b. 1904, USA, d. 11 May 1944, Dallas, Texas, USA. Formed in the late 20s in Chicago, Illinois, USA, Kay’s dance band orchestra concentrated its activities in the Midwest region, enjoying significant but brief success in the process. His musical career had previously begun at Northwestern University, where he was a member of several impromptu campus combos. His professional orchestra included trumpeter Charles ‘Bud’ Dant, later an executive with Coral and Decca Records, in a four saxophone, four brass, three percussion formation. The singers were, at various times, Dorothy Lamour, Helen Conner and Ken Nealey. Lamour had joined in 1934, staying with the band for two years before a film career in Hollywood offered more tantalising rewards. This decision resulted in the break up of her marriage to Kay in 1939. The orchestra continued its long stay at the Blackhawk Restaurant in Chicago into the early 40s, by which time several records had been released on Vocalion and Columbia Records, including the orchestra’s theme, ‘Violets And Friends’. Shortly afterwards however, Kay gave up the band, and relocated to Dallas.
Share this page