Such writers of amateur songs, almost always embarrassingly awful, infested America and perhaps still do.
"Presumably aware of the owner's contacts and influence," Simon wrote, "Glenn proceeded to make an arrangement of his song for the band to play, and sure enough, the neophyte songwriter brought in hordes of friends regularly — just to hear his song. Glenn was learning fast."
Soon after the engagement at the Roosevelt, Glenn hired the clarinetist Irving Fazola, whom he had first heard when he played with Pollack in 1935. Born in New Orleans, he was a round man whose weight perhaps contributed to his death in 1949 at the age of thirty-seven. Glenn also hired Bob Price who was one of the great and unsung jewels of jazz: a superb lead trumpet player, one of the men who could pull a great performance out of a whole section. Price and Fazola were among the serious drinkers.
Fazola combined elements of the New Orleans style with that of the modernists, such as Benny Goodman, and he was admired by musicians. He was the favorite clarinetist of Gerry Mulligan, who knew him in the Claude Thornhill band in the late 1940s. Glenn wrote in a letter to George Simon, "I sincerely believe that Faz is the only clarinet player with a chance these days. Shaw, Mince and all of them play like Benny and they will not live long enough to cut him. Faz, like Ol' Man River, jes' keeps rollin' along and he doesn't want to know from anyone. I doubt if he has ever heard more than a few Goodman records and up until Dallas he never met or heard Goodman personally. Benny listened closely when Faz was playing."
After the Roosevelt in New Orleans, the band went to the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas. Goodman, also playing Dallas, came by to hear the band and later told Simon:
"Glenn seemed very discouraged and I kept telling him not to quit, to keep at it and just stay in there. I told him, 'One morning you'll wake up and you'll suddenly say, 'Hey, the band sounds great!'"
"I know how he felt, because I had some experiences like that."
The Miller band went on to the Nicollet Hotel in Minneapolis, a job that paid so poorly that at the end of the week Glenn was in deficit. Glenn continued in his letter:
While on Benny, he was his usual swell self to us in Dallas, and that band, George, is without doubt the greatest thing in the history of jazz. I thought they were good at the Pennsylvania, but they have improved one hundred percent since then. That cornet section is the Marvel of the Age, and Krupa is more of a genius than ever to me. He drums with his head which is a real rarity."
Glenn still referred to trumpets as cornets. Louis Armstrong in his early days, Bix Beiderbecke, Red Nichols, and Jimmy McPartland, all played cornet, a shorter and more mellow version of the trumpet. Miller's letter, dated October 12, 1937, continued:
"George, I wish that I could see you and thank you for the interest you have taken in us. You surely have been a wonderful help and I hope you will continue to be on the lookout for men that might improve our combo."
The Bob Crosby band was a co-operative, run by its members with Gil Rodin as its president. It was not the first co-operative in jazz history. The Casa Loma began as a cooperative, and so did the first Woody Herman band, salvaged out of the members of the Isham Jones band after its leader retired. Crosby and Herman did not form those bands: they were elected by the musicians to lead them.
Glenn mentions Celeste LeBrosi, a wealthy woman who followed the Crosby band everywhere. There were quite a few of these ladies in the band era and later, including the Baronness Nika de Koenigswater in New York for whom Thelonious Monk named his Nika's Dream. Charlie Parker died in her living room while watching the Tommy Dorsey band on television. Toronto had Lady Iris Mountbatten, whose behavior with musicians was such that her family sent her off as a remittance woman to Canada, where she lived in genteel comfort the rest of her life, quite beautiful and anything but invisible. She, like other women of her sort, were prone to acts of collective kindness on entire bands. Gil Rodin apparently had found such a benefactor.
Glenn wrote to George, "Think you could try to get Mrs. LeBrosi, or whatever her name is, to detour a little to the North, and maybe we can slip a knife in Rodin's back and steal one of his fans?
"I don't know just where we are going from here — I guess no one else does either. We are hoping for some sort of radio set-up that will let more than three people hear us at one time . . . This is about all for now, George, I am practically exhausted from all this, so it looks like a nap and so to work. Your friend, Glenn."
Glenn was constantly trying to find the right drummer for the band. His ideals were those he had played with: Gene Krupa, Ray McKinley, and Ben Pollack. Dave Tough had been working with Tommy Dorsey, but he was in a hospital to dry out. Dorsey replaced him with Maurice (Moe) Purtill. But Tough returned to the Dorsey band, and Dorsey released Purtill to join Glenn. Glenn was delighted but Dorsey called to say that Dave Tough was drunk again and he needed Purtill. Glenn was bitterly disappointed, but he let Purtill go and found another obscure drummer.
(Dave Tough went to the South Pacific with Artie Shaw's navy band, then joined Woody Herman right after World War II to thrill both his fellow musicians and the public. Born to comfort in Oak Park, Illinois, he was literate, articulate, and wrote occasional magazine articles. He took a fall while drunk in Newark just before Christmas in 1948 and lay for some days in the morgue before his wife found him.)
Purtill would return to the Miller band to become the main reason, in the opinion of many musicians, including several who played in the band, that Miller's civilian orchestra didn't swing.
With the band floundering and few bookings ahead, they played one-nighters in Maryland, New York State, and Pennsylvania. Glenn was having a lot of trouble with drinking in the band, though he kept to his own firmly abstemious course. The band played the Ritz Ballroom in Bridgeport, Connecticut and the Valencia Ballroom in York, Pennsylvania. When they got back to New York City, he disbanded, on January 2, 1938. On top of it all, Helen was suffering serious pains and at last went into hospital for the surgery that would preclude her ever bearing the children they so urgently wanted.
Helen and Glenn discussed their dilemma. He could make a comfortable living as an arranger and sideman. He played trombone at least well enough for that. But he still had his unfulfilled ambitions, and Helen still believed in him. He looked to his friends for work. Benny Goodman commissioned a couple of arrangements from him.
Miller by then was living on money borrowed from his own parents and his wife's. What is fascinating in Miller, the Dorseys, Harry James, Goodman, and more is that they had such faith in this form of dance music, this comparatively new instrumentation, that they would ignore rejection, humiliation, and defeat to return to the struggle. Most of them, Woody once pointed out to me, failed. It is rarely remembered, for example, that Coleman Hawkins, Bunny Berigan, and others tried in vain to launch big bands.
The friendship with Woody Herman was forged about this time. Glenn would go down to the offices of General Artists Corporation (GAC) to look for work, but Willard Alexander, who booked bands, let him sit in the outer office, waiting. Often, next to him was Woody Herman, also cooling his heels.
"I was twenty-four years old and optimistic," Woody told me. "Glenn was a little older and sour. He had already blown a ton of money with a band and he was full of sad stories. GAC apparently didn't think much of either of us at that point." Glenn would have been thirty-three.
This was deep in the Depression, and the record industry had almost died. Then a new gadget came into use and a wild popularity among teen-agers: the juke box. By 1939, there were 225,000 of them in America, mostly big cumbersome machines with garish lighting. They consumed 13 millions records a year, and with an eye on that business, Jack Kapp formed Decca. Kapp began signing performers no one had ever heard of, including Ella Fitzgerald, Jimmy Dorsey, Woody Herman, and Glenn Miller. But Decca did not have the money behind it that Columbia and RCA Victor enjoyed. Woody said, "They had to buy used equipment, and some of the wax they put on it looked like it had been reused about eighty times. We used to cut the masters on this heavy machine, wheel them in boxes and every time you finished one tune, they had to go out for a fresh batch. It was all pretty basic. Some of the other companies were going ahead, and developing, particularly RCA and Columbia with all their massive appliances and scientists and people on their staffs working on sound and everything. We were just trying to make a record that wasn't warped before it was pressed. Jimmy Dorsey used to say, 'For God's sake, when are you going to put the hole in the middle?' They were always off center."
Yet Decca became a major factor in reviving the record business, because doing things on the cheap it was selling its product for thirty-five cents when the other labels were charging seventy-five. What Kapp did not foresee was the coming codependency, developing in time into a sinister symbiosis, of radio and broadcasting.
Howie Richmond remembered:
"The attitude with the record companies in the '30s was that if they played the records on the radio — particularly the big stars, Bing Crosby, Fred Waring, Guy Lombardo, they were all on Decca — the public would not buy them. They'd be free on the radio. So they did not give records out and they put on the record labels 'Not licensed for radio broadcast.'
"This was before the war and before vinyl or tape. The records were shellac, and all records had a kind of bad quality, and the needles were big. But more than anything, the Decca record was engineered in such a way that if you brought up the level on radio, it would begin to give a hiss. The Decca record gave more hiss than any other record, and that was intentional. Jack Kapp did not want the records played on the radio.
"Every record company had the same policy. They just didn't give away the records and they didn't make them available. But they didn't hiss.
"There were very few people who had the time or the interest to go after the radio stations. I did it because, you could get an article on somebody, you'd get a line in Walter Winchell's column. But people couldn't hear the record. By the way, Glenn Miller was very interested in the trade publications, the newspapers, the magazines. He read them and he felt they had weight. He read Down Beat. He read Metronome, and he thought whatever popularity they had was important for a band, even though it was restricted to a very small part of the public. Books do not have to be heard. Records have to be heard. You couldn't write about his music in a newspaper and relate it to something when you can't hear it.
"There were a few — Bulova watches had Martin Block on WNEW in New York, and he was heard as far as Philadelphia. Oh, you had to go a little bit out of downtown Philadelphia to get it. You could hear it at the University of Pennsylvania, where I was. Every Friday night, we went toward Atlantic City until you could hear it in a car — to hear the new records!"
About this time, Miller began to get help from the Shribman brothers of Boston. Cy and Charlie Shribman were personal managers who also owned ballrooms throughout New England. It was almost impossible to get booked in New England without their co-operation. Even the major booking agents dealt with the Shribmans in seeking engagements for their clients. The Shribmans had a reputation for honor. George Simon said, "Cy Shribman was completely honest. I never heard a bandleader ever say a word against him."
To be continued ….